Inner Mystique #1 (December 1982)

Inner Mystique #1
Published: Dec. 1, 1982; interview conducted late August 1982
Stillwater, Oklahoma

GG Allin: New Hampshire's Public Animal Unleashed
by Sandoz

GG Allin & The Jabbers got together in early '78 in Manchester, NH. Like any authentic punk band, they met a lot of resistance in those early days … and they still do because they haven't sold out or brownnosed the Boston Trend-makers. The word got around though, and soon GG had an underground following scattered throughout NH and Mass. A few kids would catch one of his gigs, spread the word, and like brushfire his following would grow -- so at each future gig, there'd be more headbanger ready to erupt and to take a stand against hecklers and police.

They cut their first single on Blood Records in 1979: "Bored To Death" & "Beat Beat Beat" b/w "One Man Army" -- the original Jabbers (GG, vocals & animalism; Alan Chapple, bass; Chris Chaos, guitar; Steve L., drums) cut these tracks in '78 before anyone heard of hardcore and before any of the Boston Not LA bands were heard from. Imaging the Dead Boys "Sonic Reducer" on a garage level and you'll get some idea of where they're coming from.

After that first 45 made some waves locally, GG & Co. met another madman, one who has been at it for about 15 years: David "The Pope Smokes Dope" Peel, at one time John Lennon's protege. David has his own Orange label and invited GG to do an album. The result, 1980's "Always Was, Is, And Always Shall Be," is one of the most consistent local garage punk LPs I've heard. Besides the 3 tracks from the single, it includes the thoroughly offensive "Assface," some changes of pace like "Cheri Love Affair," and even a tasteless comedy track, "Pussy Summit Meeting." Recorded in many studios over a 3-year period, the album doesn't all sound the same — and there's enough sex, violence, anger and fun to satisfy anyone.

1981 brought GG & The Jabbers their biggest seller yet, the classic single "Gimme Some Head" b/w "Dead Or Alive" -- from the first guitar explosion & GG's trademark sneering vocal, you know these guys have struck paydirt. An extra bonus on this record is the playing of two members of the MC5, guitarist Wayne Kramer and drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson. Kramer's blistering lead continues through the whole song and adds an extra level of tension to the already exciting track -- his playing reminds me of his incredible warped slashing lead on the non-LP version of the MC5's "Looking At You" (reissued on Skydog and more recently on the compilation Michigan Brand Nuggets). The songs stop cold, the way good punk always does, and you'll find yourself cueing it up repeatedly. One of 1981's best independent singles and still selling today.

Last spring, the band released its present single, "You Hate Me & I Hate You." It's a fast, loud, crude, sustained "Fuck You" that won't quit. Robert Payes in Trouser Press got angry in his usual fumbling way and called Allin "immature" and that's a good enough reason for y'all to buy the single today. May I always be immature in the eyes of such an eastcoast trendie.

Besides the video and the live cassette, a second album and a reissue of the first may be in the works. Sand a SASE or an IRC to GG today and find out what he's got available. Let him know you heard about it in INNER MYSTIQUE.

In late August, a few days before his gig at The Channel with The Neighborhoods, we managed to capture the Public Animal for an interview. He'd done some touring a few weeks before we spoke with him -- including XIT in Worcester and CBGB's. Many thanks to GG for taking the time, and to Sue D., whose phone we used. Present at the interview (on our end) were Charley, Kim, Stuart, Sue and Sandoz.

San: GG? Hey, how ya been?

GG: Not too bad -- we were just practicin' tonight.

San: What songs are in your set now?

GG: We start off with "You Hate Me…" -- we're still doing about half the album and "Gimme Some Head" -- we've got some new stuff too, one's called "Total Abuse" and we're fuckin around with some others.

San: You got some gigs this weekend, tell us about those.

GG: We're gonna be at The Channel on Saturday in Boston -- Friday night's up in the air, we're supposed to play outside at some beach party, but it looks like it's gonna be closed down — we've been gettin in some trouble.

