Communist Eyes

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All three songs are alternate versions of songs familiar from their first single for What? Records in 1977 and lone LP, (GI). The A-side is a manic, not very well recorded live version of "Communist Eyes" that proves again that Joan Jett (or whoever actually produced that studio LP while she passed out on the couch, as legend has it) really did a job getting this drugged-out loser psycho Darby Crash to actually sing slightly coherently, not just animal-ly. As with the Germs' live documentation in the early L.A. punk movie The Decline of Western Civilization, Crash just growls and gnashes his teeth, thus obliterating the actually fascinating words he'd bothered to write for himself to butcher (check out the LP lyric sheet sometime!). The band is anything but tight, yet it doesn't matter; what they fail at miserably -- precision -- is not what made them powerful. Rather, it was the utter chaos in their attack and enough hot licks to make them dangerous rather than merely shambolic. Again, this recording is merely bootleg Walkman quality, so this 7" is more historical value than any super single, recorded as it was just before the band split, and only eight months before Crash's inevitable OD in December 1980. The B-sides, equally captured badly by guitarist Pat Smear as the band was rehearsing for the LP, show how far they'd come from 1977, the way "Forming" now has a heavy-handed, dynamite power (though Crash still mumbles and gurgles). "What We Do Is Secret" is outclassed by the explosive LP version, but still preserves a primal onslaught. Old and new Germs/punk fans will find this thrilling; all others are directed to complete (MIA) retrospective Slash finally got around to issuing, 13 years later.