It was February 1989 when my friend my best friend Bill and I discovered GG ALLIN, at the long gone *(but once notorious and cherished punk rock record shop) Now & Then Records, hidden away in the rurals of New Hope, PA. We were both 16, forever perusing underground musics, back when it was a constant hunt for new and different sounds that required travel, mix tapes, and word of mouth.
Walking into Now & Then that particular day, we saw this cassette, put out by R.O.I.R. Int’l Records, by someone we’d never heard of, GG ALLIN, simply titled “Hated In The Nation.” The cover was a pic of a horribly tattoo’d individual *(who just so happened to bear a striking resemblance our friend’s dad, Chabo – – – one of the main reasons we bought the album), looking like the shadiest fukker on the planet, the album’s title, and a big sticker stating NOT FOR SALE TO PERSONS UNDER 18 on it. There weren’t even song titles listed on the back of the cassette. What the hell were we buying?
With no guff from the obviously stoned *(it was also a head shop) store owner/clerk, happy just to make another sale, we gleefully put our monies together and bought the album. On the way home we mock-bickered about who was going to listen to it first. It was decided eventually that Bill would get to hear it that night, and by myself in a couple days. Fair enough, I figured.
Roundabouts 9pm that very same night, a Sunday, Bill called me in a manic hysteria, telling me I HAD to hear this, that he was making me a copy right now. He said something along the lines of “Fukk THE MENTORS, THIS is what we’ve been waiting to hear.”
That night I barely slept, with an almost Christmas morning-to-a-child-like anticipation coursing through my mind as to receiving my copy of this mysterious album. *(Hey, punk rock and it’s out-webbing, related genres, saved my life in those horrible years of home and high school hell – – – and still occasionally do – – – so this was a big fukking deal to me.)
Monday slowly came, a gray day, and I slothed my fat teenage ass into school, one of my mix tapes in my walkman, cranked to full volume to block out the shitty world of mid-adolescence around me and be left alone and adrift in my own thoughts and ideas. Until I saw our small outside-of-the-outsiders collective, this morning by my locker. Bill presented me with GG cassette, saying only “GG ALLIN is GOD!” *(a statement I’d far better understand after listening to the album). I put it immediately into my walkman, as at the next available opportunity planned on listening to it. The bell rang, and we each dispersed to our homerooms.
At 11am, we were let out of school early for the day, due to an unexpected and quite volatile snowstorm that erupted from seemingly out of nowhere, dropping 3 inches of snow in those two and a half hours between 8:30am and leaving. On the player went as I boarded the bus. Then I decided to wait, as the bus was too loud to cut through the cheap headphones and cheaper recording quality. Once home, I found out school had been cancelled for the next day as well, so decided to go for a shin-deep snow shuffle to the video store and grab a couple flicks. Walkman buried deep in coat pocket, I hit play, and within the length of time it took to walk in that storm and to the video store, heard pretty much the entire album. It was a genuinely transformative experience. Not only were these songs really funny, and gloriously offensive, but contained a bizarre element of – – – something I could identify with, even though I’d never touched a drug or gotten laid, but HAD dealt with many an asshole.
Beyond the sordid lyrics that ranged from twisted sexuality and the inherent self-loathing, violence and anger presented in the music alone, hid something more intelligent; words spoken to how I felt at the time. It wasn’t just buried between the lines of the bitter lyrics, but was present even in the music and mostly dreadful *(but still awesome) recording quality, in the strange bits from live performances that connected the songs on the infamous compilation *(“Hated In The Nation” is the album most GG fans of my age discovered him through). After grabbing some films, while walking home, I listened to it a second time, taking my time in the thrust of the midwinter blizzard. By the time I had gotten home, I was hooked. “GG ALLIN is GOD!” suddenly made sense, as not only is it a clip from the album, but this man indeed seemed to be the “last true rock n roller left in the world.”
Our entire crew was hooked, and Bill and I sought out every piece of GG material or info that we could. Between the two of us, we managed to find every vinyl and cassette there was available. The variances in sound and subject matter, a bizarre downward and nihilistic slide through a quite painful tunnel into hell in presentation, recording quality, image and subject matter. GG ALLIN stood almost as a Martyr of the pain and suffering we all felt inside, externalized in a way only one human being could: Himself.