San: We know about that kind of thing down here.

GG: We played some clubs last weekend: at one club we played four songs, at the other we played two, and the cops came up and closed it down.

San: What do they use to do that? Out here they use "anti-dancing ordinances."

GG: They just use anything -- we'll play, and as soon as they find out about it, the cops'll be there, the liquor commission, they overreact, it's typical…

San: Is this Boston or NH or where?

GG: Right now in Boston, we play loft parties and rented halls and there's a lot of bands that help us out, but we've been thrown out of every club in Boston.

San: What kind of scene is there in Boston now? I've heard the Boston Not LA album, and based on that you'd think there's a good active scene.

GG: Well, that's about all the bands in Boston, the ones on that album -- and when you look at what else is there, it's basically not much -- it's better than it was a couple of years ago, but there's no clubs for the bands to play in, nothing.

San: I get the impression from Boston Rock that the DJ's are in control.

GG: Yeah, very much -- if they like you, they'll play you, if they don't that's it.

San: Yeah, and if they don't like you, they put a publicity blackout on you.

GG: It's the same with Boston Rock: they're very prejudiced -- Boston tends to be very trendy.

San: Like Lou Miami?

GG: Right, like most of the hardcore bands are just imitation LA bands -- I'm not sayin it's all bad, most of it's pretty good, but a lot's hypocritical and trendy. They're closet junkies, half of 'em. Y'know, if they're sayin something they ought to at least back up what they're sayin -- That's what I don't like about Boston, everybody's thinkin they're better than everyone else … there's a line in "Automatic," "If you're from Boston, you gotta be cool: Fuck You." It's sayin they're a bunch of assholes, which they are basically.

San: Now, you're from New Hampshire -- do you get that from 'em, do they look at you as an outsider because you're not a local?

GG: They used to -- not so much anymore because when most bands go to Boston they act like "We're playin Boston and the people are so much better" -- Boston people are a bunch of jerks -- we go down there to play and tell em "you fuckin people suck" -- we just jump on the tables and throw beer and spit at em.

San: Do they get into it?

GG: At first hey hated us -- We've been playing since 78, before everyone else and at first we'd play a club and everyone'd leave or go to the back of the room cause here's this guy spazzin out on the floor and nobody could take it -- Now everybody's gettin into it, so I think we've conquered that.

San: I was lookin for that kind of a show in 78.

GG: Yeah, it's like total attack -- We were doin it before I even heard of any of these bands -- and in my opinion we still take it one step further, we go beyond anything they'd expect -- and we try to make it so they can't say one certain thing about us … a lot of bands today are really political and that's ok, we've got political songs like "Bored To Death" and "One Man Army" but we try not to limit ourselves -- we've got political, we've got adventure, we've got danger, we've got abuse, we've got sex & violence.

San: And it's all great fun on top of it.

GG: It's like vengeance -- whatever you feel in a certain situation, you can do or say -- it's not like we're pushing the same thing all the time, people like a little variety with their anger.

San: Some political bands are just sloganeers. Sham 69 did that best, but I think politics comes down to how each of us lives our life and how we accept responsibility. Someone like Tom Robinson or Paul Weller is a lot more political and understands more about people than some of those English Stalinists. I mean, remember when all those San Fran 1967 types rattled off slogans? That didn't get us anywhere because they're just parroting words.

GG: Some of that's too fake & trendy. The Dead Kennedys are good at it.

San: Some are just imitation DK's.

GG: Hey, fuck em, we don't even sound like a lot of the LA bands.

San: Your songs are different from hardcore.

GG: It's just as powerful.

San: It's like a mixture of 77 punk and 60s punk and animalism.

GG: We're like between 77 and hardcore, which is good because it's different -- we're twice as energetic as any hardcore band. Hardcore isn't just speed, it's attitude. It's whether you really believe in what you're doing. WE BELIEVE IN WHAT WE DO. If hardcore's an attitude, we've got attitude. They can call the music what they want.

San: How's the new single doing?

