The sneering nihilism and excesses of the punk rock movement has led to it being hijacked by talentless bozos in spikes and leather. For many, being a punk is the perfect excuse to act like a total jeb end. Case in point: GG Allin. This documentary on one of the most infamous of all death rock icons has very little to offer the viewers beyond the sordid spectacle of Allin’s on-stage antics. He was simply a one-trick-pony with no substance to him, apart from the arse-paste substance he would fling at his audience. The film stands as a downbeat and depressing look at an army of misguided souls, with the director documenting everything along the way. Beyond the fact that this film ultimately reveals just how boring and pathetic Allin really was, perhaps the most surprising aspect is that director Todd Phillips went on to forge a career in Hollywood, bombarding HIS audience with such rancid cinematic bowel movements as Road Trip and Starsky And Hutch.
Allin had just been released from prison after serving a three year stretch for assaulting a woman at one of his shows. Apparently, he deemed it acceptable to stub out a cigarette on her head before throwing her across a table. Quite early on, it’s clear to see that Allin was worn-out and troubled; one of the main focal points of his act was violence, against both his audience and his self. And this served as nothing more than a crushing treadmill offering zero progress. It’s ironic that GG posed no menace to anyone beyond his little group of fans, a fact he seemed completely oblivious about when he insisted in interviews that society was afraid of him.
After an interview segment with GG’s guitarist brother, Merle (who sports a Hitler ‘tache and claims to have psychic links with the Lunachicks), and Dino the naked drummer, we cut to footage of a naked Allin running through a crowd, punching people in the face indiscriminately with reckless abandon. There is also footage of GG from 1988 giving a speech in a tiny hall. Back then, he had long, straggly hair, a bushy beard, and his face was partly concealed by the silly hat he wore. Remember the scene in Nick Broomfield’s documentary, Aileen – Life and Death of a Serial Killer, in which Aileen Wuornos went on a rant before she was executed, her eyes bulging with psychotic rage? Well, the 1988 footage shows Allin in a similar intense mood.
He reads from a newspaper article which ridiculed him for saying he would commit suicide in October 1990. Someone in the audience shouts “Why don’t you kill yourself sooner?” Allin replies, “Why don’t I kill myself sooner? Because it would please you too much, you f*cking cunt.” He then invites the heckler on stage to say it to his face. Moments later, a crazy-eyed she-beast approaches him and repeats her question. So, GG drags her by the hair and rams her head into the wall. Two men come to her rescue, and one of them punches Allin in the face while the other helps the woman and then boots him in the ribs. GG simply gets back up and continues with his speech like nothing has happened.
The documentary was filmed before and during the Murder Junkies’ 1991 American tour, in which three shows were filmed and appeared on the video, GG Allin – Raw, Brutal, Rough And Bloody. Todd Phillips arranged for the band to play at a university in New York before the tour commenced. The show went ahead in front of an audience who seemingly had no idea who GG Allin was, or what was in store for them. Appearing on stage alone, GG shoves a banana up his arse, poops it back out, chews it up, and spits it at the crowd. Half the audience finds it amusing, and the other half head swiftly for the nearest exit. Those who stick around are ordered to undress, but none do. This lack of obedience angers GG, and he shows this by heading for the audience. Most rise to their feet and rush for the exit, and GG throws a chair at them as they scarper.
It’s this kind of thing that makes Allin so fascinating for many; the fact that he completely obliterated the safety-line between the audience and performer. He wasn’t some Messiah of death rock, but a genuinely psychotic Wildman who didn’t hesitate to endanger those who attended his shows – He would assault and abuse both himself and the crowd with equal abandon (at one point, he is seen repeatedly smashing himself in the face with a microphone, and breaking his teeth in the process). When people talk about GG Allin, the one thing that is rarely mentioned is the music itself. And once you hear the godawful racket of tracks like Anal Cunt and Bite It You Scum, it’s easy to understand why. Make no mistake, even among the most hardcore, sneering punk fanatics, those songs aren’t going to win any prizes. This music is the auditory equivalent of having nitric acid poured in your ears. In fact, the only prize Allin could be honoured with is the award for ‘The Man With The World’s Smallest Nob’. Honestly, for a man who would shed his clothes at the drop of a hat, you would expect him to be packing something more substantial than the shy molecule that jiggled between his legs. Even a newborn baby boy could point and laugh at him. Indeed, Allin’s shriveled member seems to have its own personality, and both Allin and his penis look to be equally resentful of each other, as if they’re in some kind of battle to see who can undermine the other the most.
