Saturday, January 06, 2007

What would life be like if it never changed? Installment 4

More thoughts on my Top Ten Life-Changing Albums. Thanks to Eek for beginning the thread that led me to this list.

(Note: Italics indicate my initial response to Eek's challenge; the rest constitutes my further thoughts on the subject).

4. Brutality and Bloodshed for All, GG Allin & The Murder Junkies. Actually sounds like it was produced, a first - and last - for Allin. The songs are volatile and focused, and the band is extremely tight.

I didn't discover GG Allin's music until after his demise, though I was long aware of his persona. I recall seeing an album jacket portrait that showed him in all his jailhouse tattoo/Fu Manchu facial hair splendor. What really caught my attention, however, was the dog collar padlocked around his neck. What if he couldn't find the key?! I hadn't at that juncture realized that GG didn't need no stinking key.

Brutality and Bloodshed for All was GG Allin's swan song, and what a way to end a career. Finally, an actual studio recording that sounds like microphone placement, a mixing board and multiple takes were involved. Produced by Don Fury, whose studio yours truly has graced, this disc is a monument to what rock 'n' roll was always meant to be: dangerous. A quick glance at the song titles - never mind the album art - supports this thesis: "I Kill Everything I Fuck," "Shove That Warrant Up Your Ass," "I'll Slice Yer Fucking Throat," "Legalize Murder." Vintage Allin, and yet somehow - gasp! - mature. It seems that the prison stint leading up to this final assault did Allin much good in terms of stoking his muse. His rage is focused, his determination strong, his bile aboil.

Murder Junkies guitarist William Gilmore Weber III contributes significantly by giving Allin's lyrics the monster punch that frequently eluded them. This disc is the apotheosis of hard rock, with the rebellion spewing out like toxic waste into rivers of distorted angst. Drummer Dino Sex (who plays in the nude during live performances) and bandleader Merle Allin (GG's older brother on bass) fill out the sound with deft precision and authority. I wasn't surprised by the subject matter, but the balls to the wall (literally!) delivery was a revelation.

Enlightening liner notes by rock journalist (and haiku aficionado) Mikel Board make a fair case for Allin's value as an artist - a point I wholeheartedly agree with. Obviously, Allin's death wish worldview is not for everyone, but for those willing to take the plunge, there is something to be had in this abyss.


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