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Catching Up With Pat and Don

Don Bolles

PHOTO BY LINA LECARODon Bolles

Click here for "Darby's Last Stand," by Jonathan Gold.

After Darby Crash's death, Lorna Doom moved to New York. Pat Smear and Don Bolles continued performing and being part of L.A.'s music scene through different projects. Smear eventually hooked up with Nirvana (that's him in the MTV Unplugged show and album), and after Kurt Cobain's death he continued playing with Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters. Bolles has long been a mainstay of L.A.'s underground, a gregarious presence immediately recognizable at shows and bars because of his enormous Russian fur hat.

The trio reunited to work on the Germs' film, What We Do Is Secret, and after the film's 2008 premiere, they continued booking dates as the Germs, backing Shane West, the actor who played Crash in the movie.

We called Smear to see what he's been doing lately. "I'm on break," he told us. "Foo Fighters — we've been off for the last year, I think. Dave [Grohl] has his other band [Them Crooked Vultures] going on right now, so we're just waiting for the call, and we start over. I'm a lazy man. I'm just my regular self, doing what we all do. I have nothing interesting going on. Other than when I'm out on tour or playing, I don't usually go to shows. I pretty much listen to the same record collection I had when I was a teenager. I still listen to the same old shit. The Germs' European tour was the last thing I did — first time the Germs played Europe. But I would recommend calling Don — he always has a thousand things going on."

We followed Smear's advice and contacted the inimitable Bolles. Smear was correct about the drummer's hyperactivity: "I'm mixing the new single by my new band, Fancy Space People, right now over at Kerry Brown's Coldwater Studios. He and Billy Corgan — who along with the sax player of the Psychedelic Furs plays stuff on the record — have a label called Star Tone, and our single is slated as their first release. It's a song called 'Pleiadian Youth' and our theme song, 'Fancy Space People.'

"I play a lot of the instruments, sing a lot of the vocals, write the stuff (with No-Ra, our lead singer) and produce. We are a seven-piece band live, and our Space Leaders make us wear cool sci-fi-looking gear from who-knows-where. It fits, so we don't mind them styling us. We do glitter-rock arena psych-folk with a space-age cinematic feel, very consonant and heroic anthems, and bubblegum space-rock epics.

"No-Ra and I also have a weekly club at the Hyperion Tavern called Club Ding-a-Ling, free every Tuesday. Video weirdness, strange and/or great music, awesome DJs, and I emcee while No-Ra bartends. It seems to book itself; we make no money, except tips, and none of the bands or DJs take money, unless there's a lot of tips. The lack of money in the chain makes for a purer and more fun evening for all. Free is groovy!

"I also have two odd tribute bands, Thee Earwigs (early Alice Cooper) and the Raw Power Rangers (we do the Stooges' Raw Power LP), and a 45 Grave cover band called the Snowsnake Orch. I have a TV show The Threee Geniuses too, and a sound/light project called Kitten Sparkles."