Formation[ edit ] Crash born Jan Paul Beahm and Smear born Georg Ruthenberg decided to start a band after being kicked out of University High School for antisocial behavior , allegedly for using "mind control" on fellow students. Their original name was "Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens", but they had to shorten the name as they could not afford that many letters on a T-shirt. The initially hypothetical first lineup consisted of Beahm then known as Bobby Pyn, and later as Darby Crash on vocals, Ruthenberg under the name Pat Smear on guitar, an early member named "Dinky" Diana Grant on bass and Michelle Baer playing drums.
This lineup never played in front of a live audience. Carlisle never actually played with the band, as she was sidelined by a bout of mononucleosis for an extended period.
She was replaced by her friend Donna Rhia Becky Barton , who played three gigs and performed on their first single. Carlisle remained a friend and helper of the band she can be heard introducing the band on the Germicide: Live at the Whiskey recording, produced by Kim Fowley , only leaving because her new band, the Go-Go's, were becoming popular and, as she put it, "I was really disturbed by the heroin that was going on".
The band's first live performance was at the Orpheum Theater. Darby stuck the mic in a jar of peanut butter. It was a dare, we had no songs or anything! Lorna wore her pants inside out, and Darby covered himself in red licorice Early on, Smear was the only musically experienced member; 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 a cymbal.
Early performances were usually marked by raucous crowds made up of the band's friends. As a result, their gigs became notorious for being rowdy and usually verged on a riot. Recordings[ edit ] The first single, " Forming ", was recorded on a Sony 2-track reel-to-reel recorder in Smear's family garage, and arrived back from the pressing plant with the note, "Warning: This record causes ear cancer", printed on the sleeve by the plant staff,  much to the band's displeasure.
It was released in July on the What? The single featured a shambolic but serviceable performance on the A-side and a muddy live recording of "Sexboy" on the B-side, recorded at the Roxy for the Cheech and Chong movie, Up in Smoke.
The song was not used in the movie, nor was the band. They were the only band not to receive a call-back to perform live for the film's "Battle of the Bands" sequence, perhaps due to the fact that the Germs' chaotic Roxy performance had featured an unscripted, full-on food fight.
The Germs, despite most expectations, developed a sound that was highly influential. Throughout their career, they had a reputation as a chaotic live band. Crash often arrived onstage nearly incoherent from drugs, singing everywhere but into the microphone and taunting the audience between songs, yet nevertheless, delivered intense theatrical and increasingly musical performances.
The other band members prided themselves on similar problems, with many contemporary reviews citing collapses, incoherence and drunken vomiting onstage. Fans saw this as part of the show, and indeed, the band presented it as such, even when breaking bottles and rolling in the glass, with the music coming and going.
Smear was revealed to be a remarkably talented and fluid player; much later, after Crash's death, critics finally acknowledged his lyrics as poetic art. Crash's vocals had begun to mold themselves around the style of the Screamers ' vocalist Tomata DuPlenty The Screamers, a huge LA live attraction at the time, never released a record, but covered the Germs' song "Sex Boy" at live shows, as heard on bootleg recordings. Another strong influence on the band's final sound was Zolar X , a theatrical glam rock band popular in the Los Angeles area circa — Crash and Smear were enthusiastic fans of the band from the pre-Germs days, and the fast tempos and raw guitar tone of the historically pre-punk Zolar X  were similar to the sound achieved on later Germs recordings.
The Germs recorded two singles with alternate tracks , an album-length demo session, and one full-length LP, GI , each more focused and powerful than the last. Crash was, despite his erratic behavior, generally regarded as a brilliant lyricist a contemporary critic described him as "ransacking the dictionary" , and the final lineup of Smear, Doom and Bolles had become a world-class rock ensemble by the recording of GI , turning in a performance that spurred an LA Weekly reviewer to write, "This album leaves exit wounds".
It is considered one of the first hardcore punk     records, and has a near-mythic status among punk rock fans. The album was produced by Joan Jett of the Runaways.
Some European copies of the album also credited Donny Rose on keyboards the song, "Shut Down," was recorded live in the studio, and featured melodic, two-fisted piano. Following the release of their only studio album, GI , on Slash Records , the Germs recorded six original songs with producer Jack Nitzsche for the soundtrack to the film, Cruising , starring Al Pacino. Doom wrote one of the songs. Only one of these songs, "Lions Share", ended up on the Columbia soundtrack album.
Other songs from this session did not appear until the bootleg Lion's Share, along with four tracks from their infamous last show at the Starwood. Circle Jerks drummer Lucky Lehrer joined the band on the eve of their first sold-out live performance, when during soundcheck, Darby kicked out the drummer they'd rehearsed with. The band, described by Smear as "like the Germs, but with worse players", played only a few gigs to lukewarm reaction before splitting up.
Shortly after that, Crash contacted Smear about a Germs "reunion" show, claiming it was necessary to "put punk into perspective" for the punks on the scene. However, Smear has said Crash told him privately he wanted to earn money for heroin with which to commit suicide. Since Crash had described this scenario many times in the past, Smear did not take him seriously.
At one point, Crash told the amazed kids in 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". Unreported at the time, Crash had overdosed on heroin in a suicide pact with close friend Casey "Cola" Hopkins, who ended up surviving. She later insisted that he did not intend for her to live, nor did he change his mind at the last minute and intend for himself to live. According to Spin , apocryphal lore has Crash attempting to write "Here lies Darby Crash" on the wall as he lay dying, but not finishing.
In reality, he wrote a short note to David "Bosco" Danford that stated, "My life, my leather, my love goes to Bosco". A local news station mistakenly reported that Crash had died from taking too many sleeping pills. In fall , Bolles joined the cast of punks, mods and rockers web series Oblivion.
In , Slash released MIA: The Complete Anthology, with liner notes by Pleasant Gehman. Rhino Handmade officially released Live at the Starwood Dec. The live set was previously unavailable in its entirety. The film starred Shane West in the role of Darby Crash. They played on the Warped Tour and toured clubs in the US later that summer, and again in Some prominent members of the punk rock community such as Fat Mike and Jello Biafra were critical of the band's decision to replace Crash with an actor.
The Sounds of the Germs. Live recordings, both old and new, would have made up the rest of the box set, which Bolles hoped to release in The songs were to be recorded with West providing vocals. Pat Fear when Doom could not be located.