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Darby Crash - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
Darby Crash - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
Darby Crash - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
Darby Crash - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
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Darby Crash
Vallen 1979
Pen on paper 8" x 10"

I drew these marker pen sketches of Darby Crash and Pat Smear of the Germs as they performed a riotous concert at the Hong Kong Cafe in Los Angeles of 1979. The Germs were undoubtedly the most notorious of all the original L.A. punk bands, and the moment I saw them and heard their nightmarish cacophony I became a zealous fan. The persona and reputation of this extraordinary clique of musical misfits was fearsome indeed.

At the time, few could imagine our little cirlce of malcontents becoming world famous, but as fate would have it, the Germs and the Los Angeles punk scene are now the subject of a major motion picture, What We Do Is Secret.

Darby Crash & Pat Smear
Vallen 1979
Pen on paper 8" x 10"

The band's very name implied infection by some dangerous strain of fatal microbes, and many fell victim to the contagion. In retrospect it's easy to see that the nihilism and self destructiveness of the Germs masked sheer genius. The lyrics of front man Darby Crash were pure poetry and the force and brilliance of the recordings they left behind still inspires awe. The band came to an unfortunate sudden end when Crash committed suicide in 1980.

The performance where I made this sketch was a typical Germs gig. A hundred or so punks packed into a small venue, and the band played a set so blistering it almost became impossible to complete the sketches. Chairs were flying through the air, tables were overturned, fireworks were lit (that's right, inside the club), a large window was broken and a fire extinguisher was set off. Needless to say the frantic club owner called a halt to the show. I distinctly recall Craig Lee (RIP) of The Bags, another one of L.A.'s original punk bands, arriving late for the concert and surveying the damage. All he could managed to say was - "What the hell happened here!"

The Germs - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved The Germs - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
The Germs - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved The Germs - Drawing by Mark Vallen. All rights reserved
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