The insane true story of the craziest rocker in history

If resistance is a raised fist, GG Allin was its erect middle finger. The cocky rocker championed his pugnacious brand of punk music as the antidote to order. A man who treated civility like a sickness, he not only defied decorum, but defiled his fans in heinous ways. Allin was also the Holden Caulfield of wry messiahs. He railed against phonies, preached punching, and worshiped at the altar of his own enormous ego. He saw conformity as a sin and viciousness as a virtue. He aimed to destroy everything and everyone, including himself.

For better or worse, Allin's preposterous posturing, provocative positions, and unrepentant violence made him practically impossible to ignore. Just please be selective about when you choose not to ignore him. Many of the external videos and links below are unsuitable for work, children, and civilized society in general.

His father named him Jesus Christ

Everyone knows the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Unfortunately for GG Allin, he descended from a gnarled arbor stricken with trunk rot. All Music described his father, Merle, as "a highly religious, antisocial man." Merle had a passion for Christ, and when GG Allin was born, he insisted on naming him Jesus Christ Allin. That might sound like the behavior of a megalomaniac, but Merle was just a maniac. He would later dig graves in the family cellar and threaten to kill his wife and children in a murder-suicide.

Unsurprisingly, the madman who named his son after the Son of Man did so due to a hallucination. According to the above interview with GG Allin's mother, Merle believed he had gotten his marching orders from Jesus himself, who purportedly went on a brief hiatus from heaven to uncreatively name a baby. No wise men showed up for Jesus' sort-of-second coming, but doctors, nurses, and priests showed up to condemn the decision. Unfortunately, Allin's mother got the brunt of the criticism. In fact, her own mother and siblings refused to see her.

She disapproved of the name as well but realized her husband (whom she eventually divorced) had a distinct lack of sanity. However, she found more conventional-sounding ways of addressing her son. Allin's brother, Merle Jr., mistakenly called him Je-Je, which evolved into the nickname GG. And before he started school, his mother changed his name to Kevin Michael Allin.

His complicated messiah complex

GG Allin's life was a dialectical fever dream. Along his pendulous journey, the musician swung between indigence and excess, sacredness and sacrilege, creation and annihilation. According to All Music, as a child Allin lived in "a two-room log cabin with no electricity or water, and Allin's father forbade all conversation after dark." Allin would later become a belligerent rule-breaker who indulged in every pleasure and refused to stay silent. He hoped to unravel society by creating music and ordered people to be disorderly. Even his birth name was simultaneously pious and profane.

These various competing forces came together in a declaration known as "The GG Allin Manifesto." Written in 1991 and reprinted in the GG Allin Archives, the document detailed Allin's philosophy on rock and roll, revolution, faith, and phoniness. He urged believers in "real underground Rock 'N' Roll" to wage a bloody war against corporately controlled rock and its supporters.

After advocating upheaval, Allin pronounced himself a deity, writing: "I created myself inside the womb from the fires of Hell. There are no separations between Jesus Christ, God and the Devil, because I am all of [them]." He pilloried political correctness, castigated commercialism, and mocked the mainstays of mainstream music. To him, polite society was an infuriating fiction built on hollow promises to "make the world a more wonderful place." Allin planned to impose a raucous rock 'n' roll reign during which he would "prove to the world" that he was "the real king." 

He vowed to kill himself onstage

Jesus Christ died for man's sins. The artist formerly named Jesus Christ Allin promised to die sinning. As he wrote in his manifesto, "Time to get Rock 'N' Roll out of the hands of the masses and back to the people who will not accept comfort or conformity at any cost. Then I will commit suicide on stage and the blood of Rock 'N' Roll will become the poison of the Universe forever."

Were those the words of a rabid lunatic or the inflammatory utterances of a masterful attention-seeker? Perhaps Allin was implicitly inverting the adage, "Success is a journey, not a destination." If so, successfully reaching a goal would end a journey, and achieving the thing you live for would essentially mean ending your life. Or maybe Allin was emulating his father's threat to commit suicide. However, in the rocker's own words, "The ultimate Rock 'N' Roll sacrifice is death."

According to Allin, most people lack the courage of their convictions. But he, as a true rock artist, had the bravery and badness to go all the way. Death wouldn't destroy him but transport him to another dimension where his power would only increase. Interspersed among these ramblings were Allin's thoughts on aging, which he equated with becoming "boring." He desired to die in his prime and live on as a legend. Perhaps the only fate he feared was being ordinary.

He flung feces during his performances

Allin's live shows brimmed with unrestrained rage and outrageous outbursts. As All Music elaborated, the always-angry Allin frequently fought fans, brutally abused his own body, and tried to use his mic as a makeshift butt plug. His primal antics didn't end there. He "usually took the stage in a jockstrap and wound up nude," engaged in carnal acts with audience members, and chucked his poop like a churlish chimp.

