Darby Crash (1958-80) was a lightning bolt in leather, a poet and musician with a taste for self-promotion and self-mutilation.
While he never had the fame or musical influence of, say, Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain, for a few years during the Jimmy Carter administration, Crash (born Jan-Paul Beahm) was the front man of the Germs. The heroin-fueled onstage chaos of these punk rockers made them cult figures in the emerging Los Angeles new wave scene.
Rejected by his parents and ejected from high school, Crash became a Nietzsche-quoting anarchist. He gave voice, grating and eloquent, to the rage and social disaffection of a counterculture that held itself together with safety pins and hard drugs.