Michelle Gerber Bell
Interview with: Michelle Bell, aka Gerber originally conducted March 2006
During the time I've been doing these interviews, I've received numerous emails from people who wanted to hear from Gerber. If you're at all familiar with the Germs, then you know that Gerber (Michelle Bell) was very close to Darby Crash. She went from being a muse to a musician and figured into several bands in L.A.
Gerber's interview appears below exactly as she wrote her responses to me. I felt it was important to keep it just as it came to me - typos and all - because it shows so much of her personality. I asked her if I should correct it or run it as it was and her response was:
"fuck thr typos
i chopped many a head
but Dennis from Social D
was the funniest
hrthought he ws gonna get laid like i a car
then he ran around all nite holding onto this one lil long peice I couldnt get off
he jssust held it all nite and tols story of woe
like that girl..... blah blah blah ...
they wwerent even a baand then
but he cmae looking for me next week
with a rod stewart spikey kindda cutt
If there was an "It Girl" of the Masque, she would be Gerber. Like a punk rock Delilah, she claimed hearts as well as manes. Any party with Gerber in attendance was 100% guaranteed not to be dull.
In her interview, Gerber writes that punk "set me free to scream my truth...it needed to be screamed." Her answers below, like Gerber, are all in CAPS. She was funny, feisty, unapologetic and in-your-face...and she still is.
1. What was/is your contribution to the punk community?
WELL AS PER BRENDAN "QUEEN OF THE SCENE " AS PER ME , JUST ME , DARBY'S BEST FRIEND , LEAD VOCALIST FOR "SEXSICK" , "TWISTED ROOTS" (POST MAGGIE) AAAAAND OF "VAGINA DENTATA" - ALSO DID OTHER SOLO PROJECTS - LYRICIST WROTE SONGS
RECORDED BY OTHER PUNKS - TRENDSETTER, INSATIABLE PARTIER AND PARTY THROWER- ORIGINAL FLIPSIDE GOSSIP COLUMNIST : GERBERS GAB , AND THE "SHOW YER TITS PUNKETTE OF THE MASQUE" i EVEN GOT PHILOMENA TO SHOW EM, SHE WAS THE HARDEST. AND i LOVE HER TO THIS DAY! CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR MUSICIANS TO COLLABORATE WITH FOR NEW PROJECT !
2. Which artist, band concert and/or show had the most impact on your life?
WEIRDOS , GERMS, PISTOLS , AVENGERS, BAGS, DEADBOYS , RAMONES, - SEX PISTOLS OPENED PUNK DOOR AND DARBY DRAGGED ME IN , I WAS ARREADY A BOWIE /NY DOLLS/IGGY FREEAK SO IT WAS A NATURAL TRANSITION JUST WHACKED THE HAIR AND I FELT RIGHT, I FOUND MY FAMILY AND BACK THEN IT WAS THAT - FAMILY. EARLY MASQUE SHOWS IMPACTED ME THE MOST EVEN WHEN NO ONE PLAYED OR WE JUST PARTIED , EVENTUALLY SOMEONE WOULD PLAY - ZEROS , SKULLS , BAGS , ALLEYCATS , SOMEONE , SO MANY GREAT BANDS THE ENERGY HAS NEVER LEFT MY SPIRIT AND NEVER WILL. PISTOLS AT WINTERLAND WAS FUCKIN AAWESOME. BUT SOME OTHER FAVES WERE THE AFTERNOON WHISKEY SHOWS ..... SO MANY BANDS , I CANT LIST EM ALL i LOVED EM ALL , MAYBE A FEW I DIDNT CARE FOR AS MUCH , BUT THEY ALL HAD AT LEAST A SONG I LOVED OR ALL THEIR SONGS .
3. What was the role of women in the early punk scene?
THE MUSE, THE STRENGTH AND INSPIRATION FOR THE SCENE , THE BEAUTY/DANGER ROLLED INTO "IT" THE QUEENS OF A WASTELAND OF BAD BALDING HIPPIES . i LOVED WHEN SOME LONG HAIR WOULD GET ALL INFATUATED AND WE'D GO IN THE ALLEY , AND AS HE THOUGHT HE WAS GONNA GET LAID , HE LOST HIS HAIR . RIP DENNIS OF SOCIAL DISTORTION HE LOOKED LIKED LEIF GARRETT OR SOME SHIT TILL HE TOOK A WALK WITH ME . THE DEMISE OF FLOWY FLUFFY FAKE BEAUTY I.E. STEVIE NICKS SSHIT STYLE.
