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Pat Smear (born Georg Ruthenberg on August 5, 1959), is a U.S. rock guitarist who has been a regular member of several well-known bands, albeit of different subgenres: The Germs, Nirvana and Foo Fighters. He is also known as an actor and for co-hosting the MTV fashion show House of Style with friend and supermodel Cindy Crawford.Read More...
He was born and raised in West Los Angeles, California. He was born to an African-American/Native American mother and a German/Jewish immigrant father. As a teenager in 1972, Smear met Darby Crash and together they formed The Germs with bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Dottie Danger (the pseudonym of Belinda Carlisle who went on to front The Go-Gos). Smear renamed himself after learning about pap smears in high school, claiming they were the most disgusting thing he had ever heard of.
Carlisle was soon replaced by Don Bolles and, in 1979, the band released their first album, GI. Produced by Joan Jett, the record is now defined as a milestone in the history of punk rock. The Germs endured for one more chaotic year before finally disbanding in 1980 after Crash committed suicide.
Pat would go on to play with Nina Hagen, and make two solo albums of his own; So You Fell In Love With A Musician and Ruthensmear. He also appeared in TV shows such as CHiPs and movies including Blade Runner and Breakin'. While working on Breakin', Smear became friends with Courtney Love. In 1993 he received a call from her husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, asking him to join his band. Pat accepted immediately and played his first show with Nirvana on Saturday Night Live on September 25, 1993. Smear primarily played Hagström guitars during his stint in Nirvana. He toured with Nirvana for about six months before Cobain died on April 1994, and also appeared on their album MTV Unplugged in New York.
Following the end of Nirvana, drummer Dave Grohl was beginning to form his own band, which would become known as Foo Fighters. Smear joined the group from its inception, but because the band's first album was a collection of demos recorded solely by Grohl, he wouldn't appear on a Foo Fighters album until 1997's The Colour and the Shape. Later that year, due to fatigue and some implied issues with bandleader Grohl (since resolved), Smear announced his departure from the group during a live performance atop Radio City Music Hall, right before that year's MTV Video Music Awards.
Since leaving the Foo Fighters, Smear has kept a fairly low profile, producing the band Harlow's debut album and making only scattered television appearances.
Most recently, he has been employed as a creative consultant in a motion picture about the Germs and Darby Crash, entitled What We Do Is Secret, after one of the band's best-known songs. It is slated to be released in 2007, and he is being depicted by the actor Rick Gonzalez.
In 2005 he began performing reunion shows with The Germs, with actor Shane West (who portrays Darby Crash in the film) filling in as lead vocalist.