It’s Raining Go-Go-Golden Boys

21 Apr

There is this song that I’ve lived with and loved since I was a teen. It’s a good song – a really, really good song, in fact. But in the intervening years (and given my obsessive traits), it’s kinda . . . taken over. First it felt like gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe, the kind I just couldn’t seem to wipe off. Then it grew into a creepy ritual lovespell, one that subtly encouraged me to behave in ways I’d never ever, if left alone. More recently it’s felt more like a nasty case of syphilis, warping all rational thought and leaving behind blistering sores that I just can’t scratch enough. And it’s still with me today. It’s called “Golden Boys”, and I gotta cut it loose.

What I know: “Golden Boys” is variously credited to Darby Crash/Pat Smear, Pat Smear alone, and Bell/Crash/Ferris/Smear depending on who’s covering it. It most certainly began life in the dying days of THE GERMS, and Darby most certainly penned the lyrics. Whether or not THE GERMS ever worked up a nascent version of it remains unclear. I sure as hell haven’t ever heard of or found reference to it, and lemme tell ya: I’ve looked. VAGINA DENTATA, who featured Pat fresh out of TWISTED ROOTS, definitely waxed the first version, probably in late ’83/early ’84. Beyond that . . . well, only Pat himself knows the full details, and he’s too busy pushing Hagstrom Guitars to bother with this story. What follows is, most definitely, a rundown of all known versions of the song. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you: this shit will take over if you’re not careful.

1) Vagina Dentata, “Golden Boys” (Flipside Vinyl Fanzine Vol. II Comp., Flipside/Gasatanka Records, 1984) – Now, there are other recorded versions of this great song sans the long intro, but this is, hands down, the best. Those big, wild drums . . . that pummeling bass . . . those psychotic leads . . . and oh wow what a lead singer Michelle Bell (a.k.a. Gerber) could be when she cut loose, as she does with freakin’ abandon here. I wonder what happened to her . . .

2) Pat Ruthensmear, “Golden Boys” (Ruthensmear, SST Records, 1987) – I remember listening to this when it first came out and thinking, man, this is the polar opposite of what Pat did with the GERMS. But that wiggy contrariness (traceable at least back to his tenure with TWISTED ROOTS) is a big part his appeal. The over-the-top glam/pomp rock thing seemed to make a lot of sense in LA during the second half of the 80’s, and here, everything’s coming up roses. Pat belts it out like a lisping Mick Ronson, and like Mick, he plays most of the instruments too.  And when he sings “Golden Boys” in place of where Darby shoulda been, well, ya can’t help but tear up.

3) Gary Celebrity, “Golden Boys” (Diary of a Monster, Triple X Records, 1992) – Kinda perfunctory in execution but Gary’s entitled to do it anyway he wants, seeing as he drummed on the VAGINA DENTATA original. Gary sometimes sang this with his great ‘n’ garish 80’s teenbeat combo CELEBRITY SKIN, who I promise to gush about in a separate post soon. Oh and PAT plays gtr on this too, making this almost an electric DEATH FOLK outtake, if that means anything to ya.

4) The Dickies, “Golden Boys” (Idjit Savant, Triple X Records, 1995) – Leave it to the DICKIES to really bring out the melody in a song. Secretly, the late 80’s/early 90’s line-up of the DICKIES is my favorite. They weren’t so young (and certainly not so clean) anymore – but their sound was expanding in all manner of goofy, orchestralpop ways, and their lyrics were getting weirder by the hour – giving them an even more SPARKS-ian glow than ever before. “Boys” is rendered in straightahead DICKIES style, but they spruce it up with an extra bridge that stamps it as their own.

5) Pavement, “Golden Boys/Serpentine Pad” (Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition, Matador Records, 2006) – Never thought I’d be putting a PaveFUCKINGment song on my blog, but live long enough and Plop! There it goes. This mid 90’s outtake of theirs isn’t the worst version of the song I’ve heard (that would be the live version PAVEMENT did of this song available on their Stuff Up the Cracks boot, which I’ll spare you today), and their choice to take some artistic licence with it ain’t such a bad idea either. It’s that “Cut Your Hair” guy’s voice – in all it’s lifesucking faux-lazyass, uh, “glory” – that really gets me shifting in my seat. I know these guys are revered as some kinda 90’s indie/emo supermen, but dude – in my universe, PAVEMENT will always be the musical equivalent to tepid, stewed okra. Uhggh.

