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The Germs Biography

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The Germs In-depth Biography

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, 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 you?), 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, thankfully much of it shows up on the definitive Germs} release Germs (MIA) The Complete Anthology}. ~ John Dougan, All Music Guide

The Germs Biography / The Germs Information

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