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GG Allin and The Murder Junkies – [DVD]

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Tuesday, 03 March 2009

The deifying effect that an untimely death seems to have on musicians has always always been a little eerie. After they die, virtually all musicians are elevated to a plateau upon which the conventional wisdom is that everything done by the deceased was part of a plan; like the unlucky musician was working toward something that would have made them the single most important figure in the art form had they not been taken too early. The other (very similar) option usually available is to be remembered as an outsized caricature capable of seemingly superhuman feats of endurance, strength and constitution all while performing hallmark, career-defining performances that eventually become legendary. How often that rosy image is deserved, however, could be debated endlessly. Take GG Allin for example – the awe surrounding this less-than-prolific punk is jaw-dropping. According to legend, GG Allin ('GG' was a nickname given to the singer by brother Merle when he was unable to say 'Jesus Christ' as an infant):was a hulking and unstoppable monolith. He would regularly beat himself bloody with a microphone, accost and abuse his audience with no mercy, extol the virtues of excess in every imaginable form, and was an outspoken advocate on behalf of every base urge the human mind can fathom. He also regularly partook of most of them.

But was any of it really true? Were any of the stories even vaguely based in fact or were they the result of some myth-making exercise cooked up by fans and management disinterested in letting the truth get in the way of a good story? As The Best Of GG Allin & The Murder Junkies DVD illustrates, there's no understatement in those sordid accounts, they're absolutely true – in fact, the stories don't do the spectacle justice.

Patched together from what are presumably a series of shows performed throughout the last incarnation of The Murder Junkies' brief reign of terror with GG at the wheel (while Merle Allin would take over after GG's death, there were three groups of personnel for the band with GG up front between 1989 and 1993), The Best Of… presents the scatological nightmare that was the GG Allin concert experience – sort of. In watching the footage, close examination of the individual tracks reveals that each song is actually stitched together from several sources with the audio overdubbed in (and only occasionally synced in to match)o give a reasonably coherent facsimile of an incredibly chaotic experience.

If you can get past (or simply ignore) the obvious shortcomings of the video, The Best Of… is a very revealing (the pun is obvious) document about Allin's actual stage show. Seldom did he not take the stage in a lewd, rude and (at least) partially nude state and his stage conduct is questionable at best (it includes self-sodomy, violence, self-abuse and more here) and his voice was no better live than it was on record. Also, while The Murder Junkies were actually a really tight street punk outfit, there are moments when the vocals and lyric sheets (like in “Gypsy Motherfucker,” “Expose Yourself To Children” and “Outlaw Scumfuc”) get to be a little too sophomoric for even the strongest stomachs.

So is The Best Of GG Allin & The Murder Junkies DVD worth a watch? Maybe – it depends on what the viewers in question are looking for. They aren't going to find a lost set of masterpieces or slices of phenomenal, forgotten punk innovation that's for sure – Allin himself and watching him parade his psychoses across a stage is the thing here. It is conduct over content as well as the most abrasive fluff available in pop and might make it valued viewing – even if only watched once.

Artist:

Official GG Allin website
GG Allin myspace

DVD:
The Best Of GG Allin & The Murder Junkies is out now on MVD. Buy it here at Amazon .

Additional viewing of interest:
GG Allin on Jerry Springer

Last GG Allin interview part one

Last GG Allin interview part two

Last GG Allin interview part three

Last GG Allin interview part four

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