Rock & Roll Books

Any Old Way You Choose It

I Was a Murder Junkie: The Last Days of G.G. Allin

by Evan Cohen

Recess Records, 128 pp., $18.99 (paper)

I always had the feeling that every day could have been G.G. Allin's last day, but the Grim Reaper apparently had to wait 37 years to finally nail "the sickest man in rock and roll." That his end came not long after the Murder Junkies played a final show in Austin is unremarkable. G.G. and his cohorts -- brother and bassist Merle, guitarist Bill Weber, and drummer Dino Sachs -- were a not-so-finely tuned touring machine to rival their initial heroes, the Ramones, sluicing back and forth across the country like so much white light through a junkie's capillaries. They never stayed in one place for long, and when they did, it was probably because one or more of them was behind bars awaiting jail.

Cohen, an ex-NYU non-grad, was recruited in the fall of 1993 to go on tour with New York-based scum rockers G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies. This was during the ill-fated "Terror Over America" tour (though whether that tour was actually any more ill-fated than anything else the Allin crew ever attempted is wide open to debate). Armed only with his trusty video camera and microcassette recorder, Cohen wisely (and courageously, or perhaps foolishly) documented the madness and overkill implicit in a G.G. Allin tour. The result is I Was a Murder Junkie, an observant if not particularly insightful glimpse into the final months of a man and his band that made Marilyn Manson and his ilk seem positively tender and loving in comparison.

The sex, the drugs, the off-key renditions of "I Hate You" -- these are endemic to any rock & roll band worth its scars. Cohen delves marginally deeper, fleshing out G.G. (neé Jesus Christ) and Merle's godforsaken home lives and the sociopathic rage that fueled them both. There is precious little that is redeeming about G.G. Allin's tale: He lived fast and died young, just like his jailbird tattoos said he would. What sort of import, if any, his manic, fist 'n' feet-first, whipcord bravado had on the world at large is a moot point at best. And if he was the true essence of punk, as so many of his fans would claim, then what does that make Ian MacKaye and Dave Smalley? Even Johnny Thunders didn't go this far down in the dark.

The mind boggles at the antics Cohen describes, but the final image -- an overdosed G.G. lying in state in Littleton, New Hampshire, dressed only in his leather jacket and a spotty jock strap with the tender au revoir "Eat Me" crudely stenciled upon it -- is as finely damning an epitaph as any scumfuck rocker would ever want, or need. Punk dead? Nah, man, that's just G.G.

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I Was a Murder Junkie: The Last Days of G.G. Allin, Evan Cohen

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