GG Allin - Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be LP (1980)

GG Allin
Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be LP

Label: Orange Records (ORA-777 • 006053)
Year: Summer 1980 (matrix indicates June 1980 pressing)
Side 1: Bored To Death / Beat Beat Beat / One Man Army / Assface / Pussy Summit Meeting / Cheri Love Affair
Side 2: Automatic / I Need Adventure / Don’t Talk To Me / Unpredictable / 1980s Rock 'N' Roll

Lineup on the five new songs: GG Allin (vocals), Alan Chapple (bass), Rob Basso (lead guitar), John Fortin (rhythm guitar), Bob MacKenzie (drums), Carl Square (bass on "Don't Talk To Me")

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be1980 original pressing
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall BeDevilishly inscribed.

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be1983 Blitz pressing (Sweden)
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be

GG’s debut album marks the beginning of his 1980-85 stint on David Peel’s Orange Records label. (It’s interesting to note that on the first 45, Peel is thanked with “maybe next time,” so apparently the two had discussed recording for the label from the beginning.) The Jabbers recorded five new tracks in Spring 1980 at New Hampshire’s N.C.S. (North Country Sounds) studios. At this point, the band included drummer Bob "Mackie" MacKenzie, Merle's roommate at the time. Mackie's band The Resonators, a trio which included bassist Carl Square, had just dissolved and he was recruited when original Jabbers drummer Kevin Durand left. Mackie brought with him a song he had written, “Don’t Talk To Me,” and he took Carl up to the recording session to play bass on the track. (The Boston/Manchester commute ultimately proved too grueling, so MacKenzie stepped down and formed the Mighty Ions with Carl.) The production quality was much better on these newly recorded tracks (“Assface,” “Automatic,” “I Need Adventure,” “Don’t Talk To Me” and “Unpredictable”), and it’s too bad the band didn’t re-record a few of the previous 45 cuts while they were at it. At barely 25 minutes and containing only five new tracks, the debut LP could have been more impactful.

Apparently the album was originally credited to GG Allin & The Jabbers, but GG changed the artwork from its band-photo cover to the “teen idol” shot (as Merle referred to it), nixed the Jabbers from the band name and may have even turned up his vocals in the final mix, all unbeknownst to the band. A diehard music fan fascinated with meeting famous people and collecting autographs from his favorites, GG also seemed enamored with being famous. By far, more copies of “Always Was” pop up with GG autographs and ramblings in the upper lefthand corner than than without. Some copies contained various hype sheets and gig flyers as well.

The album’s title is not so much a proclamation of the punk rock and roll contained therein as it is GG literally announcing his identity: Kevin always was, is and always shall be GG, he felt, and within a few years he would completely morph into his alter-persona and spend the rest of his life making sure everybody knew just who he was, too.

In 2019, the hardworking folks at Blood Orange Records uncovered the true story behind the Swedish reissue:

The album was first reissued in 1983 by Blitz Records in Sweden — which is actually one of the first in a long line of mysteries and false leads of brainchild Peter Yarmouth of Black & Blue Records. According to Yarmouth, “GG wanted to reissue the album on his own because the Jabbers had paid for the studio time & record pressing then gave Peel control of publicity & use of his Orange Records for cred but withheld all payments from sales and gave the band copies of the record instead. So GG wanted it reissued but I felt nobody would care about a record issued out of Rhode Island so we pressed it as a fake Swedish release.” The album featured red artwork near-identical to its black-and-white predecessor. Peter Yarmouth later reissued the album in 1988 on his Black & Blue label and packaged the LP along with most tracks from the subsequent three singles.


GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
Here's a strange team-up. GG Allin and the Jabbers are recording an album for summer release. David Peel is producing!
— Subway News #5 - Summer 1980 (Boston)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin, legendary wildman of the North Woods, has been banned from clubs throughout New England because of his Iggyesque stage antics and rude crude & lewd material. His debut album contains a generous helping of his trenchant observations such as "Assface" ("You open your mouth and out comes shit"), "I Need Adventure" ("I need some wild women / I need some girls to go down on me"), "Beat Beat Beat" ("Beat beat beat / beat on me bitch") and "Automatic" ("don't play with me emotionally / or I will make you bleed internally"). The music is high voltage MC5 / Dead Boys-type mayhem, performed by an all-star cast that includes GG's brother Merle (he plays with City Thrills) and Mighty Ions Bob MacKenzie (whose song "Don't Talk To Me" is included on the album) and Carl Square. Square informed me that the studio he recorded in was a converted chicken coop, so the sound quality is not exactly state-of-the-art. But get it anyway — it's very offensive and if GG was from L.A. or England you'd think he was real cool.
— Take It! #4 - Summer 1981 (Boston)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
It can't be helped, but I simply can not take this record seriously. What might have been very good intentions on paper wind up hopelessly out of touch with current trends which will probably make this the butt of many an unfortunate joke. I almost feel sorry for you guys, but this is supposed to be constructive criticism, not an exercise in pity. You listen to the music on this disc, and you can just picture some Eastern European band taking their first stab at punk rock. Something seems to have gotten lost in the translation, resulting in an absurd interpretation of what these last three years were all about. Further proof of the total isolation of these guys can be found on the sleeve, i.e., "Birth Side … Death Side," "Play At Maximum Volume" (I thought that went out with The James Gang), and get this, "1980's Rock 'N Roll," something missing on both sides of this record. Mr. Allin better bone up on his current history if he wants to avoid another disaster like this one. Oh, I liked "Automatic" alright. Class dismissed.
— Touch And Go #11 - March 1981 (Lansing, MI)
Scan courtesy of Chris Minicucci

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin takes serious abuse from my pen, but it’s only fair. His recordings generally sip smegma.

The 12-inch LP we’re examining here has been released on the Swedish Blitz label with cooperation of NY’s Orange Records. How they ever managed to convince even the thickest Swede punkophile to issue it is beyond me. Some people just plain have more money than brains, I guess.

Anthems here include sweet li’l nothings with unlikely titles like “Bored To Death,” “Pussy Summit Meeting,” “Cheri Love Affair” and other such socially suitable ditties. And the disc has a “birth side” and a “death side.” Wouldn’t ya just know it?

With the singular exception of the Brian Jones badge Allin’s wearing on the liner photo, the disc’s got little to recommend it.

Then again, maybe in deference to my uncompromising good taste, I’ve developed a deaf, dumb and blind spot when it comes to GG. Let’s hope so. He’s got it coming, the rotter.

Allin’s also got two cuts on an anthology LP called You’ll Hate This Record, which sports a pasted on plastic puddle of vomit. Nice touch.

But the worst thing, the most annoying thing, about the guy is that he’s not half as bad as he’d like to be. There’s plenty of room for “artistic growth,” as it were. But it’ll not too likely take place in this century.

He’s just gonna hafta try a lot harder and really buckle down if he intends to be a survivor in the see-how-bad-I’m-prepared-to-be sweepstakes.

The guitar is not all that bad. Wish I could say it sucks. But he can’t even do that right, the jerk.
— The Newpaper - Dec. 1983, review of "Swedish" repress (Providence, RI)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
The minute I saw David Peel's name on the credits for this record, I expected the worst. Remember the Vibrators? The Damned? The Dead Boys? Well, they all did this sort of thing four years ago, and they did it better than GG Allin.

There are six songs on the first side, five on the second, and not one memorable lick on any of them. One assumes, from Allin's scowl on the cover and from the lyrics and titles ("Bored To Death," "Assface," "Pussy Summit Meeting") that this is supposed to be punk. Well it is, but only for 16 year olds from Bangor and Poughkeepsie.

Certainly, punk should have progressed a bit beyond the slope-headed misogyny of songs like "Pussy Summit Meeting." And these three-chord wonders lost their appeal somewhere around the time of Ramones Leave Home, when the boys showed how you could be stupid and simplistic and still write catchier melodies and more arresting lyrics than the Eagles.

