ISSUE 13   FALL 2002
page 5 of 16


'The great man lives in such a way that his existence is a sacrifice to his idea.' -- Oswald Spengler

I was screwed before I even began.

In the words of my lady Tina....'Listen to the story now...'

It was the summer of 1980 and I needed a lunchbox, since I was about to start the third grade. I was refusing to have one because even then I wanted to be different from my peers (how cute/stupid). I was down with the idea of carrying my food stuff to school in a plain brown sack, but my mom wasn't having that and called my dad to bring one home from where he worked at the supermarket. Imagine my disgust when he came home that night with a (Gasp! Horror!) BeeGees lunchbox under his arm. You can't blame the guy for trying though. He knew I was a weird kid with no interests whatsoever except pilfering through my brothers' record collection when he wasn't at home. Little did he know what I was listening to was anything BUT The BeeGees. We're talking the usual suspects of The Pistols, Clash, etc. But my brother was adding a new wing on to his collection dedicated to the newer, harsher sounds coming from the west coast of our very own country. Anywhos, I took the lunchbox and soaked it in dishwater until the BeeGees hologram-like image wore off. After that I promptly found a blue magic marker and drew a huge blue circle on it and scrawled 'What We Do Is Secret' underneath it. It's a true story hoss and you can axe my bro. Eventually the magic marker would wear off and the lunchbox became just some big yellow object (I suppose I was permeating a Flipper vibe without knowing it) but man oh man, the circle of one that The Germs wrapped around my young, impressionable dome is something that won't wear away to this day.
Six months to a year later, I got my first moving glimpse of The Germs on a teen talk show that was on Nickelodeon (!). Film director Penelope Spheeris was being interviewed about her documentary on the L.A. Punk scene entitled 'Decline of Western Civilization'' and they showed clips of most of the bands that appeared in the film. Germs vocalist Darby Crash had already offed himself by a delibrate heroin O.D. by this point, but this didn't diminish the impact this footage had on me. Young angry pimply faced bald dudes beating the hell out of one another and Darby staggering around like some self appointed demigod while slurring his famous line of 'Gimme a beer!'. Yes! You can say this is the point in my life where I never looked back and made a sincere effort to be and stay a freak for the rest of my life. Thanks a lot Nickelodeon!
Years later, I finally got a hold of a copy of 'The Decline...' on video and that wasn't even enough for me. Old issues of Flipside and other L.A. Punk 'zines passed down from my brother and some of his friends helped out, but just twisted the knife of interest even more. All my nerdboy research lead me to believe there was something about The Germs that I would never 'have'. I could have their gut churning sound on vinyl anytime I damn well pleased, but the actual, factual chaos that buzzed around them like so many mohicaned bees, I could not. It figures I'd have to wait until I was a fat, bald slob to get the basic wordage I needed to feel closer to the intangible.
       'Lexicon Devil; The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and The Germs' is the bible I wished would of fallen from the sky as I sat on the floor of my brothers' bedroom, starring for hours on end into the off center blue circle emblazened on the cover of the bands' sole l.p. The base level pleasure recieved from the off-color anecdotes and 'Hollywood Babylon' like he-said-she-said claptrap in this oral bio is worth the price of admission alone. Not to mention the photo of a teenaged Kira Roesller done up in flesh revealin' floosy punk duds. Yowza! But the insight buried underneath these words is what gives real explanation to the fucked idiocincracies of Darby and his crew. To find out Germs' guitarist Pat Smear was a Yes fan explains alot (Especially the guitar intro to 'No God') To find out he and Darby were taking acid and speed at the age of twelve with the daughter of a pornographer takes the legend I built up in my mind to a whole other level.

"Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars. Look at some of his films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Jagger." -- David Bowie

