Today, madman poop-punk musician GG Allin would have been 58 years old. Try and conjure that mental image of him, almost a senior citizen, beating his skull in with a microphone, rolling around in his jock strap and smeared in faeces. Doug Stanhope’s bit about the deaths of musicians like Cobain and Hendrix comes to mind: “Every time an artist dies young, there’s always people [saying] ‘it’s so sad, he had so much more to give’. How do you know what any artist had left? How do you know if Jimi Hendrix hadn’t have died he wouldn’t have wound up doing Super Bowl half-time duets with Elton John?”
Few, however, mourned GG’s death, either out of the inevitability of such an event, or because he was a total asshole, or because the idea of GG settling down in his later years to duet with Elton John is rather troubling. Nonetheless, in spite of what music snobs and pansies think of GG and his (very prolific) work, the sick motherfucker did make some damn good rock ‘n’ roll. Here, The Carouser will look at some of the outlaw scumfuc’s finest/foulest musical moments.
GG ALLIN & THE JABBERS
GG had numerous musical eras accompanied by many different backing bands, from his early snotty punk days, to his rock ‘n’ roll time on skid row, through to his violent, filthy hardcore outbursts, his sadistic, threatening spoken word, and even his near-poignant outlaw country ramblings. Overall, many GG fans and punk aficionados contend that his best era was his first, with the Jabbers.
Taking cues from the Ramones, the Stooges, the Stones, and the New York Dolls, the Jabbers were causing trouble as early as 1977, with Allin singing and often playing drums, his brother Merle on bass, and various local guitarists coming and going for over half a decade. Allin’s lyrics/themes and stage antics were still quite tame compared to his more infamous future period, and his voice is a surprising high, nasal whine (in the best sense). The Jabbers would be “the only real, consistent band GG had until the Murder Junkies,” according to GG historian Jason Litchfield, of Terminal Boredom. At this time, GG billed himself as the Madman of Manchester and Public Animal No.1, and he and the Jabbers performed frequently throughout America’s north-east, making a name for themselves while “accumulating an ever-growing list of club bannings”. Danger still courted some semblance of professionalism at this point, though: Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, as well as the MC5’s Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson collaborated with the Jabbers, and Cheetah even once asked GG to join his band after he handled drums for one of the ex-Dead Boy’s shows.
Indeed, “this portion of GG’s life marked probably the most stable and ‘normal’ as it got: he was married to his high school sweetheart Sandra Farrow [since 1978], worked a regular job as a custodian at a nursing home, and answered to Kevin when not under the guise of his stage name,” Litchfield writes. GG’s music from this era is of a markedly higher quality, in terms of song writing and recording, an obnoxiously infectious mix of power pop and punk, like a lot of his early material until the mid ’80s. His 1980 debut album Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be boasted the great ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ and ‘You Hate Me And I Hate You’, amongst others, while ‘Dead Or Alive’, the B-side of the 1981 single Gimme Some Head, performed by GG Allin & The Motor City Bad Boys (the Jabbers with Kramer and Thompson, also referred to as the MC2) showed the catchy song writing potential GG possessed in his early days. Merle would soon move to Boston to join the Thrills, so GG’s childhood friend Alan Chapple was brought into the Jabbers to handle bass. The No Rules EP (1983) is the band’s last vinyl release and, noticeably, the last GG Allin recording from an actual studio for many years. The Jabbers broke up in 1984 in the midst of GG’s growing heroin addiction and regular prison stints.
