Kevin Michael "GG" Allin (August 29, 1956 ??? June 28, 1993) was an American punk rock singer-songwriter who performed and recorded with many punk-rock groups during his career. Allin is best remembered for his notorious live performances which typically featured wildly transgressive acts, such as Allin defecating and urinating onstage, rolling in feces and often consuming excrement, performing naked, committing self-injury, and attacking audience members. 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, created varied opinions of him within the highly politicized punk-rock community. Though he had a devoted cult following, Allin's music was often poorly recorded and has received mostly negative reviews from critics.
GG Allin was born as Jesus Christ Allin at Weeks Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, New Hampshire. He was given this messianic name because his father, Merle Colby Allin Sr., then 33 years old, told his wife, Arleta Gunther, then 20 years old, that Jesus Christ himself had visited him and told him that his newborn son would be a great and all powerful man in the vein of the Messiah.
His older brother Merle Colby Allin, Jr. was unable to pronounce "Jesus" properly and kept calling him "Jeje", which became "GG". The family lived in a log cabin with no water or electricity in northern New Hampshire. Allin's father, who forbade all conversation in the home after dark, was a religious fanatic and an antisocial man, and was physically abusive towards his wife and children, though GG himself never used this as an excuse for any of his personal troubles. At age 12, Allin contracted Lyme disease and claimed 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, but finally changed it in order to give her son a chance at a normal, mockery-free childhood.
Allin was a poor student at school, being placed in special education classes and having to repeat the third grade. He was regarded as a misfit by his peers from Phillips Academy, and suffered intense bullying from classmates. In his sophomore year he began attending school in drag, which he said was inspired by the New York Dolls. When asked about his childhood, GG has been quoted as saying "Very chaotic. Full of chances and dangers. We sold drugs, stole, broke into houses, cars, etc. 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
Some of Allin's earliest recorded musical endeavors were as a drummer. During high school, he had a penchant for provocative theatrics early on. While performing with his first band at a high school prom, he pulled down the decorations provoking positive reactions from the crowd.
Allin graduated from Concord High School in nearby Concord, Vermont in 1975, and shortly after formed the band Malpractice with several high school friends and his older brother Merle. He was the drummer for Malpractice until the band separated in 1977. He later became the drummer for the band Stripsearch, and was able to write and perform two songs: "Galileo" and "Jesus in New York."
His first years as a frontman were with The Jabbers (1977 ??? April 1984). The Jabbers recorded a number of tracks for which Allin played drums and performed vocals. In 1980 came Allin's debut release, Always Was, Is and Always Shall Be. At the time, Allin was a standard punk rock frontman in the vein of Iggy Pop and Stiv Bators and his music was a catchy, danceable mix of power pop and hardcore punk. He was managed at one point by industry veteran (and The Dead Boys producer) Genya Ravan. Tensions within The Jabbers began to mount as Allin became increasingly uncontrollable, vicious, and uncompromising. The Jabbers discontinued, and the members parted ways. Allin's drug use started during this period.
During the early to mid 1980s, Allin fronted many acts. These included early albums varying from The Cedar Street Sluts to The Scumfucs in 1982, and The Texas Nazis in 1985. However, Allin remained in the underground hardcore scene and was not yet a viable icon of the east coast hardcore scene.
Though still a marginal figure, Allin gained wider attention with the release by Reachout International Records (ROIR) of Hated in the Nation (1987), a cassette-only release at the time, which contained several tracks from Allin's then-out-of-print back catalogue with The Jabbers, The Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. The tape also featured several new recordings, both in-studio and in-concert, with an all-star band assembled by producer, Maximum RocknRoll columnist, 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.
Tracy Deneault was a teenage girl Allin began seeing when his wife, Sandra Farrow, divorced him. On March 13, 1986, a daughter was born to Allin and Deneault. Little is known about the child, Nicoann Deneault. It has been speculated that the small picture in GG's left hand at his funeral may have been of Nicoann, though it is most likely a picture depicting Allin himself at a younger age. Allin and Tracey Deneault never married.
By the mid to late 1980s, Allin was addicted to heroin and alcohol and generally abused any intoxicants provided to him, sometimes taking pills without even asking what they were. His hygiene was atrocious and he only rarely bathed. At this point, Allin also began eating laxatives before performances - as defecation was becoming a regular 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, 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, Sr, 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. GG Allin's acoustic output, documented particularly 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 GG Allin also released another country album Carnival of Excess.
