Greatest Dead Angelenos #22: Darby Crash

Exene Cervenka’s got a Germs Burn, do you?

“I came into this world as a puzzled panther, waiting to be caged
but something stood in the way I was never quite tamed…”

He was born Jan Paul Beahm in 1958. He called himself “Bobby Pyn” for awhile. He read philosophy, he read Neitche, he read Hesse. He tried to melt your face off with his music. He cut himself on stage, he screamed, he ranted. He was misanthrope with an army of followers.

He was Darby Crash.

He killed himself to get your attention. Literally, or so the story goes. Intentional heroin overdose with the express purpose of Dying Young, and Leaving both a Beautiful Corpse and a Legend.

It might have worked, too, except someone decided to shoot John Lennon the very next day.

It was the late ’70’s. It was a little thing called “Punk Rock.” They wouldn’t play it on the radio. Nobody knew what it was. If you listened to it, people shunned you. If you engaged in its lifestyle, you might just get the crap beat out of you, or have to beat the crap out of somebody else. There was nothing quite like it before, and there has really been nothing quite like it since. Go buy a Germs shirt at Hot Topic and know that it only says The Germs on it because Darby and bandmate Pat Schmear couldn’t fit their original band name, “Sophistifuck and the Revlon Spam Queens” on a T-Shirt.

Darby Crash was L.A.’s answer to Sid Vicious, and nobody even knew there was a question being asked. He helped create, ignite, and vilify the Punk Scene in Los Angeles, and even if you don’t dig The Punk Rock, you owe him more than you’ll probably ever know.

Seminal Punk Icons are like that.

Rest In Peace, Darby Crash, you Great Dead Angeleno, you.

See the rest of the 25 Greatest Dead Angelenos.

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