Kevin Michael "GG" Allin (born Jesus Christ Allin, August 29, 1956 - June 28, 1993) was an American punk rock singer-songwriter, who performed and recorded with many groups during his career. GG Allin is best remembered for his notorious live performances, which often featured transgressive acts, including coprophagia, self-mutilation, and attacking audience members.AllMusic and G4TV's That's Tough have called him "the most spectacular degenerate in rock & roll history" and the second "Toughest Rock Star in the World", respectively.
Although more notorious for his stage antics than for his music, he recorded prolifically, not only in the punk rock genre, but also in spoken word, country, and more traditional-style rock. His extremely politically incorrect lyrics, which often covered subjects such as misogyny, pedophilia and racism, polarized listeners and created varied opinions of him within the highly politicized punk community. When questioned about his music and concerts, Allin often replied that he was trying to make rock music "dangerous" again.
Allin's music was often poorly recorded and produced, given limited distribution, and was met with mostly negative reviews from critics. Despite these factors, Allin maintained a cult following throughout his career, and a fan base that has greatly expanded since his death. Though Allin promised for several years before his death that he would commit suicide onstage during one of his concerts, he died June 28, 1993 of an accidental heroin overdose.
Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin at Weeks Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the younger of two sons to Merle Colby Allin, Sr. and Arleta Gunther. He was given this name because his father told his wife that Jesus Christ himself had visited him, and told him that his newborn son would be a great man in the vein of the Messiah.
His older brother, Merle Colby Allin, Jr., was unable to pronounce "Jesus" properly and called him "Jeje", which became "GG". The family lived in a log cabin with no running water or electricity in northern New Hampshire. Allin's father, who forbade all conversation in the home after dark, was an unstable and antisocial man, though GG himself never publicly stated that this caused any of his later personal troubles. At age 12, Allin contracted Lyme disease and is thought to have never fully recovered from the effects of having the disease at such a young age.
In 1961, Arleta filed for divorce from Merle Sr., as his mental instability was worsening. GG Allin and his brother were from that time raised by their mother and stepfather, and settled in East St. Johnsbury, Vermont in 1966. Arleta changed her younger son's legal name to Kevin Michael Allin on March 2, 1962 during his first year of schooling. Arleta had allowed his birth name to stand until this point, and finally changed it to give her son a chance of a mockery-free childhood.
Allin was a poor student at school, being placed in special education classes and having to repeat the third grade. According to his older brother, he experienced bullying by fellow students due to not fitting in. In his sophomore year of high school, he began attending school cross-dressed, which he said was inspired by the New York Dolls. When asked about his childhood, Allin said that it was "very chaotic. Full of chances and dangers. We sold drugs, stole, broke into houses, cars. Did whatever we wanted to for the most part - including all the bands we played in. People even hated us back then."
Early music career:
GG Allin's earliest musical influences were 1960s British Invasion bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the The Dave Clark 5. In the early 70s, Alice Cooper became a large influence on Allin. Allin's earliest recorded musical endeavors were as a drummer. In his mid-teens, he and his older brother formed their first band, Little Sister's Date, which lasted a little over a year. The group covered songs by Aerosmith, KISS, and other popular hard rock bands of the time period.
Allin graduated from Concord High School in Concord, Vermont in 1975, and shortly after formed the band Malpractice with his older brother and several high school friends. He was the drummer for Malpractice until the band separated in 1977. He became the drummer for the band Stripsearch, writing and performing the songs "Galileo" and "Jesus in New York".
From September 1977 to April 1984, Allin performed as frontman for The Jabbers, in which he played drums and performed vocals. Allin's 1980 debut album was Always Was, Is and Always Shall Be. He was a punk rock frontman akin to Iggy Pop and Stiv Bators who played music that was catchy, a danceable mix of power pop and hardcore punk. The lyrical content was often brash yet humorous, and was not yet outrageously offensive. At one point, industry veteran and The Dead Boys producer Genya Ravan served as his manager. Tension within The Jabbers mounted as Allin grew uncontrollable, uncompromising and vicious. The Jabbers disbanded and parted ways. Allin's drug use started during this period.
Allin fronted many acts during the early to mid 1980s. This includes albums from The Cedar Street Sluts, The Scumfucs in 1982 and The Texas Nazis in 1985. Allin remained in the underground hardcore scene yet was not part of the east coast hardcore scene. His performances in Manchester, New Hampshire with the Cedar Street Sluts earned him the nickname of "the madman of Manchester."
