GG Allin & The AIDS Brigade: Live in Boston 1989
starring GG Allin
Iggy Pop cut himself and made great music. GG Allin shit himself and made outrageous art. A tortured soul, Allin picked up a cult following for his over-the-top, Grand Guignol performances and claims to have been banned from every club in Boston. His song titles are raunchy and to the point (“I Wanna Rape You,” “Bite It You Scum”), yet the thing that set him apart from the crowd was his onstage antics — nudity, pyromania, and coprophagia. This rare collection documents some of his shows from Boston, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.
There are two sets of music on this disc. The main program shows Allin and his band performing in the Boston area in drag. The sound is typically awful, the video is grainy and shot in low light, but the songs offer a good slice of the energy and feel of the band. Allin is reasonably behaved; he sings and does little more offensive than grab his crotch and swig cheap beer. I hate to say this about any punk band, but the songs are pretty much indistinguishable from one another, although they do drip with attitude and unfocused anger. There’s some rehearsal footage along with GG jamming with his brother Merle, plus an interview as they put on their drag.
The heart of this disc (and of Allin’s act) hangs out in the bonus material. Here we see Allin at his most outrageous in two long sequences from shows on the West coast. Besides the de rigueur complaints about Pearl Jam and the grunge scene, Allin strips naked, shits on stage, licks it up, starts a fire, and assaults fans. Then he plays a few songs, but mostly he strides around in a bad parody of a rock star. The audience appear more interested in getting their cool cards punched; they aren’t terribly enthusiastic but they stick with the show to see what happens next. Beers fly, security forces seem nonexistent, and the biggest threat to the public peace is Allin. This is what made him famous, and if you’re a true fan, you know about this disc. If you’re not, I’ll warn you — it’s everything your mother warned you about, and in this case she was pretty much right on the money. I need to get some Windex and clean my monitor now.