ILLIN’ ON 24 oz. Jolt October 6 only made it worse. G.G. Allin, this New Hampshire loser, appeared at the Cat Club, wearing only a jockstrap and cowboy boots.
He started shouting the moment he came out, after shitting in his hands and wiping it on his chest. Then he bashed the microphone into his mouth, nose, and eye sockets, a shiny red mask spreading across his face. He stretched his jock aside and pulled hard on his little dick. He broke bottles on the ground and rolled in them. Back up on stage now, there was other stuff on the floor (vomit?), and his butt and legs, besides his face, were bleeding. On his back, sometimes doggy style, Allin would shove the microphone into his anus.
Then he went into the second number.
Seeing the band try to work through the songs, sing the choruses, was not a little comic. This had nothing to do with music, which was nothing anyway. This was obscenity: “You should be raped. Fuckyoufuckyoufuck.” Another 15 minutes, and the club pulled the plug. Allin disappeared, came back, shit on the stage’s edge, picked it up and threw crap into the audience. He pitched bottles into the crowd. Bouncers glared, but they were frozen, perhaps not knowing who to hate more, the taunting audience or Allin. His eyes were popped and blackened. He caromed through the club, screaming, arms twirling. Two bouncers nearby wanted him out but did not want to touch him. Finally they swallowed, each grabbed an arm, and escorted Allin out a side door.
Maybe the guy figured, This is my New York show. It is important for me to do the right thing. Make them think: I saw something. After all, Allin’s played across the country, doing assaultive things for years now, and this evening, also, fit into a lattice of show-biz gestures. It, too, was entertainment.
Except that, Monday anyway, we were watching a guy who for at least one night didn’t care if he died, maybe wanted to. And didn’t mind hitting others with bottles, or shit, on the way out. Before the show, according to the booker, Allin pulled a knife on a woman backstage and tore her jacket. There was no pacing (I’ve got to go, I want it now), no role-playing like Karen Finley, nothing like the beat or the blare of Iggy that meant we are all going over the edge together. Not even Sid singing ‘My Way’. Allin was alone, like the guy biting the chicken’s head.
Unlike watching Buddhist monks set themselves on fire in protest, or The Gore Girls, or even an autopsy, Allin’s were gestures with no ripple. The club, the band, the audience, everyone exploited the guy. By watching, by not leaving, and maybe by writing about him, I know that I’m exploiting him too. I hope I haven’t made you wish you were there.
Perhaps you’ve seen a terrible car crash. Lots of people left the club, but a wreck draws a rapt audience, and those who stayed were transfixed. During a song called ‘I Want to Rape Your Cunt’, he tried to fuck a female friend in the broken glass. They ended up wrestling in slow motion. A woman ran bleeding to the restroom, hit with a microphone stand. Allin’s female friend went from table to table, swigging the remains from every bottle or glass she could get her hands on, like she was plucking change from a row of pay phones. I felt like throwing up then. Writing about this is not helping. See you in hell.
© RJ Smith, The Village Voice, 21 October 1986