Paul Beahm (A.K.A. Bobby Pyn A.K.A. Darby Crash) was a troublesome, Bowie obsessed, LSD gobbling teen attending an 'alternative' high school steeped in Scientology. It was here he would learn the art of rhetoric and use it later when he transformed Ziggy Stardust like into his shamen/manipulator persona of Darby Crash. As The Germs turned from joke of the blossoming L.A. Punk scene to the leaders of a new drunken facism, Pauls' demeanor changed. His first assumed punker name was Bobby Pyn and the state of mind linked to it was niavely Brit Punk inspired and goofy. When he morphed into Darby Crash, he became more fucked up on intoxicates and Oswald Spenglers' 'Decline of the West'. His desire to control people grew and worked in his favor. He got the drugs and respect he wanted, but there still was a void that couldn't be filled. Darby was confused about his sexuality. He despretely wanted to fuck boys, but he was afraid it would destroy his image as a menacing force in the scene.        Inbetween recording some of the finest U.S. Punk of all time and starting a nasty heroin habit (Like there's such a thing as a good one...) Darby found a few fat rich girls who were more than happy to pretend they were his girlfriend. As long as said girls kept Darby in good supply of china white and cool punk clothes, he would stick around. He also found a few boys he could have sex with on the d.l. One of them was Tony the Hustler, a big time Hollywood male hooker with plenty of celebs in his john stable, including Hollywood Square Paul Lynde. Somewhere inbetween the junk and hidden man sex, both Darby and The L.A. Punk scene started to crumble apart. The infiltration of skinheaded suburban types from the prosperous beach towns of the South Bay turned the rather moderatly small scene into a seething cauldron of pus and testoserone. Pointless violence became the norm and drove the first wave of L.A. Punks away to let the youngsters take over 'Lord of the Flies' style. Darby broke up The Germs and ran off towards England for a month to develop a beyond confusing Adam Ant fixation. Upon returning, he started The Darby Crash Band to compensate for his habit, but the band fell on its' face with the new L.A. Punk scene. Must have been the warpaint and the mohican. Darby felt like a has-been at the age of 22. He needed to act fast if he was going to perserve his legend. To confirm his place in the rock tragedy hall of fame, he reformed The Germs for one last show (Reportedly their best gig ever) and O.D. four days later.

"...Nobody would mention Darby Crash and 'divine inspiration' in the same breath." -- Alan Licht

The abundance of information in the pages of this book are wonderful to have, but I'm still sorta shakey of it's affect on me, even at this late date in my life. If this book came out back when I was pineing so hard for its' info, it surely would of fucked me up real good. Nowadays, I'm more of a navel gazer, and all these first hand tales from Darbys' friends and enemies just makes me wonder more about him. In some ways, he looks to have taken the easy way out to become a cult hero. He wanted to be the punker L.Ron Hubbard, but became just another cliche' in our culture. And that's where I sorta feel sorry for the guy. I don't feel all too 'cosmic' in these present times, but I guess the easiest way out of this pomposity is to come to the conclusion that Darby really had no choice. Just like all our fave dead rockers, he stomped this chunk of dirt we call a planet for a reason. To live fast, die young and leave a corpse with green clay plastered on its' face.

Image copyright Frank Gargani




Enos Slaughter are a loose limbed improv unit from NYC who seem to change their aural plan of attack everytime I witness them live. From foggy trips into the mountains of the moon and mind to full-blown Psych Rock overload, the trio of Dave Shuford, Marc Orleans and Carter Thornton are into traveling a long, endless road of sound. Their pursuit isn't to necessarily find a place to set up camp, but rather to see the sights and make their presence felt with the pulse they emit. Their first commitment to vinyl, entitled 'On Sunday' (Conduit Creations/Sound @ One) catches them in mid-wander. Between the gray shafts of dense abstraction lies a tiny little hole where mandolin and banjo strings braid together to create an Appalachian trial that leads directly towards a massive swamp of cough syrup. Check out 'Side Beast' and tell me it doesn't sound like Biff Rose and Wall Matthews on a higher grade of pot. Go ahead. Tell me. Hopefully their more 'rock' creations will find their way to vinyl or tin foil soon. For now, this'll do. Guest appearence by Keith Connolly noted and accounted for. Available from

The Detour label out of the U.K. has been doing great services as of late. Firstly, they released a double lp of archival material by The Cigarettes, one of the early 80s' most obscure Mod-like bands to come out of the U.K. Now they have set up a side label named Bin Liner which is dedicated to the unsung heroes of U.K. Punk from the same era. I suppose the two volumes of compilations they've released entitled 'Bored Teenagers' is their version of 'Killed by Death' except for A) The bands are actually aware of their songs being released B) They look and sound excellent and C) They don't suck. I've never heard any of these bands' names mentioned by any of my Punk single collecting pals, and I think I know the reason for that. Much like the dreaded Psych collector, dudes who collect Punk singles are only interested in the obvious. None of the bands on this compilation have songs about sodomizing the handicapped or mainlining Drain-O and thus their greatness is lost on these prick lookers. The time frame in question finds most of these bands in primitive power pop mode or Pre-Oi! mid-tempo boot stomp. UXB and Knife Edge stand out in the former category, Disorder and The Negatives in the later. The thing comes with a pretty informative little booklet telling the full history of most of the bands. This is a nice change of pace from the usual lack of information that accompanies these sorts of compilations. I for one would like to know more about these bands other than that their records are as rare as tight pussy...I'd like to know why the bass player of Disorder left a shit in Faye Fife's dressing room. Tell me, tell me!!!

