By özgür çokyüce
Bolles, the legend…… a punk rock icon and one of the best drummers
that rock’n roll history has ever seen……He and his band The Germs is
still a big influnce on many great bands of today and also the
reason to start music for most of the big bands that you have
listened for the last 25 years.It’s a pleasure and a great honour
for me having the chance to do this interview with Don.So let’s
PUNK GLOBE : Smear, Doom, and you reactivated the Germs with West
taking over the vocal spot. You played on the 2006 Vans Warped Tour
and toured club shows in the US later that summer, and again in
2007.What are the plans for 2008?
DON BOLLES : More of the same, at least as much as we can cram into
the time between Pat's Foo Fighters schedule and Shane's acting
jobs. I'm hoping we can make it to Europe this year...
PUNK GLOBE: In the beginnings The Germs was named as "Sophistifuck &
The Revlon Spam Queens," with Beahm (then 'Bobby Pyn,' and later
Darby Crash) on vocals, Ruthenberg (then and later called Pat Smear)
on guitar, an early member named "Dinky" on bass, and Michelle Baer
playing drums. This lineup never played in front of a live
audience.Is that right?Tell us a bit about the early days and how
you joined the band please.
DON BOLLES : That line-up never played a show because it never
really existed like that. It was supposed to be Belinda Carlisle on
drums, but she chickened out and got her friend Becky, AKA Donna
Rhia to take her place. And Pat was always Pat Smear, as far as the
Germs goes. Maybe Dinky and Michelle were supposed to play at one
point, but they most definitely did not.
How I joined the band? I called Pat and Darby from Phoenix after
hearing the Forminig / Sex Boy 7" and told them I had just started
playing drums and as I had heard that they needed a drummer I told
them I was going to move to L.A. and play with their band. A couple
of weeks later I did just that.
PUNK GLOBE: Was the band called Zolar X an influence on the Germs
?In which ways?
DON BOLLES : They were like us in that they were those characters 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, just like we were. Other than that, they
were mainly an example to us of what NOT to do. I saw them in 1976.
They were horrible, but looked amazing. Ygarr was always an awesome
musician, though. He and I became friends when I moved into the
Canterbury apartments. He lived on the 4th floor, and I lived on the
PUNK GLOBE: People are expecting to hear much more from The
Germs.Will Germs continue with new releases in the following years?
DON BOLLES: New releases? That would involve new songs, I'm afraid.
We do sort of have some new songs; "Out Of Time" (a Darby Crash Band
song that was originally supposed to be a Germs song) and maybe
"Golden Boys", written by Darby and Pat but only performed by
Celebrity Skin and the Dickies. We're thinking of re-doing some of
the old Germicide material, but rewriting the songs a little to make
PUNK GLOBE: Don,you played in many great bands throughout your
career.But, if you were to create your all time dream band
(including the musicians who passed away in the last 30 years)Who
would be the members of this heroic army? :)
DON BOLLES : I've been doing that, as best as I can with all the
dead people. 45 Grave was my "Dream Band" at the time, except with
my girlfriend singing, because none of us wanted to. Now I have a
sort of new 45 Grave, but wityh me on guitar and lead vocals. It's
called the Snowsnake Orchestra, and also features my lovely GF Cat
Scandal on drums and Paul Roessler (45 Grave, Screamers, etc.)
..boards. I also have another band called Thee Fancy Space People in
which I sing and play guitar (also drums and some bass, on the
PUNK GLOBE: When did you start drumming? Was it your plan or thought
to be a drummer or be in a punk-rock band when you were young? What
was the most important thing that made you decide to start making
music? Could it be different(like being a vocalist etc) if you
started 5 years later?
DON BOLLES: I was always going to make music. I was a singer first.
Sang in my first cover band when I was 12. It was called "Tube
Steak" (eeew) and we played the rock hits of the day, at various
high school dances and such. Later I got a Danelectro bass and in
1976 started a punk band in San Francisco with Rob Graves. We hated
it there, so I moved back to Phoenix and he moved back to Detroit,
but a month or so later I called him from Phoenix and played him a
tape of my new band, Kray-Zee Homicide, over the phone, and Rob
immediately flew out, moved in, and joined our band. He played
guitar then, mostly... We both joined a band called the
Exterminators, which became my first band I played drums with and
Rob's first on bass. We were pretty frantic. There's a tape or two
somewhere... Then Rob and I moved to L.A. in February 1978, and I
joined the Germs and he joined the Bags.
