By Melissa Fossum
By Lauren Wise
By New Times
By Amanda Savage
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Troy Farah
By New Times
---GG Allin on Geraldo, 1993
There is a photograph of punk aberration GG Allin taken two years ago, shortly after he accidentally overdosed on a mixture of heroin and alcohol at the age of 36. Allin is laid out in an open coffin, the members of his band, the Murder Junkies, are grouped around their fallen leader. But, as in life, it's GG who holds your attention. His discolored, misshapen head is shaved, and he is dressed to meet his maker in a black leather motorcycle jacket and a jockstrap. He is clutching a half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's and a microphone, and there are Walkman headphones on his head.
But the 4-year-old Murder Junkies did not die (as most fans suspected, and some critics hoped) along with GG. Led by Allin's older, bass-playing brother Merle--a man with dome and eyebrows shaved clean, massive black sideburns, a brushy Hitler mustache and more tattoos than naked flesh--the Junkies have recently hired a new vocalist and are concentrating on being a "band" instead of death-punk sidekicks to the shit-smeared freak show that was GG.
"It took us this long to find the right singer because we wanted to find someone who had his own identity and his own way, not someone who just wanted to imitate GG," says polite, mild Merle from his east-side New York apartment. "But we still wanted someone who had the same lyrical ideas and content."
That someone is named Mike, but don't tax Merle about the guy's last name. "Oh, boy . . . I don't know, we just call him Mike Denied because he was in a hard-core band called the Denied."
And let it be said for the record that Mike does not imitate GG. To imitate GG, you would have to be willing to do the following: Get up onstage naked, go poop, eat it, smear it on your person and/or fling it into the crowd. Violently attack audience members, slice up your chest ("My skin is like paper!" yelled a blade-wielding, gung ho GG in midgash at one performance), and repeatedly slam a microphone into your mouth until several front teeth fall out. Plus, assault officers of the law, incite fans to riot, masturbate, vomit and stick things like bananas up your butt while singing songs like "Raw, Brutal, Rough & Bloody," "Shove That Warrant Up Your Ass," "Legalize Murder" and "I Kill Everything I Fuck."
And that's just some of the stuff ol' Geeg would do onstage.
"You couldn't imagine going to a rock 'n' roll show and seeing what you would see at a GG Allin show," marvels brother Merle. "You couldn't imagine that could ever happen onstage. The atmosphere was so thick with people being frightened, it was amazing. You can't even put it into words, you just had to experience it."
Now that GG has an exclusive, long-term engagement six feet under, experiencing the Murder Junkies will have to suffice. Which is not to say that a Junkies show is like watching Lawrence Welk. Though maybe if Lawrence pelted his audience with feces . . . nah.
The Junkies bring an undeniable panache to each and every performance; as he fields questions on the phone, Merle is packing up his unique headgear for the road: a Roman gladiator helmet with used tampons hanging from it. "I'm bringing an updated version of it," he admits. "More tampons, and the bloodier the better. I have another helmet that I'm not sure I can bring with me. It's the same type of helmet, but it has syringes on it--it's like syringes on a Mohawk, and I'm not sure that's something I want to get stopped with in the middle of Mississippi."
And then there's the band's drummer, Dino Sex. In hopes of spiritual empowerment, he ritually surrounds his drum kit with copies of Playboy, Elle and Vogue, any magazines featuring beautiful women on the cover. Sex is also fond of performing naked, and has been known to cap exceptional performances by wedging the drum sticks into his rectum. Merle describes Dino as "the crazy member" of the group.
"He's insane, and I mean that. Our drummer is totally fucking insane. Literally. And it's not a game or a joke; he's crazy," Merle clarifies flatly. "He's difficult to deal with at times. But he's a great drummer; he's totally dedicated to the band. Those are his good points. The bad points are, sometimes you have to treat him like a fucking kid."
The band is rounded out by guitarist William Gilmore Weber III. Interband relations between the four Junkies make the allegedly volatile Who seem like simpering, bitchy hairdressers. "We fight all the time," admits Merle. "We just fight constantly, but we have that one strong bond as far as the music goes; that's why we've stayed together for four years now. And most of GG's bands didn't last that long. He wore 'em out; they couldn't deal with being on the road with him."