Germs – Live At Starwood Dec. 3 1980 – Ltd Ed, 2XLP, Colored Vinyl, Numbered, R.O.G., 2019
The Germs were a punk rock band from Los Angeles (1976-1980) consisting of singer Darby Crash, guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Don Bolles (following a short stint by Donna Rhia). They were featured in Penelope Spheeris’ 1980 documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization which chronicled the Los Angeles punk scene. Crash and Smear decided to form a band after getting kicked out of high school for allegedly using “mind control” on fellow students. Their original band name was “Sophistif*** and the Revlon Spam Queens” but they decided to shorten the name as they could not afford that many letters on a t-shirt! The Germs initially drew musical influence from Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Ramones, the Runaways, Sex Pistols and New York Dolls. Early on, Smear was the only musically experienced member-remarkably talented and fluid, with critics posthumously acknowledging his lyrics as poetic art; Doom survived early performances by sliding a finger up and down the fretboard of her bass while Rhia generally kept a minimal beat on the bass drum, periodically bashing the cymbal; Crash usually arrived onstage incoherent from drugs, singing everywhere but into the mic and taunting the audience between songs. Early performances drew raucous crowds, usually verging on riotous. The band eventually developed a sound that was very influential while maintaining a reputation as a chaotic live band, delivering intense, theatrical and increasingly musical performances. Following the release of their only studio album G.I. in 1979 on Slash Records (produced by Joan Jett), the Germs recorded 6 original songs with producer Jack Nitzsche for the soundtrack to the film Cruising starring Al Pacino. Only one of the 6 tracks found it’s way onto the soundtrack but the others were later released on MIA: The Complete Anthology. In 1980, Crash contacted Smear about doing a “reunion” show to put punk in perspective for the punks on the scene. On December 3, 1980, an over-sold Starwood hosted a final show of the reunited Germs. At one point, Crash told the audience “we did this show so you new people could see what it was like when we were around. You’re not going to see it again.” Crash committed suicide on Dec. 7, 1980 at age 22, overdosing on heroin.