David Peel, for those with mercifully short memories, is a New York session musician who briefly teamed up with John Lennon (back when Lennon took a lot of drugs, no doubt) and who resurfaced in a seedy Bleecker Street bar (no cover on weekends) as the "King Of Punk" around 1979. With friends like that, GG Allin doesn't need enemies. He doesn't need to make records and bother the rest of us either.
— Discords - December 1981 (Washington, D.C.)
Scan courtesy of Ryan Richardson / Circulation Zero

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
Here’s a band that some Dead Boys fans might like. GG Allin carries on the true nihilist spirit, violently opposing anything that’s considered decent by society. This is a band that does not hesitate to offend. Redeeming social value isn’t the point here, just raw savage animal energy, “the blood and guts of rock ’n’ roll,” as they call it. Singer GG Allin is a bizarre cross between Stiv Bators, Iggy Pop and god knows what else. He has a distinctive vocal style, a tough, defiant way of spitting out his words. The music here is more of an older style of underground rock, your basic cut loose rock ’n’ roll, crude and raw. The production is a bit thin, giving the band a garage sound. This is a very crude record in every respect.

“New Hampshire really sucks I’m tellin’ you. We don’t get to play much. We have a good following but all the radio stations and clubs hate us and we’ve been banned from the state. But fuck ‘em, we continue ‘cause the more they hate us the more reason it gives us to go on.” — GG Allin
— Ripper #6 (San Jose, CA)
Scan courtesy of Chris Minicucci

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
On the other hand, a definite angry young man is GG Allin. The New Hampshirite has an album, Always Was, Is And Shall Be on Orange Records. Allin has a good voice and the band is energetic, if not always in tune. However, Allin's songs are unrelievedly splenetic with most of his wrath being directed at women. The best of the lot are "Automatic" and "Don't Talk To Me." Side one is very tiresome. Music to mug by. Available for $4.99 from GG Allin Fan Club, 542 Beech St., Manchester, NH 03104.
— Sweet Potato - September 1980 (MA/NH)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
Of course I love this. Allin is a prototypical adolescent boy, and these are exceptionally fine snot anthems. My favorite cut is "Cheri Love Affair" on the LP. The single's likeable. Send $$$ to: 542 Beech St., Manchester, NH 03104. And don't blame me if you don't like him — I never said I had taste.
— Inside Joke #7 - February 1982 (Roselle, NJ)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
I'm sure somewhere this guy is a local hero, if he was in L.A., he'd play the Madame Wong's circuit. This is just fast rock "new wave" but I will admit it is a bit better than most, in fact I actually like one song "Unpredictable", but whenever I look for music to play I wouldn't pick this up.
— Flipside #22 - 1980 (Whittier, CA)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
This could have been titled "The Street Gospel According To GG Allin." But, you ask, who in the hell is GG Allin? ... He comes from New Hampshire, and he heads a wild, energetic, raunchy, iller punk rock band called "The Jabbers." On several occasions Allin has played with David ("The Pope Smokes Dope") Peel in the Northeast. But GG Allin's music sounds nothing like David Peel. It sounds more like a synthesis of Richard Hell and the Buzzcocks. And GG Allin is a lot of fun. He has an apparent bent for erotic and kinky facets of street life. Where else can you hear songs like "Beat, Beat, Beat," with lines like "beat, beat, beat, beat on me, bitch, beat on me, get yourself a treat"; "Pussy Summit Meeting," complete with recorded dialogue of actual streetwalkers; and "Cheri Love Affair"? Hopefully, this record will brinig GG Allin the recognition he deserves ... A GG Allin EP featuring ex-MC5'ers Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson is upcoming.
— Wild Dog #5 - Summer 1981 (Houston, TX)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
GG Allin's debut album originally unleashed in '79 has just been reissued in Sweden on Swecont Records. The mild-mannered Mr. Allin provided us this information in a brief note postmarked White River Junction, Vermont. What's the matter GG, are you banned from New Hampshire too?
— Boston Rock #40 - June 1, 1983 (Boston, MA)

GG Allin Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be
So my friend Kronos goes to New Hampshire to work in a factory ... to go straight and get a Camero. After about a week of factory life in Peaceful Valley, Kronos says fuck this scene, man, now he's back in Hollywood, city of the angel of death. A few days after his return, I get GG Allin's LP. It's from New Hampshire, and it's low budget, fast loud and catchy. I like it. GG plays out in the Boston area, his stuff varies from punk to pop ("Cheri Love Affair"). Not punk in the old '77 L.A. sense. But what is punk to the minions of Peaceful Valley? I suspect we will hear a lot from GG Allin. (Is that the David Peel?)
— Flatdisk Newsletter (Los Angeles, CA)

No comments:

Post a Comment