A Full Disclosure right up front, one and all:
’Way back in the 1980 hey!day of my funzine The Pig Paper, a certain Kevin Michael Allin sent over a sweetly autographed, stuffed-with-promo-material copy of an album called Always Was, Is and Always Shall Be which had been newly issued on none other than David “The Pope Smokes Dope” Peel’s Orange Records imprint. It sounded then, and remains today, a most spirited indeed collection of incredibly powerful pop in that classic Stooges / New York Dolls mold, with lyrics – especially heard in a, shall we say, immediate post-Pistols frame of ear – not really all that “shocking” whatsoever.
Then, Kevin Michael grew all the way up to become, of course, GG Allin, who by the time of MVD Visual’s utterly ballbusting Live in Boston 1989 DVD was still quite happy to remain focused upon the fun as opposed to the, well, feces of his craft. If you catch my career-spanning drift. For example, even before mounting the stage at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA on the particular hot August night in question, this disc treats us to thirty-five full minutes’ worth of GG, long-suffering bassist/brother Merle, and their young AIDS Brigade band “Gettin’ made up for the show,” as this chapter’s most accurately called. Why, we can even spot vintage Elvis on the wall, the carpet underfoot seems to have actually been vacuumed for the occasion, and the guys before the mirror seem no more Rotten or Vicious than, say, Monkees kept up after eleven.
Things really do go something just like this:
“Is that green enough for you?” “I’m just putting the first coat on!” “This sharp enough for ya, honey?” “A little blacker under the eyes.” “Wetting it makes it better.” “I don’t think that’s dark enough.” “Can you get me some Salems?” “Stop fooling around!” “Poke my eyeball out if you have to, but GET IT DARKER.” “We wanna hide a little bit of the ugly…” “Orchid?? Do ya have any, like, blue?” “Those whiskers. Really!” “Yes, you need more neon green.” “Do you think you’re lacking something?” “Hey! You covered my acne! Whaddaya know.” “Purple? That’s not me.” “You’re gonna have to tie your hair back or somethin’.” “Aw yeah! That’s New York Dolls-type shit!” “You need some dangly earrings.”
Then, after posing for a requisite few Polaroids by the dressing room door, the lovely lads proceed to wobble onstage to play one true, loud, friction-packed set …during which, I swear, GG’s undies don’t even drop until the middle of the fourth song. Now these are the lonely planet boys I knew and loved all the way back when it Always Was.
However, for the discriminating conno-sewer I and MVD know are out there, the true meat of GG’s matter is much more readily on display during the two – count ’em! – Bonus Shows generously added to this disc’s menu.
Shot out in the once-picturesque Pacific Northwest a mere month before the man’s most messy passing, and featuring his crack back-up band of Murder Junkies to boot, allow me to run GG’s action down thumbnail-style:
Bonus Show # 1 (Under The Rail, Seattle, May 26, 1993):
– Allin orifice exposed less than 40 seconds into the proceedings
– anal waterworks let loose at 4:23, followed by tasting of same
– clothes all off by 5:10
– Bible ripped apart at 5:45
– American flag desecrated at 6:16
– Seattle Rocket paper (that was actually a pretty good zine) set on fire at 7:23
– record album pooped on at 8:08 then tossed into (what remains of) audience at 8:52
– turkey baster enema self-inflicted at 10:02: “Don’t take a picture of it – suck it, baby!”
…and all of this taking place while awaiting the guitarist to arrive before the first song!
Bonus Show # 2 (Roseland Theater, Portland, May 27, 1993):
– GG fully disrobed this time by 0:45!
– Sub Pop Records t-shirt, Bible, and some hot dogs all set on fire at 3:46
– Pepsi enema at 3:58
– this time, it’s the drummer they’re waiting for.
Ahh, my. “The long battles to prove he was a Saint,” as no less a r ‘n’ r authority as Paul McCartney once said. And all I can possibly add is that GG Allin & The AIDS Brigade Live in Boston 1989 will make you laugh until you cry. Or maybe the other way around.
Happy Birthday, Kevin Michael: August 29.
(RIP GG: June 28)