Thursday, July 21, 2005

Germs Filming: What We Do is Secret

When I wrote my last post, I had NO idea the Germs film would actually be produced. What does that say about my intuition and timing? Check out my Germs pix on my Germs, Bomp and Masque pages at

I spent my birthday, July 20th, on the set of the Germs shows at the Fleetwood [many don't know the Smokestack became the Fleetwood] and Whiskey, hanging with Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, Paul Roessler of the Screamers, infamous Hellin Killer and Jena Cardwell, but on the sidelines. My shot of Lorna, Darby, Pat, Jena, Hellin, Trudie, Pleasant, Alice Bag, Nicky Beat and others is in Lexicon Devil, page 36, September 23, 1977, in Tower Records lot before the Palladium Punk Fashion show.

I was constantly told: "Jenny, it's a movie." But it will go down in history as the way it was, when my photos and research and notes from others make it easy to replicate the truth, which the movie, like all movies, deviates from those easily verifiable truths.

Thank goodness Pat and Lorna are on set, assisting the eager and talented cast. Pat is tirelessly training them re playing and involved in the sound of course. Pat and Lorna are receiving well-deserved accolades for their selfless contributions.

But how the hell do you do a Germs film without Pleasant Gehman??? And assign historical events initiated by Pleasant to others??

That said, of course it's amazing that a film is being made about the Germs, Screamers, and others -- a small group of people who changed world culture. I always knew punk would be a vital component of rock history, like Elvis, the British invasion, hippies and summer of love. That is the MAIN reason I took so many early photos. I knew it would be like a comet, bright and the initial phase short-lived, but it's really larger than anyone realized. I don't care what anyone writes about it seeming to be organized -- few consulted with each other and believed it to be the next big thing.

I certainly was among the very very few who knew its potential and was scorned by press/record company personnel and even punks for my intuition and art/music history knowledge this would be huge and long lasting. Which is one of the reasons it is so huge. Everyone feels like they discovered it themselves.

The reason early punk exists is its truthful reflection of our society of outcasts, as documented by the musicians, photographers, writers and artists WHO WERE THERE and MADE IT HAPPEN.

I spoke with the beautiful, lovely, charming, talented, gracious, warm Lorna Doom. I've found so many photos of her and Darby, described them to her, not only what they wore, but where they were and the dates. I shot them at so many parties, backstage, the Masque, shows, on the street -- for a variety of reasons, mainly that we were part of that very early small circle of punks, so our paths crossed all the time.

She said she "misses Darby so much" -- it's obvious from my photos they were extremely close friends. I asked her and others if they thought anyone would pay attention to the Germs if Darby didn't kill himself. We all know the answer to that: his suicide generated all this interest. I asked/said to her: isn't that the tragedy of all this?

A couple of years ago I asked my friend, archivist/musician David Jones, why the Ramones are so very popular now that so many are gone? When Joey died, I read tons of obits from people who claimed to be long-time Ramones fans. As Johnny said, if everyone who said they saw them really did, they would have been huge earlier. David said it's our obssession with dead stars.

What the fuck is wrong with our society?

Ok, how do I reconcile that with the fact I don't want to alienate myself from the people involved with this movie? I don't want to sound bitter or negative. As Paul Roessler keeps reminding me, he's trying not to say anything bad about people cos it comes back to bite him. Paul is such a sweet, sensitive soul. He and Hellin just celebrated their 25th anniversary, worked so hard at staying in love all these years. It's heartwarming to be around them.

Why do I feel like crying? Hellin cried on the set and later Paul held me as I cried. It's not because of the loss of Darby -- I was never close to him. I miss Tomata from the Screamers far more. I'm crying because I have so much work to do (EVERYONE on the set, especially the fans, costumers, producers, photographer etc know exactly who I am and love my work). I'm crying because I'm being showered with so much love, acceptance, validity, compliments, admiration, envy and gratitude by fans and people in the industry every single day. I am stunned, overwhelmed, but my hard work has only begun! And I still haven't made money! It's relentless.

I'm crying, realizing the reality of what we did. I cry when I find the most stunning photos that I never knew existed! Lorna said to me on the sidelines of the set, "none of us did what we did to make money, get famous." By studying art and artists AND movie-makers, I learned great artists always follow their hearts and find the truth in their art.

I cry when I know what should and could be shown, shared, discussed and is disregarded. I was repeatedly told they are working hard to present the "truth." Of course I told them that's "bullshit." I cry cos I'm so truthful that Dickey Barret, morning DJ on indie, said on the radio I "need to learn to lie." NEVER!

