There was no denying I had a pretty bad teenage obsession with the Germs. In the mid ’80s, I was an incredibly nerdy punk rocker who collected back issues of L.A. punk magazines like Slash and Flipside. In some delusional act of Dungeons and Dragons punkdom, I thought if I read enough reviews of their chaotic shows, they would somehow manifest themselves in my bedroom. Repeated viewings of the early-’80s punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization only twisted the idiotic knife of interest even more. I finally came to the conclusion that all my fanboy research was a perpetual dead end and became satisfied with having the band on vinyl anytime I damn well pleased and that was that.
So why the hell am I standing in this long-ass line on St. Marks Place (of all fucking places) with a bunch of thirtysomething spike-belt-wearing losers? It seems the Germs have decided to revamp themselves with a cast member of E.R. filling in for their deceased vocalist. You can call my being here closure. You can call it morbid curiosity, too, I suppose. You can also call it just wanting to have some fun. And sadly, that’s exactly what it was. The two sets peeled out by the band consisted of all the hits, sounded tight as a tissue, and pleased every wistful idiot in the house. Shane West did a decent enough job emulating Darby Crash’s patented slashing howl. At one point, he even asked if anyone in the crowd had any lip balm he could use, which I’m guessing is the 2005 equivalent of yelling, “One of you get me a beer!” You could go on about how morbid the act of playing these songs was, but why? Many NYHC oldsters put on their retired moshing shoes for the occasion; even former Warzone vocalist Tommy Rat came out of the woodwork. The best part is I went home none the wiser, just happy in a warm and selfish way that I got to see something I’ve wanted to see since I was 14. Does this mean I can go buy a house now?