1993 was a weird time. I mean, 2020 is a weird time too, but I’ve often discussed the pre-millennial tension that the world was suffering from, as well as the pre-WWW explosion of zines and the output of Feral House, whose Apocalypse Culture was a bible for the many behaviors and trends of the coming end of the world. Little did we know we’d all be sitting in our houses watching TV and wearing paper masks. The armageddon that James Shelby Downard was leading to seemed a lot cooler, to be honest.
Jesus Christ Allin was given that named because his mother claimed that the Son of God visited her and said that he would be a great man. His brother Merle couldn’t pronounce that name, but could say it phonetically. Hence, GG Allin.
The boys’ father was, to be charitable, a maniac and an abusive religious nut who continually promised to kill them, even digging a grave for the family in the cellar. This makes more sense when you think of all the times that GG promised that he would kill himself on stage.
Oh man. I’m writing this in a bubble thinking that everyone knows who he is. And then I realize that Allin died 27 years ago, in a time where there was no true-crime culture and only weirdos were obsessed with John Wayne Gacy.
This is an oversimplification, but Allin’s stage shows were mainly him attempting a song and then terrorizing the audience. Sometimes that involved baiting them with words or threats of violence. Other times, he’d shit all over the stage, put the microphone up his ass and throw feces at people.
You know. Rock and roll.
Somehow, Todd Phillips — yes, the man who directed Joker — made this at NYU before a career that includes Old School, Starsky & Hutch and three The Hangover movies. I don’t say that in an elitist way. It’s just interesting to go from GG bloody and scat-strewn on stage screaming to yuks.
There’s no real point of view in this, but you’re either going in knowing who Allin was, or as a fan, or as someone with preconceived notions of whether or not what he was doing was art. In today’s culture, the lyrics and actions of Allin wouldn’t have made him the underground counterculture force that he was. He’d have been canceled long before. Yet for a time, there he was, literally screaming, pissing and shitting into the wind.
You can watch this on Tubi.