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The Germs give out the telephone number of a drug dealer on KROQ radio, 1979
04.11.2017
01:07 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Music

Tags:
Germs
radio


 
One of the best DJs in American history was Rodney Bingenheimer, whose show Rodney on the ROQ was an important force in bringing punk acts to a wider audience in southern California in the late 1970s. Rodney once described his programming philosophy as “anti-Eagles, anti-beards.”

On November 30, 1979, the Germs joined Rodney in the studio for an hour or so of utterly sophomoric fun. The Germs’ only studio album, (GI), had come out a few weeks earlier; the guys make fun of the producer of the album, Joan Jett, saying that her contribution was “sleeping on the couch.”

The general immaturity of the Germs is fully matched by the callers. Right after a guy calls in just to say “Punk rockers have a 10-inch cock,” another dude calls in wanting to know who this band is. The answer given is “Led Zeppelin.” A few minutes later and they’re reading “satellite numbers” on the air, which was a way you could make free long-distance calls. It’s bullshit but this was just the kind of thing that could have landed KROQ in hot water.

Much of the time Rodney is reading plugs for upcoming gigs, which are just mouthwatering. Bands include the Go-Gos, the Busboys, the Plimsouls, Sham 69, Dead Kennedys, Fear, the Bags, X, and Black Flag.

Around the 32nd minute a woman named Michelle calls the show from the Whiskey, where Madness is playing. One of the gang has some urgent information for her: “Snickers has some really good pot for sale, call 312-960-3662. It might be 714 area code.”

Back in the day, there weren’t very many area codes so it would be assumed that Snickers has a 213 area code, which covered all of downtown Los Angeles, unless otherwise specified. 714 covered Orange County and eastern L.A. County.

As a commenter usefully pointed out, Snickers’ real name was Richard W. Scott—as the singer for the Simpletones and the Klan, he was a well-known part of the L.A. punk scene. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 1997.

By the way, I tried calling both of the numbers. They were disconnected. Oh well.
 

 
Germs play the Whiskey on December 23, 1979:

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The New Wave’: dorky Hollywood ’77 report features the Germs & Rodney Bingenheimer
‘Product of America’: Members of the Germs and Meat Puppets resurrect a Phoenix punk band from 1978

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Product of America’: Members of the Germs and Meat Puppets resurrect a Phoenix punk band from 1978


 
I don’t expect that many people think of Phoenix, AZ, as a nerve center of punk rock. My go-to Phoenix bands have long been the Meat Puppets, Sun City Girls, and to a lesser degree the Feederz, but that’s been about the extent of my knowledge of that city’s contributions. Little did I know that it was a hub where a surprising number of crucial spokes met.

The Exterminators were a short-lived Phoenix punk band whose existence has long eluded the outside world. They existed only in 1977 and 1978 and never released a single note of music, but its members went on to play in The Germs (drummer Don Bolles), 45 Grave (bassist Rob Graves, Bolles), The Gun Club (Graves), The Feederz (singer Dan “Johnny Macho” Clark), and Mighty Sphincter (guitarist Doug “Buzzy Murder” Clark). The only known surviving documents of the band were a raw sounding and totally unheard cassette recording of a 1978 gig, and a few songs, among them “Bionic Girl” and “Destruction Unit,” which Dan Clark brought with him to the Feederz, and which appeared on their debut Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?. This gap in the historical record has been corrected: Slope Records, a Phoenix-based archival label with a local focus, has released Product of America, a brand-new recording of that 1978 material by the original band, minus the deceased Mr. Graves (RIP 1990, many punk points awarded for pseudonymous irony), whose spot has been filled by another Phoenix lifer, Cris Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets.

The album is a primal emission of toxic hate-noise, recorded quickly so as to preserve the younger band’s raw directness, though it’s being played by now-seasoned musicians almost 40 years after the fact of the songs’ creation (though when we chatted, Bolles wisecracked that just because he’s made a lot of music doesn’t mean he’s learned to play). It contains “Bionic Girl” and “Destruction Unit,” plus 14 other blasts of malice, with themes ranging from sexual depravity to nihilistic politics. Dangerous Minds was privileged to speak with Bolles and Kirkwood about the early Phoenix scene (such as it was), the formation of The Exterminators, and the circumstances that led to the release of Product of America.
 

 
Cris Kirkwood: The Exterminators were a band from about 77-78, and I never saw them when they were active. Derrick Bostrom, the Meat Puppets’ original drummer, was a lot more hip to the local scene, and once I started hanging around with him I became aware of things that had happened before I started playing. My first Phoenix punk rock show was this thing called “Trout-O-Rama” and one of the band’s was the Brainz, which was Doug Clark’s band, and he was “Buzzy Murder” in The Exterminators. He was friends with someone I’d gone to grade school with, and eventually I got to be friends with Doug and his brother Dan, who was “Johnny Macho” in The Exterminators. 

