Germs – GI

27 Aug

January 1979
Slash Records
Producer: Joan Jett

Darby Crash – lead vocals
Pat Smear – guitars, backing vocals
Lorna Doom – bass, backing vocals
Don Bolles – drums, backing vocals

1. What We Do Is Secret
2. Communist Eyes
3. Land of Treason
4. Richie Dagger’s Crime
5. Strange Notes
6. American Leather
7. Lexicon Devil
8. Manimal
9. Our Way
10. We Must Bleed
11. Media Blitz
12. The Other Newest One
13. Let’s Pretend
14. Dragon Lady
15. The Slave
16. Shut Down (Annihilation Man) (live)

Joan Jett, a longtime friend of many of the band members since her time in The Runaways, was asked to produce the album. Singer Darby Crash had originally wanted former Paul Revere & the Raiders vocalist Mark Lindsay to produce, but while Lindsay was willing to do the job, he turned out to be too expensive for Slash Records to afford. Jett’s production was initially thought to be too thin when the album was finished and released, compared to the album Crash wanted Jett to emulate (the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols).

Recorded fairly quickly and released in 1979, the album’s clarity proceeded to encapsulate the Germs for California audiences who had only seen the band thrash around onstage while an intoxicated Crash avoided singing into the microphone as much as possible.

A lone outtake from the sessions, “Caught in My Eye”, would later appear on the posthumous EP What We Do Is Secret and on the Warner Bros.-distributed cassette reissue of (GI), at the end of side one.

The album’s last track “Shut Down (Annihilation Man)” was recorded live in the studio, as opposed to a live recording at a concert. Recording live is a studio technique that is usually a single take with no overdubbing and sometimes improvisation, as heard toward the end of this track in particular. This was most likely done to emulate the way the Germs would play the lengthy song live, usually closing with it until they had to stop. The posthumous Cat’s Clause release includes a live “Never Ending Version” which was pressed with a locked groove making it “never ending” unless manually stopping the record.

Rating: *** three out of three stars.

On to the story . . .

Back in the early 1990’s I was hanging out with a guy, Jeff, who was tied in with the young, rich, hip black Hollywood crowd, as he himself was black.

This one guy in particular that Jeff hung around with, whose name I’ll leave out had a brother on one of the most successful sitcoms of the 1990’s. It was centered on a black well-to-do family.

Anyway, this guy’s reaped the benefits of his brother’s success. So how or another he dated (briefly) Tyra Banks. And hit the hottest clubs, etc. But all of us knew he was a shyster. Whenever he came around he would always have some scam or con he was running down, he always had that used car salesman demeanor. Once he left we’d all check to see if we still had our wallets.

His brother’s show, at the time, run from 1990 to about 1996, but he had in the business since around 1980. Now, for whatever reason his parents had only pushed show business on his brother, not him.

Now you might be wondering how I fit into this mess. Over the years this guy got tired of not living the baller lifestyle he thought his brother was living. With girls like Tyra Banks around he needed more cash, and he decided I was the guy to help him.

One day I’m hanging out with Jeff and this guy pulls up. Jumps out and comes up to me and asks if I can come with him tomorrow to return a couple of things to Nordstrom? I thought nothing of it and said sure. I head to my car and he says, “I’ll be here tomorrow at 3:00. Oh and wear a suit!”

I hop in my car and the only thing I could think was, “What the fuck?!”

I get home and call Jeff and tell him, “I’m not returning shit and I’m not coming over tomorrow.“ He says, “Cool, no problem.”

Then this guy started weirding out. I had told Jeff to never give out my number to anyone. So, the guy is leaving messages with Jeff and post-it notes at clubs where I would go.

After weeks of this I buzz Jeff and ask him what the hell is wrong with this guy?

Jeff tells me this, the guy has a friend that works the night crew at Nordstrom as a janitor. He would stick jewelry and fur coats in the bag of the zipped-up bag of the vacuum cleaner. Take it to the cleaning van and go home. Rick would buy the stuff at 10% of the value, get someone to return it, claim they paid cash – could they get credit or cash?

So, I ask Jeff why he wants me involved. Jeff says, “Simple you’re white and look trustworthy. Nordstrom won’t hand cash to a black guy.”

A couple of months later I bumped into the guy at a party, he starts his sales-pitch again, so I say, “What if I go to the counter and the cashier hits the security button and I get arrested? Are you going to bail me out?” He stutters and stammers, “Naw, man everybody takes care of themselves.” How about I decide to tell them that this is all your plan?” “Man, if word gets out that you’re a buster, who knows what will go down?”

I pull his shirt and say, “If you ever look my way again I’ll let everybody know what a chicken-shit third-rate hustler you are, matter of fact let me holler at Tyra.” He yells, “No man.” I tell him, “Next time I see you I’m kicking your ass. Oh, by the way, your brother’s show sucks.”

A week later he tried the Nordstrom thing himself. He was arrested. While on bail he ran off and joined the Merchant Marines and Tyra went on the do America’s Next Top Model.



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One Response to “Germs – GI”

  1. 1
    eddie cook Says:

    mike~ great review and cool story! ~eddie

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