By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
The Junkies--bonded by the common love of music--are gearing up for their first national tour without GG, backing the newly issued Brutality & Bloodshed for All CD. The 15 cuts are Allin's swan song, recorded just prior to the man's demise. Though it's just one of dozens of GG releases over the last decade, B&BFA is perhaps the most cohesive, pro-sounding effort the band ever recorded. They had plenty of time to organize the project, says Merle. The Junkies honed the wall-of-speed-punk music while GG wrote lyrics during a two-year stretch in prison. "It really made a difference in the way things sound," acknowledges Merle. "It's almost shocking!"
What was GG in the slammer for? That's a tough one. "Let's see, what was it. . . . Intent to commit bodily harm or something like that," offers Merle. "He basically carved some woman up and burned her when they were having rough sex. GG's idea of rough sex is a little different from someone else's, maybe." It'll be a long time, if ever, before the Junkies are disassociated from the specter of GG; to know the band, you have to know the man. But was Allin a talentless, pathetic waste of flesh? A criminal wanna-be influenced by smack and booze carrying too much Mansonite baggage? According to ex-Murder Junkie guitarist Chicken John, "The biggest losers on the planet seem to flock to him like a magnet. GG was bullshit." Some see it differently. Legendary rock entrepreneur Kim Fowley has written that "GG Allin is the last of the wild ones. A vanishing American who fought alone on the frontier of change . . . like Amy Fisher, like Charles Manson, like the Birdman of Alcatraz, GG Allin was cast into the dark. But he saw the light."
Then there is another point of view, probably the one closest to the mark, rendered by a fan interviewed in director Todd Phillips' consuming Allin documentary, Hated. "A lot of people get scared at a GG Allin show, but the thing is, that's why you're there. To me that's comedy. As long as he's not jumpin' on my ass, as long as he's beatin' up other people, throwin' shit at others, I'm happy."
Yes! Like Evel Knievel, line dancing and Barney & Friends, GG Allin was pure entertainment. Not for everybody, of course, but there's no denying that the man was not afraid to really go for it; when showtime rolled around, Allin had no problems with letting the chips fall where they may. Yet, by all accounts, the New Hampshire native was a truly disturbed individual. As his brother puts it, "He just hated everything and everybody." That depth of human emotion won't get you into med school, but it can certainly make for some interesting theatre.
"On the road with GG? It was insane, it was no vacation, that's for sure," says Merle. "But, on the other hand, it was great, it was the most exciting tour you could ever want to do. Never knowing what was going to happen from show to show, that's what kept us all going. And not knowing how far the tour would go before GG would get arrested or end up in the hospital. Stuff like that."
Merle freely admits he had the best seat in the house at every Murder Junkies show: behind GG. Which makes good sense when you consider GG's poetic self-analysis. "My mind is a machine gun, my body the bullets, the audience the target."
But the man who brought audience participation to new levels had one final act his last dope-and-drinking spree canceled out. Since the late Eighties, GG had been threatening, boasting, promising that he would bring the curtain down with a bang; Allin would commit suicide onstage, live and in person. Explosives would be the means of dispatch, and more than a few of the crowd could probably count on waking up to find themselves dead, too. On successive Halloween nights from '89 on, GG spread the word that it would happen, but when the gigs rolled around, Allin was conveniently in prison. "We booked him to play on Halloween [in '92]," says Lisa White, manager of Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club, the venue that was supposed to host GG's last potential death gig. "He'd been in jail in Michigan and was on parole living at the YMCA, and his parole officer would not let him leave the state. We tried to assure the parole officer that we would be making every effort to protect GG from himself and protect the audience from him, but, basically, the parole officer wasn't having any of it."
Despite the buildup, White says she never bought the suicide routine. "No, absolutely not. If I thought for one minute that he was really going to do that, I would have refused to participate in any activity to book him. That's obviously wrong, and I certainly wouldn't want GG's ghost running around in this place, anyway."
Merle, however, scoffs at the idea that the death threats were another from GG's fecal bag of tricks. "I knew he would do it at some point," states the bassist. "Basically, when he went back to prison, he cleaned up his head and realized he had a lot more things to accomplish. He wasn't going to do it until he had pretty much peaked and didn't have anything else to say or do. It probably would have happened in the next couple of years, but I know he would have done it. And he would have ended up killing a lot of people too. Oh, sure."