Can a GG Allin documentary be heartwarming? This one sure tries

GG-Allin-All-in-the-Family

Before I watched GG Allin: All in the Family on Showtime this week, I was pretty sure that the world really didn’t need another documentary about punk rock’s most notorious jockstrap-wearing, poop-flinging dickhead. Todd Phillips’ Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies, released in 1993 just before his death, did a pretty comprehensive job of summing up everything that was both appalling and fascinating about GG Allin‘s transgressive behavior and confrontational live shows. He came, he saw, he sang a few songs, threw a few punches, pissed on the stage, went home and died of a heroin overdose. The end. Right?

Well, no. What makes GG Allin: All in the Family worth watching is that it focuses less on the megalomaniacal asshole behind such eternally offensive hardcore classics as “Bite It You Scum” and “Expose Yourself to Kids” and more on how his family and his band, the Murder Junkies, have dealt with his legacy. Along the way, you meet Allin’s sweet but prickly mother, Arleta; his brother, Merle, who played with GG in the Murder Junkies while he was alive and has kept the band limping along in the decades since his death; and the Murder Junkies’ longtime drummer, Donald “Dino” Sachs, who even more than Merle (who, let’s be honest, seems more interested in cashing in on his brother’s reputation than embodying it) might be the closest thing GG has a true acolyte, a guy who even into his fifties (sixties?) still plays naked and obligingly lets fans jam drumsticks up his ass at every show.

I realize it’s probably a stretch to call a movie that features drumstick ass-play (and plenty of footage of GG himself, naked, bloodied and picking fights with his fans) “heartwarming” — and many will probably find the inhabitants of Sami Saif’s film as dislikable as the man whose shit-smeared shadow looms over everything they do. But I found it hard not to be touched by how devoted, in spite of everything, these misfits remain to honoring their fallen son, brother and bandmate. Merle and Dino cycle through a revolving door of hapless lead singers who can never hope to replicated GG’s onstage antics, and trudge through gigs at shit-hole punk-rock clubs where half the crowd is there hoping to see a trainwreck, not a concert. Arleta guards GG’s grave in rural New Hampshire from marauding fans — until the church where he’s buried finally locks it away to prevent further desecrations. “You don’t want people coming from Canada to piss and shit all over your grave,” an exasperated Arleta declares at one point — which is a fair statement, even though it’s probably also fair of GG Allin fans to assume that pissing and shitting on their hero’s headstone is an appropriate way to pay their respects.

GG Allin: All in the Family was originally released in 2017 until the title The Allins; you can watch a trailer on the film’s original website. It now appears to be a Showtime exclusive, which means you need to be subscribed to their cable channels or their streaming app to view the whole thing. Watch it at your own risk. Until then, here’s Merle hyping its release from a year ago:

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Tartar Control

Tartar Control
This and header photo by Patty Courtland

This week’s weird band was a tough call. You see, Los Angeles is home to not one, but two punk bands that dress up like Mormon missionaries. The Mormons did it first, forming back in 1998, and they take the extra step of wearing bicycle helmets to really complete the standard Mormon missionary look. Tartar Control came along much more recently, so normally, we’d give the nod to The Mormons. But Tartar Control has a robot, and when calculating any band’s weirdness quotient, robots beat originality every time. Plus, Tartar Control’s music videos rule.

So congrats, Tartar Control! You are officially the weirdest Mormon punk band not only here in L.A., but possibly anywhere in the world. Joseph Smith would be proud.

Tartar Control’s two human members, Sean and Robert, claim to be actual Mormons from Salt Lake City, who were sent to do their church mission in South Central Los Angeles. When and how they acquired their bassist/drummer robot, Robot, remains something of a mystery, unless you know how to read binary code.

Sean and Robert started out singing in the church choir, but somewhere along the way, they developed a taste for punk rock. They first caught our attention with the video for “Diabolical,” which is a delightful 83 seconds of gore, mayhem and goat-fucking:

Then we found the video for “Jesus Is Love,” which shows the band wreaking havoc in their native habitat, Anaheim punk club the Doll Hut:

Those songs are both from Tartar Control’s first album, 2012’s Holy Crap, as is their most recent video, “Smoking Crack,” which came out last year. We assume, since they’re Mormons and all, that “Smoking Crack” is a cautionary tale. Normally, I’m sure Robert, Sean and Robot all Just Say No.

Late last year, Tartar Control released their second album, We Forgive You. So far they haven’t made any videos for it, but they did release this fun little album teaser:

We haven’t had a chance to listen to all of We Forgive You yet, but so far, our favorite track by far is “My God’s Cock.” I didn’t know Mormons were so into talking about the magical powers of the Good Lord’s schlong, but they do wear magical underwear, so I guess crotch-related magic is a theme with them.

We’ll leave you with one of Tartar Control’s many helpful public service announcement songs (along with “Cramps Don’t Mean You’re Pregnant” and “Satanists Are Fucking Dicks”): “Brush Your Teeth.” Cleanliness is next to Godliness, kids, so brushing your teeth is like putting a little Jesus in your mouth.

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Winny Puhh are back and just as batshit as ever

Winny Puhh

Thank god for you folks out there in Readerland. If it wasn’t for you, we’d never get caught up on all the weird music we missed during our last hiatus. Topping the list of shit we slept on: a new album from Estonian spazz-punks Winny Puhh, who released their latest album Kes küsib? (Who Asks?) on Sept. 28. Big ups to reader Jimmy Miller for dropping that knowledge bomb into the spider hole we’ve been hiding in these past few months.

