Postmortem by Evan Cohen
Photography by Richard Kern
Punk rock's answer to Gallagher, GG Allin wowed audiences by eating his own shit, mutilating his body and allowing himself to be bludgeoned by moshers. A roadie remembers the crash-and-burn antics of an entertainer hell-bent on self-destruction.
Evan Cohen is the author of I Was A Murder Junkie, The Last Days of GG Allin (San Pedro, California: Recess Records, 1999). The memoir can be ordered online at www.recessrecords.com or by phone at 1-310-548-8666.
* * *
GG Allin stood naked onstage, wiping blood and sweat from his eyes so he could view his latest masterpiece. The girl lay in a motionless heap on the floor; he had just finished head butting her into unconsciousness. Her friends had warned her not to stand too close to the stage, but she was too drunk to listen. Now she wasn't even awake to enjoy the ambulance ride to the hospital.
The blood that obscured GG's vision was his own. Earlier, he had cut his head up with the sharp corner of a crushed beer can. His naked body bore a twisted road map of self-inflicted scars. It also displayed a collection of homemade tattoos, ranging from crude drawings of guns and knives to sayings such as LIFE SUCKS, SCUM FUCK and LIVE FAST, DIE.
GG walked to the center of the stage where his feces lay untouched. He knelt before the pile and gathered some in his hands. He smeared the vile brown pudding all over his wet body, into his cuts, and threw the rest into the audience. He licked his fingers clean. When the band started to play the next song, GG ran into the audience and grabbed another girl by the hair. She twisted away, leaving him with only a fistful of blonde. He turned his attention back to the microphone, which he proceeded to pummel into his skull repeatedly, and then began to sing. It was just another day at the office for GG Allin.
* * *
By the time Jesus Christ "GG" Allin was 33 years old, he had gone public with his plan to end his life onstage, on Halloween, in an ultimate act of rock 'n' roll absolution. However, Allin was serving a three-year sentence at Jackson State Penitentiary for assault and battery when October 31, 1989 rolled around. Some said that he chickened out, while GG maintained that it would have been ridiculous to go through with the act. After all, it wouldn't have been in front of an audience.
Playing naked, brawling with fans and using the stage as a toilet/buffet table earned GG a lengthy arrest record; at the same time, his scatological antics guaranteed him a devoted road following.
I was a roadie on the 1993 GG Allin and the Murder Junkies' Terror in America tour. I shot video, sold merchandise, took still photos and drove when necessary. The Murder Junkies included Merle, GG's brother, who plays bass and sports an overgrown Hitler mustache; Dino, who has no qualms about masturbating for an audience while he's not playing drums; and Bill, the guitarist, whose standard attire is black. It was a rock 'n' roll tour like no other.
* * *
At the Somber Reptile in Atlanta, GG played wearing nothing but a small plastic American flag tied over his crotch, which he unsuccessfully tried to light on fire. He had fun during this show, hitting willing victims in the audience and pulling tufts of hair from their heads. In an act of charity, he gave oral sex to a lady of questionable taste; the band played on.
After the show, a short-haired girl named April, who was wearing nothing but Bermuda shorts and a black bra, approached GG and said, "You kicked me in the ribs, man. That's so awesome. Thank you very much."
GG's eyes widened as he fully noticed the contents of April's bra. "Hey, do you mind if I suck your tits?" he asked.
"No problem, dude."
GG bent over. "Look at that shit; I gotta get a lick on it before we go." He proceeded to flip one of the cups inside out and put his mouth to work.
"Do you want my bra?"
"I want your bra; I want your underwear; I want your piss; I want everything about you," he said in a voice smothered by mammary flesh.
"You can't have my underwear; I just bought these."
"We'll buy 'em off you - how's that?" GG finished his suckling and straightened up for the bargaining.
"Okay, if you buy them."
"I'll give you a record or two," he bartered.
"No, I need money. I need cigarettes."
"We'll give you a pack of cigarettes. Come on, let me have them. Be a sport."
"Dude, I'll have to take off my boots."
"All you gotta do is rip 'em."
"Take them with this," I interrupted, holding a razor blade in my hand. Nobody thought it was odd that I had this item on me. You never know when you're gonna need one.
GG took the blade and cut the edge of the panty that April was pulling up from her shorts. "I just want the crotch area," he said as he brought the cut undies to his nose and inhaled deeply. "Now you can have some of my blood." GG cut up his left cheek with the razor. At first it didn't bleed too well; so he attacked the right side of is face with an even greater fervor until blood flowed.
"It's bleeding enough, all right?" April said with a worried look. GG stopped the self-mutilation.
"Now lick it off my face," he said. April gladly slopped up the blood. "Now you gotta do the same, and I'll lick yours. Just slash your face."
April eyed him nervously. "No, man, I'm not slashing my face, dude; I've got a pretty face." April wasn't lying.
"So do I."
GG grabbed April's arm and began to slash at it with the blade. "It really hurts, man," she protested. He pinched a chunk of flesh and attacked it. When the crimson finally flowed, GG took a healthy slug. We left April with half a pack of cigarettes and put Atlanta behind us.
