Top 10 GG Allin Albums
Warning: NSFW - by all means, NSFW!!! For those who don't know (or have wisely been avoiding the "G" section of their local underground record store for decades), Kevin Michael "GG" Allin was a New England, USA punker who redefined onstage hijinks, hostility and hilarity. To some he was simply a "retarded exhibitionist", to others he was a Manson-esque deity who honestly personified everything from censorship to the hypocrisy of corporate rock 'n' roll, the prison system, you name it. GG began in 1977 with rather tame pop-punk offerings but quickly degenerated throughout the 80's into over-the-top scatological basement hardcore. Unfortunately, his on-stage antics of defecation, violence and general audience abuse would gloss over what got the guy started in the first place: his music. Love him or hate him, the guy could pen a tune. Although I'm sure these albums will be universally hated by most readers, I think they endure as an interesting benchmark in musical history; GG pushed the boundaries of taste in a way that has not been surpassed since. Finally, while it could easily be argued this list is too artist-specific, rest assured that if I named it the "Top 10 Most Offensive Albums Ever" or "Top 10 Worst Albums Ever" I wouldn't need to change a word. Enjoy.
Unfortunately, Allin's albums didn't necessarily get better as he got older. Thus, making the list chronologic with his life events was nearly impossible as I somewhat dislike the material from his later years. I'd recommend those who want a sequential play-by-play of his life to follow each entry by year of release.
10. Brutality And Bloodshed For All (1993)
GG's final studio album, recorded during the summer of 1993 after his release from Jackson State Prison. Stemming from an "assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder" charge in 1989, his prison term spanned nearly 4-years; partly due to the fact that he jumped parole from Michigan to NYC in 1991 to film the acclaimed Todd Phillips documentary Hated. The charge (and stories) regarding the assault incident are lengthy: GG was accused by a young woman (sources vary as to whether she was a fan, groupie, girlfriend or simply a naïve reporter) of abducting and torturing her over a long weekend in Ann Arbor. GG claimed until the end it was completely consensual and only plea bargained to avoid stronger charges. Regardless, thanks to the Hated documentary and some press time on Geraldo, GG had become rather popular in the underground media during his prison stay and there was much anticipation for his return to the microphone. Sadly, GG would never live to see the album's release, he quietly died June 28, 1993 of a heroin overdose. As a result, Brutality And Bloodshed For All would be his epitaph.
While still as offensive as ever, the album is somewhat stale and doesn't quite hold up to his other discography. Nearly every song sounds generally the same; the band chanting along the chorus while GG croaks along in his best Cookie Monster impersonation. Recorded with his most dedicated back-up band the Murder Junkies, the record includes such light-hearted fare as "Fuck Off, We Murder" and "Kill Thy Father, Rape Thy Mother." Was GG trying to delve into some Jim Morrison-esque Oedipus Rex theology at this point? Not likely, by this point Allin was devolving into little more than a caricature of himself and Brutality is simply offensive for offensive's sake. Case in point, the album's pro-AIDS anthem "I Kill Everything I Fuck," gawked at by unsuspecting reviewers who felt it "went to far" when it actually just comes off as silly and stupid. There are a few highlights: "I Am The Highest Power" is a sharp, quick paean to GG's narcissism; "Anal Cunt" harkens back to his earlier Scumfuc days and his lust for sodomy… whew… we're only at #10… let's move on…
9. Carnival Of Excess (1996)
Carnival Of Excess remains the final full-length album by GG featuring exclusively new material. As with most musicians who pass away, the market was glutted by a bevy of quickie cash-in 7" records featuring the Geeg within weeks of his funeral. Some were appreciable; most were lame retreads of old material masked as outtakes or "original versions". Finally, 1996 saw the release of Carnival Of Excess, the most cohesive posthumous work to emerge since GG's death. Recorded in 1991 while GG was busy violating parole in Tampa, Carnival Of Excess is… for lack of a better word… a straight-up outlaw country album. It is easily GG's most accessible work and could almost be mainstream if it weren't for the predominant obscenity in half the songs. If anything, at least it's different.
