Thursday, May 25, 2006

Conversations With Bobby (aka Darby Crash)

Or... Everything you never wanted to know about me and Darby.


Darby and me backstage at Mabuhay Gardens, January 1978.
Photo credit: Ruby Ray.

I have at various times been asked to do interviews about Darby Crash. Usually it goes like this: the interviewer is writing a piece and he or she is trying to make a certain point and is looking for anecdotes which will validate that point. Often, the area of focus is Darby’s followers, his suicide, his drug use, etc., things I know very little about.

Although I was close to Darby for a very short period of time, I feel that there is a piece of the Darby puzzle that would be missing should I neglect to tell you of the Darby (Bobby Pyn, when we first met) that I knew. Sometime during the spring of 1977, Darby and I began talking on the phone on a somewhat regular basis. Much of our conversation was trite and gossipy, but some of the more interesting themes we discussed are summarized below and they provide a glimpse into his world view.

Darby and I both loved philosophy. I had picked up my first philosophy books at a used book store in Whittier that had a cozy little section called Plato’s Cave. Darby was very focused on Existentialist philosophy. If you’re not familiar with Existentialism, it basically states that existence precedes essence. Individuals shape who they become through a series of free acts. I agreed with this. But certain schools of Existentialist thought also propose that universal logic and universal truths are non-existent. It is the individual who defines everything. This was problematic for me. I did and do believe in universal truths. It seemed to me that the kind of Existentialism that Darby was talking about sort of let people off the hook as far as moral responsibilities were concerned, since morality would be subjective. It seemed to me that what Darby was saying was that if you could rationalize it, you could do it.

Unfortunately, philosophical arguments are sometimes more concerned with rhetoric and semantics than they are with seeking the truth. The whole idea of “seeking the truth” was ludicrous to Darby. He took the Existentialist view that there are no external truths. To me, Philosophy by definition was concerned with universal truths. Lovers of wisdom, that’s what the word philosophy means, not lovers of words.

Darby had a great command of language and could make clear, logical arguments that were difficult to refute. We’d spend long hours on the phone, tossing arguments back and forth. Although I learned to speak English in elementary school, I didn’t have mastery of academic English and some of the expressions I used were translations of Spanish words. I simply didn't know the English words for some abstract concepts. Those limitations probably made my arguments harder to follow, but Darby didn’t seem to mind. We always had fun discussing and arguing. We didn’t often see eye to eye, but at that point it didn’t seem to matter.

Sometimes when we were talking on the phone my mother would interrupt and ask me something in Spanish. This always fascinated Darby, who would demand a translation of what my mother had said and always wanted to know what she meant by this or that. We used to talk a lot about the role of language in defining culture. I once heard a saying that the limits of one’s language are the limits of one’s world. I think it’s safe to say that we both believed that. I think that idea made my bilingualism attractive to Darby. I used to boast that although my vocabulary in English might not be as large as his, I had a whole other set of vocabulary words in a different language that I had access to. I’d irritate him by telling him that my total vocabulary, if you included both languages, would surpass his.

We once had a lengthy discussion because while I was on the phone, my mother came in and offered to make me a quesadilla. Darby asked me why we had a word for something as simple as a tortilla with melted cheese. I reminded him that Americans have the grilled cheese sandwich, and he added that Americans even have a name for toasted bread: toast. We started talking about the fact that Eskimos have a huge number of words to discuss different varieties of snow, and all of this led to a discussion of language and culture. We talked about how the values of different cultures are actually transmitted through language when a child is first learning to speak, so the more you know of another person’s language, the more you know about their values. In retrospect, I can see that what has always appealed to me about learning different languages is the ability to understand and be understood and thus share a new culture, but for Darby, language held the key to something else: the ability to tap into the underlying emotional content of the words themselves. Mastery of language could be a tool to influence others through manipulation.

Another topic of interest to Darby was the fact that I had gone to Catholic high school. I think Darby had gone to a very loose high school, very different from mine. I told him stories about Catholic school. I told him about the ring ceremony that we had in high school when receiving our school rings, that sort of thing. Symbols and the process by which a secular object can become sacred were fascinating to him. I don’t know if Darby had been raised Catholic, but I know he was familiar with Catholicism. I think Mexican Catholics do things a little differently than most. He found it amusing that my mother used to keep a picture of the Archangel Michael by the front door in order to keep Satan out of our house. She’d make little bargains with the saints and in exchange for their favors, she would make offerings of candles or Milagros. Other times she’d give up certain things, like sweets for a month, to pay back a saintly intervention.