GG: It's been out a month and we still haven't been pushing it -- it's at some local stores, but Bomp, Systematic, they still haven't got em yet -- our last single "Gimme Some Head" w/ Kramer did great, we sold more of those than we sold fuckin anything..

San: The Wayne Kramer name gives it legitimacy -- if I'd not heard of you, I'd still buy it on the strength of his name.

GG: It was great to get him and Dennis Thompson together.

San: Do you still have the same band as on the single? Alan, Steve, and Chris?

GG: Yeah, but we've got another guitar player now. "Gimme Some Head" was the same band except for the guitarist and drummer -- on the album, just the bass player is the same -- We've gone through some changes since then.

San: Your bassist Alan was in an accident -- how's he been?

GG: Good, good -- he's still got a few bruises, but his ribs are pretty well healed, so he's back rollin around.

San: Back playin again?

GG: Yeah, we were scheduled to play the night he got in the accident. I walked into Intensive Care and he's got these fuckin tubes in him. He'll do anything not to play. He's doin alright now.

San: Where were you when punk first hit in 76/77?

GG: I had the first Ramones album, I had to order it after I read about it, but I was always into the Dolls and the Stooges.

San: I was waitin in 75/76 for that MC5/Stooges sound to come back, I was too young to be into much in 67/68.

GG: When that raw heavy sound came back I thought this is great, fuckin unbelievable, then I got into the Saints and the Dead Boys, the ultimate.

San: You ever met Stiv?

GG: I've never met Stiv, but we played with Cheetah -- I'd played drums in his band -- the drummer quit and I filled in for him -- it was great, he came up here and stayed, and he got up and played a couple of songs with us -- I sang, we rolled around -- the first time we played was in Providence and the crowd was unfucking real, they tore all our clothes off and knocked all our amps over, we were jumpin all over em, it was a total slam.

San: Do you get a better reception in Providence?

GG: Yeah, Prov., Conn., NH, even parts of New York -- Mass. is getting better though, we're building a following.

San: You played at CBGB's -- how did that go?

GG: Real good -- the first time we played there we went on first -- it wasn't full, but the people who were there really liked it -- we're tryin to get in there again and in some of the better places like the Peppermint Lounge. We've got a manager now, out of Philadelphia, he's gonna be doin some things, bookin us in Chicago and Detroit.

San: If people around the country heard your record, there's a need for your band out here.

GG: Well, we've got to get out of NH before we get arrested -- the last time we played there, the cop had his handcuffs, I was just waitin for him to take me in -- at every show, we never know, we come close to getting killed. We bring out the hate in people, but like we bring it out and it's something they've never seen -- they get a reaction and they like it -- they won't admit it, but as long as they're throwing shit at you and sayin you suck, it's a reaction, it's better than havin em just sitting there.

San: Sometimes when you bring out a hateful reaction in people, they'll stop and think about how stupid they're being, and then they'll see what it is happening.

GG: That's the way it works: people either like us a lot or they hate us, and either way it doesn't really matter.

San: You get a reaction, that's what counts. You don't want em sittin and eatin an ice cream sandwich, INVOLVE THEM.

GG: When we played at the Paradise, WZBC, one of the big Boston stations, had a table reserved up front so people couldn't really get up too close -- I got em pissed off cuz they were just sittin there, so I dove head first into them, poured their drinks onto em & they just walked off so everybody came up then.

San: Great -- that's rock n roll.

GG: Yeah, if people are just gonna sit there, then clean em out -- Right now, there's really nowhere in NH we can play -- We put ads in the paper "GG Allin playing tonight, call for info" because if we list the club the cops'll be there before we are, they won't even let us in -- they're serious, it's unreal.

San: My memory of NH is that they've got state run package stores, any clubs?

GG: NH has Top Forty clubs, cover bands, the whole bullshit scene -- but we wake it up.

San: How did you come in contact with David Peel? It's a good combination.