Still, the album, for the most part, works. Some (including myself) argue that Carnival is way too over-produced for a GG record while others feel this is just the medium the guy needed to break out of his shell. As far as the music, Carnival Of Excess features a more-than-ample back-up band behind GG. One could easily convince someone Allin's covers of Warren Zevon ("Carmelita"), Patsy Cline ("Pick Me Up On Your Way Down") and a homage to the Wilburn Brothers ("Watch Me Kill") were actually recorded by some gentle ol' Nashville outlaw and not the New Hampshire scumfuc known for eating his own feces. GG's originals on this one are the album's real strength - the autobiographical "Son Of Evil" is an amazing song, even for one like myself who doesn't like country. "Fuck Authority" is also pretty strong as is "Outskirts Of Life." "Guns, Bitches, Brawls And Bottles" and "The Snake Man" tease the line of becoming country-hokey but, once again, that could just be my personal prejudices against the genre. I've frequently read that many consider this to be GG's best work so there ya go.
8. Murder Junkies (1991)
Recorded during GG's flight from the parole board in 1991, this time in North Carolina with local degenerate punkers ANTiSEEN. GG had been incarcerated for nearly two years before this session and it shows. Gone are the sleazy, sex-addled dick-joke tunes from the 80's; Murder Junkies is an angry political statement directed at law enforcement, prison, society and the record industry. Several months before being paroled, GG released "The GG Allin Mission," a short dogma in which GG claims to be Jesus, God and Satan, takes credit for the creation of Rock 'N' Roll (while asking his followers to overthrow its industry) and reiterating his 1989 claim to kill himself on stage as a sacrifice to the Rock 'N' Roll temple. Murder Junkies is the perfect musical accompaniment to the mission.
Half-spoken word, half-crunching southern hardcore, Murder Junkies drips with loathe. It is a fast-paced assault on the ears that is so miserably depressing at times you wonder how GG made it as long as he did. "I Love Nothing" and "I Hate People" are amazing odes to sociopathy and loneliness while "Kill The Police" and "Violence Now" are riot-inducing anthems truly pushing the boundaries of free speech. The spoken word pieces vary between the poetic and prosaic, some give a glimpse inside the tortured brain of the guy while others are typical offensive fluff. GG would adopt ANTiSEEN's musical style for the final few years of his life and incorporate it into the later work done with the Murder Junkies band (see entry #10).
7. Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be (1980)
Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be is a cheesy, power-pop punk record that is almost laughable today when compared to the rest of his discography. If you can see past the choppy recording, strangely sterile backing tracks and overly loud vocals (another pre-release sabotage by GG?) there are some real diamonds in the rough. "Assface" still stands as one of GG's best tunes - a funny rip on some nameless know-it-all, "Cheri Love Affair" is a strangely addictive shout-out to Manchester streetwalkers and "Don't Talk To Me" was probably that close… that close… to being a real radio hit. Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be really gives the listener a glimpse into what could have been…
6. You Give Love A Bad Name (1987)
“GG Allin, this New Hampshire loser, appeared at the Cat Club, wearing only a jockstrap and cowboy boots. He started shouting the moment he came out, after shitting in his hands and wiping it on his chest. Then he bashed the microphone into his mouth, nose and eye sockets, a shiny red mask spreading across his face. He stretched his jock aside and pulled hard on his little dick. He broke bottles on the ground and rolled in them. Back up on stage now, there was other stuff on the floor (vomit?), and his butt and legs, besides his face, were bleeding. On his back, sometimes doggy style, Allin would shove the microphone into his anus. Then he went into the second number.”
Allin's back-up band that night was a local supergroup of sorts monikered the NY Superscum. Featuring Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J Mascis, Butthole Surfer bassist Mike Kramer and Artless members Mykel Board and Steven Dansiger, the band also showcased a young record mogul named Gerard Cosloy. Managing the indie label Homestead Records, Cosloy quickly signed Allin to a 3-record deal.
