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Germs, The

Sid Vicious was self-destructive; Johnny Rotten was snotty; Rollins was furious; and Johnny and Dee Dee were cartoon-like. Darby Crash was all of these things . . .

A charismatic and confrontational frontman, many took him to be barking mad (many happened to be right). But his oddball lyrics and unpredictable and incendiary stage shows helped stamp Los Angeles punk band The Germs, formed in April 1977, as one of the most influential punk bands ever.

Drummer Belinda Carlisle, later of The Go-Go’s, left and was replaced by a succession of drummers, including future X drummer D J Bonebrake.

The group’s first single, Forming, was issued on What? Records in 1977 and is considered by some to be the first example of the post-punk ‘hardcore’ genre in the USA, later popularised by bands such as Black Flag.

Their next single was issued on Slash Records, which in 1979 released the group’s only album, GI (which stood for ‘Germs Incognito’). The LP  featured songs like Richie Dagger’s Crime and American Leather, making it one of the best snotty punk albums ever.

Guitarist Pat Smear co-wrote everything and was responsible for some of the biggest pure punk riffs of the time. In later years he became the touring guitarist for Nirvana and went on to join the Foo Fighters.

The group disbanded early in 1980 but re-formed later that year. A week after their first reunion concert, and three years after the band’s first live performance (at the Whisky in Los Angeles in 1977), singer Crash died of a reportedly self-inflicted heroin overdose in December 1980.

Bassist Lorna Doom (real name Teresa Ryan) passed away in January 2019.

Darby Crash (Jan Paul Beahm)
Pat Smear (Georg Ruthenberg)
Lorna Doom (Teresa Ryan)
Don Bolles (Jimmy Giorsetti)
Dottie Danger (Belinda Carlisle)