It’s now been about twenty years since Kevin “GG” Allin disappointed the mongoloid thrill seekers in his fan club by failing to make good on his promise to kill himself onstage in an all-too-real explosion of flying human meat and headline titillation. Dingy bar janitors everywhere might still be sighing in relief. Instead, GG slunk off this mortal coil in a less than scum-fuc-tastic death involving none of the promises of spilled brains on amplifiers and vomiting audience members. Was his private, less than theatrical overdose death a “pussy death” that cheated his even marginally devout followers of scooping up some rock star road-kill they could sell in a coffee can on Ebay?
This isn’t a question I’m going to lose any sleep over, but anytime you have a person who appears to be a potentially dangerous mix of loudmouth braggart and seemingly genuine social fuck-up, you can’t help but wonder, if you’re like me, how much of this was just tough-guy posing and how much was the very real neurological pollution providing the electrical twitch to a chattering mandible and giving dim reptile light to back brain areas, an unhealthy warmth to the rotting cheese of hate forming in overly pinched folds of the Loudmouth Brain? If anyone’s brain folds might grow a sick fungus of genuine barf-yellow hate crust, it was probably GG Allin. Or so he’d like us to think.
If you have ever had a question about this, My Prison Walls might just give you the behind-the-scenes “proof” you need to convince you that Ol’ Uncle GG was indeed a hate-pustulating sociopath. But that’s far from all that he was. If GG’s over-the-top, fecal chimp dance was even partially real and not just reality-TV-like spotlight desperation, hate apparently lies outside of the confines of family, because even the turd-hurling, audience attacking GG Allin seems to have drawn the line at his immediate family members, judging by some of the letters included in this book. And in this way, My Prison Walls is really a study in ethology, sort of a “when animals attack” look into the mind of a self-professed savage. GG might’ve been the “bleeding naked rock star most likely to jump his own audience members,” but behind his balls-to-the-wall I-Hate-Everything attitude, he had a Norman Rockwellian appreciation of the deep ties of family love and tribal bonds. Maybe even the beast-man GG Allin, it turns out, needed a hug every once in a while.
Odder than Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neal appearing on a Celebrity TV ice skating contest—and maybe just as awkward—this book is really a scrapbook put together by GG’s brother Merle. And who would’ve ever thought the worlds of GG Allin and scrapbooking would ever collide? That unlikelihood alone makes this book something of a curio, even for GG fans whose level of intensity might be less than that of someone who carries one of his dried up droppings around on a keychain. Part prison jerk-off diary, part collection of crudely rendered sulking-teenager-like avenging skeleton cartoons, part scumfuc manifestos and self promotions, this scrapbook-like collection of GG artifacts and letters even includes oddball bits and pieces that plainly fall outside of most people’s black and white notions of what GG was all about.
While you’re going to get the more-or-less expected—and entirely justified—tirades against conformity and MTV and the lame-ass state of contemporary rock‘n’roll, you also get—of all things—a collection of Kevin’s letters to his mom. If Happy-Birthday-Mom letters, along with drawings of roses and heartfelt statements about the Allin family staying together despite any adversity don’t somewhat blur your picture of the hell-breathing, uncompromising rock‘n’roll outlaw, then you need to take your shit-colored GG glasses off and look at Mr. Allin anew.
Like I said, yeah, there is plenty of what you’d expect here: boastful prison rants of Christ-like super powers, finger paintings apparently utilizing the artist’s own smeary excrement, an admiringly sketched Hitler drawing and all sorts of knife-like renderings of erect penises, oftentimes involving blood. Maybe most interesting is the letters and illustrations of serial killers with whom GG had a correspondence and possibly even a crude friendship. Clown and boy killer John Wayne Gacy in particular seemed to genuinely like GG.
But what most sticks out amongst all the seething hatred and misanthropy, all the insurrection and cultural ripostes, is the side of GG that one can only, somewhat uncomfortably, call “tender.” And to this willingness of Merle Allin to somewhat “de-fang” the brutish image of his brother, I tip my Jughead hat. My guess is that maintaining a shit-slinging, grunting, ejaculating, near lycanthropic beast-man portrayal of the Allin family freak probably sells more GG merchandize. But Merle seems more interested in the truth, however complicated and messy that may be.
There will probably always be questions about the honesty/genuineness of GG Allin, but I don’t think there can be any question about the honesty of Merle Allin. It’s refreshing to see someone as larger-than-life as GG Allin not hyperbolized into cartoonish black and white oversimplifications. GG himself lent himself to such crude classifications, but his older—and possibly wiser—brother Merle seems to know better. –Aphid Peewit (aggronautix.com)