Fecal freak-outs were a fixture of Allin's shows. However, despite his self-professed divinity, he couldn't empty his colon at will. Instead, he relied on laxatives. Naturally, club owners took issue with Allin taking craps and often cut his shows short. Sometimes this led to arrest. One such incident occurred in 1991. Per The Orlando Sentinel and the above YouTube clip, Allin and his band the Murder Junkies did a gig at Orlando's Space Fish Cafe. The manic musician "opened his act by walking onto the stage nude, smashing a bottle on his head and grinding shattered glass into his forehead, causing heavy bleeding."

From there Allin and bandmate Donald Sachs pooped, devoured some of their reeking butt fudge, and started launching it at onlookers. At some point the performers also fondled themselves. They obviously got off on their offensive antics, but the police pooh-poohed them. The dooky duo was subsequently booked for indecent exposure. Allin would later brag that he got busted over 50 times for his unruliness. That's a surprisingly small number.

He had real musical talent

Allin's penchant for public pooping might seem like a musical crutch. After all, few things scream desperation like defecating for attention. It also doesn't help that many of his songs boast absurd levels of edginess. Dark ditties like the faux-folksy "Watch Me Kill" or the infamously bitter "Bite It, You Scum" (plus lots of even worse ones) betray an obsession with obscenity that arguably drowned out genuine talent. As The Riverfront Times' Mike Applestein observed, Allin's first album proved he could ably craft and sing some pretty impressive tunes.

Released in 1980, the album Always Was, Is and Always Shall Be vaunted his vocal and songwriting abilities. One of the best received songs from that collection was Don't Talk to Me (featured above). Applestein characterized the tune as Ramones-esque, noting its happy catchiness and skilled simplicity. This more jubilant version of GG Allin lasted until around 1984. He played with a band called The Jabbers, his shows were much more wholesome, and he had an infectious sound.

So how did Allin go from essentially being a punk pop performer to behaving like "a booze-addled, skin-headed Tasmanian devil"? Well, drug use might have something to do with it. According to The Carouser, by 1984, Allin was hooked on heroin, leading to a breakup with The Jabbers. He soon started producing shock-schlock with groups like the Murder Junkies and the Cedar Street Sluts among others. Maybe his edgy antics smacked of smack.

He served time for torturing a woman

It's easy to picture Allin as the crazed-but-clever carnival barker of his own one-man freak show. During talk show appearances like the ones above, he presented himself as a remorseless predator who violated men, women, and animals onstage. He reveled in being repellent as show hosts and hosts of spectators rebuffed him. Unfortunately, his un-personable persona wasn't just hype. Allin did some remarkably reprehensible things, including torturing a female fan.

As Vice detailed, Allin handcuffed and cut a woman he met in Michigan. During a protracted attack that lasted days, he assaulted her, singed her with cigarettes, and cut "half-moon shapes" into her with a beer can. Allin didn't deny his hideously feral unconscionable conduct. Instead he insisted it was an entirely consensual encounter. Per Deek Magazine, Allin argued that his victim "knew what she was getting into," later adding that "you don't go to a fire and expect not to get burned."

Someone should have warned Allin that you don't commit crimes and expect not to do time. He ended up spending 15 months behind bars. During that period he wrote his manifesto, which referenced his imprisonment. But rather than acknowledge his despicable actions, Allin depicted his detention as the public's attempt to silence him: "Why do you think I am in prison right now? Because they know who I am and they fear my reality. Our society wants to stop my mission." Maybe. Or maybe it wanted to stop his monstrous behavior.

Kurt Cobain paid him a visit in prison

In the above interview, the members of Nirvana touched on various topics, including the touchy GG Allin. When front man Kurt Cobain weighed in, he made an almost amusing admission. He passed up on a chance to see Allin perform because he was "too afraid." And who could blame him? Why subject his immaculate golden mane to some guy's fecal arsenal? Allin didn't throw sham poo or shampoo. Just real poo, and that's a no-no. However, Cobain met the self-anointed savior of rock music while the latter was serving his 15-month prison stint.

It's difficult to imagine the men getting along. Cobain gave the world All Apologies and Smells Like Teen Spirit. Allin unapologetically assaulted a fan and probably smelled like rancid refuse. They were completely different animals. And according to Loud Wire, the visit went abominably. Cobain and Flaming Lips drummer Nathan Roberts went to see Allin in 1990, but the cranky convict had no interest in making friends. He spat at his visitors, slung homophobic slurs, and accused the men of wanting fellatio.

All in all, Allin was an unremitting jerk, but it sort of made sense. In his mind, he was at war with the rock industry and society at large. To return his rivals' kindness would have signaled surrender and rendered Allin a phony. Being aggressively awful was how he stayed true to his message. From that warped perspective, perhaps disrespecting others was a show of self-respect.

