"If Allin was an insect he would not only be a dung beetle, he would be the dung beetle the other dung beetles avoided."
-Anonymous Music Critic
From the late 1970's until his death in 1993, the name of G.G. Allin stood high above the rest in the arena of shock rock. The victim of a traumatic childhood and the proud owner of a split personality, G.G.'s mission in life was to bring back the danger that modern rock so sorely lacked. Although his chaotic stage act and nauseating lyrics were too repulsive to be taken seriously by most sane people, the troubled troubador swore that his antics were an attempt to do one thing: tear down rock n' roll as it stood and rebuild it in the image of G.G. Allin.
G.G. Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29th, 1956, in Lancaster, New Hampshire, USA. As his name might suggest, the eldest Allin child was the son of religious fanatics. Convinced that the end of the world was at hand, the boy's father forced his family to live in a two-room cabin with no electricity or running water and enforced strange rules, like forbidding all conversation after dark. Constantly threatening to commit suicide and take the family with him, Mr. Allin went so far as to dig graves for himself, his wife, and his two sons. For any child to spend his formative years in a family situation as rotten as this one would be devastating. G.G. was no exception.
Shortly before G.G. started high school, his mother had her eldest son's name legally changed to Kevin Michael Allin. Several years later, she abandoned her psychotic husband. Upon entering high school, young Kevin was relegated to classes for slow students and found it difficult to make friends. Although he tended to be polite and fairly quiet in school, Kevin often found himself at odds with school authorities for offenses like wearing drag to class. Free from the fanatical constraints of his father, Kevin was exposed to rock n' roll for the first time while in his teens. Wanting to be a part of the new sound he had discovered, Kevin became a proficient drummer while his younger brother Merle tried his hand at bass and later, guitar. Kevin had gone by the nickname of "G.G." for years and began using the initials as a stage persona. (As a young child, Merle's word for "Jesus" was "Jee-Jee", and the name stuck). The Allin brothers formed several bands while still in high school and later had some local success with the Jabbers, a group fronted by G.G. that gained a small following in the New Hampshire bar circuit.
As the 1970's came to a close, G.G. discovered punk rock and the lyrics he wrote for the Jabbers made a sudden nosedive. Harmless, mundane songs like "1980's Rock n' Roll" quickly gave way to the violent sexuality of tunes like "Expose Yourself to Kids" and lyrical gross-outs like "You Scum, Eat My Diarrhea." The bizarre imagery of the music the Jabbers were recording slowly seeped into their stage show, and by the mid-1980's G.G.'s onstage behavior was becoming nearly as vile as his lyrics. While most of his early antics were along the lines of the stunts pulled by Iggy Pop in his Stooges days, G.G.'s act became progressively worse.
"...The cops are always at my shows, and there'll be like eight paddy wagons. I go, 'You don't send this many cops to a murder scene,' and the cop says, 'Ah, we get murders every day. This is a lot more interesting.'"
-G.G. Allin, 1991 interview
G.G. Allin's concerts quickly became spectacles that were feared by the hardest of the hardcore. While most rock stars will get wasted before or after a show, G.G. would often partake of various drugs during a set, with heroin and pills being his perennial favorites. His superhuman drug habit, combined with the fact that he was usually stinking drunk, would make for a very interesting show. Bored by normal sex, G.G. would employ prostitutes or fans to engage in all sorts of sickening carnal acts during concerts. One popular stunt involved a woman urinating into G.G.'s mouth while he continued to sing. The audience was never safe from the onstage circus. Anyone in the crowd during a "good" G.G. Allin show was subjected to showers of urine, blood, vomit, and feces, the latter of which the singer would often eat before chucking it into the crowd. Quite a few shows ended with full-blown riots, and G.G. was arrested on many occasions for assaulting fans. When not thrashing his listeners, G.G. would mutilate himself with broken bottles, torn aluminum cans, and any other sharp or blunt objects he could throw himself into. Most photos of G.G. in his heyday depict the singer wearing a jock strap (or less) and screaming into a microphone, covered with blood and his own filth.
For obvious reasons, G.G.'s musical terrorism quickly gained him a following in the punk underground. G.G. was seen by many as being rock n' roll's savior, the only punk rocker bad enough to follow through with the awful lyrics he constantly churned out. For even more obvious reasons, a set from G.G. and his band rarely lasted more than half an hour before being cut short by the club owner or (more often) the arrival of the local police, summoned to haul G.G. away on charges of obscenity, assault, or both.