We wrote to him in prison, not expecting a response. A month later we got an extremely long, yet coherent and polite letter of thanks in return, as well as a huge xeroxed booklet he had compiled, like a book, of artwork, newspaper articles, poetry, photos, and various other miscellania about the history of his career to that point. We didn’t even ask! Was this really from the shit-flinging punk monster of obscenity and sleaze and violence, almost entirely hated by his own community, and I believe, deeply misunderstood as well? Indeed it was. *(Bill’s kept it all safely sealed in a bag, hiding amongst his vast collections of things ranging from those days of yore to the present.) Since then I’ve wondered, especially after the 1993 TODD PHILLIPS documentary “Hated,” and after having spoken to a number of people over the years who’d known him in some way personally – – – what was he really like? Who was GG ALLIN? For after prison and until his death June 28th, 1993, his entire being had changed, physically, mentally, there now being a self-described “mission” to his music, a well-focused method to his madness.
GG was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29th, 1956. His nickname “GG” came from his younger brother Merle’s mispronunciation of “Jesus” (being “JeJe”) when learning to speak. His mother had his name legally changed to Kevin Michael Allin after she divorced his father (an abusive monster who planned on killing the family at one point, going so far as to dig several graves in their dirt basement, and proceeding to show them said graves – – – and that’s merely a light touch of the abuse the family suffered) on March 2nd, 1963, just before he entered school, to avoid him bullying and taunts. However, his life was still hell. Being poor, as well as highly creative and strongly willed and just different, still led to regular abuse from peers. His crossdressing in high school didn’t help that one bit, I’m fairly certain, either.
But he’d found a home, discovered a safe place within the arms of rock-n-roll and outsider country, some of his favorites being ALICE COOPER, ROLLING STONES, HANK WILLIAMS, SR., IGGY & THE STOOGES, DAVID ALLEN COE, NEW YORK DOLLS, etc., teaching himself, quite competently, several instruments including drums, bass, and guitar.
Being the drummer for and co-founder of the band MALPRACTICE *(1975-1977, released one great single) was the spark that ignited his crawl up, then rapidly down, his notoriously grimy scumfuc gutter lifestyle, as he fukked, drank, performed and drugged his life away, leaving a bizarre trail of creativity, brilliance, blood, filth, shit, and madness in his 18 year wake.
The list of bands he played with is immense, and I’ll mention some later. But he really had the most commercial (though far from mainstream) success with his first fronting act, THE JABBERS (1977-1984). Produced/managed at one point by classic rock-n-roll vocalist Genya Ravan, all had turned away by 1984, GG’s behavior becoming ever more violent, hateful, vicious, and unpredictable. A shame, too, because there was genuinely something special with THE JABBERS. After that he put out the LIVE FAST/DIE FAST ep solo, then did several eps and and an lp with *(my personal favorite of all his bands) THE SCUMFUCS. Pure filth, they existed in various incarnations from 1982-85. Even that constantly rotating door of a line-up couldn’t take the bloodshed and brutality, drug use, chaotic lifestyle, and general losing-of-mind.
Hey, did you know GG also had a wife? And a daughter? He married girlfriend Sandra Farrow in 1981, divorcing in 1986. His daughter he had with some teenage groupie while on the road in the mid-80’s. His daughter’s name is Nico, and she’s had no relationship with her father, ever, in fact making the *(most likely wisest) decision to distance herself altogether. From 1986 on, *(note after the divorce and the kid) he began to sink to the lowest of his depths yet. The self-destruction of his onstage antics was growing in intensity, along with his rampant heroin addiction and alcoholism. His live performances lasted 5-15 minutes on average, between the blood, fights, equipment damage, and in Chicago, 1985, the introduction of onstage defecation and coprophilic acts to the show. *(Unfortunately, this is what he’s most known for.) His mind was gone. He released 3 more lp’s (each worse than the one before it), and a multitude of singles, and was also doing spoken-word performances *(that often exploded out of control, not unlike his musical performances), as well as starting to release solo, outlaw-country infused acoustic eps. He fukked a roadkill cat onstage *(it’s real, I’ve seen the footage, it’s on youtube if you feel compelled to watch) which some idiot audience member snuck into the weird gig. He was beyond a mess by this point, living off of his record sales (which were more than you’d think, even then, due to the 1987 “Hated In The Nation” compilation, but still barely enough money to survive). He just chose to live like a complete animal, usually spending what little money he made on drugs and sex, often sharing with those around him at the time. Genuinely living as he sang, singing as he lived, everything he owned in a paper bag, GG troubadour’d himself troublesomely from place to place, town to town, eventually ending up in Ann Arbor, Michigan by 1989.