His prison diary

In many ways, Allin was perfect for prison. His savage hedonism seemed boundless, and he habitually made excuses for his bad behavior. But maybe he had always been an inmate, a mental jailbird bound by his corrosive convictions. He looked forward to freedom but refused to unchain his mind. He appeared to take solace in his cranial cell, recording his inner ravings in diaries. Vice highlighted several entries that shed light on the rocker's dark ideas.

In one passage he hinted at the harshness of his surroundings, writing: "If you have to fight then you fight. We learn to survive like caged animals." At first he yearned to break free but eventually likened his plight to Christ's crucifixion. Allin called his incarceration a "sacrifice of [his] art" and concluded that he had to "suffer and die" for his debauched disciples. Perhaps he had spiritual Stockholm syndrome. Confined in a concrete hell, he abandoned all hope of escape and reframed his circumstances as a kind of righteous agony.

Allin also documented his doings, which sound surprisingly mundane for a supposed savior. He watched movies, purchased cigarettes, and munched candy. That's not particularly godlike. However, he apparently had a supernatural ability to pleasure himself. He mentioned his sausage-stroking constantly. According to Vice, Allin milked his meat "almost 100 times during his first 30 days in prison." He also claimed to have written to Charles Manson, which seems fitting, since Allin essentially sought to incite a rock 'n' roll Helter Skelter.

John Wayne Gacy helped fund a documentary about him

GG Allin thrived in the limelight. During televised appearances, he acted like a caricature of a cartoon character disguised as a human. So it was only a matter of time before someone decided to capture that character doing all sorts of sordid things in a documentary. That someone was director Todd Phillips. Fans of Phillips know him for alcoholic hits like The Hangover and lowbrow classics like Old School. But back in the early 1990s he was a wide-eyed NYU student looking to make a movie about Allin.

As Phillips explained to Suicide Girls, he didn't enjoy Allin's music but did admire his over-the-top showmanship. So he reached out to the rocker, who was still in prison for gruesomely abusing a fan. Allin welcomed the attention, and after getting released, he violated his parole by leaving Michigan to do the documentary. Phillips eventually dropped out of college so he could afford to film it. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy (who Allin visited twice in prison) helped finance the project by painting a lucrative promotional poster while on death row. The final result was Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies.

Phillips picked Allin's peculiar brain and found that the rocker "was totally normal when he wasn't drunk." The violence and vileness evaporated. But once drinks and drugs entered the picture, he became a frenzied barbarian. Sober Allin had thoughtful conversations. Sloshed Allin got banned from NYU after cramming a banana into himself (yep) before a crowd.

He inspired a scene in an award-winning film

Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies became "the biggest grossing student film of its time," per Suicide Girls. If nothing else, it showed that gross behavior is engrossing when attached to an interesting idea. Anyone can stuff themselves full of fruit, but in Allin's philosophy, that fruit had meaning. His performances seemed premised on peeling away the layers of laws and protocols that separate man from his feral self.

Appropriately, Allin's anti-society antic's inspired a scene in The Square, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. As The Daily Beast described, the movie tells the story of an idealistic museum director who wants to install a "safe space that people can enter to find trust, aid, compassion, and understanding." However, various challenges and temptations cause him to violate his values and behave boorishly. Seen cynically, the film portrays its protagonist as a phony.

In the film's most salient scene (featured in the above clip) posh guests at a gala are accosted by a shirtless man. He hoots like an angry ape, smashes a man's glass, and invades people's personal space. In the full version he goes on a rampage, jumping on tables and harassing women. Director Ruben Östlund cited Allin as the muse behind that mayhem. In his words: "I liked the idea of making an audience dressed in tuxedos, following a strict etiquette idea of how you should behave, suddenly meeting an anarchist like GG Allin."

His last day alive

Allin never got to see The Square. Perhaps he would have hated it. He might have also hated the Hated documentary, though no one can say for sure. In June 1993, just days before the Phillips film premiered, Allin died of a heroin overdose. Vice retraced his final steps in an interview with Johnny Puke, who was present during Allin's passing.

The end began with a three-song show at the Gas Station in New York's East Village. Allin got off to an ugly start by murdering a microphone, which provoked the sound guy to call off the performance. A cocaine-addled Allin reacted by bombarding the sound guy with microphones and forcing him back into the sound booth. The show started as previously planned. As usual, Allin defecated and punched people, but things took another nasty turn when combative crowd members separated him from his microphone. Unable to perform, the disgusted rocker assaulted fans with abandon.

After chasing the crowd, Allin found himself leading an unwanted throng of fans through the streets. The irate rocker fled to a hotel. Later that night, Allin began partying with Johnny Puke. He snorted a lethal load of heroin and died in his sleep as the revelry raged. It's easy to see Allin as a tragic victim of his vices, but that would undermine his ethos. He would likely argue (per the above clip) that "you say whatever you gotta say, you make your purpose known, and then you leave."