Allin gained wider attention with the ROIR cassette-only release of Hated in the Nation (1987) containing tracks from Allin's out-of-print catalog with The Jabbers, The Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. The tape also featured several in-studio and in-concert recordings with an all-star band assembled by producer Maximum RocknRoll and early Allin patron Mykel Board. This band featured J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. on lead guitar and Bongwater record producer/musician Mark Kramer on bass.
Mid era and more extreme live performances:
By the mid to late 1980s, Allin was addicted to heroin and alcohol and generally abused any intoxicants provided to him. At this point, Allin also began eating laxatives before performances, as defecation was becoming a regular part of his stage act. Allin described himself as "the last true rock and roller": by this, he meant that rock and roll music itself had started as an embodiment of danger, anti-authoritarianism and rebelliousness but had become largely taken over by corporations and business concerns. Allin's music and performances were thus meant to return rock and roll to what he saw as its roots, reclaiming it from the corporate system.
Allin idolized country music legend Hank Williams and saw himself as a kindred spirit. Both were relative loners and outsiders, both were habitual users of intoxicants, both lived with few, if any, possessions and both traveled the country relentlessly. Allin's acoustic output, documented on the EP The Troubled Troubador, was heavily influenced by Williams. He recorded his own rewrites of Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Family Tradition" and David Allan Coe's "Longhaired Redneck", calling his own versions "Scumfuc Tradition" and "Outlaw Scumfuc" respectively. Later, Allin also released another country album Carnival of Excess, his most refined record.
During this period, Allin collaborated with Bulge (also known as Psycho under a different name, on the album Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies), The Aids Brigade (the 7" EP Expose Yourself To Kids) and The Holymen (You Give Love a Bad Name). Allin also began performing many spoken word pieces. Video footage of these are available but rare. Unwilling to seek steady employment, Allin supported himself by selling his own records. Allin was also fascinated with serial killers. He wrote to and visited John Wayne Gacy in prison a number of times and Gacy painted a portrait of Allin, which became the album cover to the soundtrack of the film Hated: GG Allin And The Murder Junkies.
By this point, Allin's performances, which often resulted in considerable damage to venues and sound equipment, were regularly stopped after only a few songs by police or venue owners. Allin was charged with assault and battery or indecent exposure a number of times. His constant touring was only stopped by jail time or by long hospital stays for broken bones, blood poisoning, and other physical trauma.
Another attraction to Allin performances was his continual threats of suicide. In 1989, Allin wrote to Maximum RocknRoll stating that he would commit suicide on stage on Halloween 1990. However, he was in jail when that day came. He continued his threat each following year but ended up imprisoned each following Halloween. When asked why he did not follow through with his threats, Allin stated, "With GG, you don't get what you expect--you get what you deserve." He also stated that suicide should only be done when one had reached his peak, meeting the afterlife at his strongest point and not at his weakest.
1989 trial and imprisonment:
In late 1989, Allin was arrested and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder of a female acquaintance in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In a psychological evaluation made as part of the trial, Allin was judged as having at least average intelligence, and was described as "courteous, cooperative and candid". The unnamed evaluator noted that Allin did not appear psychotic, and seemed comfortable with his unorthodox lifestyle. However, the evaluator asserted Allin did have behaviors consistent with masochism and narcissism, and displayed symptoms of borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.
Allin initially denied the charges, claiming that the woman was a willing participant in their sexual activities. Allin admitted to cutting her, burning her, and drinking her blood, but insisted she did the same thing to him. Allin also claimed that inconsistencies in the woman's statements to authorities supported his assertions. The judge in the case agreed there were substantial inconsistencies in the woman's account. Ultimately, however, Allin plea bargained to the reduced charge of felonious assault, and he was imprisoned from December 20, 1989 to March 26, 1991.
It was during this time in prison that Allin began feeling re-energized about his life and "mission". He wrote and published The GG Allin Manifesto during this period.
Hated documentary and final days:
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hated:_GG_Allin_and_the_Murder_Junkies
After his release from prison, Allin skipped parole to go on another tour, footage of which was shot for Todd Phillips' documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies. The film contained graphic scenes from a performance Allin gave at an East Village, New York rock club, Space at Chase. Allin stripped naked, defecated on the floor, wiped his feces on himself and threw feces into the audience. Allin broke a woman's nose and assaulted several other people in the crowd. Clips were included from other Allin appearances, as well as interviews with Allin, his band, and their fans. The film was released in 1994 and later followed on DVD in 1997.