Footage is included of Allin being interviewed on TV by Geraldo, and this scene perfectly encapsulates the depths to which television would sink over the next couple of decades. Both men exude utter inanities; both profess a freak show schtick from opposing ends of the bullshit spectrum, only Allin is a tad more honest about it. Geraldo, with his faux-moral concern, had fooled millions of Americans into believing he was a socially-conscious do-gooder. But, by having people like GG on his show, this proves by default that such things as ‘family values’ and ‘human decency’ were the least of his concerns, so long as there was some freak show money to be made. Allin, in turn, uses his televised platform to indulge in his usual redundant shock tactics from within his rock ‘n’ roll bubble. Geraldo was bad enough in the early 90s, but nowadays we have reached the age of The Jeremy Kyle Show, a daily yelping festival for the sorriest bunch of slum-dwelling riff-raff to air their shitty laundry to an audience of self-important, foghorning smugsters. It’s the most depressing show on earth, and leaves me feeling empty and hateful of mankind. While Geraldo would merrily patronize his audience, and they in turn would lap it up (much like Trisha in the UK), Jeremy Kyle acts like a one-man good cop/bad cop in the way he bullies and then comforts his victims.
Just look at his eyes: When he’s fired up, his glazz balls emit a piercing, psychotic charge, and his voice shifts gear into self-righteous overload, like how you’d imagine a loon to look while shooting up a school, or the aforementioned Aileen Wuornos barking away in a furious, whiny monotone. I’m convinced the guy is genuinely bonkers, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I switched on the TV one morning to find him slapping some inarticulate chav around the chops with his c**k. Family values? Human decency? Oh Jeremy, who are you trying to kid? As for the audience, they’re equally insincere and mentally ill. And their whoops of delight as mentally-challenged families fall apart on stage strikes me as truly sinister. In a perfect world, GG Allin would still be alive, and someone would have the human decency to brick up the exits on that show and allow the Murder Junkies to perform at deafening volume. None could escape as each and every one of them, including Jeremy himself, would be disemboweled, and GG would squat over them like a bedraggled demon and spray diarrhea in their mouths. And Dino the naked drummer would watch on in admiration. That would be a show worth watching. And it’s the only time that Allin has ever been a hero in my dreams. But I digress again.
In the book, Cult Rapture, Allin was interviewed by Adam Parfrey just days before the kamikaze icon succumbed to a fatal heroin overdose. When asked the inevitable question, “When are you finally going to kill yourself?” Allin replied, “The biggest question that everyone keeps asking me is about the suicide thing. For me right now to say I’m going to commit suicide is just way too premature because there’s too many battles and it seems like there’s too many people who want me to do it now, so as long as I’ve got to battle and to fight, and as long as I got some enemies, I gotta keep going to f*ck these people up.
To end it now is what the government would want and what society would want, and as long as I can be that dagger in their back and as long as I can be the enemy of the people then I’ve got to stay alive.” Such a pitiful answer. GG Allin was unknown to about 99% of Americans at the height of his powers, and that’s a generous estimate. He was never a threat to the government or the fabric of society. His enemies amounted to those whom he punched in the face or flung shit at, or stole drugs from. If Allin genuinely thought of himself as a national threat, then not only was he even less intelligent than many assumed, but he also lacked the self-awareness needed to be truly subversive. As Parfrey puts it, “[Allin] was simply too much of a f*ck-up to achieve mythic status.”
Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies (1993)