Lorna Doom, the bassist for legendary early Los Angeles punk outfit Germs and a striking figure described by her own family as “a woman of mystery,” succumbed to cancer this week, dying after a year-long illness in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at the age of 61.
Doom, born Teresa Ryan, died on Wednesday, and her passing was first revealed on Facebook by former Germs bandmate Don Bolles, who wrote, ““She left this mortal coil today around 1.”
Her family later issued a statement to the press confirming the death:
“Teresa Ryan a/k/a Lorna Doom was always a woman of mystery. So much so, that even in her final days as she fought a tough, year-long battle with cancer, very few people even knew she was ill. She kept a very close knit social circle, and those who knew her and loved her always respected her desire for privacy. When she finally lost her struggle with cancer at 12:50 pm yesterday, Wednesday January 16th, it came as a shock to many, as she had chosen to not burden others with what she was going through.”
Doom joined the nascent Germs in 1976, along with her best friend and future Go-Go Belinda Carlisle, who briefly filled the band’s drum seat. The lineup solidified behind Doom, frontman Darby Crash, guitarist Pat Smear and drummer Bolles. They’d release their only album, the Joan Jett-produced (GI), in 1979 — it was the first album released by Slash Records.
The Germs played a farewell show on Dec. 3, 1980, in Hollywood, with Crash reportedly telling the audience, “We did this show so you new people could see what it was like when we were around. You’re not going to see it again.” Four days later, Crash, aged 22, died by suicide.
Though Smear would go on to play in Nirvana and as a member of Foo Fighters, and Carlisle shot to stardom via The Go-Go’s and as a solo artist, Doom largely left music behind. The Germs, however, reunited in 2005 following the release of the biopic “What We Do is Secret.” Doom, Smear and Bolles performed concerts with actor Shane West, who played Crash in the movie, on vocals.
Below, see video clips of the Germs and reaction from friends and musicians.
yesterday i lost a part of me, my best friend in high school and partner in crime in the early punk scene, #LornaDoom or Teresa passed away…. she was a visionary and a trail blazer. she never compromised. RIP, terry. i’m sure you can feel the love ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ln2RQSTN47
— Belinda Carlisle (@belindaofficial) January 17, 2019
good people, I love LOVE germs bass lines… she was most kind w/me always… crimony, we lost sister lorna, crimony, a terrible blow… you can’t imagine the impact germs had on minutemen… pic.twitter.com/n9xX2J5dN5
— mike watt (@wattfrompedro) January 17, 2019
We are all very sad to learn of the passing of Lorna Doom (born Teresa Ryan), of The Germs, a beloved member of the @_blackheart family. Lorna was a beautiful, talented, sweet soul, and we love her and will miss her. – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts // Blackheart
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) January 19, 2019
1981 song “White Girl” by Los Angeles punk band X. Song written about Lorna Doom of fellow L.A. punk band the Germs. Produced by Ray Manzarek. From the band’s stellar second album, Wild Gift. https://t.co/V5SVSxtoQG
— Sean Walters (@sean_write) January 10, 2019
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I love Lorna Doom so much. I can’t count the times I lay on the floor listening to her play, imagining her rocking out, laying it down in her inimitable way. I always wanted to meet her and never got to, but I feel a bond with her anyways. I admire her always and she is a part of who I am. R.I.P. broken through to the other side Lorna Doom. ❤️❤️❤️
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