A few words about Darby Crash and the Germs. I don’t watch current TV (got rid of my TV) but borrow some DVDs from library. Sometimes in a recent film, or something online, I hear or read the name … Darby Crash. I am immediately transported to another time and place. Darby felt he would be famous after death. How true, but at what a price. Unlike some, I loathed the Germs onstage. Their stage presence, music and whatever Darby was screeching (and having read some lyrics), his “genius” escapes me. Ironic that MY photos of Darby, Pat and Lorna of the Germs have become iconic. Ya never know, ya know?
LA punk was a small scene. We all hung out together. I enjoyed photographing creative, intelligent, colorful, imaginatively dressed fun party people. Just happened to include the Germs. Darby Crash, Pat Smear and lovely, quiet Lorna Doom. I’ve many fond memories of the Germs off-stage. Always enjoyable good people. Well, until Darby started getting into heroin and his downward spiral.
Darby was a scared little boy. We were standing at the corner of the gas station, north of Joan Jett’s apartment, south of the Whisky, across from Licorice Pizza. He was so drunk that he was spitting thru his cracked front tooth as he spoke. I’d move a bit back, and he’d move closer to me. I didn’t have the heart to say: “Darby, you are drunk, stop spitting while you are talking. Why do you think I keep stepping back?” I just laughed it off.
A couple years later he told me he never performed sober. This was the Hope Street Hall, December 14, 1979 show. He was looking for drugs. I asked what he wanted. People usually have preferences. I was an uppers gal, don’t give me downers. I can’t hold a camera, let alone focus, on downers (that includes booze, although technically a stimulant, but I rarely drank then). Others are just the opposite. He said it didn’t matter which drug, but he had to be high to perform. I became so sad and worried, as I watched him walk away, in pursuit of drugs, any drugs.
IF a person doesn’t enjoy their art, they are doomed. I wasn’t THAT surprised he took his life about a year later. He became abusive and selfish. Hard drugs do that, you know.
Later, people asked me if he played mind games on me. I laughed at the thought. I was totally unaware of his mind games. I was older, educated, and so focused on my photography. He intuitively knew I wouldn’t fall for any of that from him. I also was shocked to realize many of our mutual friends dealt with survival guilt. What a horrible legacy to leave the people who loved and admired him. They were young and took growing up to realize they didn’t kill him, nor could they stop him. Many consoled him. Ultimately, he made his own decision himself. Tragically.
Enjoy these photos in the spirit of the fun I had when creating them. And wherever Darby is, we miss you. We loved and accepted you. Hope Darby found some peace and acceptance in his troubled soul.