My mom had a whole bunch of little folk/religious rituals that always seemed to capture Darby’s interest. In those days, my mom rarely went to doctors. She preferred the curandero or sobador (faith healers) and depended on herbs, teas, oils and prayers to make her well. Darby enjoyed hearing the details of the latest cure. We could always laugh about my mom’s curandero antics, but Darby was always respectful of her. He never met her, but on more than one occasion he expressed an interest in doing so.

Darby and my mom would have been in agreement about one thing and that is that neither of them saw any real difference between formal religion and folk religious practices. I always felt that the folk ways were closer to brujeria, witchcraft, or magic, but Darby and my mom saw both things as equally valid.

Although I had already stopped calling myself a Catholic by the time I met Darby, I was still having trouble admitting to myself that the concept of god that I’d come to trust and believe in was no longer serving me very well. In fact I had outgrown it intellectually, but not emotionally. It was a topic that was especially painful for me to discuss with him because he seemed so cynical about the existence of god. Darby felt that I was an atheist, but was just too cowardly to admit it to myself. I felt that I was not an atheist, but I knew I wasn’t a Christian, nor was I an agnostic because I still had a firm belief that there was some force or power in the universe which encompassed divinity, but I couldn’t put it into words. It was that whole limits of my language thing coming back to haunt me!

That’s when David Bowie came to my rescue. I remembered reading of David Bowie’s interest in Eastern religion. Reading about Bowie made me curious about Buddhism and Hinduism. I’m not sure if that’s how Darby came upon it. I know that Darby was a Bowie fan so it’s possible that his interest originated there, too. Although we talked about Eastern religion at length neither of us was ready to commit to any organized religion. And although I was experiencing a crisis of faith, Darby did not seem to share my predicament. The study of other religions was less a search for answers about spiritual matters than a phenomenological investigation of mankind’s search for meaning.

Although we disagreed on many subjects, we also had many common interests. We always seemed to be coming at things from opposite perspectives. One of those interests was Adolf Hitler and the propaganda of the Third Reich. I had read Alan Bullock’s book Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, and thought it was just what the title claimed it was, a study of a tyrannical leader. Darby was impressed by Hitler and seemed to think that Hitler was a great leader. I objected to the honorific great because I felt that Hitler had actually led his followers into destruction and moral decay. Darby didn’t feel that a leader had any moral responsibility to his followers. From Darby’s perspective, a leader who achieved his or her goals was a good leader. From mine, a leader who helped his or her followers form and achieve goals that would serve mankind as a whole was a good leader.

In addition, my great leader had to make decisions that were in accordance with universal truths. In other words, he or she would have to help people act in a way that was morally responsible. As I said before, Darby didn’t buy into the whole universal truths thing. I think he felt that what we call universal truths are more a reflection of cultural, religious or societal values. Darby’s great leader was more of a puppet master whose worth was measured by how well the puppet show was orchestrated.

We also shared an interest in Charles Manson. Darby and I had both read Helter Skelter and we were both interested in the ways in which Charles Manson had been able to persuade a group of seemingly intelligent people to do his bidding without stopping to question the reasoning behind it. Manson, Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were all masters of reaching people on such a deep emotional level that the individual’s intellectual ability to question their directives seemed to be overridden. What was it these leaders were supplying? Were they filling an emotional void, appealing to people through symbols or language on a subconscious level, or were they simply skilled speakers who could convince others through rhetoric? Whatever the reason, it was clear that by skillfully supplying, then controlling the supply, they could control others.

Both Darby and I wanted to be famous. At that time, we may have thought that understanding what people want and need could help us get what we wanted. We didn’t so much want fame for money or popularity; we wanted the power to be able to influence people. I grew up in a violent household where I often felt I had no control over my surroundings. Power and control were things that seemed very attractive to me. I wanted to become famous and make the world a better place. I know it sounds corny, but I was young and idealistic. It may seem incongruous with my stage persona. I was always so angry and aggressive, but I was exorcising my demons. For me, screaming and being out of control on stage was a release. I think I always knew that if I could rid myself of some of the shit that was obscuring my view, I’d be able to find the answers I was seeking. Despite Darby’s low opinion of the intelligence of the masses, an opinion which I must confess I shared for a while (and still question around election time), Darby’s anger always seemed to me to be directed mostly at himself.

