GG Allin & The Jabbers - Cheri Love Affair 45 (1980)

GG Allin & The Jabbers
1980s Rock 'N Roll / Cheri Love Affair

Label: Destiny Records (59 • 911077)
Oct. 7, 1979, Destiny Studio - Wilmington, MA
Released: circa Jan/Feb 1980 (matrix indicates November 1979 pressing)

Lineup: GG Allin (drums, vocals), Jeff Penney (lead guitar, bass), Dan Penney (guitar), Tim Horrigan (piano on "1980's Rock 'N Roll")

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair

In Fall 1979, GG called up Malpractice guitarist Jeff Penney and his brother Dan to teach them a couple of tunes he had just written**. The trio ventured down to Destiny recording studios in Wilmington, Mass., and banged out “1980s Rock And Roll” and “Cheri Love Affair” with GG on drums, and Jeff Penney and Dan Penney on guitar and bass. Tim Horrigan, from local pop band Dutch Courage, was working in the studio on an album by the band Kingdom Of Simitz and joined the crew on piano on “1980s.” Destiny was a recording studio run by Larry Feeney which offered package deals: record your tunes and have them handily pressed on the Destiny label all for one low price. As a result, the Destiny discography is quite, um, eclectic, with only one true punk record — and it’s not even GG’s! (Alas, that honor goes to Genral Foodz.) The existence of “1980s Rock And Roll” can only be justified as a bizarre attempt for commercial airplay. I mean, how can you keep a straight face when there’s lines like “Come on along it’s a rock and roll party / Bring all your friends and don’t be tardy”? I’ve a hunch this tune never made it to the clubs. On the other hand, “Cheri Love Affair” swaggers and struts with a cool Dolls/glam vibe. I prefer this 45’s version to the album mix, stripped of the overbearing female background vocals and humorous “Pussy Summit Meeting” introduction. As for the distinctive guitar lead-in solo, Dan Penney recalls: “Jeff did the lead work. I suggested he give it his best ‘Joe Perry’ type thing with a Mott the Hoople edge. Whatever that was?! Ha! It worked.” At the very least, this record is essential for the sleeve alone… with GG looking uncharacteristically cleancut and suave in his button-down shirt and sportscoat on the back cover! Again, the educated guess is a 500 press, and judging by the scarcity of the disc, I wouldn’t be surprised if an embarrassed GG didn’t toss a chunk of them himself a few years later.

Nerd Note: Though the label states copyright 1980, the matrix number on the label points to a November 1979 pressing. Most likely it was sent off to the plant with the copyright reflecting that it actually would be released in early 1980.

**Note: The fine folks at Blood Orange Records learned that it was actually guitarist John Fortin who wrote, or at least co-wrote, "Cheri Love Affair": GG’s apartment was so small there wasn't much room to hide anything and Fortin noticed his collection of smut magazines half tucked under the bed, the top one being a rather filthy copy of Cheri. While hanging around, Fortin picked up GG’s red Hondo electric and started banging out some chords and putting together the joking words to Cheri Love Affair.

Jeff Penney's memories of the recording session:
“Kevin called me one day in 1979 and asked me if I would go down to his apartment in Manchester to listen to a couple of new songs he had written. My brother Dan and I went down. We spent the better part of an afternoon with Kevin who plinked out the 3 or 4 chords he had written to these songs on a crappy acoustic guitar. In those days none of us were big partiers, but we all laughed our asses off talking old days, etc.

A week or two later Dan and I went to the studio. I brought a 1977 wine colored Les Paul custom, the studio had a Marshall there, or some small amp with a distortion box. Kev had brought me a Vox Mcartney copy bass, which I used on both songs. He had a drum kit set up. They had a small 8 track studio in the basement of some house. We had my set up and Kev's in the same room of the main open-air part of the basement and an iso-booth for the engineer. There was a guy with the standard then — a Fender/Rhodes 88 piano. We cut the drums/bass/guitar/lead overdubs and vocals. I sang harmonies and so did Dan. Everything went down real quick and we laughed our asses off the whole time. In fact the only time things stopped is when we were laughing so much we had to re-take a vocal.

When Kev said “… you make me cream in my jeans” I think he made that revision up on the spot — like we used to put in perverted words while playing live in the Malpractice days. We died laughing and had to briskly walk away from the main vocal mike as we had not yet heard that version on words. When the guy doing the piano track on "1980s Rock 'N Roll" he had headphones on but we were listening on the monitors. He was into his groove and HUFFING and PUFFING! We were delirious with laughter, laughing at him!! Finally we figured we had knocked it out in time — not bad for songs that I had no idea how to play just hours before.

We did the mix — at least the roughs that day. The engineer was so new at what he was doing that he was all impressed when I walked over to help him do a punch-in. I guess he had never seen one done and didn't know what it was! Out of all this I probably was paid a hamburger, a few beers and maybe $20 for gas! A couple of years later Kevin stopped in Bethel, Maine, to do the same return favor for my brother Dan and myself by playing drums on one of our songs. That's the kind of cool set-up we had with each other.” 
— Jeff Penney, liner notes to Jabbers tribute CD (2002)

And Dan Penney graciously took the time to look through his late brother Jeff's diary and pin down the exact date of the session, including various notes which help round out the event. Fantastic work, Dan!
“According to the Jeff's diary: He called Kevin and noted; “Will be recording Sept 22.” My recollection is either Kevin or one of us, or the studio guy couldn't make that date, so it got postponed at any rate, I don't really recall.