Don Bolles:There wasn’t really a punk scene at that time, just this band The Consumers, which I tried to be in but I wasn’t a good enough. I tried to start things in Phoenix but nobody else I knew was into punk, except Paul Cutler and David Wiley of The Consumers. I’d moved back to Phoenix from an unsuccessful foray to San Francisco, and I called Paul and David to see if anything was happening, and they said their bass played had been hit by a car, and I said “Well, I just got a bass. How about I come and jam out with you guys?” So I went to play with them, and those guys were GOOD. They had like 50 amazing songs, and they were super tight. But I was so terrible. One day I showed up for practice and they hid from me, and I could hear them snickering behind the kitchen door.

We started having all these other weird bands with all the same people. There was The Consumers, there was my band Crazy Homicide, and there were like five other people, and that was our “punk scene.” We started doing shows, and then I started hearing about this other band, and I was livid that I wasn’t in it. They were called The Exterminators and they were really young. They had done a show already and the cops had come. The Exterminators had covered themselves in Saran wrap and tinfoil and painted themselves, and this was at a pool party and there were police helicopters, and it was total chaos. They needed a a drummer, so I borrowed a drum set, which was tough, because nobody wanted me to use theirs because when I played drums I’d break them, but I dragged some drums over to this storage warehouse where they rehearsed, and they were like 14, 15 years old. I tried out with this broken stuff, and I guess it still sounded good because I was in the band. Then they lost their bass player, so I got Rob Graves to play with us. He had a bass, and their guitar player was this crazy kid, Buzzy Murder, and the singer was his brother, Johnny Macho. They were actually Dan and Doug Clark.

Kirkwood: There’s this guy in Phoenix, Tom Lopez, and he came up in the Phoenix punk rock scene, and he managed to get himself in a financial position to be able to start a record label, so he started Slope Records to kind of document the old Phoenix punk rock stuff that was happening. It was a part of his early experience and he was working on a record with Doug, who was in Mighty Sphincter. Tom was asking about the older stuff that had happened before, and Doug brought up The Exterminators as a sort of infamous band that had caught on to that whole thing early on.

Bolles: I didn’t know Tom, I moved out before he was old enough to actually meet people, I was 21 when I moved out of Phoenix. But Doug called me up and told me “this guy wants to put out an Exterminators album. Me and Danny and you, and Cris Kirkwood would play bass.” So I talked to Tom, who flew me out to Phoenix and put me up—in the fucking Clarendon hotel, which has a bust of the real Don Bolles, who was murdered there [Clarification: Bolles’ real name is James Giorsetti, he took his stage name from an Arizona journalist who was killed by a car bomb in 1976]—and I went and recorded all The Exterminators’ songs from back then. All the songs. We tried to do them as faithfully as we could. I had a tape of one of our shows. I had a rehearsal tape for a while but I lost it, probably in the ‘90s.

Kirkwood: A cassette still existed of an entire Exterminators show, from like ’78, and Tom had the idea of recording the songs, but Rob Graves, the bass player, is unfortunately no longer with us, so I was asked to play bass. Some of the songs are kind of Phoenix punk rock classics that had been recorded by other bands, so I knew them. With very little practice, we went into the studio—we had one practice day with the full band and on the same day we did a photo shoot—and it came up surprisingly cohesive. It was funny, Doug was like 15 when they had the band, and here we are, pretty seasoned players, doing this batch of youthful songs that had never been recorded, and now we’re these old farts taking a stab at them. It was a very fun, very fucking satisfying experience, and it came out well.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Germs drummer Don Bolles is selling off his old punk flyers
06.11.2014
06:03 pm

Topics:
Advertising
History
Music
Punk

Tags:
Germs
Don Bolles

Don Bolles
Butthole Surfers, Descendents, Big Boys, 1982
 
Don Bolles, drummer from the legendary LA punk band The Germs is selling off some choice ephemera over at punkflyer.com. Some of the best things have been sold, but there’s plenty left. Seventy-five bucks isn’t a terrible price for an original Black Flag flyer, right?

These lineups are enough to make my head spin: Black Flag/Bangles/Redd Kross on the same bill? Butthole Surfers/Descendents/Big Boys? Shiiiit.

Plus, Bolles says that he’ll be “adding more flyers on a daily basis,” so by all means, check the listing again and see what’s popped up since your last visit.
 