It was at this point he wrote to Maximum Rocknroll Magazine (who loathed him), telling them he was going to commit suicide on stage on Halloween, taking as many fans out with him as he could. However, this would never come to pass, for he managed to be in prison every Halloween night from the time he made the statement until his “accidental death from overdose” on June 28th, 1993 *(I’ve always believed it a suicide – – – his show was different than others that day, the vibe, his actions of unbridled rage – – – toward himself and others – – – that started a four square block riot.)
He was incarcerated from December 25th, 1989 until March 26th, 1991, for “assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder” to a groupie acquaintance, who decided to party with the band, along with a whole selection of other selected cretins, for three days, but wanted GG for herself. She was some kind of professional, as in lawyer’s assistant or something, and I believe willingly participated in what took place over that three day period, then later felt “ashamed” by her actions. Her report contained a number of inconsistencies, as did her recollection and telling of said assault in court. So many so, in fact, that the judge even questioned her accusations of cutting, blood drinking, drug use, and whacked kinky sex. This is when GG had his psychological examination, determining him sane and competent for trial, even cooperative and courteous. However, psychiatrists did note a mixed bag of personality disorders and chemical dependency.
Prison essentially snapped GG quickly from one world to another. It gave him time to think, to contemplate, to stew over his *(most likely false) incarceration. He developed a “mission,” often claiming his mind the machine gun, his body the bullets, and his audience the targets. Now with an evermore nihilistic worldview, once on probation, he recorded an album consisting of ten songs preceded with ten of GG’s spoken word pieces with ANTISEEN. He then formed the MURDER JUNKIES with brother Merle, during a strange period of appearing on several different daytime talk shows including Jane Whitney, Jerry Springer, and Geraldo Rivera, among others, giving him a level of *(quite negative) mainstream exposure to which I’m not so sure he wanted at the time. But those appearances did work to serve his purposes to a degree, often with his seventeen year old girlfriend Liz Mankowski by his side. Only they served him in the wrong way, drawing the wrong fans.
The differently erratic behavior of his final performance bears testimony to the fact that something was off. If you’re a GG fan you’ll notice it. Things were different somehow, and his lunacy sluiced out onto the streets. A brigade of punk kids followed him everywhere he went, when he just wanted, needed escape. The man had lived a long, hard life in his 36 years on this planet. He’d been preaching suicide for quite some time, and did in fact have a belief system (largely made up of satanic/luciferian ideals), believing suicide should only be committed once one had reached their peak – – – go out at the top, so to speak.
With the documentary completed, the many appearances on daytime trash t.v., having a huge musical legacy left behind that spanned several different genres, having several long running heavy warrants out on his ass (one for skipping probation and leaving the state of Michigan, in order to tour for the documentary), and that final performance happening in the ugliest manner a show possibly could (even for him) – – – maybe he just felt it was time. Maybe he never got over his divorce, and the kid, as that’s when his full-on spiral down the toilet really took hold.
He’s often been chided for never cramming a stick of dynamite in his ass and jumping into the crowd, as he’d promised for so long. But he also once said “With GG ALLIN you get what you deserve, not what you expect.” Perhaps we did not deserve the spectacularly planned take out he’d been promising for so long *(and in all reality, thankfully so – – – maybe?). The idiots attending that final show proving to him that he’d “peaked,” and it was no longer any fun, as they treated him like the novelty act he really never was. He was going to make damn sure his “mission” went with him – – – unexpectedly, and in a manner as offensive to as many people as possible, fans or not. The message wasn’t getting through, and perhaps he did what he felt was right. He found a way in which to solve the issue, I’m sure being a constant, searing war in his head. His ragged soul was perpetually alone. And even all of this is barely half the story. There’s so much more, it’s worth checking out.
So he had one final shindig with girl, band and buddies, and quietly, calmly slid out the side door, into that next plane he’d so long been preparing for. I certainly hope he found that place. As stated above, I’ve never believed it an accident. Rest In Chaos, GG. “Live Fast, Die.”
Most likely not fully complete list of bands GG played in: solo, Malpractice, Stripsearch, The Jabbers, The Motor City Bad Boys (aka: MC2), The Scumfucs, The Texas Nazis, The Primates, The Cedar Street Sluts, The Holymen, The AIDS Brigade (with brother Merle), Bloody F. Mess, The Disappointments, Bulge, The Toilet Rockers, David Peel, J. Mascis, Murder Junkies, Criminal Quartet, Carolina Shitkickers, THE Murder Junkies, Southern Baptists, Shrinkwrap.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email firstname.lastname@example.org