I do think he had a special way of connecting with people, and I think he inspired many, including me. He had a great sense of humor, was smart and very clever. I was not friendly with him towards the end of his life because our philosophical differences, the way we chose to lead our lives and the way we treated people was always a source of conflict. He hated the way I would take the time to talk with fans at The Bags’ shows. I remember the look of disgust in his eyes when he saw me talking to one particularly awkward-looking fan. He lectured me about lowering myself to the level of this audience member because he saw the role of performers and artists as people who should be looked up to. He believed that people need leaders and heroes. He told me that fans didn’t go to see bands to watch someone who was just like them; they wanted to see someone special and larger than life on stage.

As time passed, Darby’s preoccupation with control and manipulation began to get on my nerves. I turned down Darby’s invitation to have my wrist burned – to receive a Germs burn. In fact, I threatened to kick his ass if he dared to burn me with his cigarette. It always reminded me too much of cattle being branded. I still don’t really understand why people continue to do it. Maybe someone will write in and explain what it means to them.

At some point, it became clear to both of us that I wasn’t interested in playing a part in his game. Darby had been great fun to be around. When you were with him it was as though you were a member of a club. He knew how to make people feel like family. But there was a price to pay for being part of that family and I didn’t want to pay it.

In the end, many of the things Darby believed were at least partially true. Many people did (and do) want heroes who were not like themselves. They want to project their hopes, dreams and desires onto the performer on stage. Darby was smart and charismatic enough to have become the puppet master he wanted to be, but the ironic tragedy of Darby’s life is that he became a drug addict. For someone who placed so much value in control over others, it must have been hard to accept that he was dependent upon others to supply him. Maybe he thought he was still in control at the end and his overdose was his last Existentialist act of free will. Or perhaps not. It’s just very sad to me that he ended his life so soon.

I’d like to end this rambling entry by stating one credo I have chosen to live by: Question Authority. It has served me well. I don’t believe that I need to follow anyone’s rules simply because they happen to be in a position of authority. Yes, I understand that this can entail consequences, but I evaluate and accept those consequences if I feel it is worth it. I express my opinions here because it is, after all, my Diary, but they are just my opinions and anyone should feel free to express a differing opinion or disagree with me. But you can expect a good argument.

25 comments:

darkside777 said...

thank you God for creating Miss Alice Bag. thank you god for creating Darby/Bobby/Paul...
Alice, you, thank God have FINALLY showed that Darby was a very intelligent person. As are you My Dear Alice...You captured the man I knew and loved, he was a great friend to have. I still miss him everyday....
Thank you very much Alice for finally showing that side of him.
People listen up and take notice, Mr. Crash was a very smart guy;
as is our Beautiful and Talented Miss Alice...
Thank you....Thank you very much!

Jenny Lens said...

Alice, the ultimate irony are the many fans throughout the US and elsewhere who wear the blue circle t-shirt and wish they could have hung with Darby cos "he was fun!" Most have never read/heard of "Lexicon Devil" and have no idea Darby not only READ but STUDIED many books.

For so many who only read ONLINE bits and pieces, would they be able to understand what you've written? As an elementary/primary school teacher, you understand/know far better than I the "dumbing down" of our society, wherein students are taught to memorize the basics while great literature is not emphasized, not in school, not on the talk shows, not on popular sites.

Thank you for sharing so much and hopefully, inspiring others to pick up some books and read! What new hot rock groups/performers mention philosophers as Bowie did (and certainly John Lennon and the Beatles turned us onto meditation). If Patti Smith were not quoted as being into symbolist poet Rimbaud in a small People mag article, I never would have bought "Horses" end of 1975 and gotten into punk.

In an era wherein we are taught to speak/write less so we can IM and use crackberries, and discussions are usually limited to what someone is wearing/listening to, it's also inspiring that you and Darby spent HOURS discussing timeless issues, just for the sake of EXERCISING your minds. What a concept!