GG ALLIN & THE SCUMFUCS
GG announced the arrival of his next band, the Scumfucs, with his second LP, Eat My Fuc (1984), famous for the standard ‘Drink Fight & Fuck’, and the start of his decline into becoming what the Thrills leader, Johnny Angel, would dub “the hick Iggy Pop”. This album, labelled Metallic Garage Punk for Savage People, still features GG’s wonderful sneering vocals, but his lyrics began incorporating the more depraved and violent shock style he later became (in)famous for. According to the album notes, “GG wrote and recorded this classic after his inevitable divorce, and break-up of his band, The Jabbers. Feelings displayed on this vinyl are anger, lust, betrayal”. Litchfield sees Eat My Fuck as “perhaps GG’s defining moment and point of no return” due to it ushering in his trademark trashy, lo-fi material, as well as it being fuelled by the man’s “daily intoxication and paralleling drop-off in personal hygiene”.
GG Allin & the Scumfucs would spew out one more full-length release, of sorts, You’ll Never Tame Me, a self-released cassette/LP featuring the likes of ‘Bite It You Scum’, ‘Abuse Myself (I Wanna Die’), and ‘I Wanna Piss On You’, brought out in 1985. This tape is what Litchfield refers to as “the pinnacle of mid-period GG”. Amidst the filthy carnage, GG even brings in Hank Williams Jr. covers and his own ‘Rowdy Beer Drinkin’ Night’, showcasing a burgeoning country style which he would return to in the future.
During this period, GG also recorded the single Live Fast Die Fast with New Hampshire hair metal band The Flying 69 and the Jabbers’ Alan Chapple. Live Fast Die Fast is a “radio-friendly, curse-free EP [that is] pretty much universally hailed as GG’s weakest effort” notes Litchfeld. With the proliferation of MTV at this time (1984), and labels snapping up harder-sounding bands, Litchfield reflects that “it’s possible this EP was a last gasp for commercial viability”. While hardcore GG fans mostly loathe the single, the ‘music video’ made for it is nothing short of incredible.
GG ALLIN & THE CEDAR STREET SLUTS
Soon after GG had moved on from the Scumfucs, he put together a girl-band comprised of the sleaziest, loosest bad-time gals, the Cedar Street Sluts. Inspired by Nancy Sinatra, GG briefly turned tricks with Connie Clit (guitar), Tammy Tits (bass/back up vocals), Poline Pussy (guitar/back up vocals), and Sally Sleaze (drums), who became the Cedar Street Sluts. The rock ‘n’ roll whores spread their legs in 1986 and shat out the self-released cassette The Sleaziest, Loosest Sluts, a fun, five-track tape with catchy vocal exchanges between GG and the Sluts. ‘Bad habits’ and ‘Sluts In The City’ are highlights, though the brooding darkness of ‘Blood For You’ hints at the increasingly rougher, more violent GG material to come.
GG ALLIN & THE HOLY MEN
Following his one-tape stand with the Cedar Street Sluts, GG entered the Music Box studio in New York’s East Village in 1987, with a four-piece studio band whom he dubbed The Holy Men. The result is You Give Love a Bad Name, GG’s third album. Herein, we see a more complete transformation of GG’s vocals and tone, which by now had become a sloppier, lower register, and his increasing pre-occupation with shock rock lyrics. Musically, You Give Love a Bad Name sounds akin to You’ll Never Tame Me. The whole album was rehearsed and recorded in a single day-long session, (like you couldn’t tell), but it remains one of GG’s best releases, full of snarling, rocking, scumbag sleaze, before he got consumed by too much bleedin’, stinkin’ and drinkin’, and his own hype.
By the time of You Give Love a Bad Name, GG’s stature in the underground had grown considerably and his reputation was gaining ever more notoriety with uncompromisingly Neanderthal recordings and increasingly transgressive performances, though few labels, major or independent, would come near him. Indeed, during the recording of You Give Love A Bad Name, the album’s engineer asked GG (who himself co-engineered the LP) if he was actually serious about releasing the record. The reverse side of the You Give Love A Bad Name record sleeve bears the following answer to his question: “You guys aren’t planning on pressing this into a record, are you?” – confused Music Box engineer.
Part I ends here. Find Part II of The Carouser‘s GG Allin retrospective HERE
Special thanks to Jason Litchfield/Terminal Boredom for additional info!