The Germs were an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, originally active from 1976 to 1980. The band’s main early lineup consisted of singer Darby Crash, guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Lorna Doom, and drummer Don Bolles. They released only one album, 1979’s (GI), produced by Joan Jett, and were featured the following year in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization, which chronicled the Los Angeles punk movement.
The Germs disbanded following Crash’s suicide on December 7, 1980. Their music was influential to many later punk rock acts. Smear went on to achieve greater fame performing with Nirvana and Foo Fighters. (further reading…)
Started in 1977 with a shoestring budget, Chris Ashford’s one man record company documented the early punk scene in Los Angeles.
Chris Ashford may not be a household name, but over 40 years ago, he released a single by his teenage friends, The Germs. That single, Forming / Sex Boy, is now widely recognized as the first Los Angeles DIY punk release. Shortly after, Ashford was approached by The Dils’ manager to put out a single for them. This was issued as What 02, The Dils’ I Hate the Rich. At the time, Ashford was frequenting The Masque in Hollywood, and from there recorded The Controllers, The Skulls, and the Eyes. In 1982, the What Records? name was sold, around the same time Ashford began releasing surf rock and taking his music business in a different direction. (further reading…)
Considered to be the first Latino punk bank, The Plugz (also known as “Los Plugz”) came together in 1977 in Southern California. The Plugz were part of the family of bands that was influenced by the Germs and played at legendary clubs like Madame Wong’s and the Masque. They are generally acknowledged as being the first D.I.Y. punk band in L.A., having started their own PLUGZ RECORDS and later Fatima Records. (further reading…)
The Alley Cats were a Los Angeles-based punk rock trio featuring Dianne Chai (bass and vocals), Randy Stodola (guitar and vocals), and drummer John McCarthy. They were part of the first-wave L.A. punk rock scene. X’s John Doe described the band as having “made some of the toughest, most nihilistic music on the scene.” (further reading…)
In November of 1979, Bob Glassley and a few friends piled into his car for a road trip down the West Coast. It was a retired police cruiser from the Dorris California Police Department, an all-white Plymouth with a souped-up engine. At the time, Glassley sang for a young punk band from Portland called the Rubbers. They were on a mission that day, to make some alliances in the Los Angeles music scene, and to line up some shows for a touring caravan of Portland bands. “We set out for L.A., and the motor blew somewhere outside of Stockton,” Glassley says. “When we got back on the road we found out it was the day they were taping the Hollywood Christmas parade. All of the freeway exits were closed, so we just kept driving around the city, looking for an off-ramp.”
Eventually they made it into the city and crashed at the Holly-West in Hollywood. The space was a former MGM studio and office building on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western, housing everything from a porno studio and a church led by a gay preacher to rehearsal spaces where musicians lived, practiced and spent most of their time hanging out.
One day, Glassley was listening to a group making noise in a nearby room when a young man with bright blue hair — George Walker — poked his head around the doorway and asked if anyone played bass. “I said I did, although that was a serious stretch,” Glassley says. “I owned a cheap bass back in Portland, so I felt qualified.”
Walker was a gay black man in the late ’70s L.A. punk scene at a time when there were few out gay or black punk musicians.
The two became friends, and after sticking around and playing music for a few days, Glassley was invited to join the group and play bass alongside Walker on guitar with singer Jerry Koskie and drummer Kenneth “Rabit” Bragger. Soon they would come to be known as Cheifs. (further reading…)
The first time it occurred to me there was such a thing as limited pressings of vinyl was in high school at a small record shop on Hollywood Boulevard: hanging on the wall was the Fiend Club version of the Misfits Evilive 7″ record. This one was numbered, stamped, and signed by Glenn Danzig. My friend Dan looked at me and said I’d never see one again, so I spent everything I had on it…
Misfits – Evilive
Label: Plan 9
Catalog Number: PL1019
Release Date: Dec 1982
A1 20 Eyes
A2 Night Of The Living Dead
A3 Astro Zombies
A4 Horror Business
B1 London Dungeon
B2 All Hell Breaks Loose
B3 We Are 138*
*Guest Vocals and Growls by “Henry-Heckuva Guy-Rollins”
‘Fiend Club’ edition of 800 hand-numbered copies with yellow center labels and insert sheet.
- Tracks A1 to B1 recorded live at The Ritz in New York, NY on December 17, 1981.
- Tracks B2 and B3 recorded live at On Broadway in San Francisco, CA November 20, 1981.
- Henry Rollins of Black Flag was in the crowd for this performance and joined The Misfits on stage for track B3.