I Saw the Murder Junkies in Avon and Talked to Merle Allin
A chance encounter with Merle Allin, GG Allin’s brother, on Newbury Street in Boston led me to Avon, Connecticut, on a Tuesday night, where I found out just how serious Merle is about carrying on where he brother left off. After the show—which turned...
In the spring of 1993 I was a 12-year-old dirtball in a Slayer cap smoking stolen cigarettes in a Mission Hill, Boston, neighborhood jungle near where I grew up. There I would meet the men who indirectly took me on a jagged journey through punk rock—Meister Bräu-breathed marauders with ACAB etched on their flesh and nicknames like “Opie,” “Izzy,” “Talon,” and “Teeth.” They let me hang on their rickety porch while they listened to the Nihilistics, and, more importantly, GG Allin. I was terrified, but hooked. Four hours away, GG Allin was naked, covered in shit and blood rampaging through the Lower East Side, doing somersaults in front of city buses and flipping them off before retiring to his apartment. Then he left this world too soon, or too late, depending on whom you ask.
It's almost 20 years later and Jesus Christ Allin has still not returned, but thankfully his brother Merle Allin and the Murder Junkies are still mainlining rock ‘n’ roll and peddling their amplified opiates in sleazy dive bars and shit shacks across the country.
A chance encounter with Merle on Newbury Street in Boston led me to Avon, Connecticut, on a Tuesday night, where I found out just how serious Merle is about carrying on where he brother left off. After the show—which turned into a naked brawl midway through—ended, I caught up with Merle and this is what we said:
VICE: Merle, you guys killed tonight.
Merle Allin:We sucked ASS tonight!
I politely disagree as a fan.
Simply for the fact that while I was taking pictures, I was getting knocked over by a fat dude in his underwear.
A black dude in his underwear! With big tits!
It's still pretty safe to say, even he was too afraid to be completely naked. Not you guys though.
We’re just doing our thing, doing what we've always done, and we don't give a fuck what anybody thinks or cares. That's how we do things. Even on a Tuesday in Avon.
So, for those a bit out of the loop who don’t understand punk rock and the underground—
For those who are out there that don't understand, they shouldn't even fucking bother. Because I wouldn't wanna waste my fuckin’ time telling any of these fuckin’ cocksuckers jack shit. They don't know, fuck ‘em! Get on the fuckin’ internet and figure it out. We've been around for 20 fuckin’ years and if you don’t know who GG Allin is, fuck you. I don’t even care, I don't even wanna explain. Fuck you.
At one point, Dino had a drum stick up his ass, some fan tried to rush the stage yelling “GG,” and the band beat the fuck out of him. Dino even said, “We’re just trying to have fun!” as he clobbered the dude on a pool table.
I've seen that a million times.
I've never actually seen a naked guy clobbering a guy on a pool table.
It happens. It happens. Nothing unusual. There's always some fuckin’ asshole who wants to be like fuckin’ GG and they get their fuckin’ ass kicked. You know, you wanna be like fuckin’ GG you're gonna get your ass kicked every fuckin’ night. They're too fucking stupid to understand.
So tell me about the new record.
We're recording a brand-new, ten-song LP at the end of August, heading to Cincinnati, and recording with Bill Weber, the original guitar player who played on Brutality and Bloodshed for All and did all the tours with us and GG back in the early 90s. He'll be playing too. It will be out in time for the 20th anniversary of GG’s death.
When did you and your brother realize that you were different?
Ha! From the beginning, pretty much.
Even before discovering punk rock?
Yeah. When we were listening to the glam stuff in the mid 70s: T. Rex, Roxy Music, Slade, Mott the Hoople, early Alice Cooper, that stuff. We were always more into the crazy dressing. We lived in new Hampshire so we'd buy clothes at the women's departments in local stores, ‘cause there was no fashion for us or anything back then.
These days everyone, especially bands that have been around for a long time, have caught the nostalgia bug, but the Murder Junkies are continuously moving forward.
Yeah, some people wanna label us a GG Allin band, which we're not.
You're not some scumfuck Jim Belushi.
Yeah, we play our own fuckin’ songs, been playing our own songs for a while now. We recorded the Roadkiller record in 2010, we got a new record comin’ out. We don't even have any GG Allin songs in our set. Not that that's a bad thing. But then again, we play what we wanna play. If we wanna play a set of old GG songs, we will. If we wanna play no GG songs, we'll do that. We don't play what anyone wants to hear, we play what we want to hear.
New York rightfully gets mentioned constantly in terms of the early days of punk, yet there was a real scene with real people in Boston and New Hampshire that often gets overlooked. What are some of your earliest memories growing up in that area?
I lived in the Boston scene in the late 70s and was playing in a band called Thrills, opening for the Ramones, the Cars, David Johansen, and Johnny Thunders. Johnny Thunders shot up in my fuckin’ bathroom one night. It wasn't about fashion, it was about getting up and playing. Whatever you were wearing that day you were wearing onstage at night.
The New York bands would come up and they'd be all slick, which was cool too—we loved that. The Boston scene was really great in the late 70s, but I still loved the New York scene. Not just ‘cause of CB’s or Max's. It's just that those bands, to me, you can still listen to. They've really held the test of time. Whereas the English punk bands? I don’t even fuckin’ listen to those bands. The fuckin’ Sex Pistols? The Clash? That shit? That shit’s so fuckin’ dated. Everyone sounded different on the New York scene. You had the Dolls, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads, and the Ramones, and they all had a different sound. It was a magical era that will never be repeated. You'll never capture anything like that. There's no scene anymore. There’s no scene anywhere. There's no punk rock either, we're probably one of the last of a dying breed.
What do you think still holds back not only bands these days but also your fans to be as liberated and free as the Murder Junkies are today onstage?
I don't know. To me, there is no punk anymore, there's just hardcore and metal. Everyone basically sounds like the next band out there. Plus, there's no real scene. No unity in anything. Nobody stays to see the last band, every band packs up their shit and leaves. “Oh, I gotta go to work tomorrow.” Fuck you. If you gotta work tomorrow, stay the fuck home and get the fuck out of rock ‘n’ roll.
When we were playing music all we fuckin’ did was music. We lived it, we breathed it, 24 hours a day. These fuckin’ jackass fuckin’ kids today, they just wanna pretend they’re a band so they can get laid, I don't know what the fuck it is. They all suck. There’s nothing. Even when we suck we're the best.