GG Allin was one of the most notorious people in Rock ‘n Roll, with antics including defecating on stage, groping and beating men and women during performances, and general anarchy and chaos at live shows (See Todd Phillips’ Hated: GG Allin & The Murder Junkies). Their shows divided audiences and outraged right-wing North Americans. Now for the first time, his final backing band the Murder Junkies will be touring Australia, more than fifteen years after the lead singer’s death. I spoke with GG’s brother Merle ‘Pinkie’ Allin about his own philosophies of western culture and their impending Australian tour.
“Hello from Sunny California” greets Merle enthusiastically, in such a warm and vibrant voice that I’m instantly taken aback, having expected something a tad more vicious after the material that I had come across whilst researching the interview. A greeting which indicates that perhaps Murder Junkies have changed in some of their ways.
The Murder Junkies originally founded in 1991 whilst GG was serving the remainder of a prison sentence. After breaking up in 1999, the Murder Junkies reunited in 2003 for the 10th anniversary of GG’s death in order to pay tribute to their former lead singer.
Whilst the band continues to pay tribute to GG, don’t expect to get hit in the face by a fist or faeces this time around. “That was sort of GG’s thing” says Merle. However, the Murder Junkies do continue to promote the values that they were promoting with GG back in the early 90’s, and Merle agrees that GG’s “philosophies were one of their motivations” to continue touring. GG often claimed to be the Rock ‘n Roll Messiah, claiming the music back from the corporate behemoth that the music industry had become. “A lot of the bands these days are just playing the same old shit” explains Merle, and refers to American Idol which sounds to be as strong as ever in the USA (is this still on Australian TV?).
I ask Merle if the internet has opened possibilities and avenues to new music for younger generations, is there less control than there was when Murder Junkies first came about? “There’s more!” he says, and says that the best bands in the world are still The Stooges and MC5. He has New York Dolls in the CD player at the moment and is also a guy played with Dee Dee Ramone briefly. What about bands like Brian Jonestown Massacre, who also set out to change the course of Rock ‘n Roll? “Yeah, I’ve heard of those guys… They’re kinda like us” he says with a laugh, though admitting that he hadn’t really had a good listen to them.
I ask Merle about some of the bands that have covered Murder Junkies work, a list which includes amongst others Dum Dum Girls, The Lemonheads, Beck and Faith No More. “Yeah, I’ve heard ‘em,” he says, before reaffirming Picasso’s point of view, that “good artists copy, great artists steal,” saying that the versions he had heard were good, but that “it’s just not like listening to the real thing.”
So what can we expect from Murder Junkies on their debut Australian tour? A “really great rock ‘n roll show” says Merle. “We’ll also be previewing some new recordings.” “I’ve heard Australian audiences are a little like European audiences… European audiences go crazy, they just love it over there.” So that’s it, expect some very intimate rock ‘n roll shows, some brand new tracks, and a lot less punch ons and sexual exposure.
If you want to catch the real thing, you can check out Murder Junkies tour dates here on the Tone Deaf tour guide.