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The Germs

Living fast and dying young is one of rock's great clichés, but no phrase better describes the reasons for the demise of L.A. punkers the Germs. Capable of creating a firestorm of noisy, confrontational music, they were ultimately undone by their perversely charismatic lead singer. He was a madman named Paul Beahm, better known to the world at-large first as Bobby Pyn, later and more famously as Darby Crash, who died Sid Vicious-style out on the mainline at age 22.

Taking musical cues from the Sex Pistols (and English punk in general), as well as the CBGB's scene, and adding the theatricality of Bowie, Iggy, and Lou Reed, Crash was the perfect frontman for the Germs. Backed by guitarist Pat Smear (later of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters), bassist Lorna Doom, and drummer Don Bolles, the Germs kicked up a hellacious racket that strayed from fast/loud punk into art damage and garage grunge. On-stage, their gigs bordered on performance art, with Crash in full Iggy frenzy, diving into the crowd, adorning himself with whatever foodstuffs the audience provided, wearing less-and-less clothing, all done while the band cranked out noisy spasms of simple, but effective, rock noise.

Never capturing this mania on record (how could they?), the Germs' recording career is based on the sole record made during Crash's short life. Produced by Germs fan Joan Jett, (GI) was a fine hunk of early L.A. punk rock that was more literate and compelling that what was being offered by lesser local luminaries such as the Zeroes and the Weirdos. Smear's guitar playing is especially volatile, matching the mewling vocals of Crash note for note. It may not be life-changing music, but the white-hot, adrenal rush is a little bit of heaven.

By the time Crash filled his veins with heroin in 1980, the Germs were pretty much over. Crash's behavior had become increasingly unpredictable, he was spending time in England, and began preforming as a solo act upon returning to L.A. Consequently, the valuable recorded work in this final period is spotty, but much of it shows up on the definitive Germs release Germs (MIA) The Complete Anthology. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cat's Clause (Live)

1. Public Image (Live)

2. Lion's Share (Live)

3. Strange Notes (Live 1980)

4. Shut Down (Live)

5. Germs Riot (Live)

6. Lexicon Devil (Live)

7. Other Newest One (Live)

8. My Tunnel (Live)

9. Circle One (Live)

10. Strange Notes (Live 1979)

11. Communist Eyes (Live)

12. Forming (Live)

13. What We Do Is Secret (Live)

x

Track List: Live At The Starwood Dec 3, 1980

1. Circle One (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

2. Manimal (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

3. Caught In My Eye (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

4. Lion's Share (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

5. No God (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

6. Our Way (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

7. Strange Notes (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

8. What We Do Is Secret (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

9. Richie Dagger's Crime (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

10. Land Of Treason (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

11. My Tunnel (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

12. Media Blitz (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

13. Communist Eyes (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

14. The Other Newest One (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

15. Let's Pretend (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

16. Forming (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

17. Lexicon Devil (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

18. Shut Down [Annihilation Man] (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

19. Public Image (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

20. American Leather (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

21. We Must Bleed (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

22. Richie Dagger's Crime (Live At The Starwood, December 3, 1980)

x

Track List: GI

1. What We Do Is Secret

2. Communist Eyes

3. Land Of Treason

4. Richie Dagger's Crime

5. Strange Notes

6. American Leather

7. Lexicon Devil

8. Manimal

9. Our Way

10. We Must Bleed

11. Media Blitz

12. The Other Newest One

13. Let's Pretend

14. Dragon Lady

15. The Slave

16. Shut Down (Annihilation Man)

x

Track List: Media Blitz

1. Forming

2. Round N Round

3. Sex Boy

4. Strange Notes

5. Caught In My Eye

6. Let's Pretend

7. Lexicon Devil

8. Manimal

9. Our Way

10. Shut Down

11. What We Do Is Secret

12. Art

13. Communist Eyes

14. Lion's Share

15. Media Blitz

16. What We Do Is Secret (2)

17. Lion's Share

18. Throw It Away

x

Track List: Germs (MIA): The Complete Anthology

1. Forming

2. Sex Boy

3. Lexicon Devil

4. Circle One

5. No God

6. What We Do Is Secret

7. Communist Eyes

8. Land Of Treason

9. Richie Dagger's Crime

10. Strange Notes

11. American Leather

12. Lexicon Devil

13. Manimal

14. Our Way

15. We Must Bleed

16. Media Blitz

17. The Other Newest One

18. Let's Pretend

19. Dragon Lady

20. The Slave

21. Shut Down (Annihilation Man)

22. Caught In My Eye

24. My Tunnel

25. Throw It Away

29. Lions Share

x

Track List: Germicide Live At The Whisky 1977

1. Intro

2. Forming (Live)

3. Sex Boy (Live)

4. Victim

5. Street Dreams

6. Let's Pretend

7. Get A Grip (Live)

8. Suicide Machine (Live)

9. Sugar Sugar (Live)

10. Teenage Clone (Wild Baby)

11. Grand Old Flag (Live)

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