Jesus Christ Allin hated everybody. After they saw his act, most folks returned the favor. His own brother acknowledged that tours with Allin's band, the Murder Junkies, finished up in jail or in the hospital. Allin, who was called GG, a phonetic approximation of brother Merle's nickname for him because he couldn't pronounce big brother's honest-to-God, on-his-birth-certificate name, took self-mutilation to a new level. But Allin wasn't content just to bleed for his audience. He insisted on sharing all his bodily fluids with those who showed up to witness his performance.
"I think he was angry with the people he idolized growing up," brother Merle said recently from his Nutley, N.J., home. "Watching them all sell out, he just decided, 'I'm never gonna do anything like that.'"
Allin's idea of what rock 'n' roll should be first showed up in 1977 when he fronted the Jabbers. At first, his singing was fairly melodic and in a pop vein, but his voice and sentiments got rougher by the time the band broke up in 1984. Merle says it didn't happen overnight. "He would just start by tipping people's tables over or taking their drinks or pouring them in their faces while he was onstage." It soon escalated to the point where he became self-abusive and abused his audience. "The whole state of the music industry really pissed him off," Merle says.
After the Jabbers, Allin fronted the Cedar Street Sluts, the Scumfucs and The Texas Nazis in the mid-1980s, collaborated with hard-core punkers Psycho, the Aids Brigade and the Holymen and recorded the album Murder Junkies with Antiseen.
Arrested for rape and torture in 1989, he was incarcerated in Michigan's Jackson State Prison until March of 1991. Merle started the Murder Junkies that year while GG was still in prison, and says the touring GG did with them when he got out is the first proper touring he did. "Most of the time he would just travel by himself, pick up people in different cities and maybe do four or five shows and the rest of the time he'd be drinking and raising hell. GG was like the Chuck Berry of punk rock," Merle says.
Although GG seemed deranged, frequently threatening suicide, Merle doesn't think his brother was bipolar. "Nah, he was like antisocial personality disorder. I guess bipolar wasn't cool then, when he was alive," he chuckles. "Now everybody's fuckin' bi-polar, aren't they?"
Merle says his brother's main problem was that he wasn't comfortable with too many people. "He would get around people who would try to be all, like, tough and act all cool because they were around him. And those were the kind of people that he hated," Merle says. "Those were the kind of people who had no clue -- they thought they were his friends because they were trying to impress him, but he wasn't impressed by anybody."
But his bass-playing brother, who still tours as a member of the Murder Junkies, feels GG should have a better legacy. "A lot of people can't get past the defecating on stage and self-mutilation, but anybody could do that," Merle says. "If his music wasn't good, nobody would still be caring about GG Allin today, be buying his records. He should be in the goddam Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
GG's spirit still lives on with the Murder Junkies, but his sound does not. "Naw, naw, we're not trying to get anybody to try to follow GG at this point," Merle says. "We have a singer, and he's aggressive and he's good, but we're not trying to be like GG anymore."
Antiseen's Jeff Clayton did a tour with the Junkies after GG died, and currently They Hate Us singer P.P. Devuee fronts the band. "A lot of people in the beginning thought we were gonna be like GG again, and we can't," Merle says. "There's nobody to come along before, during or after -- there'll never be anyone like GG ever again. GG's, like, one of a kind."
Fifteen years after his death from a heroin overdose in 1993, GG Allin's name still resonates with unruly rockers. The bassist says he gets 10 or 15 bands a week writing to him, telling him they've covered a GG song. "The great thing is, people are listening to GG today who weren't even born when he died," Merle says. "These 13-year-old kids -- they need something to rebel against, and GG's the perfect thing for that."
The Murder Junkies play The Milestone on May 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.