Lorna Doom bassist for Germs has died

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18 Jan 2019, 3:01 am

Lorna Doom, unsung hero and founding member of L.A. punk band Germs, has died

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The first documented onstage performance by L.A. punk bassist Lorna Doom, whose death was announced Wednesday, resulted in her and her Germs bandmates promptly getting booted from the stage.

“Darby stuck the mike in a jar of peanut butter. We made noise for five minutes and then they threw us off,” recalled Germs guitarist Pat Smear, who co-founded the band with Doom and singer Darby Crash and is now a member of Foo Fighters

Born Teresa Ryan, Doom became an icon of the U.S. punk explosion despite having to learn her instrument after already joining the band. Along with her high school friend Belinda Carlisle, who would become lead singer of the Go-Go’s, the bassist was part of the posse of Hollywood punks who sparked a West Coast music movement.

Doom’s death at age 61 was confirmed by her longtime friend and former Germs bandmate Don Bolles. A cause of death was not immediately available.

On Thursday, Carlisle on Twitter expressed love for Doom, whom she met when they were classmates at Thousand Oaks High School. Wrote Carlisle: “yesterday i lost a part of me, my best friend in high school and partner in crime in the early punk scene,” Carlisle added,”she was a visionary and a trail blazer. she never compromised.”

One of the first Los Angeles punk bands to release an album, Germs were a musical mess compared to their British peers the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The members of both those bands, for instance, at least knew how to play their instruments. By contrast, those early Germs gigs bordered on the Dada-esque, with Crash flailing, mumbling half-gibberish lyrics, Smear tearing through distorted chords, Doom and Bolles rolling through relentless rhythm attacks.

“A Germs set doesn’t end — it self-destructs,” wrote The Times critic Robert Hilburn in a 1979 overview of L.A. punk.

Recalled singer and activist Alice Bag in the book "We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk": "When I saw the Germs, I was surprised and outraged and excited all at once." Adding that she didn't much enjoy the music, Bag recalled thinking, "Wow, if they can do that, surely I can do something better." Not long after, she formed the Bags.

Germs' primal first album, “G.I.,” set the tone for the U.S. hardcore punk movement. The debut release by the fledgling indie label Slash, which was founded by the punk fanzine of the same name, the 1978 album felt zapped onto turntables from a way messier, more uncontrolled galaxy.

Former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins recalled in John Doe’s “Under the Big Black Sun,” a compendium (with Tom DeSavia) of recollections on the Southern California punk scene, that the first time he heard “G.I.,” he was dumbfounded.
Calling it “music from a different place,” Rollins wrote that “from then to now I have never heard anything like them.”

“I love Lorna Doom so much,” wrote bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Instagram after learning of her death. “I can’t count the times I lay on the floor listening to her play, imagining her rocking out, laying it down in her inimitable way.” Expressing regret that he never met her, Flea added that through her music, Doom “is part of who I am.”


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