* * *
At a show at the Hong Kong Café, a Chinese restaurant in Laguna Beach, California, GG and Merle went to the stage to see what kind of equipment they would be borrowing for the night. The first band's equipment was nothing more than a few public-address speakers.
"This is fuckin' bullshit!" GG yelled. He grabbed on of the PA columns and threw it to the floor.
"Oh, well," GG said. "I guess we'll just have to borrow from someone else."
That someone else was Duchess DeSade, who has been described as the female GG Allin. Her act includes whips, domination and occasionally, urine. Merle and Bill approached her to discuss the business of borrowing equipment.
"Well, I know that my band is really concerned about getting feces on their equipment," the Duchess said.
"Everything goes forward, not back," Bill assured her.
"Well, let me ask them. I'll be right back." With that, the Duchess turned around and walked away. All eyes were fixed on her firm rump.
The Duchess soon came back with her bassist, a big woman, behind her; this woman was tall and round and not the kind of person you'd want to meet late at night in an alley behind a lesbian bar.
"Well, I talked about it with the band, and they'll rent you their amps for $250 apiece," the Duchess said.
Bill laughed in her face. Merle exploded. "Fuck you! We can buy a fuckin' amp for that price, you dumb bitch," Merle said. "You let us borrow your amps, or you can leave, because everybody that's coming here is to see us. We're doing you a favor by letting you play with us."
GG had enough. He walked up to the Duchess.
"Get the fuck out of here," he said, and backhanded her across the face, knocking her to the floor.
"You just hit me?" she asked in astonishment. "You hit me?"
The behemoth bass player then stepped in front of the Duchess.
"Get the fuck out; I'll do whatever the fuck I want to do," GG said. "Get the fuck out of here, bitch!" With that, he punched the bass player square in the mouth. The mountain with legs staggered backward.
"You bastard!" the Duchess yelled.
"I'll do what I want to fuckin' do, bitch, 'cause I'm GG Allin."
"I'll kill you!" the Duchess screamed as the large one dragged her out of the room.
"Oh, sorry I can't use your amp at $250."
"I'll kill you!"
"Fuck you, bitch."
As calm settled over the room, some kids volunteered their equipment. They said they could get it from their house and be back within 45 minutes. None of this mattered. The club owners cancelled the show, and security politely told us to pack up and leave - or they'd "help" us.
* * *
Under the Rail in Seattle was a large club with a capacity of about 700 people. It had a fully professional lighting system and built-in smoke machines. The stage was high off the ground, with a barrier in front of it to keep the audience away from the performer. GG wasn't thrilled when he first saw the barrier, but he also recognized it as a challenge.
During the opening set, Bill struck up a friendship with a pretty blonde named Ingrid. I had never seen a woman with such incredibly green teeth before. Amid protests from the band, Bill decided to take a stroll with Ingrid, even though the band was due onstage in 15 minutes. He didn't return in time, forcing the band to take the stage sans a guitar player.
The first ten minutes of the show were a GG Allin high mass. He started with communion.
"Accept the body of GG Allin," he preached as he squeezed a smidgen of shit out of his ass. He knelt before the holy feces, gathered it in his fingers and sampled its taste. Then he offered it to the audience with an overhand arc and spat out the rest. From a bag, he produced a Gideon Bible, which he tore into pieces. The next offering was a local music paper that failed to mention the show and a plastic American flag. With a jigger of lighter fluid, these items were transformed into a blazing pyre. The air filled with smoke and burning particles of paper and plastic. GG squeezed more communion out of his anointed orifice.
Bill eventually showed up; the music could commence. The stage barrier proved only a minor inconvenience to GG. He hopped it, ran through the audience and wrestled a man to the ground. In an instant, he was dog piled by a pack of malcontents. What happened next I've only seen in cartoons. In the middle of the chaos, GG calmly crawled out of the tangle of arms and legs and hopped right back onstage, unscathed. To this day, I've never seen anything like it. Actually, there are many things I haven't seen quite like the things I saw on tour with GG Allin.
* * *
When we got to the club in Houston, we found out there was a problem: They had erroneously booked us for the following day. The club offered us $200 to walk, but the band figured that since they were there, they might as well play. They saw it as a rehearsal gig.
The club helped us put on a five-hour word-of-mouth campaign, which included a short but foul-mouthed radio interview at Rice University. The efforts paid off: One hundred and one paying customers showed up, including one policeman's daughter.
Michelle didn't have enough money to get into the show, but was willing to do anything to see it. She talked it over with GG, and a contract was drawn up stating that she would "piss in GG Allin's mouth and surrender my underwear in exchange for free entry to the greatest rock 'n' roll show in Houston tonight." With that signed and co-signed, the show could begin.
Since it was a glorified rehearsal, the mood of the show was relaxed. GG hit a few people here and there, but, for the most part, his attitude was playful. His mind was elsewhere - stuck on the fulfillment of Michelle's contract.