A typically bloodied GG Allin c. 1992
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. He also claimed to have committed criminal acts such as breaking and entering, robbery and mugging. Allin was also fascinated with serial killers. He wrote 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 (see murderabilia). According to Gacy, Allin was "a good kid" but that he "smelled like the worst piss-soaked wino".
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 1988, Allin wrote to Maximum RocknRoll stating that he would commit suicide on stage on Halloween 1989. 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 does not follow through with his threats, or sometimes his on-stage defecations, 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 their peak, meeting the afterlife at their strongest point and not at their weakest.
In late 1989, Allin was arrested and charged with rape and torture 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 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 the woman was a willing participant in sexual activities with him, only later changing her account of events. According to Allin, he cut her, burned her, and drank her blood, however she did the same thing to him. Allin also claimed inconsistencies in the woman's statements to authorities supported his assertions, and the judge in the case agreed there were substantial inconsistencies in the woman's account. Ultimately, however, Allin plea bargained to reduced felony assault charges, and he was imprisoned from December 20, 1989 ??? March 26, 1991.
It was during this time in prison that Allin began feeling re-energized about his life and "mission", as he put it. He wrote and published The GG Allin Manifesto (1990) during this period.
After his release from prison, Allin skipped parole to go on another tour, footage of which made it into Todd Phillips' documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies. The documentary also contained graphic scenes from other Allin appearances as well as interviews with Allin, his brother and fellow band member Merle Allin, and the Murder Junkies' naked drummer Dino. The film came out in 1994 and was released on DVD in 1997. As of 2009 the film can be seen "On Demand" through many national and local cable providers.
During the 1990s GG Allin recorded his Murder Junkies album released by New Rose Records and featuring the band ANTiSEEN. This album contained 10 musical tracks and 10 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.
Meanwhile, Allin's growing notoriety led to appearances on Geraldo, The Jerry Springer Show and The Jane Whitney Show. He was cheered and booed by fans and enemies at the same time. Merle appeared in the audience during a show, prompting Geraldo Riviera to sarcastically comment to him "that's a great mustache".
GG Allin's final resting place in Littleton, New Hampshire.
Despite threats of an onstage suicide, Allin died of a heroin overdose in Manhattan on June 28, 1993, in the Alphabet City apartment of John Handley Hurt and Dwanna Yount three days after attending the premiere of the documentary Hated, whose director gives an account of Allin's attendance in Bizarre Magazine. He was found lying in an acquaintance's apartment on the night of the 29th but had actually died the previous night in his sleep. He was 36 years old. His last show was at a small club called "The Gas Station" (which was literally inside of a vacant gas station), located across the street from Hurt and Yount's apartment. Video footage of the soundcheck, concert, and aftermath is appended to the DVD release of Hated. During the show's second song the power went out, after which he trashed the venue, walked across the street entirely naked, and then continued on (shirtless and covered in blood and feces) through the neighborhood, followed by a large group of fans whom he both discouraged and openly embraced. On VH1's Freakiest Concert Moments, Allin's final show ranked at number four.
After arriving at the apartment, Allin injected the large dose of heroin that killed him. Some party-goers later posed for photos with Allin, not knowing that he was already dead. 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.
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. The funeral became a wild party. Friends posed with the corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into its mouth. 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.
His grave is frequently vandalized with feces and alcohol by fans.
At the time of his death, Allin was making plans for a spoken-word album, and a somewhat unlikely European tour. Reports say he was enthusiastically talking about them to a friend in the hours before his death.
Through his lyrics, television appearances, and documentary, GG Allin expressed an archaically unified philosophy closely resembling the libertine beliefs of the notorious French writer Marquis de Sade, though Allin never expressed a particular liking for de Sade's works. Allin believed that he was the rock and roll messiah, come to reclaim punk and rock'n'roll music from commerciality and corporatism (see megalomania). During the height of his notoriety in the early 1990s, Allin had a small following of young female fans with whom he had sexual relations. On The Jane Whitney Show, Allin spoke freely of having a seventeen-year-old girl urinate in his mouth and having her watch him masturbate.
Allin was an extreme individualist and anti-authoritarian, promoting lawlessness and violence against police officers in many of his lyrics, and in his essay, The GG Allin Manifesto, which was intended to summarize his personal philosophy. He stated on Geraldo that he believed that his body was a temple of rock and roll worship, which he used to promote his beliefs in individualist anarchism and destruction. 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."
Court document - GG Allin's sentencing in Michigan case
Court document - GG Allin's clinical transcript in Michigan case