We’ve only been able to find two tracks from Kes küsib? online, but they’re pretty insane even by Winny Puhh’s unhinged, hanging-from-the-ceiling standards. Let’s give them a listen, shall we?

That was pretty great, but this next track ups the ante with some throat singing while also managing to be kinda catchy.

Apparently, Kes küsib? was the number one album in Estonia at one point. Which officially makes Estonia the coolest country on the planet. Sorry, Japan. You had a good run.

There doesn’t seem to be any way for us Americans to legally purchase Kes küsib?, unless you trust your Google translator and/or limited grasp of Estonian to guide you through this site, which appears to be selling legit copies of it for 13 Euros. [Update: One observant reader pointed out to us that the site has an English translation button. So Estonian fluency not required after all.] It’s also on a shit-ton of Russian torrent sites, but we’re not gonna link to those ’cause they’re shady. If you really want a Russian black market MP3 copy of Kes küsib?, we’re sure you have what it takes to figure it out.

Weird of the Day: Tartar Control, “Smoking Crack”

Tartar Control

Hey, so here’s another L.A. band we’ve been meaning to write about for awhile. Tartar Control claim to be God-fearing Mormons from Salt Lake City who try to spread religion through the power of snotty punk rock, but I’m not so sure. I think they might be actual snotty L.A. punk rockers who are just ripping off these guys. Oh, wait, their drummer is a robot? I take it all back then. They must be actual Mormons and their act is totally original! (Mormons love robots. It’s why their Chosen One is Mitt Romney.)

Anyway, Sean, Robert and Robot have a new album coming out in October called We Forgive You. You do? Thanks, Tartar Control! Glad that dead hooker is finally off our conscience.

While we wait for forgiveness, here’s a video for “Smoking Crack” off their first album, Holy Crap! Tartar Control forgives us, but who forgives Tartar Control?

For more Tartar Control, floss regularly and visit the band’s website.

New Misfits live album “DEA.D.ALIVE!” coming next month

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Did you know ghoul-rockers The Misfits haven’t released a live album since the ’80s? It’s true. All their albums since the ’80s have been dead. In more ways than one. I kid, of course! The ’90s and ’00s Misfit albums are perfectly serviceable if your like your horror-punk with its rotting tongue planted firmly in its decaying cheek.

Anyway, the live drought is finally ending on Feb. 5th, when Jerry Only and co. will unleash DEA.D.ALIVE! on a terrorized populace. The album features all tracks from the post-Danzig version of the band, but there’s still hope for you fogey-punks who miss the good ol’ days of “Die, Die My Darling” and “Horror Business”: In an interview with Rolling Stone, Only says there’s some “’77-’83 material that we performed together back in the day that remain unreleased, just sitting in the vaults…It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Glenn and I might evaluate some of that stuff in the not-too-distant future and consider bringing it to the fans in a joint effort.” Which sounds pretty weak, I know…but compared to some of the words Only has had for Danzig in the past, it’s practically a Glenn ‘n’ Jerry lovefest.

That Rolling Stone article also features a preview of a track off DEA.D.ALIVE!, a live version of “Shining.” It doesn’t exactly make me wanna rush out and buy this set on limited-edition “solid gold” vinyl (and by the way, I’m pretty sure they mean solid gold-colored vinyl…otherwise I’m gonna start hoarding Misfits LPs for the coming apocalypse), but it does make me think it might be fun to finally go to a Misfits show. Like most people who own the T-shirt, I’m a poser who’s never actually seen them.

You can pre-order DEA.D.ALIVE! now from the Misfits online store. Here’s the complete tracklist, courtesy of antiMusic:

1.) The Devil’s Rain (3:39)
2.) Vivid Red (1:44)
3.) Land of the Dead (2:00)
4.) Curse of the Mummy’s Hand (3:18)
5.) Cold in Hell (1:54)
6.) Dark Shadows (3:18)
7.) Death Ray (4:02)
8.) Shining (2:39)
9.) American Psycho (1:56)
10.) Dig Up Her Bones (2:26)
11.) Scream! (2:22)
12.) Helena (3:24)
13.) Science Fiction/Double Feature (3:17)
14.) Saturday Night (4:10)

The Misfits

When I want to get into the Halloween spirit, my third favorite thing to do (after answering the door naked and offering Jager shots to the neighborhood kids) is crank up The Misfits. Seriously, is any band more synonymous with Halloween? I think not.

There are, of course, two versions of The Misfits: the original, Glenn Danzig one, and the latter-day, Jerry Only one, also widely known among fans as “the bullshit version.” I actually dig them both for totally different reasons. Danzig’s Misfits were fun, kooky and occasionally scary in a sort of Ramones-meets-Tales From the Crypt way; Only’s Misfits are fun, kooky and occasionally hilarious in a Dead Milkmen-meets-Killer Clowns From Outer Space way. See the difference?

Anyway, I figured this Halloween, it’d be good to honor the original horror punks with a spot on our ever-growing Weird List. Here’s a video from the Jerry Only era. Had they become total parodies of themselves by this point? Of course, but that’s sort of the point.

P.S. Not that the world really needs a new Misfits album, but we got one this month anyway. It’s called The Devil’s Rain and you can hear a track, “Land of the Dead,” by going to their website and clicking the Audio On/Off button. Yes, that’s Jerry doing vocals now. At this point, he can do whatever the hell he wants, but…man. Suddenly, for all the wrong reasons, they’ve gotten kinda scary again.

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