I Wanna be Literated #270

I Wanna be Literated #270

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Friday, 13 October 2023
BOOKS

Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash
by Brendan Mullen (Editor), Don Bolles (Collaborator), Adam Parfrey (Collaborator)


Are the Germs the best worst punk band of all time? Their album G.I. had some absolute bangers on them, but unfortunately, the band was led by a narcissistic art student who was more interested in manipulating people than actually making music. Also, the only good live show they played was their last one. Does that negate itself? I don’t know. What is obvious from reading Lexicon Devil is that there was no chance in hell the Germs were going to make it as the kind of band Darby wanted them to be because Darby himself imploded.

Right from the beginning there is an ominous warning in Lexicon Devil where the writers and editors claim they had to take over the project from each person subsequently because it all became too much for them. Spooky stuff! What kind of evil stories are contained in this book?

Lexicon Devil is an oral history of the Germs and Darby Crash, one assumes collecting things Darby himself has said in interviews and supplementing those with newer updated statements from the people involved in his life and the life of the band. It makes one wonder if Darby was ever able to be honest about the events in his life and the band’s or if he was always putting on a character for the camera or the tapes recording him. But no matter. Why am I so down on this band?

Because right off the bat, Darby seems to have been a smart gifted kid who wanted to use his powers for evil. Meaning he wanted to be worshipped as a cult leader. The problem, of course, is that he peaked early, and the mystique of his persona quickly wore off. Darby wasn’t interested in making music or punk rock or art so much as it was all a means to an end, which was to control people. Kind of hard to root for a guy like that, right? To top it all off he was a spoiled brat and junkie who was dependent on everyone around him to survive. All that charm kind of worse off once people realized what a loser he actually was. The stories in this book really paint a grim picture of his sad life, the squalor he lived in, his total lack of self-awareness, the manipulation he depended on for happiness, and the utter lack of skill and motivation he had to achieve his goals.

But, in a way, he kind of won, right? Darby became an icon after all, like Sid Vicious. A talentless junkie whose inability to cope with reality led to their self-destruction. Maybe that was all part of the plan. He might be laughing wherever he is now.

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