During the 1990s GG Allin recorded his Murder Junkies album released by New Rose Records and featuring ANTiSEEN. This album contained ten musical tracks and ten spoken-word pieces. Other than Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies, Allin considered this album to be his most polished professionally recorded album that explored his persona and stated his philosophy on life. It was also during this period that Allin recorded the War In My Head - I'm Your Enemy album released on Awareness Records and featuring the band Shrinkwrap. This particular album consists of one 45-minute track that is a collage of spoken-word pieces which Shrinkwrap put to music.
Allin's growing notoriety led to appearances on various television shows: Geraldo, The Jerry Springer Show and The Jane Whitney Show. At the time of his death, Allin was making plans for a spoken-word album. He also mentioned a somewhat unlikely European tour, enthusiastically talking about it in the hours before his death.
GG Allin's last show was on June 27, 1993 at a small club called The Gas Station, a punk venue located inside of a former gas station at 194 E 2nd Street in Manhattan. During the second song, the power went out, after which he trashed the venue, walked across the street entirely naked, and then continued on (now wearing shorts, but still covered in blood and feces) through the neighborhood, followed by a large group of fans.
After walking the streets for several hours, Allin eventually went to the apartment of John Handley. There, he and others continued to party and use drugs. Sometime during the evening, Allin ingested large amounts of heroin, on which he accidentally overdosed and slipped into an unconscious state. Those in the apartment posed for photos with Allin around 2 A.M., not realizing that the musician was already in the early stages of respiratory failure. One fan at the scene later told police that he was snoring at the time the pictures were taken, leading the others in the apartment to believe he had fallen asleep.
Sometime in the early morning of June 28, Allin died from the effects of his accidental heroin overdose. The next morning, some noticed that Allin still lay motionless in the same place where they had left him and called for an ambulance. Allin was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 36 years old.
At his funeral, Allin's bloated, discolored corpse was dressed in his black leather jacket and trademark jock strap. He had a bottle of Jim Beam beside him in his casket, per his wishes (openly stated in his self-penned acoustic country ballad, "When I Die"). As part of his brother's request, the mortician was instructed not to wash the corpse (which smelled strongly of feces), or apply any makeup.
Allin's funeral became a wild party. Friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth, much to the bemusement of several funeral employees who, reportedly, had a wild party later that night. As the funeral ended, his brother put a pair of headphones on Allin. The headphones were plugged into a portable cassette player, in which was loaded a copy of The Suicide Sessions. The video of his funeral is widely available for purchase, and is an extra feature on the Hated DVD and some bootleg VHS tapes. Allin was buried in his mother Arleta's plot beside his grandparents.
Video footage of the soundcheck, concert, and aftermath from Allin's final concert on the day of his death was appended to the 1997 DVD release of Hated.
GG Allin's grave is frequently vandalized with urine, cigarette butts, feces and alcohol by fans, an act that is greatly discouraged by GG's mother Arleta. His tombstone has since been removed because of this.
Allin's songs have been covered by a number of acts, including Grand Belial's Key, Gehennah, CKY, the 69 Eyes, Maryslim, Beck, Bus Station Loonies, The Lemonheads, Iron Eagle, No Age, The Spits, Dum Dum Girls, Times New Viking, Faith No More, Ty Segall, Taake and Forgotten Tomb.
Family and relationships:
GG Allin married Sandra Farrow on October 6, 1980. They divorced in 1985.
In the mid-1980s, Allin became involved with a teenage girl from Garland, Texas named Tracy Deneault. She became pregnant, and their daughter, Nico Ann Deneault, was born March 13, 1986. Nico chose to distance herself from her family. Allin and Tracey Deneault never married.
Allin was an extreme individualist and anti-authoritarian, promoting lawlessness and violence against police officers in many of his lyrics, and his essay, The GG Allin Manifesto, was intended to summarize his personal philosophy. He stated on Geraldo that he believed that his body was a temple of rock and roll, and his flesh, blood and bodily fluids are a communion to the people. Another reason he gave for his onstage antics was that he wanted to draw a parable between his actions and "a society that's going crazy with violence." He has also said that if he did not do his performances he would probably be a serial killer or a mass murderer.
Court document - GG Allin's clinical transcript in Michigan case