The Germs are a band from Los Angeles
, California that formed in 1977 after Jan Paul Beahm and Georg Ruthenberg (later dubbed Darby Crash and Pat Smear, respectively) made the decision to form a band after being kicked out of school as "Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens". They shortened this to The Germs (to represent the germination of an idea) when they realized they couldn't afford to put all of that on a t-shirt. Upon finding a stable lineup of Darby Crash, Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, and Don Bolles, the band started performing semi-regularly in the LA area, and the band's fanbase started to rise, with food fights between band and audience becoming common; as a result, the band was frequently blacklisted from LA clubs, a problem they alleviated by playing as GI (Germs Incognito).
The band released one album - 1979's "(GI)", produced by Joan Jett
- before vocalist Darby Crash died of an intentional heroin overdose on December 7th, 1980, who's death was overshadowed by the murder of John Lennon
a day later. In 2005, the band reunited with Shane West on vocals to mixed reception among the punk community, and a film featuring Shane as Darby Crash titled What We Do is Secret
came out in 2008.
Tropes that apply to The Germs:
- Aerith and Bob: The current lineup. Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, Don Bolles, and...Shane West.
- Ascended Fanboy: Drummer Don Bolles famously drove from Arizona to audition for the band; fortunately for him, he was better than the others who auditioned before him and was hired.
- Breakup Breakout: This trope applied twice to guitarist Pat Smear. About a decade after The Germs broke up, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain called him up and asked him if he'd like to work with them; he performed with them until Cobain's own suicide in 1994. After that, he went on to play guitar with drummer Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters, who he continues to perform with to this day.
- Brilliant And Completely Apathetic: Darby and Pat were frequently given these attributes in their days at school. According to the teachers, Darby had started something resembling a cult among the students, and in an attempt to keep them off campus and reverse the "antisocial behavior", they were given straight-A's if they agreed never to return.
- Deadpan Snarker: Darby was this before the end of his life.
- Dreadful Musician: The entire band aside from Pat Smear. The early bassists and drummers survived by sliding their fingers along the neck at random and keeping a steady beat with an occasional cymbal crash every now and then, respectively.
- Driven to Suicide: Darby, via heroin overdose. Fans have multiple theories why he killed himself; according to "Wild-Eyed Boy: The Darby Crash Story", Darby's homosexuality played a factor in his suicide; What We Do is Secret mentioned a five year plan for Rule of Drama, and there's always the camp that claims he never meant to overdose.
- Harsh Vocals: Darby's vocals.
- Initiation Ceremony: Sort of. Darby would give "true fans" of his band a "Germs Burn". Basically, he burned you with a cigarette on the left wrist, creating a permanent circular scar to represent the band and the ideas behind the band.
- Despite Darby being dead for over thirty years now, the tradition still exists. You'd just have to find someone that already has a burn that can be traced directly back to Darby in order to get a "proper" burn.
- Lampshade Hanging: The original single version of Forming ends with Darby ad-libbing a critique of the song itself:
You're playing it all wrong. The drums are too slow, the bass is too fast, the chords are wrong, we're makin' the ending too long...I quit
- Refuge in Audacity: Darby would fall into this trope every now and then. What We Do is Secret exaggerates the trope.
- Revolving Door Band: The early days of the band suffered from this trope, with some lineups never even playing in front of an audience before someone quit.
- Short-Lived Big Impact: For a band that only existed for three years and never left Los Angeles on tour, they've still got a pretty decent fanbase.
- The reunion, movie, and their performance in The Decline of Western Civilization helped.
- Stage Names: Darby Crash (originally Bobby Pyn), Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, among others.
- Straight Gay: Darby.
- Title Only Chorus: We Must Bleed.
- The Unintelligible: Occasionally in studio, but towards the end of Darby's life, Darby would go onstage - for lack of a better term - fucked up. Case in point, The Germs' performance of "Manimal" in The Decline of Western Civilization, where Darby's warbling groans just barely come close to matching the lyrics onscreen.
- Three Chords and the Truth: This came naturally, since The Germs were a punk band. Their recordings usually were rather muddy in quality; Forming was infamously recorded with only two microphones (Darby's and one in the back shared by the rest of the band).
- Word Salad Lyrics: Darby's lyrics would qualify as this.