Jeff Bottari, Getty Images Kelly Rowland's new gig has caused her to cancel and…
- Posted on May 25th 2007 5:00PM by Gaylord Fields
Crash, who real name was Paul Beahm, started the Germs in 1977 as a teen with his school friend Georg Ruthenberg on guitar (a pre-Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle was briefly the band's drummer). Georg would adopt the nom-de-punk Pat Smear, and Paul became Bobby Pyn before settling on the more evocative Darby Crash. By 1979, the Germs, with their glam-influenced take on the Sex Pistols' charging, abrasive punk, quickly became the standard bearers for the L.A. scene.
As a lyricist, Crash was adept at devising dystopic screeds calculated to get under the skin of not only the establishment but also the growing hordes of punk poseurs. And as a frontman he was a whirling dervish of randomized energy -- a typical live gig would entail him slashing his bared chest with jagged glass shards and flailing his body higgledy-piggledy into the crowd while hopped up on any given assortment of substances. The Germs released one long-playing document during their brief lifetime, the Joan Jett-produced '(GI),' a bold musical and lyrical statement that helped lay the groundwork for the supercharged offshoot of punk that became known as hardcore.
Fated to be a short-lived entity and rife with personnel problems, the Germs broke up in 1980, with Crash and Smear quickly forming the Darby Crash Band. In early December, just a few days after the Germs convened for a reunion show in L.A., Crash made his one-shot-only bid for rock immortality. Most likely taking his cue from the ultimate punk nihilist, Sid Vicious, who died of a drug OD in 1979, he entered into a suicide pact with a friend. After both injected an obscene amount of heroin into their bloodstreams, the martyr-to-be affixed to a wall a note that read, "Here Lies Darby Crash" and adopted a Christ-on-the-cross pose in which to depart the material world (Crash succumbed, while his companion survived). Darby Crash would truly leave a beautiful corpse, playing to the crowd in eternal slumber just as he did while alive.
With that final act, Crash, in death, poised himself to make the front page of every American tabloid and broadsheet. His wish probably would have been realized but for one quirk of fate: His successful suicide happened to have been carried out on December 7, 1980 -- the next day, John Lennon would be murdered by a deranged fan, relegating Crash's demise irrelevant to the world. Perhaps Crash should have heeded a different set of words from that other rock dinosaur, who was cited in this tale's opening paragraph: Didn't Neil Young also sing about the needle and the damage done?