Selections from The Punk Vault [The Germs]

The Germs – What We Do is Secret 12″ EP (1981 Slash Records)

I don’t think The Germs needs much introduction, they along with The Weirdos are my two favorite bands from the first wave of L.A. punk. The band started out really bad, and in their short life, became really good, and became the most infamous of all the bands from that area and time. They got all the credit and recognition despite the fact others like The Weirdos, had a better track record and were around first. In fact, The Weirdos gave The Germs a break by giving them their first show!

During their short life, The Germs put out two singles and one LP. They were also featured on a couple compilations. After singer Darby Crash committed suicide via a heroin overdose, Slash Records would release this posthumous collection of rare tracks. This record compiles the Lexicon Devil single, a couple tracks from compilations, and a couple live tracks from the band’s last show ever (at the Starwood). All the tracks however, were remixed and sound noticeably different than their original versions.

When Slash decided to finally release the Germs material on CD, it was a beautiful collection with a nice booklet, etc. however it wasn’t complete. They opted for the original mixes of these songs for the CD, and they completely omitted the live tracks, as well as the songs that were on the Tooth and Nail compilation. Sadly it has not since been remedied in either case, so the only place to hear a handful of rare tracks is on the old vinyl. While many will prefer the original mixes of the songs, I thought that “Round and Round” sounded way better in its remixed form. It would have been nice to have at least included the live tracks from this on the CD.

Aside from the US pressing on Slash, in 1982 Expanded Music in Italy licensed and released the record in two different pressings (there were different labels on each pressing). All pressings of this record have been out of print for many years.






4 comments

  • As a fellow Chicago punk from the mid 80s who always wanted to be an LA punker in 1977 I really appreciate this entry. Back in 1992 I was the first person to attempt a Crash bio – it never got published but it did find its way to some of the people who knew him, who liked it – I got a thank you in the intro of Brendan Mullen and Don Bolles’ definitive Lexicon Devil bio. I also got to hang out with Darby’s mom (who still lived in the house he grew up in), take home a piece of Darby’s mail, see kiddie pictures of him and sit in his old room. It was a great experience for a pup in her early 20s and I’m just happy that it was enjoyed by the few people who got to read it.

    If any Chicago punks from this era want to have some kind of party/get together let’s start an email tree. Anyone interested in this drop me a line.

  • I have a rare copy of the (DCC) 7inch
    Blue vinyl
    7 inch die cut hole (remember those)

    track listing:

    Side one:
    Communist Eyes (Live at the Fleetwood 4/26/80)

    Side two:
    Forming
    What we Do Is Secret (rehersal at the Canterberry 1979)

    Authorized release serial # Rockville ROCK6094-7

  • some friends from the old days met and slightly knew darby. I loved the tooth and nail album, it introduced me to the germs. Had a cassete copy for years but it got damaged. I’ve been hoping to find a copy ever since. maybe you can help. thank you,its all about the music.

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