6) NoFX, “Golden Boys” (Never Trust a Hippy, Fat Wreck Chords, 2006) – Sadly, what new pop/punk/HC stuff suceeds in doing for me is only to make me miss the darker/wilder/hairier forms of early 80’s HC that much more. And I admit I have never listened to these guys or ridden a snowboard before, so I’m really not qualified to say much. This ain’t exactly horrible, although kinda redundant after some of the above (see THE DICKIES version). But hey: singer Fat Mike did have the sense to put out the great DESCENDENTS Cool To Be You CD a few years back, so maybe I’m missing out on something special here?

7) Apartment 3-G, “Golden Boys” (Strange Notes comp., Bitzcore, 1994) – If you’re a POISON IDEA spin-off band – and APARTMENT 3-G most definitely are – you got a lifetime free subscription to rock the fuck out of ANY Crash/Pat tune you see fit to.

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41 Responses to “It’s Raining Go-Go-Golden Boys”

  1. The Automatik April 21, 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    I totally agree with your assessments above, especially regarding the Dickies version.

    Now I’m wondering if I have a song that haunts me in the same way…

  2. mrowster April 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm #

    I was spinning the DICKIES Second Coming CD yesterday – that’s the one I really dig. It’s the missing link between SPARKS’ Big Beat and REDD KROSS’ Third Eye!

  3. The Automatik April 21, 2007 at 10:28 pm #

    HAHA, wow, what a description. Yeah, that is the one I listen to the most, with Stukas Over Disneyland a close second.

  4. GERBER September 28, 2007 at 11:26 pm #

    !. I AM GERBER 2. mICHELLE bAER IS THE FAT BUSG CLAIMING TO BE DARBYS GIRLFRIEND IN THE DECLINE . i WAS THE SINGER OF v.d. AND MANY OTHER BANDS
    , PAT , DARBY AND I WROTE THAT GOLDEN BOYS. i WROTE OTHER SONGS ON RUNTHENSMEAR
    BUT WAS UNAVAILABLE , m..i.ACTION … PAT KNEW ITD BE FINE , WE WENT TO SCHOOL TOGETHER . NOONE HAS NAKED PICS OF ME BUT ME .dARBY WAS MY BEST FRIEND AND GAY.mICHAELLE bAER gAHFARRIE IS A FAT GREEDY LIAR , WHO WROTE HERSELF INTO MY IMAGE , MIXED UP W /HER . HE HATED HER , USE HER FOR FREE RIDES AN RENT , SHE SHOPS AT DRESS BARN FOR FAT BUSHHY SEE MY
    PAGE
    myspace.com/michaelawitherspoon
    I LOOK JUST LIKE I DID , JUST DIFFERENT HAIRS COLORS CUTS
    DO YER HOME WORK BEFORE YOU TALK SMACK JACK
    MY BOOK WILL BE THE TRUTH
    THE BITTER TRUTH
    ITLL BE OUT IN ABOUT 2 YRS.
    AS iM ALSO MAKING A MOVIE W/ THE REAL PEOPLE , THAT WERE CLOSE TO HIM
    ASK dj BONEBRAKES WIFE ABOUT m. bAER
    SHE A GREEDY GROSS PIC
    MARRIED TO A ACCOUNTANT
    ILL ANSWER ANY QUSTIONS HONEST 100 %
    I HATE LIARS READ MY PROFILE

  5. GERBER September 28, 2007 at 11:27 pm #

    SEE ALICE BAGS PAGE ON ME .

  6. Bolox January 19, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Thank you so much. I’ve been looking for this song for ages. I had it on tape back in the 80’s and had always wondered who was this band with such a good singer.
    I was totally depressed this morning at work so I went fishing on the Net, and, there you go, you saved my day.
    I’ll have to find another Graal to look for (got any rare Flipper by any chance?).
    Thanks again.