The first vinyl to emerge from the deal was 1987's You Give Love A Bad Name. While by no means GG's best work, it is stylistically a real step up from the DIY basement recordings he was churning out in the early 80's. Cosloy compiled yet another "supergroup" named the Holy Men for the recording session featuring members of Prong, Teenage Depression and the Raunch Hands. Absolutely hateful, misogynistic and profane, the studio engineer could not believe Cosloy was actually planning on pressing the record. Music-wise, it's pretty muddy punk. Allin's lyrics were recorded twice onto two tracks, giving them a strange un-synched chorus effect which is somewhat distracting.
GG would later disown much of the material, claiming he barely wrote anything and that the album was entirely choreographed by Cosloy. Regardless, it stands as some of the most demented hardcore to emerge from the 80's. Starting with the crass anthem "Swank Fuckin'" (Well your pussy smells like piss / Your asshole smells like shit / Your crusty stench gets me off / I wanna swank fuck) and onto such ditties as "I'm A Rapest" (sic), "Teenage Twats," and "Stink Finger Clit," You Give Love really delivers in the offensive department. Featuring a Charlie Manson cover ("Garbage Dump") to boot! What more could you ask for?
5. Hated In The Nation (1987)
Compiled by Mykel Board for NYC's ROIR Records, Hated In The Nation features studio recordings interspersed with live material culled from Allin's 1985 Dallas, TX show with the Texas Nazis. Songs span GG's career, from obscure cute Jabber ditties ("Gimme Some Head", "You Hate Me & I Hate You") to sleazy Scumfuc material ("I Wanna Fuck Myself", "Needle Up My Cock") to new tunes ("Ten Year Old", "Eat My ]Leftovers]") recorded over a weekend with the aforementioned NY Superscum (see entry #6 - I told you it was a big day for GG!). Mykel also throws in some quirky messages from GG's answering machine as well as a way-too-long 30-second track of GG masturbating. Elvis Presley he ain't. Of course recording quality varies immensely from track to track but in some weird way it works; there's enough variety to keep it fresh. The live outtakes are killer, some of the most hilarious shit ever spewed from a stage. Those confused Texans really caught GG on a good day.
4. Freaks, Faggots, Drunks & Junkies (1988)
"I live in NH cause it's cheap. But it fuckin' stinks with conservative pigs and lame bands, ect. I don't socialize to much any more 'cause nobody wants to associate with me. I'm not welcome because I've fucked over so called people and trashed parties, fighting & breaking bottles over heads. I'm an ugly scum + I don't care. I don't fuckin' care if people know if I had sex with my brother or my dog. Nobody controls me + never will. If you think I'm bullshit, why don't you come to NH and see for yourself. Visit my one room that smells like a piss factory + smells of dope and whisky. I'm not thanking any fucker, just myself. Those who talk the dogshit about me really just want to be me. But you never fuckin' will.
Everything I have fits in a trunk + I don't bathe often or change my clothes. I hang out with Jim Beam and I do not record for popularity, I do it for myself only. Because it is my life.
Until they put me in a box 6 feet under, I'll continue to fuckin' do it my way.
If parts of this record sound fucked up, that's because we were. If you want perfection, go buy someone else's record."
Nearly every song on Freaks is a keeper. The opener, "Dope Money," slyly ganks the Peter Gunn theme into a classic ode to junkie cash compromise. "Sleeping In My Piss" (a first hand account of what a daily fifth of whiskey will do to you), "Anti-Social Masterbator" (sic), "Last In Line For The Gang Bang" - the incredible lack of anything remotely PC on this record will leave you speechless. And we're not even to side B. An amazing cover of Destroy All Monsters' "Die When You Die" is easily the tightest track on the album - a rocking slab of hardcore ending with the infamous "You got cancer so go fucking die / If you got AIDS spread it around and take some lives." My favorite song however is the epic "Crash & Burn," a miserable dirge of agonized self-reflection by the struggling punker. By this point in his life GG was almost homeless. He'd been run out of New Hampshire to take up semi-residence with a friend in Chicago's suburbs, struggling to stay one step ahead of the law and their growing arsenal of warrants. Freaks, Faggots, Drunks & Junkies marks the end of "normal" life for Allin, a snapshot of a man at the edge of the cliff both professionally and personally. Essential.