I've influenced and changed the lives of many, one of the reasons I took photos. Now I have to change my life for the better. But it means sacrifice, not going to art or music shows or movies. My photos are calling me, and they are so demanding and needy.

I can't rely on anyone who wasn't there to tell our story. This is a good start, but when will I learn to accept what is, not what could be? When my body has turned to ashes, then I hope my soul will be at peace with what others have done to our story. 'Tis better to be looked over than over-looked, but can't they handle the truth?


Blogger David Schumacher said...

Jenny, have you had a chance to see the script? is the story going to be good? or is this one only going to be worth it for the music?

12:03 PM  
Blogger Jenny Lens said...

Read earlier script awhile ago, just sent final script day before I went to set, no time to reread it. To each its own. Let's give it our best wishes and support it. Remember, "good" is a relative term.

12:49 PM  
Blogger David Schumacher said...

hey, as long as it does not have any of the cliches that were in the infamous Quincy "punk" episode, I'll be happy! Although, it would be pretty funny if the whole thing came off like Spinal Tap.
Looking forward to the pictures ...

1:53 PM  
Blogger Jenny Lens said...

Remember what people told me: "it's only a movie."

Never saw Quincy episode. I took on-set shots of the Dickies on Capt. Sharkey, CPO. They didn't try to dress the actors realistically, who were glaringly out of place compared to the real punks and Dickies.

At least the actors and fans in the Germs audience are trying to be true. Let's say everyone thinks they have their heart in the right place, from their own point of view from people who were not there and didn't include/listen to many who were there.

Look, I HATED Hair cos the movie was such a 1970's highly praised piece of shit. I saw Hair on stage twice, on Easter Sunday, 1969 and the day man landed on the moon, July 20, 1969 -- yep, my birthday. I was in college and will never forget hearing the soundtrack prior to seeing it.

The movie changed everything -- plot, characters, costumes, even the songs and music. And it got rave reviews and did a ton for director Milos Forman's career. Did I say it was a piece of smelly shit that totally misrepresented the life my friends and I lived??

That Spinal Tap thought has me laughing! I'm sure that would horrify the producers, director/writer, etc. Or would that be a compliment?

Write me back after YOU and the other hard core fans see the movie.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Bash said...

David is right. A lot of us are hoping it doesn't turn into that Quincy episode or that CHIPS episode. Shane seems like he's doing his best to play Darby the best he can. I told him he sure has some very notorious shoes to fill. He agreed and I said the fans will go crazy if he's not portrayed in the way they know Darby Crash. At least some of the old timers are there to make sure things are done right. The Sid & Nancy movie fiasco, Johnny Lydon wasn't even asked about his or his friends lives who were there. He tells all in his book Rotten : No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs. Great book btw.

PS wasn't Lorna still hot? I had the biggest crush on when I was 14 and watching her up there playing. It was good to see her again.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Jenny Lens said...

"At least some of the old timers are there to make sure things are done right." Us old timers have NO final say whether things are done "right," (or truthful).

I certainly was loud enough to upset the director when I pointed out certain things that MANY other early punks already argued. I don't want ANYONE to think those of us who made this happen in the 1970's are in any way responsible or had a voice in this movie. Some input was taken into consideration, but we didn't write the script, or dress the sets or the players. Remember that and don't blame us. At least we tried our best!!

Lorna and I had a great talk. She is amazing, always was. That was the highlight of being on the set -- seeing her.

Let's remember and focus on one thing: it's wonderful this film is being made, no one could have ever imagined it, and try not to shed more tears (as I have and will continue to do so, and I'm sure others have, especially MB) over what's not done or the "creative" licensing done to our stories.

And so it goes . . .

9:00 AM  
Blogger Miss Oblivious said...

Your soul is still so fiesty and I loved that about you when I chatted with you there. I am only 32 but have loved the Germs for 20 years. I feel with out your photos this scene would not have been remembered so well! When I look through all my books about you and your friends scene that really shaped my youth they are photos taken by you and not just off performers on stage but having fun off stage. That is the impressions of the Hollywood scene that is different than any other one (N.Y/England) you all looked like you were having a good time together. You were punk and didn't have to look miserable to be admired and thanks to Jenny she froze those moments in time to always be remembered. Jenny is just as important as any of the bands that formed all of this history in my opionion.All my favorite photos I see of Lorna, Pat, Darby, Pleasant and Hellin have Jenny Lens next to it!
Thank you very much...

12:43 PM  

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