  7. mrowster January 19, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    Bolox: Rare TOILING MIDGETS, but no rare FLIPPER in this household. Sorry.

    But yes singer Gerber does know how to shred her vocal cords just right. There’s actually video footage out there of VAGINA DENTATA playing a bizarre song called “Work” on a Flipside Video Comp. from the 80’s . . . but I neither have the tape nor own a VHS player anymore.

  8. Mike H March 9, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    I’ve seen that Vagina Dentata WORK video on the Flipside thing…same song appears on the 1st Death Folk Album. Not sure if it’s been mentioned here, but Gary Jacoby was also the drummer for Vagina Dentata…and even played drums on some early Celebrity Skin recordings.

    GOLDEN BOYS was covered, and recorded by a band I used to play in. It wasn’t a very good version. So add that to the list. We were, and I suppose still are, in love with that song. SO amazing. Shocked to see that Pavement (???) recorded a version of it! Celebrity Skin recorded a version as well…demo version I guess but it sounded great to me!

    Fully agree with mrowster on the Dickies album Second Coming. I usually read people dismissing that album, but I think it’s totally genius. It’s my favorite Dickies record of all time. Killer songs, interesting lyrics and weird weird production. LOVE that album. Except for the cover art heh heh…

  9. Josh Mitchum June 19, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    You bastard! I downloaded Pat’s solo version, the one from Ruthensmear about a week ago, and now I’m totally hooked! This is all your fault!

    And I thank you for it, as this is the best song ever.

    I really want the full Ruthensmear album, it’s impossible to find and besides, I don’t even have any turntables anymore. Wounldn’t happen to know where I could find it *cough digitally cough*, do you?

  10. mrowster June 19, 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    Thanks Josh. Yes, I knew there’d be converts among you to the Golden Way.

    I’ve got the Ruthensmear vinyl (not too hard to find on e-bay, is it?), but I don’t have a digital copy. It’s a great rec though – somebody oughta reissue it.

  11. Dr Rock October 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm #

    Like you, I’ve been under the spell of “Golden Boys” since first hearing it on Flipside Vinyl Fanzine. The song (as well as Vagina Dentata) is so shrouded in mystery. Thanks for breaking down the few facts that exist.

    I wonder if there are any other Vagina Dentata recordings out there. There’s absolutely no info on them anywhere on the internet.

  12. BZ May 6, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    Here’s a link to the music video for the Gary Celebrity version of Golden Boys:
    http://viddug.com/video.cfm/vid/2110998130/Gary_Celebrity/Golden_Boys/

  13. mrowster May 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    BZ: Cool! I’ve never seen this video. I dig how it probably took Gary an hour or so to shoot.

  14. BZ May 10, 2009 at 4:20 am #

    Yeah, definitely a camcorder quality affair. I just found it online the day I posted the link. I’m actually not too familiar with Celebrity Skin. I really only know of Gary Jacoby (Celebrity) through the Death Folk, whose two albums I’ve had for quite some time. I actually didn’t even realize until recently that some of the Death Folk songs are from their previous bands.

    Browsing through the credits of Pat Smear’s “So You Fell In Love With A Musician” I noticed that “Love Your Friends” is credited to something like (Pat/P. Roessler/M. Bell). Was this a Twisted Roots or Vagina Dentata song originally? If so, is there any recordings by those bands of said song? Also, is there any other Vagina Dentata recordings besides the one you posted of “Golden Boys” from the Flipside comp?

    Thanks

  15. mrowster May 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    BZ: I’ve noticed that “Love Your Friends” credit too, but I don’t know the history of it. Might try writing Paul Roessler at his MySpace, he’s friendly and will no doubt know the story.

    No other VD stuff was ever released, aside from a live video of “Work” (later recorded by The Death Folk) on a Flipside Video comp. sometime in the mid-80’s. Maybe there’s unreleased stuff tucked away someplace?