PUNK GLOBE: Now,as you are still continuing touring,how do you
compare the crowds at shows in 2000s to the crowds in the
70's-80’s?(Your observations about new generation meeting the old
generation in your audience?)
DON BOLLES: It's really extreme -- there are really old people, yes,
but mostly there's really young people. One thing I like about the
Germs is that it always seems to resonate with whatever generation
of teenagers there is; the people that make our t-shirts told me
that "Every generation of 15 year olds rediscovers the Germs".
PUNK GLOBE: What were you listening to in late 70s and what are you
listening to nowadays?
DON BOLLES: I've always listened to mostly Avant-Garde, 20th Century
Classical, experimental and electronic music. Noise and abient
sound, basically. Also a lot of free improvisational music. In the
70s I was really into Krautrock, too. And punk -- 60s and 70s. Also
instrumental Surf music and 60s French girl pop. I have a pretty
unique record collection. I like a lot of strange, anomalous things
too numerous to even begin to try to catalog... I have a lot of
records. Lot's of Christian Ventriloquism, Sound Effects records,
and weird vanity pressings...
PUNK GLOBE: Germs had a lot of songs covered by many bands.Which
cover did you like the most? I’m sure everyone of your songs is
important for you.But can you tell us which song is the most special
for you amongst others ?
DON BOLLES: My favorite Germs cover (so far) is the Posies' "Richie
Daggers' Crime." It's hilarious. And good, too. "My Way" made
Darby's mom cry when I played it for her on a radio show. She had
never really listened to any of her son's music before, and it
really kicked her ass, I think. She said she had no idea that his
music was so "beautiful". I felt like I did a good thing, turning
her on to the Germs like that.
PUNK GLOBE: Nearly 10 years years has passed since the events of
September 11 in the U.S. what are your thoughts and feelings about what
happened in New York and Washington? What has changed? And when we
think about today,doesn’t U.S.A and the world need the existence of
real punk-rock bands more than ever?For telling the youth what’s
going on, giving them the spirit to not only getting angry but to
question everything (which made punk-rock as important as any other
movements.)What do you think?
DON BOLLES: Obviously.Yeah, living in a police state kinda sucks,
but we've been doing it for so long it seems normal.
PUNK GLOBE: As everybody use the internet nowadays,how did it
effect our social lives? How did it effect the music industry and
most importantly did it effect the creativeness of the new
bands/today’s music as the young generation can reach and listen to
any music easily,without any need to search them in depth?
DON BOLLES: It's weird that now there are so many young people into
the same music that their parents and grandparents listened to (or
at least could have listened to, if they were'nt mostly such
dweebs). That never would have happened when I was a young 'un.
1968 to 1972 was a great time for stuff, like music, because of one
thing -- LSD. That helped start the Germs, too, believe it or not.
Read my stupid book! ("Lexicon Devil, the Short Life and Fast Times
of Darby Crash and the Germs" by Don Bolles, Brendan Mullen and Adam
Parfrey. Published by Feral House and available almost everywhere!
GLOBE: A question I would like to ask the most.Would it be the same
music if The Germs started in 2000s(not in 77)How would it sound
BOLLES: I'm not sure that it could exist in any other way than it
did / does.
PUNK GLOBE: What made The Germs to be a this much big influence or
called as a legendary band in the music scene?Is it the honesty,true
spirit in your music or is it the basic but wonderful melodies
you’ve created?What do you think?
DON BOLLES : Wonderful melodies? Ha ha. That's a good one. It must
have been the other thing!
PUNK GLOBE: Any Last words for Punk Globe Readers???
DON BOLLES : Um... you're welcome?
PS: Don't forget to buy our merch and cds and attend any and all
Germs shows. Okay? Cool.
would like to wish the best to The Germs and thank Don Bolles for
taking the time to do this great interview....
PUNK GLOBE – INTERVIEW BY OZGUR COKYUCE