We were all really busy then, Jeff just got a new car, I was planning a move to Florida. Kevin was planning a new band idea. At the time, I was only 20, Jeff, 22, Kevin 23. We were young guys, doin' our thing!

The Cheri Love Affair recording session finally got scheduled for Sunday October 7, 1979. According to Jeff's diary: 
“Got up at 5 (AM). Went to Gorham picked up Dan at around 5:40. We left for Manchester at 6:00. Got there around 8:30. Practiced for a while at Kev's, then we drove to Wilmington, Mass and spent the day recording 2 of Kev's songs. We got lost (on the way home) and missed the Manchester exit and went 40 miles out of our way, (probably because we were delirious as always, laughing), brought Kev home by 12:30 AM (long days night) and Dan & I got home around 3-3:30 or so, Dan and I were dead tired and had a hard time staying awake...”

Needless to say, we were a lot younger then. We were all probably operating on 6 or 7 hours sleep the night before the session day. Total driving time out of the 22+ hour day was approximately (with getting lost), 7+ hours for the Penney boys. Rehearsal and possibly some lunch, 3 hours. Load-in, set-up, levels, record music bed-vocals-solos-fills-overdubs, mix, master, load-out ... 12 hours at the studio. Not bad for a couple of young punks!! We were good at what we did. When it's costing money, you get very efficient!

We were all in a very elevated mood because we hadn't seen each other for quite a while and that led to a really fun, productive session. As usual, we found humor in just about everything good, bad or otherwise. Bringing us to what we called “delirious” laughter. The kind where your stomach hurts and you're begging to stop. I remember after one take, I was pulling off my guitar and the ceiling was real low (the studio was in a basement) I had this '76 Les Paul Custom that was still new to me. I whacked the headstock on a pipe. Put a nice dent in it. I was pissed of course. Then Kevin pipes up and says, “There Dan!... Now you can play it for real, it's all broke in!”) Looking back that was pretty funny, not at the time though. Still got the guitar and the dent!! I was on a break and went out and got a whole six-pack of beer and some food. The laughter continued, that's just how we all got along. We didn't do much with regard to drinking or drugs back then. 
Those were some really fun years. We were friends. I remember Kevin, when Kevin was the Kevin I knew. 
Yeah, we still talked a little during the GG years and all I can say is, it was sad.
We talked weeks before he died. He told me he thought that that was coming. I told him I hoped not and to call me. He never did... 
Rest in Peace Kev.”
— Dan Penney, October 2018

And we asked Tim Horrigan for his recollections of that day as well:

“We had been recording this Kingdom Of Simitz album and at the end of one of the sessions, the engineer wondered if I would lay down some keyboards on a track. I said sure. It was just the engineer and me, no GG. Calling forth some Bob Seger licks, it took about a half hour. Pleasant and painless. I had no idea of who GG was or what his legacy was to become.”
— Tim Horrigan, June 2020


GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
New Hampshire's premier punk rockers have promised a follow-up to "Bored To Death," "Beat, Beat, Beat" and "One Man Army" in January. According to Osaka's Kaoru Ota, "The rhythms are really a gas!" Watch out for "Cheri Love Affair" b/w "1980s Rock 'n' Roll."
— Boston Phoenix (Boston, MA) Dec. 18, 1979

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
GG Allin and the Jabbers working on some new wave material for a demo.
— Musician's (Boston, MA) November 1979

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
GG Allin and the Jabbers cookin' on a single to be released on Destiny Records.
— Musician's (Boston, MA) Dec '79 / Jan '80

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
GG Allin and the Jabbers are readying a new single, "Cheri Love Affair" / "1980's Rock 'n' Roll." Save a couple of cigarette butts for your ears, mates.
— Subway News #3 (Boston, MA) Jan/Feb 1980

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
Their first release "Bored to Death" is still a fun piece of trash, and my copy only plays out of one speaker. Are they all like that? Anyway, this new one just isn't any fun at all. The crummy recording doesn't suit these dreary songs. For some reason these punks decided to take themselves seriously this time around. It's $1.25 from the band, 579 Beech St., Manchester, N.H. 03104.
— Subway News #4 (Boston, MA) circa March/April 1980

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
There's no ignoring GG Allin and The Jabbers, a new wave rock band from the Queen city of Manchester, New Hampshire with their latest single, "1980's Rock and Roll." They're John Riot, GG, A.C. Chapple, Kevin Durand, and Rob Basso.
— Rock Scene, September 1980
Source: Ryan Richardson / Circulation Zero

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
GG laying down the drum tracks for "Cheri Love Affair / 1980's Rock & Roll" at Destiny Studios, October 1979. Pic snapped by my old flip-phone in 2009 (pre-portable scanner) from Larry Feeney's scrapbook of Polaroids of bands that recorded at his Destiny studio.

GG Allin & The Jabbers Cheri Love Affair
1982 Destiny advertisement in Boston Rock magazine.

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