As with all dead rock stars, the legacy of the notorious GG Allin has blossomed like a tall, turd-slathered sunflower since his inevitable passing in 1993. He didn't plan it that way. GG had famously threatened to kill himself onstage on numerous occasions, but overdosing on heroin robbed him of the chance to execute that grim spectacle. Here in New York City, GG Allin was already the stuff of legend well prior to his death, but for the purposes of schooling the unwilling and/or uninitiated, an ambitious NYU film-student (at the time) named Todd Phillips put together a documentary that treated Allin and his band (the equally bizarre but surprisingly charismatic Murder Junkies) with the respect they (very arguably) deserved. That film was called "Hated."
My friend Rob B and I had always joked about going to see GG but, of course, we never did. Something about his reputation for pelting his audience with fistfuls of his own feces didn't really have us scrambling for tickets. Love him or hate him, GG Allin was no act. Committing to a GG Allin show meant the risk of serious physical injury (or, at the very least, witnessing some frankly unspeakable acts that would be forever seared into your subconscious). So, when Rob told me about a screening of "Hated" back in 1993, we were all over it (if I remember correctly, Rob called to find out more and actually ended up chatting with Phillips himself). In any case, we went to a screening and became instant fans (Fun fact: Phillips second contested-documentary, "Frat House," was scored by Jim "Phylr" Coleman of my beloved Cop Shoot Cop). When "Hated" was released on VHS, I instantly snapped up a copy. It was simply a must-own.
A friend of a friend borrowed my videocassette of "Hated" sometime in the late 90's and kept it for about two and a half years before returning it to me -- broken. I wasn't crushed. It wasn't really the type of movie you needed to watch every week. Years passed. While I still owned one of Allin's albums (the unexpectedly listenable but still roundly offensive Freaks Faggots Drunks & Junkies, recorded with a combo called Bulge), I pretty much stopped thinking about him. I remember seeing Allin's brother/bass player Merle (with his long, scraggly, dreadlocked beard and signature Hitler mustache, he was pretty hard to miss) and flamboyant, naked drummer Dino around the East Village every now and then (Dino took to dying his hair and handle-bar mustache two wildly different, neon-tinted colors and became a bike messenger), but even they seemed to vanish from the neighborhood after a while.
A couple of years later, my children started attending a school on the border between the Lower East Side and the East Village. The walk to get to same had me routinely strolling by the former spot of the fabled Gas Station (which is now a Duane Reade), the site of the last GG Allin performance ever, which culminated in a riot (you can see footage of the event and read more about the Gas Station on this post). In turn, that made me want to see "Hated" again.
So last night, uninspired by the thought of watching the DVD of "Iron Man" that Netflix were nice enough to send me (I'm sure it's excellent, but I'm just not that excited about it), I stepped out in search of something better. At Generation Records on Thompson street, I was elated to find a "special edition" copy of "Hated." Released in 2007 (why didn't I hear about this?), this new version featured brand new and extensive interviews with Merle, Dino and GG's mother and new commentary from Phillips. Plus, as a very silly bonus, the disc comes with a set of fake GG Allin tattoos. Yeah, `cos ya need those.
If you're a fan of the original film, I can't recommend this new edition highly enough. And if you haven't seen it, you really should treat yourself. The documentary also captures some great shots of the East Village of the early 90s (notably footage of St. Marks Place and long-since-closed 3rd Avenue bar, Space at Chase) in its largely pre-gentrified glory. Be careful, though. There are moments of "Hated" that are genuinely repulsive and profoundly disturbing by pretty much every conceivable standard. Maybe don't watch it while you're eating and/or with your mom. You've been warned.
Find the special edition by clicking right here.