By the time we were ready to leave the club, Michelle had yet to produce any urine. She told us that she could not do it right there; so we followed her car to a secluded gas station. Behind the garage, GG lay down with Michelle standing over him. She pushed and strained for five minutes, but couldn't produce more than a trickle down her leg. GG was patient with her, and we decided that maybe another location would help. Our next stop was a dark side street. Michelle was still quite nervous and straining her urethra. There were too many people walking around, and she was beginning to feel self-conscious. Michelle only squirted out a little bit, but at least it cleared her legs.
We ended up in a dark field somewhere. After sucking on ice cubes and thinking of waterfalls and leaky faucets, Michelle unleashed a torrent of urine. GG drank heartily as he lifted his head into the spray and jerked off. Mazel tov.
* * *
The Cow Palace was an old, abandoned warehouse located 100 yards down a gravel road off a four-lane highway in Joplin, Missouri. The three opening bands played exceptionally bad and painfully long sets. GG locked himself in a back room and shook with the madness of waiting.
The Murder Junkies were supposed to go on at 10:30, which came and passed. The band that was playing right before them had to be one of the worst acts I've seen. They had a drummer, a lead singer/yeller, a guy banging on a rusty, 55-gallon drum and an asshole playing one single note over and over again on a banged-up trumpet. While this band pounded away, Merle collected $400 from Kelly, the promoter. Right after Merle got paid, Kelly left the club to run an errand; GG decided to take matters into his own hands.
I have never seen a tackle so great as I did that night - not even in an NFL Films highlight reel. GG ran right into the lead singer and knocked him through the drum set, which broke in half. He then jumped off the stage and began to yell over the growing feedback, "Fuck you, you fucks! Get the fuck outta here! You're done now! I'm tired of fuckin' hearing them , man; they fuckin' suck! Get the fuck out...We're ready to fuckin' play; we're not gonna sit in this motherfuckin' room all fuckin' night waiting for lame-ass fuckin' bands!" With that, GG retreated to his little room again.
GG simmered down as the people in the club reconstructed the mess on the stage. Dino prepared for the show by dressing down into a brand-new pair of women's panties. I joined GG. "I'm ready to go; I'm ready to go; I'm ready to fuckin' go," he said.
"Did we get paid?" I asked.
"Yeah, 400," GG said. "We can get out of here whenever we fuckin' want to. I'm not gonna be treated like a fuckin' piece of shit. Fuck that. Son of a bitch, that band was so fuckin' boring."
Merle opened the door with a few knocks. "G, we're outta here. Let's go."
"Good. I have no problem."
As we left the club, we saw the headlights of a pickup truck speeding towards us from the parking lot. A kindly fan opened the passenger-side door.
GG entered the truck, and Bill pushed in after him. "Just drive," Bill ordered. "I'll be back with the van." Bill shut the door and they sped off.
I looked back at the club and saw about 60 people running toward Merle and me. My hands trembled.
Merle saw the crowd rushing toward us, but said nothing. If he was scared, he didn't show it. I was scared shitless. I cupped a small can of Mace in my hand.
The spokesman for the pack, a large fellow, addressed Merle - who palmed his own can of Mace in his jacket pocket.
"Where do you think you're going?" drawled the ringleader.
A slack-jawed member of the mob spoke up. "You've got to play tonight; no doubt," he said. "You will play tonight."
We ignored them as we kept on walking down the highway. The mob began to yell. The sky drizzled beer cans. Where the fuck was Bill?
I looked and saw the blue Aerostar heading our way. Bill turned the van around in a sweeping arc and pulled up in front of us.
"So, you're all taking off, huh?" the pack's leader asked.
"No, we're not taking off," Merle said with a straight face as we got in the van and slammed the door. "Go. Go, go, go, go ,go!" he shouted.
Bill slammed on the gas as the crowd assaulted the van with fists, cans and stones. "Yes!" screamed Merle. "We beat those fuckers!"
* * *
Three weeks after the Terror in America tour ended, the GG Allin Show came to an end after a performance at a place called the Gas Station in New York City. The Gas Station's squad of security goons roughed up a few hopped-up moshers. A beaming female fan who sat with her elbows on the stage wound up catching a faceful of GG's fresh feces.
With the standard litany of punk-rock shenanigans out of the way, the show deteriorated into chaos. Two songs into his set, GG made his way outside the club completely naked. Several hundred rowdy fans crowded the intersection of Second Street and Avenue B, overturning garbage cans and kicking in parked-car doors. GG dressed quickly and quietly left the scene with a few friends as the police arrived.
During the show, a fan had given him a pill, which he ingested on sight. He only said, "Drugs - I love them," as he popped it in his mouth. All day before the show, GG had been filling up on Jim Beam and cocaine; he was on an epic bender. Into the night, he hit the booze and snorted heroin at his friend Johnny Puke's apartment. After a long day of stupefying drug abuse, GG curled up on the floor and closed his eyes for the last time. He was 36 years old
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