First published back in February of 1999, ‘I Was A Murder Junkie: The Last Days Of G.G. Allin’ is a look into the chaotic and self-destructive life of rock & roll’s most controversial anti-hero - G.G. Allin. Written by Evan Cohen, this chaotic overview of Allin’s life delivers an interesting insight into his upbringing, his motivations, his onstage performances and most notably the extreme depravities that made Allin the legend he remains to this day.
The book starts off with a previously undocumented look into Allin’s upbringing, detailing the small amounts of information that Cohen managed to obtain about the early family life of Allin and his brother (and fellow band member) Merle Allin.
Cohen, as he proudly highlights on numerous occasions within the book, was privileged to be within the circle of people who were very much involved in Allin’s life during the years in which his notorious band rose to their underground cult status. This allowed Cohen to draw upon many first hand experiences, which can be evidenced throughout the book, as well as having access to those who knew Allin well, including the other member of the Murder Junkies.
Alongside the year-by-year overview of Allin’s drug-fuelled life and unpredictable career in music, the biography is interspersed with interviews with the key individuals whole played a part in the man’s life, each one casting their own experiences of the time they had with Allin and his band. With an almost non-stop barrage of sheer rock ‘n’ roll excess detailed on almost every page, the reader is able to form a particularly vivid picture of the destructive atmosphere that surrounded this group.
To be honest, Cohen's writing is extremely basic; littered with numerous, typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. However, this only seems to paint a more all-encompassing picture of the “don't give a shit” attitude that every single person mentioned in the book seems to hold.
The book very rarely tries to delve deep into the reasons behind Allin’s attitude and his depraved nature. Instead, it chooses to let the reader form their own opinion of who and what Allin was. Yes, some casual readers are likely to take a lot of what is being said happed with a pinch of salt. Often this is an unspoken requirement with biographies and autobiographies. However, with Cohen barely touching upon the actual man behind the name, it creates an open door for the reader to draw their own (no doubt murky) opinions. Admittedly, this was probably not a conscious decision by the writer, but regardless of this, the final result is a book that the reader can take whatever they want from.
Consequences from each of band members’ actions seems of little concern throughout the book’s detailed accounts. When something comes back to affect them, Cohen writes off their reactions towards this. As you can no doubt guess, these consequences are often involving the police or some aspect of the law, attempting to catch up with Allin for whatever reason. However, for a man who really does not care what happens to him from day to day, such moments are surprisingly few and far between.
Obviously, drink, drugs, depraved sexual behaviour and an all-out offensive attitude towards the general public is the main thrust of the book. The stories of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem appear to be absolutely relentless. Each day brings a further excess for the band members to endure and another beating to their bodies and possibly even their individual sanity.
The book finishes with the early death of Allin in 1993 from an unsurprising drugs overdose. Cohen delivers an account of Allin’s funeral which was typical of his lifestyle. However it’s not a sad or indeed an emotional end to the book, which you may have thought Cohen might have delivered (especially considering the admiration and respect Cohen clearly has for GG). Indeed, these final pages don’t even try to suggest the reasons behind what ultimately led him (somewhat inevitably) to his early death; although this would probably have felt quite out of place within the general context of the book. Nevertheless, the final message is a clear one. There was never a thought to consequences; it’s just live for the day, because you could well die tomorrow.
The book includes a total of twenty-eight black and white photos interspersed throughout the text that document the various moments Cohen has written about. Many of these photos have managed to capture something of the man that Allin was. His expression in almost every photo appears incredibly expressive of his state of mind at those particular moments; enabling each photo to further bring to life the accounts that have been detailed in the text.
The book runs for a total of 126 pages.
The book also includes a twenty-five minute audio CD of various recordings that were predominately taped on a microcassette recorder, so the general quality is a little ropey top say the least. Included on the CD are the following recordings:
Track 1 - A comical acoustic cover of David Peel's song ‘Marijuana’
Track 2 - A short radio interview where Allin and Merle advertise an upcoming show
Track 3 - An acoustic performance of the song ‘Unpredictable’
Track 4 - An amusing message from GG and a girl, where they joke about his other band members
Track 5 - Another message from GG where he comments on the bands predicament at one time in LA
Track 6 - An acoustic performance of Hank Williams Jr’s song ‘OD’d in Denver’
Track 7 - A recording of GG (pretending to be Merle) informing the Seattle Times about one of the bands upcoming shows
Track 8 - An acoustic performance of ‘I Wanna Fuck Myself'’
Track 9 - An acoustic performance of Johnny Cash/Roy Cash Jr’s ‘I Still Miss Someone’
Track 10 - The first part of GG's last ever radio interview
Track 11 - The second part of GG's last ever radio interview
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