    • BZ June 18, 2011 at 2:52 am #

      I bought this DVD called something like the “The history of LA Punk in 1984” and a Dez-era version of Twisted Roots are in it. They play “Love Your Friends”. So, I guess that’s where it originates from. Pat’s version is quite a bit different.

  16. BZ May 13, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    If I set myself up a MySpace account I’ll ask him -> I’m a bit of a technological laggard.

    That would be cool if they made a Vagina Dentata CD like the Twisted Roots one. However, I have a feeling they’re another band like the Screamers who didn’t record anything.

  17. BZ May 13, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    Hopefully, that video of “Work!” will end up on Youtube.

    Did Pat Smear ever play any live shows to support his solo albums? I remember you mentioning that the Death Folk played some shows. Does any video footage exist of this stuff?

  18. mrowster May 13, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    I’ve never seen any live footage. Pat’s bands and live shows were kind of a dime a dozen in the LA in the 80’s – he was always playing around somewheres. It was only after NIRVANA came aknockin’ that folks started thinking he was anything but a colorful (albeit talented) Hollywood outcast.

  19. BZ May 19, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    Thanks for the replies. Great site by the way. That’s cool that you had the opportunity to check out a lot of these cool bands.

    I wish Pat would have kept making solo albums. I guess his Nirvana and Foo Fighters obligations tied up most of his time during the ’90s.

    It’s odd that he played quite a bit of lead guitar on his solo albums but will only play rhythm now. Would he ever play leads during the shows you attended?

  20. mrowster May 19, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Me I would welcome another Pat Smear solo record too. We can dream!

  21. BZ June 6, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    Sorry to bug you again but is there any chance you could post “Sahara Hotel” for me? It’s the only track from Ruthensmear that I downloaded that has a couple skips.
    Now that I have Nero I can finally burn a decent copy that doesn’t have the dreaded 2-second gaps between tracks.

    Thank You

  22. mrowster June 6, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    BZ: Just checked my digital version . . . yep mine skips too (before the vocals come in) – we probably downloaded the same version, and my USB turntable isn’t working properly right now! Do send me your e-mail though; when I get a way to rip “Sahara Hotel”, I’ll send it on.

  23. BZ June 7, 2009 at 4:23 am #

    Thanks mrowster.

    Is there a way to send you my e-mail privately?

  24. BZ June 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    Check it out. Someone is selling an autographed copy of Ruthensmear, as well as a promotional headshot on Ebay:
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/Pat-RuthenSmear-Pat-Smear-SIGNED-LP-Photo-Nirvana-Germs_W0QQitemZ380129990722QQcmdZViewItemQQptZMusic_on_Vinyl?hash=item5881835842&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116

  25. mrowster June 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    BZ: Ha! This guy’s asking about $30 too much, but what do I know. As a teen in the mid 80’s, I once phoned up KROQ to ask DJ Rodney Bingenheimer if he’d sell me his copy the GERMS “Lexicon Devil” 45 autographed by the whole band for $50 – I just wanted to hear the damn thing. His response? “Uh . . . goodbye.” Apparently he was expecting something more.

  26. BZ June 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    Haha! Good story. That single version of “Lexicon Devil” is one of my all-time favourite songs. It definitely trumps the GI version IMO. Actually, that 45 as a whole is pretty incredible since it also contains “Circle One” and “No God”.

    I thought the headshot was a nice touch. I wonder how he got a hold of that? That’s also the first time I’ve seen the back cover of the album (although it gets cut off in the image that was posted–It would be cool to see the whole thing). I didn’t expect to see an elaborate photo collage. The SST stuff is usually pretty barebones.

  27. BZ June 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    I was at a used record store yesterday and found a copy of Best of Flipside Vinyl Fanzine on 2-Cds for $10. It has the Vegina Dentata version of “Golden Boys”, as well as Ruthensmear’s “Blue Funk Punk” which has a horrible edit.

    Score!

  28. mrowster June 25, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    BZ: You scored with that. I also dig that Tesco Vee/WHITE FLAG take on “Hot Rails” included therein. “The heat from below can burn, yeah, burn your eyes out!”