Thank you and bless you!!

Jenny Lens said...

PS To add to darkside777: since summer 1976, I've always said that punk attracted the most intelligent, creative outsiders. Your website repeatedly substantiates the number one reason I was attracted to punk. I've always said we scared people because of our intelligence and willingness to express our thoughts in ways that can't be readily and logically refuted. The media, as a tool of society "working for the clampdown," too often still continue to portray some early punks as mindless violent thugs.

Punk attitude is still revolutionary. The fact that both Alice and Darby express very different interpretations and ways of implementing their philosophies, the fact they both RESEARCHED, OBSERVED, ANALYZED what they believe in, rather than just following the "truthiness" (thought/actions are valid if ONLY they have belief/faith, no matter the facts or whether or not such thought/actions have any basis in reality, see more re Wikipedia's entry re Stephen Colbert).

It's that attitude, and living with the consequences (or not, as in Darby's case), that makes us punks. It's not the music nor fashion per se. It's the intelligence behind the art/music.

FINAL THOUGHT: based upon what Alice and others have written in "Lexicon Devil," I wonder would Darby say W is a great leader, based upon the same ratonale as saying Hitler was a great leader?

I AM NOT equating the two in this discussion (ONLY because W and his henchmen have not conspired to exterminate 6 million people), just in the use of language, symbols, propaganda and equating God and personal leadership power, as well as lack of moral responsibility to all but his small greedy inner circle.

Anonymous said...

Super great blog and so much food for thought here. It really shed some light on possible motivations for Darby's behavior. All of this is still very relevant today. As Jenny says, there is a whole new generation of kids who idolize Darby and the Germs, perhaps without taking the time to really examine their own lives as you and Darby obviously did.

Keep up the good writing, Alice!

NSeaturtle@aol.com said...

Wow, that was absolutely beautuful! As usual, I have about a million disjointed comments to make.
First of all, I do think some of the interviews in the book "Lexicon Devil", like Pat's, did a very good job showing the intellectual, boderline-genius side of Darby, as well as his obsession with controlling people. However, a lot of people close to him hate the book, and your perspective gives so many more intrinsic details.
To answer Jenny's question, I think Darby woulod have definitely defined W as a "great leader", although I wonder if W's followers were handicapped by stupidity more than the Germans of the 1930s. (Now there's a subject for discussion in your next blog!)
As far as the followers of punk, and Darby, are concerned, I believe this:
Some of us don't need the "fourth wall" (what actors call the invisible wall between the stage and the audience) to enjoy our entertainment. I always liked the fact that the punk bands were "just like me". Being more of a pro-active fan (though you'd never know it nowadays by how incredibly lazy I've become), it always inspired me to feel I could get up on stage and do my thing, too. The kids nowadays even have a name for that sort of entertainment: "interactive". It makes me feel more a part of the total experience.
On the other hand, I can just as easily worship from afar an act that is untouchable, magical, perfect, like a Broadway musical (yes, I am a total fag!). But note that many of my favorite live acts -- Todd Rundgren and They Might Be Giants, for example -- are often a little raw and sloppy live, very clearly showing their human sides to the fans, whcih makes us feel closer, though no less intimidated and awed by their virtuosities, which in this case is songwriting (both), singing (Todd) and accordion playing (TMBG).
I think the need for a figure to blindly worship, be it Hitler or Darby, Todd or God, comes from the primal need for a father figure. And the need to "belong" comes from a need for family -- maybe you weren't as needy as Darby because you were closer to your family, however screwy they may have been. Yeah, this is dime-store Freudianism straight outta Central Casting, but the longer I live, the more I believe it to be true. As a boy raised by a single mother, I think Darby had a love-hate relationship with hisfather-figures, like Bowie -- worshipping "the prettiest star" and yet belonging to/spearheading a movement that sougght to destroy the culture of stardom. If one is to look at it that way, Darby never could surmount Freud's "Oedipal" dilemma. To go one step further, Darby tried to become his own father-figure, what with his obsession with control, and so of course he had to destroy himself, too. If he had believed in "universal truths" -- like primal emotional needs -- maybe he could have reconciled. But instead he thought he could choose to not have them -- as you said, he HATED the fact that he was reliant on anything/anyone. In a way, the biggest irony -- and how perfect that the life of the ultimate "punk" icon is defined by irony -- is that, despite being a sexually nebulous gay boy in a world that exalted sexually nebulous gay-boys, he was brought down by his own misplaced "machismo" (by which I mean the desire to not need or feel anything.)
P.S. As far as the "quesadilla" thing goes, "tortilla" is ALSO a Spanish word -- ha-ha, Darby!
P.P.S. I think you should rename your blog "Diary of a BAG housewife"!

paul roessler said...

