16 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Emerging from the seedy, sunny and deeply paranoiac environs of mid-‘70s Hollywood, the Germs were the first American punk band to match the Sex Pistols for pure annihilative energy. Their sound was a merciless blitz of snarling guitar and skittering drums. Initially the band’s performance style was total cacophony, but by the time GI was recorded in 1979, the group could actually boast a razor-sharp tightness (aided in no doubt by Joan Jett’s guidance as producer). The locked-in assault of bassist Lorna Doom, drummer Don Bolles and guitarist Pat Smear is contrasted by the unhinged rabidity of singer Darby Crash. Crash pushes Iggy Pop’s technique to its absolute limit — in every song he explodes with the rage of a caged wolverine (listen to “Manimal”). Still, beneath Crash’s sputtering, spastic delivery lies some of punk’s most literate lyrics: “He wears the linens just like Garbo / And talks at a saturnine pace / Listening to the strange notes marvel / Only giving what it takes” (from “Richie Dagger’s Crime”). GI won the Germs a cult audience that continues to grow, but for all the bands it went on to influence, the group’s lone LP stands alone.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Emerging from the seedy, sunny and deeply paranoiac environs of mid-‘70s Hollywood, the Germs were the first American punk band to match the Sex Pistols for pure annihilative energy. Their sound was a merciless blitz of snarling guitar and skittering drums. Initially the band’s performance style was total cacophony, but by the time GI was recorded in 1979, the group could actually boast a razor-sharp tightness (aided in no doubt by Joan Jett’s guidance as producer). The locked-in assault of bassist Lorna Doom, drummer Don Bolles and guitarist Pat Smear is contrasted by the unhinged rabidity of singer Darby Crash. Crash pushes Iggy Pop’s technique to its absolute limit — in every song he explodes with the rage of a caged wolverine (listen to “Manimal”). Still, beneath Crash’s sputtering, spastic delivery lies some of punk’s most literate lyrics: “He wears the linens just like Garbo / And talks at a saturnine pace / Listening to the strange notes marvel / Only giving what it takes” (from “Richie Dagger’s Crime”). GI won the Germs a cult audience that continues to grow, but for all the bands it went on to influence, the group’s lone LP stands alone.

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