4. What is the legacy of punk in your life?
IT FILLED THE HOLE , STILL DOES , I FOUND MYSELF , IT INSPIRED ME , IT GAVE ME THE INSPIRATION AND GUMPTION TO DO WHAT I WANTED TO DO , RATHER THAN PRETEND TO BE SOMEONE i WASNT IN A WORLD OF PUPPETS, NOT TO SAY I HAVENT GROWN AND CHANGED AND THATS A CONSTANT, BUT ITS MY CENTER , IT HELPED ME DEFINE MY MORALS , LIKES , DISLIKES , WITHOUT WEARING A 99C PAIR OF TAUPE LEGGS HATING MYSELF - THOUGH I HAD MOMENTS OF TRYING THAT , IT NEVER LASTED , I ALWAYS LOST THEM AND DUG THRU MY BAGS OF THRIFT STORE TREASURES , AND DONNED MY WHITE POWDER AND BLACK ORCHID LIPSTICK ... IT SET ME FREE TO SCREAM MY TRUTH , IT NEEDED TO BE SCREAMED .
5. What are you listening to now?
SOME OF THE SAME OLD STUFF , SOME OF THE STUFF THAT VEINED OUT OF THAT SCENE, ALWAYS WRITING NEW STUFF OF MY OWN , OLDIES , I LOVE HARPSICHORD CONCERTOS ( SCARLATTI , MY FAVE ) OLD BLUES... BILLIE , BESSY -YMA SUMAC STILL LOVE NINA HAGAN , HATE RAP , NOT TOO FOND OF MAINSTREAM ALTERNATIVE , SPECIALLY THAT POLISHED TO A PLEDGE LEMON SHINE SHIT ... LIKE ZOMBIE , STILL LIKE GHOUL ROCK AND THE PEPPERS HAVE REEALLY GOTTEN GOOD , LIKE THOSE EVERLY BROS MELODIES AND HARMONIES ... NOT A CONTRY FAN , OTHER THAN OLD MARTY ROBBINS , CASH , ETC ... BUT VERY LITTLE , I AAAINT GOT NO COWGIRL IN THIS CITY GUTTER PUNK. ITS SO HARD TO SAY , DEPENDS ON MY MOOD. AND WHATS HAPPENED TO RADIO ? AND VIDEO ? I'M JUST A REAL ROCKER . STONES AND BOWIE TO THE BONE AND FROM THERE THE PATH JUST GOES ...
6. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share?
MY PET ONION ( A GIFT FROM TOP JIMMY VIA TOP TACO ) NOTHING COULD KILL IT , NOT EVEN DARBY , IT WAS PROBABLY THE DEADLIEST WEAPON I EVER HAD , THIS FUCKER WAS HUUUUUUGE , -GREAT PICSS AND MEMORIES OF NICKY CONSTANTLY WRITING ALICE POST CARDS FROM SF IN HIS SHOWER SHOES , I GOTTA SEND YOU THOSE , HE WAS JUST SOOOO IN LOVE W/U MISS ALICE !
JUMPING LONG HAIRS W SNICKERS AND PUNK SCALPING !
THE "EVER GET THE FEELING YOU BEEN CHEATED " THEMED FAKE WEDDING PARTY @ MARINA SKATEPARK - I MADE A KILLING , NOONE GOT MARRIED , EVERYONE PLAYED, MARGO ALMOST KILLED ME W. TUINALS .
7. Are there any punk women from the early scene that you feel have not been adequately recognized?
MISS CLARE - DOOR PERSON AND BRAAVE DOG OWNER .... NOT IN BANDS BUT BEAUTFUL AND STILL CLARE - NO TAUPE LEGGS FOR HER ! LIL DEE , MAY SHE RIP/AIDS I HEARD, BUT THATS HERESAY. BOBBIE BRAT SINGER OF RED SCARE ,MAY SHE REST IN PEACE ALSO. MARY THE RATT - COOOOOOOOOOOOL AS COOOOOOL GETS, KINDA QUIET SOMETIMES, NOT ALWAYS THOUGH .MELISSA MORSE ROTH - GUITARIST OF SEXSICK , BEST FEMALE GUITARIST I EVER PLAYED WITH ! A FUCKIN FEMALE PAT SMEAR/DIX DENNEY - THAT BITCH CAN MAKE SOUNDS COME OUT OF A GUITAR THAT MADE ME THINK I WAS HAVING AUDITORY HALLUCINATIONS.
8. What is something we should know about you that we probably don't know?
HMMMMM? THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT GOTTA GO TO THE GRAVE WITH ME . PROBABLY DESPITE MY REPUTATION, IM A REAL GIRL GIRL, VERY ROMANTIC AND DEDICATED. A ONE MAN ROMANTIC. I GOT TO LIVE ALL MY "WHATEVER I WANT" STUFF OUT REAL YOUNG. I AM A REALLY GOOD WRITER, BETTER THAN I THINK. I LOVE TO BAKE AND AM LIKE FUCKING AMAZING WITH THAT. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE DIX DENNEY. (shhhhhhhhhh!)