Thanks Alice, I cried a little...
He was beautiful, brilliant, tragic, unique...
I wrote this thing a while back...

JPB (for the Germs fans)

He showed up fully formed
The little mystic
Told me he didn’t sleep
For thirty days and I
Believed everything he said
Already had a new way to dress
Started using his hair like a
Police whistle
As all the kids at school always flowed towards the ocean
He was always walking in some subtle direction
Keeping time
With his own set of clocks with precision
Answering anyone with those bulletproof words
That he loved so much
Sometimes used to perfection
With a little circle of zombie friends
Totally alone
But surrounded and defended
I had to get right in the middle
People warned me
He’ll take you
You’ll be one of his minions
And I couldn’t wait
To drop acid with him
To jump in his cauldron
And throw myself into
A new way of vision
I wanted just once to give in and feel
Like I was sitting at the feet of some crackpot spiritual master
All I had to do was believe
To give him power
He’d write me little notes with horrible rhyme
And sparkle fingernail polish
And a little sprinkle
Of paranoid delusion
And since we were following
He had to take us somewhere
So we went crazy places
Laughing and knowing
That everyone we passed
Glanced suspicious and shuddered
But I thought they were wrong
I felt like a member
Of a beautiful tribe
Of otherworldly animals
Somehow always under
The last remaining alien sunbeam.

But the first memory
That comes to mind
When I invoke him
Is falling asleep in his room
As the dawn is just breaking
Through the window around him
Like a middle age illumination
And I know my eyes can’t keep
Another minute of open
But he’s bent over engrossed in
The encyclopedia of philosophy
Talking softly about ladders
With no hint of exhaustion
And I know even if it’s all just a stupid show
And a mindgame
A performance for the purpose of
Legendbuilding
But that we’re sixteen
And I’m in love
And I’m out of defenses.

Theresa K. said...

Alice - you captured it all so eloquently and elegantly. THIS was the Bobby Pyn who used to hang out in my dorm room at UCLA and talk with me about my books - all my French poetry, all my Logic, Philosophy and Communications textbooks ranging from Verlaine & Rimbaud to Kant, Descartes (ooh - what a hoot THAT discussion was!) and of course Jean Paul Sartre and Marshall McLuhan...

The story of his life reminds me in many ways of Monty Python's "The Life of Brian" - JPB/Bobby/Darby has so many followers and disciples post mortem who miss HIS point.

I have had this discussion with many people - that I believe most people who are/were as smart as Darby are also a little bit crazy (as people like to say)... not absolutely, but these folks are "touched" in more ways that one. I can't help but wonder if he had a little therapy and psychopharmacology, would he still be here today?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

kyour comments are not ramblings, dear Alice, they are concise, adroit and profound. Ms. Darby's fascination with you, showed that he ultimately respected your strength and power. a power he wished he could have harnassed. The lady Darby was a collector of people, and once they served their usefullness they were easily discarded. But honey you are too black and too strong to be used by anyone, so ultimately his relationship with you was probably his most meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Alice, I've been going to your site for the past few months, and I really enjoy reading your blogs. However, this most recent one is by far the best!

It's ironic, because yesterday I noticed some new grafitti in my neighborhood here in Chicago:

"Darby Crash Died For Somebody's Sins, But Not Mine", and "Anarchy = Redemption".

I meet Darby several times in 1980, and was set to do an interview with him for Praxis magazine a few months later, but....he died.

What ever happend to his friend Casey?

Happy birthday, punk turns 30, and maybe anarchy does equal redemption.

Mr. E said...

