Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$45 Million
Aug 5, 1959 (64 years old)
Los Angeles
Guitarist, Musician, Songwriter
United States of America
💰 Compare Pat Smear's Net Worth
Table of ContentsExpand
  1. Early Life
  2. Career
  3. Personal Life

What is Pat Smear's Net Worth?

Pat Smear is an American musician who has a net worth of $45 million. Pat Smear is best known for being the guitarist for the rock band Foo Fighters. He was also a founding member of the punk band Germs, and played with Nirvana.

Smear formed the Germs with Lorna Doom, Darby Crash, and Belinda Carlisle in 1977. Their debut album was produced by Joan Jett in 1979 and is looked at as a milestone for the history of punk rock music. Smear released the solo albums "Ruthensmear" in 1987 and "So You Fell in Love with a Musician…" in 1992. He played on the Nirvana albums "MTV Unplugged in New York," "From the Muddy banks of the Wishkah," "Nirvana," and "With the Lights Out." Smear has also played on many Foo Fighters albums. Pat was a member of Foo Fighters from 1994-1997, rejoined in 2005 then became a full-time member since 2010. In April 2014 he performed Nirvana songs when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Early Life

Pat Smear was born on August 5, 1959 in Los Angeles, California, and given the name Georg Albert Ruthenberg. His mother is of African-American and Native American descent, while his father is a German Jewish immigrant. At a young age, he began playing the piano and then taught himself the guitar a few years later. He was also raised in a religious household and considered himself religious before becoming a professional musician. When he was 13 years old, he left home to join a commune. He later attended Innovative Program School, an alternate school within University High School in Los Angeles. While there, he met Darby Crash, his future bandmate in the Germs. Both Smear and Crash were expelled from IPS due to concerns they were responsible for inciting unruly behavior among the students.


As a teenager in 1976, Smear and Crash formed the Germs along with bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Dottie Danger. At the time, Smear was the only band member who had any musical knowledge or proficiency. He had been listening to musicians like Joan Jett, Brian James, Brian May, Steven Jones, Steve Howe, and John McKay while becoming more and more proficient on the guitar. However, for much of his time playing with the Germs, he did not actually own his own guitar but rather just borrowed instruments from whomever he was playing with.

Danger was soon replaced by Don Bolles, and in 1979, the Germs released their first album, "GI." It was produced by Joan Jett. The album is now recorded by many as a milestone in the history of punk rock. Smear, in particular, has been highly praised for his guitar work on the record. The band appeared in the punk documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization" in 1981 by director Penelope Spheeris. By the time the documentary was released, the Germs had already broken up following the death of Crash in December of 1980.

After the Germs broke up, Smear then played in the band Twisted Roots. The short-lived band was very popular in the Hollywood punk scene. He would then go on to play with Nina Hagen and make two solo albums – "Ruthensmear" and "So You Fell in Love with a Musician." He also briefly played with the punk band the Adolescents and the deathrock band 45 Grave in 1981. Additionally, he tried his hand at acting around this time, landing various bit parts in shows and films like "Quincy, M.E.," "Blade Runner," and "Howard the Duck."

In 1993, Smear received a call from Nirvana's front man Kurt Cobain. Cobain asked Smear to join the band as a second guitarist for an upcoming tour. He accepted the gig immediately and played his first show with Nirvana on "Saturday Night Live" in September of that year. He then toured with Nirvana for six months. He can be heard playing on their live albums "MTV Unplugged in New York" and "From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah." He also contributed to material on the compilations "Nirvana" and "With the Lights Out."

Pat Smear

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

After Kurt Cobain died, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl formed a new band to support his self-titled album in 1994. This band would later become known as Foo Fighters. Smear joined the band from its inception. However, he does not appear on a Foo Fighters album until "The Colour and the Shape" in 1997 as all the earlier material had been recorded solely by Grohl. Shortly after the release of "The Colour and the Shape," Smear quit the band. He was exhausted from the band's relentless touring schedule. He announced his departure at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards where he played half of a set with the band before announcing his replacement, Franz Stahl, who then completed the rest of the set after Smear left.

Over the next decade, Smear kept a low profile after leaving Foo Fighters. He worked a bit as a producer for other bands and was employed as a creative consultant in a film about the Germs and Darby Crash called "What We Do Is Secret." In late 2005, Smear began performing select shows with Foo Fighters again. He continued to perform intermittently with the band over the next five years, often not playing an entire concert but joining for a few songs. He also joined the band on their live acoustic album, "Skin and Bones," in 2006. He is featured as a guest musician on the band's sixth studio album, "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace." He joined the band more fully for their seventh album, "Wasting Light." The album and its songs were nominated for five Grammy Awards and won Best Rock Album.

Smear continued working with Foo Fighters for their follow-up albums, "Sonic Highway" and "Concrete and Gold." Foo Fighters, including Smear, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October of 2021.

Personal Life

Smear has kept a low profile in comparison to many other musicians and public figures, and not much is known about his romantic life or family, as he has kept both out of the spotlight. According to the 2011 documentary, "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth," Smear was married at least one time and does have at least one child but little else is known about his personal life.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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