Pat Smear (born George Ruthenberg, August 5, 1959), is a Jewish American guitarist who has been a regular member of several well-known bands including The Germs and Foo Fighters. He was first introduced to a wide audience as Nirvana's touring guitarist. He is also known for co-hosting the MTV fashion show House of Style with friend and supermodel Cindy Crawford.

Early life

He was born and raised in West Los Angeles. He was born to an African-American/Native American mother and a German/Jewish immigrant father. His parents forced him to take piano lessons at a young age, and a few years later, he began teaching himself to play guitar. He lists his influences as Joan Jett, Brian James, Brian May, Steve Jones, and Steven Huffstetter. As a teenager in 1972, Pat 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-Go's).

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 year before finally disbanding in 1980 after Darby Crash committed suicide. After The Germs, Smear had a brief stint as a member of punk band The Adolescents.


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. Around this time Pat received an offer to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers, replacing guitarist John Frusciante, (who had left the Chili Peppers). He said he would accept the offer if the band stopped playing funk, but the band didn't want to do that. While working on Breakin', Smear became friends with Courtney Love. In 1993, he received a call from her husband, Nirvana's frontman Kurt Cobain, asking him to join his band as a touring member. Pat thought that it was his friend, Carlos "Cake" Nunez playing a joke on him, but Love had told Pat few days prior that Cobain was going to call him. Pat accepted immediately and played his first show with Nirvana on Saturday Night Live on September 25, 1993. He toured with Nirvana for about six months, and also appeared on their album MTV Unplugged in New York. However Pat's time with Nirvana came to an end in April 1994 when Cobain died.

Following the end of Nirvana, drummer Dave Grohl was beginning to form his own band, which would become known as the 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, Smear did not appear on a Foo Fighters album until 1997's The Colour and the Shape. Later that year, Smear quit the band: he announced his departure during a live performance atop Radio City Music Hall (introducing his replacement Franz Stahl), right before that year's MTV Video Music Awards.

Recent activities

Since leaving the Foo Fighters, Smear kept a fairly low profile, producing the band Harlow's debut album and making 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. The film was released at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 23, 2007, and had a limited theatrical release in 2008. It is now available on DVD. In the film, he is depicted by 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.

In May 2006, the Foo Fighters announced they would play limited acoustic dates across North America. It was announced Smear would be one of the touring musicians aiding the band during the shows. He also appeared with them on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in September 2006 and on the same stage as Bob Dylan and The Eagles at Genentech's 30th Anniversary party. On October 21 and 22, 2006 he also joined the band for both days of the Bridge School Benefit Concert, hosted by Neil Young. In addition he is a featured musician on the Foo Fighters live album Skin and Bones. In August 2007, he appeared on stage with the Foo Fighters at the UK's V Festival, Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh and Marlay Park, Dublin, Ireland.

The previously unrecorded Germs song, "Golden Boys", which is on Smear's 1988 SST album Ruthensmear, originally appeared on the soundtrack of an early cut of the 2007 film Cthulhu, but the producers replaced it due to rights issues.

On Sunday, September 9, 2007, Smear joined the Foo Fighters for their MTV Music Video Awards party room show. Smear has been added to the band as a touring guitarist for their supporting tour of the album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Smear also is credited with playing guitar on the song "Let It Die" off the same album. On Saturday, October 13, 2007, Smear joined the Foo Fighters for an appearance on Saturday Night Live and also joined the Foo Fighters on stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards, confirming his return to the band.

He appeared with the band on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on November 9. He played both Foo Fighters dates at the O2 Arena, London on November 17 and 18 2007. On February 10, 2008 Smear also performed live with Foo Fighters at the 2008 Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS from a stage outside the Staple Center in Los Angeles. On January 23, 2008 on the first show for the Foo Fighters' "Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace" tour in Dallas, he performed several songs with the band, and on the February 20, 2008, he appeared on stage (with the whole touring band) when Foo Fighters played The Pretender on the Late Show with David Letterman.

On Monday, February 25 he performed for approximately half of the set list for the Foo Fighters at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL (a Chicago suburb). On Monday, March 3, 2008, Smear joined the Foo Fighters for the acoustic portion of their show at Cox Arena in San Diego, California. Despite urging by Grohl, though, Smear did not play a guitar solo during band introductions. On Thursday, March 6, 2008, Smear joined the Foo Fighters for all portions (acoustic/plugged) of their show at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Urged by Grohl, Smear did play a guitar solo (8-notes) during band introductions. Since then, he has played a solo whenever asked to by Dave.

He also played at the two concerts at Wembley stadium on 6th and 7th of June 2008. These concerts provide video for the "Foo Fighters Live at Wembley Stadium" DVD and Blu-Ray, which also featured special appearances by Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. On June 21, 2008 Smear performed live with Foo Fighters at the 2008 Hurricane Festival in Germany. He also appeared recently at the Foo Fighters private gig for the Bethesda's Fallout 3 game launch party in Los Angeles on Thursday 16 October 2008 at the LA Center Studios complex.

Smear once again joined the Foo Fighters on their tour which kicked off in Seattle, Washington on July 9, 2008. At the Virgin Mobile Festival at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, MD on August 9, 2008, Pat performed with the Foo Fighters even being introduced by Dave Grohl. Pat also performed with the Foo Fighters at the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 29, 2008 and, more recently, at President Obama's 2009 White House Fourth of July celebration.

Pat Smear appeared alongside Foo Fighters on the November 3, 2009 live broadcast of Later... with Jools Holland music show on the BBC Two channel in the UK.


With The Germs

  • Forming/Sexboy (live) 7", 1977, What? Records
  • Lexicon Devil 7" EP, 1978, Slash Records
  • (GI) LP, 1979, Slash Records
  • The Decline of Western Civilization Soundtrack (live tracks) LP, 1980, Slash Records
  • What We Do Is Secret (EP) 1981, Slash Records
  • Live At The Whisky, First Show Ever LP, 1981, Mohawk/Bomp Records
  • Germicide LP, 1985, ROIR
  • Germs (MIA) - The Complete Anthology LP, 1993, Slash/Rhino Records


  • Ruthensmear 1988, SST
  • So You Fell in Love with a Musician... 1992, SST

With Nirvana

  • MTV Unplugged in New York (1994) 5X Platinum
  • From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (1996) Platinum
  • Nirvana (2002) Platinum
  • With the Lights Out (2004) Platinum

With Mike Watt

  • Ball-Hog or Tugboat? (1995)

With Foo Fighters

  • The Colour and the Shape (1997) Platinum
  • Skin and Bones (2006)
  • Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007) Gold - Guitar on "Let It Die"

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Pat Smear. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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