Don Bolles
Consumers, 1978
 
Don Bolles
The Fall, The Dull, Silver Chalice, Geza X, 1980
 
Don Bolles
The Feelies, Human Hands, 1981
 
Don Bolles
Circle Jerks, Stingers, Rhino 39, Runs, 1981
 
Don Bolles
Wasted Youth, 1983
 
Don Bolles
Black Flag, Redd Kross, Bangles, 1983
 
Don Bolles
45 Grave, Bad Religion, Pandoras, 1984
 
Don Bolles
“What is 45 Grave?” booklet, 1984
 
Don Bolles
Sonic Youth press kit, 1988
 
The Germs, live at the Whiskey, 1979:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The New Wave’: dorky Hollywood ’77 report features the Germs & Rodney Bingenheimer

image
The Germs’ Pat Smear & Lorna Doom get touchy-feely with lead singer Darby Crash in The New Wave
 
“Not exactly wholesome, you might say,” notes slick & laid-back narrator Andrew Amador at the end of this weird and rather incomplete look at the burgeoning new music scene in Los Angeles.

Inexplicably opening up with the highly New York sounds of Patti Smith’s version of “Gloria,” The New Wave seems to have been a quick segment put together by erstwhile TV host Amador and shot by someone called Andre Champagne. I wonder if and where it actually aired. It’s an interesting enough artifact in that it features:

  • The earliest footage of Rodney Bingenheimer outside of his biography Mayor of the Sunset Strip
  • Footage of The Germs with Darby Crash in full feathered-and-waxed Bowie mode
  • A Sunset Strip marquee within the first 30 seconds featuring Pasadena’s Van Halen!
  • A bit too much footage of The Quick’s heartthrob lead singer Danny Wilde dreaming of stardom. He’d later do the music scene proud by forming the Rembrandts and recording “I’ll Be There For You,” the fittingly excruciating theme for the TV show Friends.

 

 
Originally posted on 10/26/2010.

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
The Death of The Germs
06.30.2010
01:55 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Punk

Tags:
Darby Crash
Germs

image
 
Although I was too young to ever see them live, The Germs loomed large in my musical upbringing. They made deliciously evil sounding records that were irresistible to my friends and I. The legend of Darby Crash made its way out to us in the suburbs of Los Angeles and tales of “Germs burns” and other sordid activities titillated us as we blasted their sole LP and gazed at the spooky photos of the band members on the back cover. I tell you this because Rhino Handmade has just put out a limited edition CD of the final Germs show from December of 1980. Now here’s the thing: The Germs sucked live. The redoubtable Jonathan Gold does a wonderful job of describing what it was like to be there, but still I must ask: Has there ever in the history of music been a singer so utterly incapable of singing in time live as Darby Crash ? Have a listen to the clip below from said show and hear for yourself, then compare that to the truly wonderful contents of their classic first E.P. from ‘78 after the jump. I’m pretty sure all I missed out on by never seeing them live was a head injury !
 

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Rage: 20 years of punk rock, West Coast style

image
(Germs from left to right: Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, Darby Crash and Don Bolles)
 
Back in 2000, I vaguely remember the documentary Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock, West Coast Style coming out, but never caught up with it—my gut told me it wasn’t gonna be no Decline!  (plus, doesn’t the math seem off?  2000 - 20 only equals, like,  what…1980?)  Anyhoo, thanks to YouTube, I can now present to you a few of its highlights.

First up, here’s Germs drummer Don Bolles discussing singer Darby Crash’s well known fascination with both Nietzsche and Scientology:

 
Next up, here’s Dead Kennedy‘s frontman Jello Biafra discussing how it felt to be first a witness then a player in San Francisco’s exploding punk scene:

 
Bonus clips: The Circle Jerks’ Keith Morris, T.S.O.L.‘s Jack Grisham

Bonus Germs: Lexicon Devil, live @ The Whisky, 1979

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
My Mohawk Saved My Life!
04.21.2010
06:15 pm

Topics:
Heroes

Tags:
Darby Crash
Germs
Mohawks
Fortuitous Haircuts

image
 
Well, it might not have worked for Darby Crash, but mohawks do save lives.  Look what happened to 3-year-old Maddox Tallowin:

When father Ben, 32, and mother Barbie, 33, from Kirby Cross, Essex, took the scissors to their little boy’s hair they were shocked to discover strange-looking lumps on the back of his head.  They rushed him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where doctors told the shocked parents the bumps were a tell-tale sign of leukemia.  Mr. Tallowin, 32, said: ‘It was more luck than anything else that we found it.

‘Maddox had a Mohawk haircut.  He has really big blue eyes and bright blond hair and it was a cut chosen by him a few months before.  But it had got too long, about four or five inches, and it was beginning to flop so I decided to shave it off.  ‘The sides were short but when we touched the actual mohawk there were these bumps on either side of his neck at the bottom of his head.  It didn’t feel right so we took him to the doctor.’

The youngster is now in remission and the doctors have reduced the level of leukemia in his blood but he still has to make long trips to hospital several times a week and will need chemo and intensive steroid treatment for three years.

Boy, 3, Has Life Saved by Trendy ‘Beckham-style’ Mohawk Haircut

 

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment