May 3, 2009

The Night I met Merl Allin

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 9:08 am
Tags: , , ,

Please, I’m not trying to act like some GG Allin and the Murder Junkies worshiper or anything like that, although I do admire GG for doing what he did instead of just killing everyone. I think it would have been easier for him to just kill. In many ways he probably took the high road.

Way back in the day when I worked at Record Gallery I remember the owner Steve showing me a GG Allin record and I was impressed with the crude gun and knife tattoos etched into his neck on the cover photo. This guy obviously did not give a fuck. Steve gave me the lowdown, that GG performed confrontational hardcore music often naked, often covered in his own shit, and often randomly punching/fighting with people in the crowd. From a distance it sounded AOK to me, but I had no desire to actually witness such a violent and crazy performance. I didn’t want any GG Allin shit on me! But we proudly displayed his records and treated him as a  legendary and exemplary extreme punk rock anti-hero.

GG’s last show happened right around the corner from my old apartment in NYC but I didn’t go. It was at the Gas Station and believe me if you don’t know about that place you missed a fun part of the mid 90’s Lower East Side scene. Where the Gas Station stood was the first place they razed and built new condos in that neighborhood. The end was near, I thought. And I was right. Anyway, that last show climaxed with a naked GG and crowd basically rioting up and down Ave. B. GG ODed in the following hours. In many ways he was kind of the original Steve O, but GG had to die. That was part of it. I watched the documentaries etc. and always had a soft spot for the hated man but nothing special. I think I kept one CD around for good old American teenage shock value.

Later it came to my attention (after watching a GG Alllin documentary, I think it was called “Hated”) I noticed that the guys from GG’s band, the Murder Junkies, were always on my block (4th between A and B in NYC) so I put it together and found out their rehearsal space was a few doors down. Cool but again, whatever. One of the things that you do when you live in New York City is ignore the shit out of anyone remotely famous or well known. You act like you have no idea who they are and I would often add a flourish by acting as if the person they are with is the famous one,  just to add an extra “fuck you famous person – I live here too”.  I’m not kidding that’s a new York thing.

Long story longer, the other night I was in my car listening to local UT student radio KVRX and they announced a ticket giveaway. I got my phone ready because it’s actually pretty easy to win tickets to things on the radio and all I knew is that it was a rock show at Emo’s. I was the first caller and got on the guest list. I had never heard of the bands they were talking about so I looked up the show info at Emo’s website only to find out that yes, there was some over blown indie hard rock thing happening outside, but inside, the Murder Junkies were playing. How could I resist?

So I went, got in free, hooked up a beverage at the bar, sent a cheers to KVRX. I spotted Merl, GG’s brother and longtime bassist for the Murder Junkies. He now has taken over as vocalist minus the shit and blood covered confrontation that his brother was famous for.  It’s still the Murder Junkies though, and they are a fucked up yet crucial part of American musical history whether we like it or not. Obviously I like it.

I introduced myself to Merl, he was just standing there near the merch booth and I pretty much told him what I just wrote here. Really nice guy, I think a bit taken off guard by a momentary reminiscence with a complete stranger of  a funky little block on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where I had lived and he was a Murder Junkie. He assured me that New York City sucks now ( I bet it doesn’t) and for a few moments the intersection at 4th and B came back, more vivid than ever so far.

I think the real moral of this story is that if you care in the least about punk rock or American hardcore music/performance culture you can pretty much meet most of the (still living/active) founders and VIPs of the scene because they all come to Emo’s and it’s easy to win tickets on the radio.

So there you go, me and Merl from the Murder Junkies are pals and I guess you will get mad at me later when you youtube GG Allin and see how freaked out and fucked up what I’m talking about is. Was that English? In my opinion GG Allin was a poet, and I’m proud to have met his brother.


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