Hey Alice -
Your Darby blog is really impressive. I wasn't going to leave feedback because I never knew Darby personally. The way you wrote of him sure gave me a respect for him I never had before. I always thought of him as an obnoxious waste case with a pretty good sense of humor and some great songs. Your insight on him is fantastic - I share a similar search for understanding in different philosophies and avenues of ideas. I wish I could have hung out with you both back then - I can imagine we would have had some brain splitting conversations.

Anonymous said...

Darby and I had one significant conversation. It wasn't unfriendly, really, we just didn't see eye to eye on certain things. Like, putting a cigarette out on someone's arm to be forever worn as some lame brand of a half-cocked manchild who apparently couldn't stand the thought of leaving high school and assumed no one else could, either. I thought Darby was a smarmy, creepy half-wit who grazed a few books for buzzwords and used them to inflict his childhood traumas on the gullible. I proposed to knock one or more of his teeth down his throat in exchange for the Germs burn. Naturally, he slithered off into the shadows of his small entourage careful not to get too close to real fire. Other than that, I thought he was the worst "singer" I'd ever heard. Eventually, the Germs figured it out and became a good band on stage and in the studio. Maybe if Darby had read comic books instead of philosophy he would have appreciated that a good song is as good as it's ever going to get. And that's pretty damn good. Oh well. Now go to the light, Darby, go to the light.
tg

Anonymous said...

hey MY alice..

i agree with you, i would have kicked Darby's ass too if he or anyone tryed to burn me.. i was at the "What we do is Secret" filming & i was amazed how people still wanted the "germ burn", i saw Lorna giving one of the cast members one & i just couldnt help but laugh.. dont get me wrong i like the germs but if anyone tryed to burn me, i'd burn em' back in the middle of the forhead, along with kicking their ASS!

ALice sweet-tee you do make the World a better place, i feel you did accomplish your goal of wanted to have an influence on people, you have a huge positive influence on me, not only because you were a lead singer of various cool bands, but because of who you are inside.. YOur sweet, caring, loving, honest & such a blast to be around. We need more people like you in this world. ok now im sounding corny, i cant help it I LOVE you ALICE...

love always
the little one

Tommy Himself said...

This was a great read. Thank you, Alice.

Tommy

Droog said...

Not only thank you Alice, but thank you Jenny for your conributions.

Toby said...

Darby went to Uni High's experimental outreach/charter type school. I think it was called I.P.S. but have no idea what that stands for. Some info can be found here:

http://staringatthewalls.forumsplace.com/message-155-0-asc-45.html

The Bat Lady said...

Hi Alice,
I got your email about this blog and I'm sorry it took so long to post a comment.

I really appreciate all the effort you put into your website. It's a wonderful walk down memory lane and a nice peek into your fascinating life.

Thanks for writing this blog. I remember Darby fondly. He and Lorna were like older siblings to me. I went everywhere with them and yes, I do have a Germs burn that Darby gave me.

I got my burn cuz I wanted to belong. I didn't have to get a burn to belong but being asked if you wanted one was a sign of unity. I always saw it as a symbol of love and acceptance. Something I needed desperately at the time.

It's not a new thing to have people look down their noses at Germs burns. There were a few in the scene that thought very lowly of them, but if I gave a shit what people thought I wouldn't be where I am today or have lived the life I lived.

I wish people could understand that most in the L.A. scene were teenagers and young adults, very intelligent, but young nonetheless. I'm not making an excuse cuz we don't need to be excused. I just wish people could put it in perspective and stop judging us. If you haven't walked in someone's shoes your opinion about their decisions is narrow-minded. I'll get off my soapbox now.

I wear my burn proudly cuz it shows on the outside the love that was burned onto my heart so many years ago by all my friends.

Thanks again, Alice.

XOXO
~Rover

Anonymous said...

What everyone wants to know though, is, was Darby Crash gay?

Also Wikipedia says he was Scientologist. Is that true?

Signed,
Former Cute Punk Rock Girl now a conservative housewife living in suburbia

Anonymous said...

WOW, I'm so glad you decided to write this up. There's virtually nothing out there giving interesting and real anecodotes and stories about the person Darby really was, it's just all about his wild stage persona.

I stumbled on this blog doing a search on Darby and I couldn't be happier! Your blog is amazing, you knew alot of very interesting people. I look forward to reading up the rest of your entries.

And thanks again for making Darby a real person for us, this is better than you'll ever know.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to the post after the one above me...