During his career, G.G. was a member of many different bands and recorded 18 different albums under various monikers. While the lineups and names of each band were constantly in a state of flux, Merle Allin was almost always present on guitar or bass. Over the years, G.G. toured and recorded with the Texas Nazis, the Cedar Street Sluts, the Drug Whores, Sewer Scum, Afterbirth, Psycho, the Disappointments, Malpractice, the AIDS Brigade, Bulge, the Holy Men, and the Toilet Rockers. With a few exceptions, none of these groups lasted long enough to lay down more than an EP or two and play a few riotous shows at bars and small clubs. (The Jabbers and the Murder Junkies, the first and last bands that G.G. graced with his presence, are still together today.) Despite his reputation as the most disgusting man alive, there was a never a shortage of musicians eager to record with G.G. Dee Dee Ramone, Thurston Moore, and Wayne Kramer filled out an impressive roster of rock luminaries that lined up to collaborate with the singer.
"My mind is a machine gun, my body the bullets, and the target is the audience."
By the late 1980's, what little musical credibility G.G. Allin once had was slowly slipping away. While G.G.'s snotty, nasal voice was once a perfect fit for his bizarre brand of punk rock, years of drugs and alcohol left his vocal cords in tatters. Not that it mattered much anyway; nobody actually went to G.G. Allin shows to hear the music, but rather to see G.G.'s constant onstage degradation. Around this time, it seemed that G.G. began to believe in the dark lyrics he had once penned only for shock value. G.G. was homeless most of the time, living with fans and friends on tour stops and owning little more than the clothes he wore. His lyrical rants became increasingly heavy-handed and disjointed, leading many people to believe that G.G. was desperate for attention rather than credibility. G.G. responded to his critics by constantly upping the ante, taking his concerts to new levels of debauchery. However, it was difficult for the public to take seriously a man whose modus operandi involved throwing turds at people.
LIVE FAST DIE
-Tattoo on G.G. Allin's chest
Although G.G. was arrested over 50 times in his career, a 1991 arrest for a parole violation (and outstanding warrants in seven states besides) was the only one that led to serious jail time. In 1991, G.G. was sentenced to a 3-year term in Michigan's Jackson State Penitentiary. While behind bars, he wrote "The G.G. Allin Manifesto", a rambling mission statement that laid out his plans to "take back rock n' roll." The ham-fisted language of his mission statement was just another reason for most people to dismiss G.G.'s antics out of hand. The "plans" in the manifesto appear to be little more than a plea for the reader to buy as many of the imprisoned rocker's albums as possible, all in the name of proliferating the "true rock n' roll mission." It was in this manifesto that G.G. reiterated his famous claim that he would commit suicide onstage during a future show. Nobody was impressed. Released from prison in 1993, G.G. quickly rejoined the Murder Junkies and mounted what would prove to be their last tour.
Although G.G. never carried out his promises to take his own life onstage, he came remarkably close. On June 27th, 1993, G.G. and the Murder Junkies were playing a typically chaotic set at the Gas Station, a club in New York's East Village. Like hundreds before it, this concert was cut short by the arrival of the NYPD, called out to quell the rising mob outside the club. Totally naked and floored on heroin, G.G. assaulted several fans while fleeing from the police on foot. Laying low in a friend's nearby apartment, G.G. guzzled booze and shot up with an especially large dose of heroin. The following morning, G.G. was found dead of an obvious overdose at the age of 36.
For my mission ends in termination, vicinity of death.
-G.G. Allin's headstone
According to those in attendance, G.G.'s funeral was every bit as colorful as his life. Writing for Abuse magazine, Joe Coughlin recalls:
The band's drummer was drawing on GG's leg with a magic marker. The body was dressed in his leather jacket and a jockstrap that said "Eat Me". He held a microphone in one hand and a jug of Jim Beam in the other. Everyone was hammered. When the beer ran out, people wrenched the jug from his arms to swig from it. GG looked like hell. ...One girl put her underwear on his face. Other people were putting stickers on the casket, pushing pills and liquor into GG's mouth, having their smiling pictures taken up by his face...most common phrase of the night had to be, "He woulda' wanted it this way."
G.G. Allin is buried beneath an elaborate tombstone in Littletown, New Hampshire. Even today, fans flock to the gravesite to pay homage, often leaving cigarettes, Jim Beam whiskey, flowers, and poop around the grave. Chad Ginsburg, guitarist for metal group CKY, once paid his respects to his idol by consuming a whole fifth of Jim Beam and urinating on G.G's headstone. (This bizarre tribute and Ginsburg's subsequent drunken stupor are recorded on Bam Margera's CKY 4 video.) While his gruesome lyrics and over the top stage act led most people to ignore G.G. Allin's music during his lifetime, he maintains a large fan base today. While G.G.'s legacy teeters on the fine line between legend and obscurity, he will always occupy a unique niche in music history. It will always be debated whether his excessive lifestyle was sincere or not, but G.G. Allin will continue to be remembered as the ultimate purveyor of shocking schlock rock.
Perhaps the rocker himself summed it up best. G.G. was once asked how he hoped to be remembered and responded with a statement as broad as his reputation:
"The ultimate adventurous, chaotic, dangerous, destructive, violent, challenging, death defying, rock n' roll terrorist. Lived and died for the real rock n' roll mission."