"Why am I a punk? Because I wasn't anything before, except different. And now it's like I'm different, but with a vengeance."
It's been months since the suicide of Darby Crash, L.A. punk rock icon and lead singer of the Germs. He checked out on the same day John Lennon was shot: December 8, 1980. But for Rockets Redglare, it feels like yesterday. Darby was the hot-as-sun center of Rockets's world. Part ringleader, part god, and all charismatic manipulator, Darby was as close to family as a hustler and street kid like Rockets might ever get.
Now, as Rockets amps up for another night looking for tricks and scrounging a meal, Sex Pistols and X lyrics on repeat in his head, he knows he's come to a turning point-the scene is changing, and nothing's as easy as it was when Darby brought him into the fold.
From the underground clubs to the back of the giant "H" in the Hollywood sign, Rockets and his crew of friends spend the night burning bridges, building new ones, tripping and talking and searching for answers. As the dark gives way to early morning, the punks and the cops engage in their ritual standoff-and Rockets faces the ultimate choice: Should he stay or should he go?
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April 11, 2005
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Excerpt from What We Do Is Secret by Thorn Kief Hillsbery
This is supposed to be about Darby
Crash, but I don't think it's going to be. All my so-called life it
seems it's this boy here and that girl there and once they see
my Germs burn and hear it's real they know what they want
as in word on the old-school LA punk scene and they know
how to get it as in Tell it, Rockets, but now that I'm at their
service sitting down to let my fingers do the talking the first
clue card on the table says the only secrets I'm spilling are
mine all mine alone, which sounds like here comes trouble if
missing in traction from slippage in the spillage are the bleedall-
about-it excess-clusives that all those jacks and all those
jills are pitching pretty pennies to read.
Like with yours coolly for instance, door number one
there's the sex stuff that's nothing to do with punk at all, and
door number two there's stuff like what happened that night at
the Nast Western that's punk as fuckety-fuck, cross my cold
cold heart and hope to cry baby cry, but still I'm not proud of,
how could I be. And I try to be all, No Fear and No Regrets
but there's one kind of fear you can't exactly high-five with
and make it all better now, that fear of who you really are,
ocean deep inside.
And I've had it for a while. Though not long enough to get
over it, which I guess I will someday. So maybe what I should
do right now is just say Shine, and go back to the Jell-O factory
and wait bloody wait on someday bloody someday.
But I hate waiting.
I hate lots of things. I hate poseurs and trendoids and especially
I hate vals and especially especially that Valley hesher
hang called Rock Corporation where all these clueless Germettes
who didn't know who I was picked me out for a pounding,
and when I defended myself these dumb buff surf boys
from Seamy Valley jumped in screaming, "Don't hit a girl, faggot."
I hate the Bible and J. D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut. I
hate anything to do with fifties-based rock. I hate the Frito
Bandito. I hate Exene because she lied to me, once, and Hellin
Killer because she didn't, twice. I hate that kid Elliot Mess because
he's dirty, he's like so dirty he's contagious, and I think of
him with Darby and it makes me want to puke.
I hate every single waitress at the IHOP on Sunset across
from Hollywood High. I hate picture postcards with jackalopes
and Jake the Alligator Man. I hate that chicken game
where you throw the knife between your fingers. I hate retarded
punk names like Donna Rhia and Adam Bomb and
Dinah Cancer. I hate Aleister Crowley and Jimmy Page. I hate
Alice Cooper because he plays golf and I hate Avon Products
too, Darby's mom had a serious case of collection infection,
you had to juggle rubber duckies just to close the bathroom
I hate the Dils, they're fakes, they're not Communists. I
hate Farrah Fawcett-Majors. I hate sniffing spot remover. I
hate Rod Stewart haircuts. I hate that stuff that comes in a can,
Party Slime or whatever, I hate when you get it in your hair. I
hate all those loser chicks, the Crash Trash. I hate Spock ears.
I hate Gerber because when someone passes out at a party
she'll take a straw and blow vodka down their throat, and the
idea is they'll wake up puking, but sometimes they puke without
waking and that's how Jimi Hendrix died. I hate the way
Darby comes in too soon on "No God," on Lexicon Devil, after
the instrumental part, and ruins it.
I hate telemarketing and phone sex and maps to the homes
of the oh my stars. I hate that dude who nails himself to the
Volkswagen. I hate the Greeks and the Romans and all that
shit about how every advanced civilization is basically homosexual.
I hate that sick fuck chickenhawk Tar. I hate all the HB
bands with their fake English accents. I hate people who say
G.I. means Germs Incognito when it's Guerrilla Insurgency,
and I hate the Doors. I hate heroin. I hate Amber. I hate Casey
Cola. I hate dry hits. I hate the fuckin tarantula that's in The
Decline. I hate all those little punk trashettes where you walk
all over them in your boots in Daddy's living room and to
them it's "having sex." I hate Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace
and I hate people who say Mohawk when they mean Mohican.
I hate that Queen song "Another One Bites the Dust." And I
hate Scientology, oh I hate it wicked bad, Darby said there
were twenty-six meanings for the word the and he liked to
know exactly what they meant, he learned that from Scientology.
I love one thing in all LA, I love the purple sky at night.