Today is the birthday of colorful guitarist Pat Smear. Smear has played with a number of notable musicians -- including a long stint with influential punk band the Germs and Nirvana -- and currently works alongside Nirvana drummer-turned-frontman Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters. Smear co-founded the Germs, a Los Angeles punk act whose early recordings, such as the "Forming/Sex Boy" single, were made in Smear's mom's garage. The Germs worked together between 1978 and 1981, releasing such indie successes as (GI), (MIA) and What We Do Is Secret. Smear went on to work with 45 Grave, the Adolescents, the Holez, Nina Hagen and Belinda Carlisle, who'd been a sometime member of the Germs.
Smear was in between projects when Nirvana asked him to come in as a
rhythm guitarist before the recording of their In Utero release. He
toured with the band and performed with them on Unplugged before
frontman Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. When Grohl asked him to join his new
outfit, the Foo Fighters -- named after a German Air Force code word for
unexplained aircraft -- he agreed. That band also included original drummer
William Goldsmith (who was recently replaced by Taylor Hawkins) and bassist
Nate Mendel, both of whom were recruited from Sunny Day Real Estate.
The Foo Fighters have since released two albums. Their self-titled debut,
which appeared in 1995, includes singles such as "This is a Call" and "Big Me"
(whose video mimicked Mentos ads, won awards for its cleverness and has
since inspired fans to throw Mentos at the band during live shows). Their
latest album, The Colour and the Shape, was released earlier this
year. Although Smear's swishy style and flair for outlandish clothing has
drawn questions about his sexuality, he maintains his heterosexuality with a
Other birthdays: Jennifer Finch, Richard Huxley (Dave Clark Five), Sammi
Smith, Rick Derringer (McCoys), Gregory Leskiw (Guess Who), Phillip Bailey
(Earth, Wind & Fire), Samantha Sang, Pete Burns (Dead Or Alive) and Calvin
Hayes (Johnny Hates Jazz).