Of course Darby was gay, any Germs fan can tell you that. He wasn't open or public with it, however.

No, he wasn't a scientologist, he was involved in a Scientology program in his school, and although he stated he thought it was a great thing, he also stated at other times that it was silly or that he had surpassed it or no longer had a need for it.

Anonymous said...

I read your portrait of Darby after seeing the movie. I do astrology. Darby was born about the same time in October same year as Gerardo, who I knew well and he was also into ugly shite like fascism and mind control. I broke it off with him when he was trying to get me to wear a 'Fascist Pig' armband at a Brave Dog NG gig. I could get into the astrology of Gerardo and Darby October wierdness but let's just leave it at, um, a failed approach to living.

Skippy said...

I loved Darby and spent a little time with him at The Masque. Hanging out at his Mom's house with him was memorable. I sadly miss him.

Peter Urban said...

Alice, you may recall that Darby and I were not exactly close--I recall denouncing him as a fascist on more than one occasion--but it is still nice to read your personal observations from your friendship with him and to provide a more balanced picture of a complex individual than is generally provided when Darby is discussed.

I wanted to share a story about the Germs' cigarette burn that you might appreciate. I was hanging at the Masque on night when I was there with the Dils. Someone--Helen, as I recall--asked if I wanted a Germs cigarette burn, which were then virtually exceedingly popular in the LA punk scene. I replied, "no, I'm not cool enough," in tones laden with sarcasm. Darby was sitting next to me and when I said that he leaned forward to speak into my ear. What he said to me was, "it doesn't mean you aren't cool, it means you aren't stupid." That exchange is probably the most significant memory I have of Darby.

Despite our differences, many has been the time I've selected Lexicon Devil on a jukebox, No one can say that the Germs weren't punk to the core.

Peter Urban said...

By the way, I love Diary of a Bad Housewife.

For "Former Cute Punk Rock Girl now a conservative housewife living in suburbia:" Of course Darby was gay. I thought everyone knew that. Scientologist though, I don't think so.

J.Gray said...

This is one of thee best articles I have ever read about Darby,I've read everything I could ever get my hands on him ever since hearing the germs and reading the amazing lyrics he created....so compleately original and mind boggling..thanks yo so much for this alice,i am a huge bags fan too so this was doubly exciting for me to read. I have a response for you about the germs burn thing,but I think it might disappoint more than anything.but I will try to attempt to tell you what i think it means/or ment to me and my inner circle.In a nutshell,myself and all my friends kinda gre up thinking we were outsiders and had out own little group to hide behind and rage at the world around us,we had(and still have) crazy punk bands,and an attitude of"us against them" deffinately a lot a anger against the world around us and they things we had been put through all of our lives for being different.finding out and learning about darby crash and the germs,at least for me was a total eye opener,they were so different and had such a different thing going on than any other band I was into.i loved the circle one cult idea,and always wished I would have come up with it or something similar since I understand craving power when you never ever had any.feeling like a powerless alien in an unforgiving world is a truly horrible feeling.i think we aped the whole germs burn thing at the time as a feeling like we were born in the wrong time and we needed and craved the feeling of being in our own little cult like scene.it was just so amazing of an idealogy-the circle one thing.sand we were already into self mutilation and such to an extent because we just did not care.i would cut myself onstage to the point that I would almost pass out from blood loss and one show almost burned to death.so a germs burn here or there was nothing.it was the idea behind it really.everything is circular,everything comes back to the beginning.i have always perceived my life to be nothing more than a vicious circle,thats the depressing thing....no matter where I take myself,what I learn or where I go,it always seems to come back to that early feeling of dispare,but you can't ever give up,you just keep pushing on.Anyway,i digress.i have come up with a few life goals that keep me focused on pushing ahead when I feel the need to shut down and quit.one of them is getting a germs burn from a surviving member of the germs and telling them what their music has ment to me.if I grew up in that place and in that time,i would have been right there but I was cursed to live in the age of horrible radio play,justin beiber,and people being obcessed with how slutty a former Disney queen can get onstage.......sorry if my spelling is bad it's pretty early here and I am just trying to lay down thoughts as fast as I can.Thanks again for sharing your wonderful insite. much respect. -J.Gray little Rock Ar