  29. BZ July 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Didn’t realize that “Hot Rails…” was a Blue Oyster Cult cover. Good tune!

  30. MP October 16, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Damn!

    I have been searching for this song for years, lost my record.

    The VD version is the best.
    Thanks for posting this information!

  31. Awrex November 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Wow… I never knew just how “incestuous” the early punk scene was in the 70’s/80’s… Despite having a ton of compilation albums from either Enigma/Mystic/Posh Boy/Alt. Tent./Etc….

    Flipside Vol 2 was one of my favorites… I loved the VD (lol) Golden Boys song…. it always is stuck in my head… along with the Pirates covers and the live version of Attitude (misfits)… aahhhh… now only if i still had all my albums from back then…

    you will buy 10 copies of this record…..
    I wonder if Billy Idol ever called those guys back??

  32. Chris cooter November 19, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    Another ‘Golden Boys’ haunting right here. Wish they’d done more. As an avid Flipside reader in the 80’s I used to dream about those west coast punk bands in my dark northern british home. Celebrity Skin’s ‘Poisanna’ is a tune worth hearing, it’s got a great melody, memorable and clever changes and it’s part Dickies meets Cheap Trick with a true romantic lilt… The rest of the LP was decent, better live I expect…..

  33. mrowster November 19, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Chris:

    agreed about “Poisanna”, it’s my favorite off the CelebSkin LP (posted on them here: https://mrowster.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/do-you-remember-when-you-still-had-hair/). Odd to think there were a few Englishmen like yourself paying attention to that stuff back then . . . but then I suppose The Dickies actually had a hit (kinda) in the UK. In the US, even in LA, they were never more than a small cult thing.

  34. IllaZilla August 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I came across this after googling in search of info on the song. Great post! I had no idea there were so many recordings. My first exposure was the NOFX version, but I’m also a Germs fan & when I read the writer credits in the NOFX release I thought “whaaaaat?” & had to trace it back to the source, but couldn’t find any info on the internet relating to Vagina Dentata. Your post answered a lot of questions for me!

    FYI the 2002 book “Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and the Germs” by Brendan Mullen (w/ Don Bolles & Adam Parfrey) contains Crash’s original lyrics to “Golden Boys”. They are as follows:

    Go, go golden boys
    You’ve got your war toys
    Your haircuts all the same
    And your eyes all blue
    And you can march one-two
    Into your leader’s dreams

    Tommy was just sixteen
    When the fatherland declared
    We’ve watched the world for oh so long
    We’re sure we can answer your prayers

    Betty had a brother too
    Who was called off to war
    With a little help from somewhere
    He knew he could even the score

    Mother mary had a son
    His days were spent having fun
    Then Monday he got a letter
    You can make your country better

    Millions on millions of boys lay dead
    While mothers weep with upheld heads

  35. Donnie December 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Wow… This song had me wondering who wrote it for years. I went and saw the Dickies live shortly after they recorded it and got a chance to speak with their guitarist after their set. I asked him who did the song originally and he said he believed it was the Misfits! I spent endless hours trying to find a version of Golden Boys by the Misfits to no avail!! Thanks for the info!

  36. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    you missed the slayer version….although i swear i listened to it yesterday i can’t seem to find it now….

  37. Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    whoops!! mixed up 2 songs. i was thinking richard hung himself…..which i was surprised to see that slayer covered….sorry

    • Michelle November 29, 2011 at 4:47 am #

      well heres the real story from YEP Gerber aka michelle Bell
      while in V.D. we were writing songs , id known pat and Darby since before punk
      then darby wrote , I wrote …. he threw 2 or 3 lines in the trash
      pat retreived
      I completed the lyrics
      darbys dead
      so yes and it is c to darby pat and I
      and recorded
      anyone who covered it contact me
      TheeRealGerber@live.com

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Do You Remember When You Still Had Hair? « Pig State Recon - March 2, 2008

    […] vid of their wild version of “Golden Boys” live at Hollywood High – hand down, – see my favorite song of all time! I’m on the […]

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