Kevin Michael “GG” Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin on August 29, 1956. One of the most divisive members of the punk rock community he courted controversy wherever and whenever he could.  Love him or loathe him he certainly left an impression on the punk rock scene in the 80s and early ’90s.  Passing away on this day back in 93 is possibly one of the least surprising things to have happened in punk rock.  Let’s face it GG was never going to grow old and after promising to take his own life on stage as part of his act many times he sort of quietly slid off his mortal coil in tragic circumstances. Playing his last ever show in NYC the club turned off the power after a couple of songs which caused Allin to trash what wasn’t already trashed and then roaming the street almost naked covered in blood and shit the performer ended up partying at a friends house where he took a lethal Heroin overdose and never woke up being pronounced the morning after by paramedics exactly where he laid down the night before.

I guess whilst it wasn’t a surprise to hear the news it’s still a shame to hear about anyone passing away under such tragic circumstances.  Allin was fairly prolific throughout his career and moving from his early more glam roots he passed through punk, hardcore and country as well as spoken words performances Allin was no slouch when it came to what he considered art.

Even in death, the Allin circus continued when he was laid to rest his open casket was videotaped and he can be seen wearing a jock strap accompanied by a bottle of booze whilst friends posed with his corpse, placing drugs and whiskey into his mouth. As the funeral ended, his brother Merle put a pair of headphones on Allin.  plugged them into a cassette player which had a copy of The Suicide Sessions on it.

The film ‘Hated’ features the footage of that final performance and chaos that went on after.  Sadly GG’s grave was frequently vandalised urinated on, cigarette butts left as well as feces and alcohol left by so-called fans, an act that was greatly discouraged by his mother Arleta. His tombstone has since been removed because of this.

Musically he was a Beatles fan and that was reflected in his early songs other bands that greatly influenced him were the likes of Alice Cooper, the Stooges and Kiss.  when he put the Jabbers together.

Allin became popular when ROIR released a cassette-only ‘Hated in the Nation’  containing tracks from the Jabbers, the Scumfucs and Cedar Street Sluts. All unavailable elsewhere.  The tape also featured recordings with the likes of J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. on lead guitar and  Mark Kramer on bass. The most famous person to work with GG would have to be none other than Dee Dee Ramone who toured with the band as part of the Murder Junkies.

It wasn’t until the mid ’80s that he began to spiral out of control as his commercial career failed to take off he took full advantage of his underground personal and the myths began to appear (remember kids this is pre-internet) Allin was already making record designed to offend and provoke and he certainly achieved that with titles and collaborations to cause outrage (which they certainly did) the subject matter was attacking gay people, promoting drug use and his fascination with serial killers like Gacy led him to go visit the guy in prison. Live he couldn’t finish a set either because the fans stopped it or the police and/or venue interrupted him for his behavior. 

There was nothing big or clever about his behavior from the mid-’80s as he tried to stir up a hornet’s nest at every opportunity by saying repulsive comments about women, children, and boasting of his antics.  The music had long since stopped being relevant and instead he’d turned into a parody of himself and covered in ones own blood and poop began to fade into history and be a figure of fun that people would poke fun at and goad on to carry out his threat of killing himself on stage. In 91 he recorded with Antiseen what he described as his best album that most closely connected with himself.

If you’ve never heard him or fancy seeing what all the fuss was about then I suggest you check out ‘Hated’ it sure is an extreme ride and one you won’t forget in a hurry. I hope finally after such a chaotic life GG found his peace and afterlife and he can finally rest in peace.

you can pick up his records on the net but this company Aggronautix make a whole bunch of GG related collectibles as well as other bands and iconic figures in punk you really should check them out.

 

Also passing on this day back in ’81 a guy named Robert “Bob” Davis better known as Chuck Wagon from the punk band the Dickies. Chuck was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitars, keyboards and Saxophone. He will be best remembered for their iconic debut record  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’.  He also returned to the band to record its follow up ‘Dawn Of The Dickies’ as well as playing a few tracks on the third album which came out after his untimely suicide. suffering from depression after the breakup of his relationship Wagon returned after a show with the band and shot himself with a rifle this was 1981 and he was only twenty Five years young.  Rest in peace Bob.

 

Finally today former Gun Club guitarist Rob Graves also known as Rob Ritter.  Rob died of a Heroin Overdose on this day in ’90.  Rob played with the Gun Club, 45 Grave as well as a bunch of other lesser known bands like The Bags and. Graves played on Gun Clubs early 80s ‘Fires Of Love’ and ‘Miami’ as well as 45 Grave ‘Sleep In Safety’. Gun Club will always be remembered as the vehicle used by Jeffrey Lee Pierce but 45 Graves were part of the art Goth Rock scene with their striking images and this outlandish video for ‘Party Time’.  Its believed that Hole and Courtney Love dedicated ‘Pretty On The Inside’ to Rob when it came out.

 

This is the debut mini-album of No wave blues if there’s such a thing. Born out of barroom frequented by midnight dwellers from Stiv Cantarelli and the Silent Strangers its dark smokey and in league with some black magic that’s for sure.  With one hand on the Gun Club back catalogue and the other on the steel strung guitar and overdriven amp that has been used previously by the likes of Gallon Drunk and Birthday Party for sure and you could throw in a healthy (or should that be unhealthy does of The Cramps) for good measure.

‘Barrellhouse Queen’ is like a morning after come down when your head is banging like a big bass drum and everything sounds so distant.  The tension created is mesmeric and whilst at times feels claustrophobic it also feels like its the audio equivalent of the great wide open and all panoramic all within one song. that just doesn’t so much grow but envelops the listener and the louder you can get away with playing it the better.

Reverb-heavy feedback-laden its got warmth and atmosphere for sure and that Alan Vega drum echo is chilling on ‘Headspinner Blues’ and as the slide hits the guitar and the strings vibrate it sends a chill right up my spine. I’m taken back to when I first heard Jesus and Mary Chain and their debut single hit my stereo its the same gut-wrenching primal scream (no pun intended) its got a heartbeat that says 50’s rock n roll but its also raging against contemporary music and all its studio trickery as this sounds like its one take one mic one idea – done ‘Mr. Williamson’ fades like smoke rising from a burning pyre.

‘Broken Bones Blues’ is like suicide meets the delta blues and my head is banging along to that distorted beat. to cap it all off if you need any encouragement the final offering is a mesmeric beat beating away entitled ‘Down At The Public House’.  Get this on the road along with Paul-Ronney and his Urban Voodoo Machine who would be the ideal drinking partner for this slice of dark underworld Rock and Roll.  Waste no time in sourcing this out if you’ve ever had a hankering for any of the bands referenced in this review because your going to love this no doubt about it.

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Author: Dom Daley

 

Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!

June 2018

 

Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open.  But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.

Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there.  Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry.  May he rest in peace.

Another sad passing was that of  DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music.  Rest in Peace DJ.

Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.

Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing.  the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums.  The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable,  Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young. 

 

Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?

IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.

Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer.  Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner.  You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin CastleDirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!

Not wanting to be a party pooper Nev still had to take in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds playing the All Points East Festival along with an impressive support cast of Patti Smith, St Vincent and Courtney Barnett.

Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites  Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.

 

Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.

Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.

Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..

Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.

Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’.  Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played  a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London.  It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.

The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album.  there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming. 

Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.

Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .