Genealogically speaking, was GG Allin the spiritual outgrowth of Sid Vicious’ famous bloodied nose at the Sex Pistols show in Texas in ’78 when he whopped some cowboy in the head with his bass? Or can it even be said that there was anything that might be called “spiritual” about GG’s enraged chimp act at all? Was GG—while his body was still able to convert various foodstuffs and alcohol into a slimy brown pudding suitable for slurping up and/or casting at horrified audience members—a modern day shaman or an alpha male nihilist with a poopy chip on his shoulder? Over the years I’ve pondered this question more than a mentally healthy person would, but I’ve never come up with a suitable answer. So was GG’s butt-smeared naked romp through various rock’n’roll dumps across America a sort of reworking of the pre-Taoist dance of Yu or merely a bloody mime routine serving only to extract badly needed attention from admission-paying homosapiens?
The quasi-famous ethnomethodologist and ladies’ man Furnt Eggblaff, Ph.D. wrote in his The Tao of GG: Atavistic Behavior as a Career Option: “Actually, the safest place at any GG Allin show was behind a video camera. No matter how snarlingly animalistic his showboatings got, he never lost touch with his deep respect for the camera’s ability to galvanize his legend.” That doesn’t quite answer my question, but it’s a start. As brother Merle’s vault of GG videos would indicate, GG did seem to attract cameras like a turd attracts flies—or maybe more like the way a Catholic Priest attracts little boys.
And therein lies part of the problem; while GG was, on one hand, a genuinely scary “trog” of a sociopathic human being, he was, on the other hand, very easy to poke fun at.
So maybe the time has never been more ripe, so to speak, for GG’s battered legend to be propped up again, cocktail frank and all, if only for re-examination purposes. Because, while there have been, undoubtedly, pools of GG fandom teeming since his ignominious death, he has also been publicly dissed by everyone from one-time-admirer Adam Parfrey to the fratboy-dork editors at Spin magazine who tagged him a “wuss” and a “poo poo rocker.” Even some of GG’s staunchest supporters today wince at the notion that he went down like a dimestore rock star junkie instead of going out in a blaze of fury and glory, making good on his promise to off himself on stage and take out a few audience members with him. You gotta figure that gossip like that has to cut into Merle’s video sales at least a little bit and that kind of thing can make it hard to scrape up rent money.
Be that as it may, something inspired Merle to dig into his archives recently and wrest from mists of obscurity the video footage of three vintage shows—San Diego, Chicago, and Atlanta—from the 1991 tour when our man GG was fresh out of the pokey and maybe a little more surly than usual. And now anyone, even my mom and dad who’ve never seen a MRR classified ad in their lives, can easily procure a copy of this wholesome entertainment and enjoy it in the comfort of their own home. And to that I say, in all sincerity, good for Merle. He seems to be a truly good guy and I don’t begrudge him one little bit for bringing home the bacon.
As live GG footage goes this is some primo stuff. His entire bag of tricks is presented here: drinking his own urine; tugging his wee-wee; sucker punching audience members; opening his butt spigot and dropping some grayish-brown soft serve onto the floor, rolling in it, lapping it up, throwing it at the crowd; bashing big dents in his head with the microphone until he’s a bloody mess; etc, etc, etc. And Merle, Dino and Chicken John—who often times get forgotten about in the whirling spectacle of bodily excretions—come across as a solid backup band that’s crunchy and surprisingly tight.
Maybe the quirkiest part of the footage offered here is an interview with possibly the only woman who never wound up with her teeth knocked in and a patch of her hair yanked out as a direct result of allowing GG Allin to mumble and slobber on her bare breasts: GG’s mom. Cupping a mug of what might be hot cocoa in her hands and looking comfy and cozy in a sweater she probably knit herself at sewing club, Ma Allin beams and gushes about little Kevin, who she describes as a “peaches and cream” adorable little baby. In fact, her golly-gee, small-towny Every Mom persona seems like it was lifted right out of the script for David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Not far into the interview you start to wonder: is this a woman seized up in a never-ending hiccuping paroxysm of denial? Did she just board-up an entire part of her brain at a certain point, effectively keeping everything frozen at a certain soothing point in time, ala Eddie Gein and his fabled dead mother’s bedroom? I mean, how far can you run with the old “boys-will-be-boys” platitudes when your apple-cheeked little darlings turned out to be GG and Merle Allin? If you didn’t know any better you’d think she was talking about the Campbell Soup kids. But to be fair, brother Merle is, as anyone who’s talked to him can tell you, disarmingly laid-back and—um, “normal”—for being GG Allin’s kin. And maybe the Allin family’s just an accepting and amazingly well-adjusted bunch of folks who don’t lock the family freak away in the attic with a chain around his ankle and a doggy dish with water and a coffee can to crap in, in the corner. Whatever her state of mind, Ma Allin’s somewhat creepy sunny disposition fails to shine any direct light on just why huggable little Kevin eventually turned into the social contusion known infamously as “GG Allin.” It’s only in the shadows of what she says—the passing and smiled-over references to her little darlings being “naughty” and the strangely skated-over references to her religious kook husband—that we get any sense that this was possibly something more maladjusted than a simple Ward and June Cleaver household.
I suppose it all just adds yet another layer of uncertainty to the whole ugly ball of uncertainty that is the legend of GG Allin. And that’s probably for the best. GG just wouldn’t be as intriguing if he was so easily explained away. And while there’s a point to be made that a healthy fear has been lost now that people can sit in their bathrobes, in their favorite easy chair, and watch GG without getting pelted with poop and bloody fists, the mere fact that he existed—and not so long ago—might be just enough to unsettle people a little bit and get them thinking. Or coming up with new poop jokes. –Aphid Peewit (Music Video Distributors, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456)