GG: I never had any of his records, then I stumbled across "The Pope Smokes Dope" in a record shop, and then a friend had another one of his albums on his own label and it had an address, so I sent him our first single which came out in 79 on Blood Records and I asked him what he thought of it -- he wrote back and really liked it and gave us a phone # -- so he set up some shows, we played with him in Boston, Conn., NH -- he thought we were crazy -- he didn't know what the hell we were doing, but he liked it -- and he asked us to do an album on his label -- he wants us now to do another album -- I played guitar on some of his records -- he introduced us to Kramer -- he's been great, a big help to us.

San: I thought that might have been how you met Kramer.

GG: Sure, he [Peel] isn't what you might think, he's got 12 or so albums out, he's always writing, he's totally bizarre.

San: He's one of these people who the critics can't pigeonhole and label.

GG: That's what I like about him -- to this day, he must be forty or so, he's still the same way, he hasn't sold out, the same way he was with Lennon. The main reason he & Lennon departed was that Lennon just couldn't take his madness.

San: Lennon grew up and started baking bread.

GG: Lennon got out of his radical stage, and Peel never left his. You walk into his apartment in NYC and you swear you're walking through the Sixties. He's wild.

San: You're an MC5 fan, you know the original "Looking At You" -- Kramer's playing there reminds me a lot of his playing on your single, the way he floats the notes.

GG: He did a good job on that -- he'd only heard the song once or twice and he was playin it -- he just walked into the studio, he'd been drinkin, me & him went drivin around. If you listen to the chorus "Girls girls girls girls, gimme gimme gimme some head" you hear this weird offkey sounding voice, that's him singing, he was drunk off his ass -- next time you play it, listen for him.

San: What about the reviews of your first album? The ones I saw didn't review the album, they had their minds made up in advance. For your first album, that's pretty shitt of em.

GG: I couldn't figure that out.

San: When the guy in Trouser Press reviewed "Gimme Some Head," he acted all embarrassed and apologetic -- it didn't sound like he had a sense of humor -- Whatever happened to Tim Sommer, who used to run the Underground column? He knew what he was doing, unlike this Payes character.

GG: I was surprised it got a good a review as it did in there.

San: Power-pop is what they're lookin for.

GG: At least he compared it to the Dead Boys.

San: What better comment could be made?

GG: What really pissed me off was that guy in Goldmine.

San: He never even discussed the music.

GG: Half the songs are from around 78, and he's comparing it to 1982 -- of course it sounds five years old, the guy's so fuckin stupid he doesn't take that into consideration.

San: I think it's ridiculous anyway to say it's dated. Punk is an eternal form. I can dig out stuff and you can from 66 -- the Swamp Rats "Louie Louie" for instance and it's as rough edged as anything out today. It doesn't date, what dates is the throwaway shit they push down our throats. You know, it's a shame that Goldmine, which seems to be so diverse and open-minded … well, it's just one guy -- but he is the editor.

GG: Yeah, it's strange. We sent him the new single. So far we've got all good reviews from all over. We've been written up in LA, Texas, Germany, Italy, Japan. I've got so much fucking press ere it's unbelievable. We've been getting super good reviews from Germany and especially England.

San: I think you could do really well over there.

GG: Everyone over there I correspond with likes it a lot.

San: Those English bands sound different. They can't produce a GG Allin or Black Flag.

GG: They do sound different. A lot of it's just imitation, but it's growing.

San: There are so many great bands all over. For instance, our Texas neighbors Really Red, their album Teaching You The Fear hits hard -- it's Texas, but the problems are everywhere and always. Imagine some 13-year-old kid discovering the MC5 today, there's lots of them -- it hits just as hard as when I turned on to it.

GG: I know a lot of kids in NH who're really into the reissues of that stuff.

San: What are your alltime fave records?

GG: Well, Raw Power, both Dead Boys albums, Kick Out The Jams, Damaged by Black Flag -- I was too young to be into much in the 60's, but I've researched it and now I'm really into bands like the Standells, & & The Mysterians -- I guess we're an 80's version of the Stooges.

