THE GERMS, POISON IDEA, KRUM BUMS, SILENT MAJORITY
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Punk died in 1980, when Germs vocalist Darby Crash committed suicide in Los Angeles four days after his band played its supposedly final show. Punk died again in 2006, when Poison Idea guitarist Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts passed away at home in Portland after battling a debilitating kidney infection. If these artifacts of West Coast proto-hardcore can perform, now, without their most iconic men, then punk is not dead. Sick, maybe, in the case of the Germs, which reformed during the production of dreadful biopic What We Do Is Secret, choosing the actor who plays Crash (Shane West) as its new chancellor. Poison Idea is still a healthy threat. While opening for Amebix last month at Hawthorne Theatre, the group nearly burned the place down—literally. After spitting half a bottle of water onto a stage diver, vocalist Jerry A. took aim at the crowd with a mouthful of flammable liquid. Someone handed him a torch, and he ended the set with a spectacular fireball, igniting (only) visions of Great White in our heads. We survived. MM
What's more bizarre, the Germs with a former E.R. actor in the place of Darby Crash, or the Dead Kennedys with the kid from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father in the place of Jello Biafra? Either way, we all lose.
I don't want to take food out of Lorna Doom's mouth—or prance about on my high horse telling bands to reunite or stay dormant—but this whole "Germs Return" thing just seems odd to me. Part of the appeal of the band was that they burned out so quickly, and no matter what happened (Zombie Darby Crash?) they wouldn't reunite for the sake of nostalgia. Then again, when it comes to growing old in punk, anything is better than this.
Photo: Erin Williams