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He Survived GG Allin’s Last Show (And He Was Only 13)

GG Allin, that most troubled of troubadours, gave his last concert on June 27th, 1993, inasmuch as you can call a two song performance and subsequent hour long melee through the streets of New York City a concert. An overdose claimed Allin later that evening, closing the book forever on punk rock’s most twisted son. My friend Jason was an avowed GG disciple who made it to Manhattan’s Gas Station venue to drink in the historic stretch of events before Allin’s untimely death. This is slightly amazing when you consider Jason was just 13 years old at the time and lived an hour northeast of the city in rural Connecticut.

I spoke with Jason recently about witnessing GG’s final shootout, which he attended under the chaperone of 29 year old Malcolm Tent — owner of our area’s punk hangout, Trash American Style. 

Warning: there is very little talk of fecal matter in this interview.

Foreing Language by Can't Swim out October 11

HN: Had you seen GG before this? 

J: No, I hadn’t!

HN: Had you seen any concerts?

J: I’d been to local concerts…I’d go to the Chicken Coop and see G’Nu Fuzz. You know, you’d go out there to West Conn, or to Tuxedo Junction, maybe, to see local bands. I was talking to Malcolm earlier and we aren’t even sure how we found out about GG playing in New York City. Maybe it was a flyer? I don’t know. Anyway, I was like, “I wanna see GG!” Malcolm said, “Get permission from your parents.” I asked my parents and they said, “Who’s gonna drive you? Malcolm? Yeah, sure, no problem.”

HN: Did you have any concerns about your own safety, being 13 at a GG Allin show?

J: Well, at this point Malcolm had known [GG’s brother and band mate] Merle and the Antiseen guys and GG, and I had been talking to Merle, so I thought, “I’ll be safe, it’s okay.” So I wasn’t really worried. The fact that I wasn’t scared? I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

I think Merle said something to me at the show, like, “Hey, don’t worry, you’re one of the good guys, he won’t go after you.” You know, once GG got out of prison, his shows got kinda violent. It wasn’t so much about poop, it was about fighting the audience. But they let me know I’d be okay.

HN: Was it just you and Malcolm who went?

J: No, I’m trying to remember who else was with us. Do you remember Garth? He became like a skinhead later on? 

HN: That sounds familiar.

J: Garth and his brother came with us. So it turns out this place is in Alphabet City — the slums. Malcolm parks, and we see Merle. “Oh my god, oh my god, it’s Merle!” We took pictures and then we went inside. A little while later, GG came stumbling in. He had the helmet on. He was doing the helmet gimmick. He goes into “Highest Power” and “Look Into My Eyes And Hate Me,” which I loved.

Then, before we know it, it’s fuckin’ over. From the time he got onstage until the riot was like five minutes. It was like he decided, “I wanna cause damage.” The crowd was that real scummy dirty heroin crowd [from] the slums of New York. It’s not like he was playing Wilton, Connecticut. It was like, “Oh shit, the inmate realized the cell gate is open.” And we all decided, “Well, okay, let’s have a riot.”

HN: “Riot” seems like the wrong term, though. In the video footage, it looks more like a parade.

J: Yeah, that’s right…it was the confederacy of scum saying, “Hell yeah, badge of honor, we saw GG.” You know, some people were there for the violence, but some of us were there for the music. I loved it. If you had told me GG was playing acoustically, I would have been there.

HN: So you’re in that parade.

J: I am, but I’ve never seen myself in the footage. I can’t place where I am exactly. The crazy part is— okay, we followed GG for a little bit, but then we were like, “We gotta get outta here.” As we were driving home, Garth’s brother was laying down in the back of Malcolm’s car. He got up, and immediately after that one of the struts shoots up through the floor. It would have impaled the guy if he hadn’t moved. 

HN: How did you find out about GG’s death?

J: I called Merle the next day to say, “Hey man, thanks so much for the concert.” He goes, “Ah, it’s gonna be his last, he OD’d.”

HN: Were you upset?

J: No, it almost added to the event. Like, “Wow, we were at GG’s last concert.” I wouldn’t say I was heartbroken…I don’t remember being very upset about it. It was definitely not a surprise. 

HN: Have you been to a concert since that matches that kind of insanity, or passes it?

J: Let me think. [long pause] Little Steven’s Underground Garage at Randall’s Island. It was Iggy and the Stooges, the Dictators, Nancy Sinatra, some of the New York Dolls…Iggy hit the stage and did “TV Eye,” I think, and people became unhinged. That came close, but looking back, the GG thing was by far the craziest and most intimate.

HN: How has your relationship to GG’s music changed since you were 14?

J: I try not to listen to “Highest Power” anymore. I’m not really religious, but it’s like…eh, I get it. Most of it, I feel like I’ve kind of matured into the music, which is weird. [laughs] The Murder Junkies Road Killer album is phenomenal — lyrics aside, of course. This is not about lyrical content. [laughs] “Kill this person, kill that person.” The music gives me a little pep in my step. I don’t get the same shock value out of it, though. When you’re a kid, you don’t know any better. Do you remember Rainbow Records?

HN: Oh, of course. Our hometown record store.

J: In the course of one week at Rainbow I bought GG’s Hated in The Nation and Nitzer Ebb’s As Is. It might have been the same day. Two different ends of the spectrum, right? There’s a song on Hated called “Stimulation” that’s just audio of him jerking off, and I’m like, “Why was I ever listening to this stuff?” [laughs] Those backstage videos of all of them sucking each other off — why was I watching that stuff? My parents raised me right. What happened?

HN: You just accept certain stuff when you’re that young. Or maybe, when you’re 13, you’re more engaged with outrageous stuff because you’re 13 and you’re not really thinking about it. It’s about the thrill of the verboten.

J: Exactly. So anyway, I have kids and there are a few t-shirts I can’t wear anymore. [laughs]