San: Y'know, the record you remind me of is Heartbreakers Live At Max's.

GG: That's funny, I just met Walter Lure a few weeks ago and got my album signed. He was playing with Steve Jones, but Steve went back to England. Johnny Thunders is still kicking around.

San: Johnny was playing with Wayne Kramer in Gang War -- what happened to that?

GG: They're not anymore -- they broke up cause some record company was gonna hire em and gave em some money to record, and then Johnny Thunders went out and blew it all on drugs -- and Kramer quit that day. I like Johnny Thunders a lot, but he's totally fucked, he can't keep anything together.

San: I've heard stories about him too. Hell, he's great, you wish he could keep it together.

GG: He's a great guitarist -- he can MAKE NOISE.

San: Hey, how ya doin with groupies?

GG: How we doin -- do you need some?

San: Yeah, ship em down here

GG: When we play, sometimes girls get very offended: they come up and spit in our face. Last time we played Providence, they were rippin their clothes off.

San: Usually, if any girl isn't into it, she's not gonna be worthwhile anyway.

GG: If they can sit through our show, then…

San: THEY'RE READY (we both laugh). GG, did you produce the album?

GG: I guess -- I'd never been in the studio before we cut our first tracks, and it was all recorded at different studios.

San: I ask because however you recorded or mixed it, I keep wanting to turn your records up more to get that edge -- it really works.

GG: They're powerful when they're low, but when they're loud … especially "You Hate Me" I was in the studio on my knees I screamed so loud that I couldn't talk after our first run through.

San: That comes through on vinyl.

GG: I think so, it's angry and I wanted to capture that, which a lot of bands can't do.

San: Sure, when a band imitates the form without the spirit, you can tell -- well, is Boston gonna shape up or what?

GG: I understand there's bands going to NY from Boston, 007's one. Boston goes through so many different styles. I can't take a lot of the bands seriously. But then there's no worthwhile clubs or radio programs -- only a few good fanzines like Noise and Offense, but it keeps going with loft parties.

San: What's Mono Mann been doing recently?

GG: Well, the band broke up, The Lyres, but I think they might be together again -- after DMZ, he went through many personnel changes -- his bands get together, break up, get together, break up -- he's really hard to work with. We've played a lot of gigs with him, and he's good to work with as far as I'm concerned. Live At The Rat was the best DMZ.

San: I love Relics -- is Mono still into the same thing?

GG: Yeah, he writes mostly original stuff, 60's psychedelia, some covers -- he writes great songs, and you can tell what he listens to.

San: What about The Dawgs?

GG: Great, I've got their album -- as a matter of fact, we just lent them some of our equipment. We've played with em a few times -- they're llike the Real Kids.

San: What else is happenin?

GG: Not much -- we can send a few angry cops down there.

San: No thanks, we've already got our quota of em w/ sunglasses: "What we got here boy is a failure to communicate."

GG: The only encouraging thing in NH is with high school kids.

San: Is there a garage band scene at all?

GG: No, everyone in New England … I don't know, as long as they hate us, we're doing something right. The kids, though, are great, they get thrown out right beside us, they're loyal.

San: We had a club here in 78/79 that was OK punk and had some good local bands, but the police closed it down permanently -- since then it's just been in people's houses, garages, basements. You'd be surprised -- in these little pockets of OK, there's always some kid with a Pistols album and a guitar who's ready to conquer the world. I'ts a real fever cause we're so few and far between. A lot of our punks have gone to Austin, which is about 500 miles away. Austin's the closest active scene. Norman, OK's got something, but it's too trendy for me.

GG: Pardon me, but where the hell is Oklahoma?

San: We're between Texas and Kansas. Stillwater's halfway between OKC and Wichita. You've got fans all over -- I've sent your records to Georgia and Colorado -- we're beyond the influence of trends out here: some say punk's dead or passe or embarrassing, but we don't hear that here: PUNK WILL NEVER DIE. Keep it up GG.

GG: That's right, as long as I'm around, I'll still keep em on the edge.

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