Lathe cuts? The pet rock? What's the difference? At this point I'm too fucking drunk to care, but I'll tell ya something...this split 12" 45 released on the White Tapes label between Fantasy Roxx and The F You Two would sound fine even if it was pressed on pie crust. Fantasy Roxx serve up a low-key/low-fi electronic entaglement that will find Sir Dylan Noukis searching the situations vacant for a new gig as a window washer/cum plumber. You heard it here first. The F You Two is a collabritive effort between Ben Chasny (6 Organs of Admittance) and Russ Waterhouse (The S.B.) with a member of The Golden Calves Money Band (Deceased?) thrown in for good measure. The side starts out with Ben's contribution of beyond red fisted grinding guitar assault. The sort of thing that would send the average 6 Organs fan running for a patchouli enema and his or her's Stone Breath CD. Somewhere in the middle, his scorch catches up with Russ's yelping electronics and the two elements wrestle playfully with each other. In the same fashion you'd imagine a puppy dog and professional wrestler would. Someone leaves the phone off the hook and a catastrophe is overtedded. Aren't you happy? Like most lathe cuts, this thing is in a very limited quanity. I suppose it makes this review a waste. Not unlike yourself...

My current re-interest in my Hardcore past scares me a bit. Tons of records I sold off years ago have appeared once again on my want list (Anyone wanna swap a copy of 'Black Woman' for a skate park edition of the 'IQ32' 7"?) Am I in the midst of an early mid life crisis? Am I merely as confused and angry as I was in my youth? Am I trying to find familiarity in sound after years of 'research' in all things unknown? Well, I might have to take a day off of work and give these questions a good, long think. For now, I'm looking for happiness wherever I can find it. I've found a lot of happiness in a Bad Brains bootleg I discovered named 'Band In D.C.' The majority of this boot is from a live set recorded in the Spring of 1982 in Washington D.C. The sound is beyond sonic (this has to be from the soundboard) and I can't help but feel special for owning this. Do I hear Ian MacKaye asking for his rabbit's feet? (sic) Is that former Bad Brains roadie John Joseph asking for more drums in the monitors? God damn, it was way more fun to fear getting kicked in the teeth than it is to sit on the floor and smoke dope to some AMM tribute band. Please shoot me...soon.

So alotta folks have been making sideways comments about the debut lp from The Suntanama on Drag City. What else can be said but, FUCK 'EM. I suppose the fact that one half of this band consists of members from The No Neck Blues Band makes people grumble. For one reason or another, NNCK's name always seems to get people in a tizzy. Never have I seen a band raise such a commotion just from existing. The funny thing to me is how these people scorn NNCK and their various side projects as being anomalous self-indulgent slop of the 'anyone can do that' variety. Now it seems these folks have a problem with The Suntanama playing a conciously 'down home' style of straight ahead rock that shows their talents. I've got no time for this sorta bullshit, and anyway, this is a Suntanama review, not a NNCK one. It would be easy to just write that this sounds like someone got exiled in a big pink house on main street, but I won't (and man that sucks, 'cause I really want to get to bed). These guys have gone so far beyond the boogie rock barriers the stupes have put on 'em, it's both shocking and warming. The overall feel of the record is of a slow burn, but it certainly ain't lackadaisical. It's a tight ship and the production from NMH is pristine, but it doesn't deter from the album's curling early morning smoke. The rhythm is solid and of its own and Keith and John's acoustic/electric combo is a good un and the lead taken on 'Song Inside A Shell' makes the sun burst through the proverbial clouds everytime I indulge in the tune. Darren's voice is full of ache and hope (just like his words) and if this record doesn't even raise a few brows around the town, than I guess we're just doomed to witness more 'wacky' No Wave revivalists with clever masks and costumes with matching silly hats. Who? Me? Spiteful? No Way!

From swaying beards to angry asians....hey, what are you gonna do? Alotta punker nerdboys like to debate who came first in the thrash sweepstakes. Some say it was L.A.'s Middle Class while others swear up and down it was the aforementioned Bad Brains. What about Osaka Japan's S.S.? These fellas have been toted as being heavy duty stuff by plenty of Punk-Know-It-Alls, including former Benson & Hedges smoker Tim Yohannon. The only thing available by them was some super-limited one-sided deal of a live set recorded in the Spring of 1979 that got snapped up really quickly. Well, someone just did the thing up again in a higher number of 900 copies and I really don't know what to say...Japan? 1979? This shit is delivered with more velocity, severity and angst than anything produced by the supposed Hardcore 'groundbreakers' who came along three years later in the game. I keep playing this thing over and over again, one hand scratching my head in disbelief, the other punching out anything in front of me. To think what would of happen if The Teen Idles got ahold of this rather than the 'Nervous Breakdown' 7" is enough to cripple what little intellect I have. To think how many H.B.'s could've raised holy hell to this rather than harass Exene Cervenka is another brain burner. Best not to give the matter too much mind. Just throw the thing on at your next Oren Armchair Appreciation Society meeting and watch the lips twitch.

This column is dedicated to the memory of Frank 'Skip' Candelori.


next: LOAD RECORDS...what is this shit?