3. Suicide Sessions (1989)
Suicide Sessions is raw. It is depressing. It is noisy, harsh, mean, confusing and painful to listen to. There is no question why this is Allin's "forgotten" album. Songs flow from one to another with little change other than the constant feedback (and none really made it as live show staples). It is also the first time GG foreshadows his plan to commit suicide (see entry #8). The miserable "Troubled Trubador Of Tommorrow" (sic) concludes with the foreboding "Lock him up / Watch him turn away / October 31, 1990 / He'll have his day." Following the marginal release of Sessions, GG would clarify this statement with a clear claim of his desire to kill himself onstage. Arrested in Michigan (see entry #10) only months later, his suicide claim would be pushed back and eventually put on hold. Critics baited Allin for "crying wolf" until the end of his days.
As for the rest of the album, a harsh noise fan will find a lot to like in Suicide Sessions. "Dagger In My Heart" is the closest thing to a college radio hit the guy recorded in years; pounding sludgers "Cornhole Lust" and "Shit On My Prick" still remain some of my favorite GG songs; "Drug Whore" is an amazing journey into the mind of an addict; "Lilliana Phone Fucker" is a strange psycho-fan phone message grunted over by a spastic Allin. There's a lot of dirge and rambling guitar solo but it's all about the feeling, man. Top notch shit.
2. Eat My Fuc (1984)
Eat My Fuc features ten ridiculous songs of moronic pottie-humor hardcore, seemingly recorded on a tape deck with no attention to mastering, equalizing or balance. Probably the most "punk" record to come out in the early 80's - GG created something so unlistenable that he unintentionally formed a new genre of music. Some would call it "tardcore" or "toilet rock" - GG simply called it "scum". Allin recorded most of the instruments himself, and somehow, underneath all the tape hiss, strange audio cues and flagrant profanity, managed to write some incredibly catchy tunes. "Hard Candy Cock" is the rampant opener - you'll find yourself humming the "Suckitsuckitsuckitsuckit" chorus hours later. "Drink, Fight & Fuck" and "Cock On The Loose" became time-tested Allin classics while the ludicrous "Clit Licker" and "Blowjobs" are some of the most foul-mouthed tunes ever pressed onto wax. Eat My Fuc is a true classic of the underground music scene. To simply call it "tardcore" would be selling it short. A DIY effort by an artist who had given up on being liked and simply wanted to piss people off. Well done sir. Well done.
1. You'll Never Tame Me (1985)
"Fuck Woman I've Never Had" and "Scumfuc Tradition" are lifted from Hank Williams Jr. tunes - GG adds his trademark lewdness in new vocals and elevates them to scatological classics. "I Wanna Fuck Myself" is a shameless, unapologetic tribute to self-satisfaction, "Needle Up My Cock" paints a squirm-inducing picture of GG's first bout with VD. "I Wanna Piss On You" and "You'll Never Tame Me" express Allin's general distaste for everyone while the ridiculous "I Fuck The Dead" brings the idea of a "cold fuck" to a new level. "Kill The Children, Save The Food" remains the most jaw-droppingly offensive track on the album. A mean-spirited antithesis of everything Live Aid was trying to do at the time - the fact GG and the band can't stop laughing throughout only adds to the utter perversion of the whole thing.
The music is fast, addictive three-chord hardcore. Sloppy recording and bare-bones production only add to the charm. You'll Never Tame Me is pushing three decades old and it easily holds up against the meanest punk out there today. One of the watershed underground albums of the 80's, in my opinion GG was never better. Search this one out.