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By Ben Larson
Fort Wayne Reader
Normally, we here at the Reader don’t normally do writeups for shows so close to our publication date, but when I got the chance to interview Merle Allin, leader of the Murder Junkies and brother to the infamous GG Allin, I just couldn’t resist.
Anyone familiar with the Murder Junkies of the past (I’m speaking of course of the GG days, back in the 80’s and early 90’s) may be in for a bit of a surprise to find out that this is not the same band that we all saw in Todd Phillip’s 1991 documentary Hated. When I spoke to him, Merle put it best. “We’re are not a GG Allin tribute band. That’s one think I hate to see in print,” he told me. In fact, the band had not released any new material since 1996, although they are in the process of recording their first album of new music in 13 years.
How this came about is that the band had originally got back together in 2003 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of GG’s passing, and just decided to keep going from there. Since then they have been on a non-stop tour, leaving no stone unturned. “We’ll play anywhere, anytime,” Merle said when I asked about his tour schedule. “We’re keeping punk rock alive and are still trying to bring it to as many people as possible.” He also said that, while they enjoy playing large cities, “it’s almost better playing the small towns where the kids really get into it.” I think I speak for all of us, too when I say that I am thankful for acts like that. He also added “We gotta bring to gospel to the kids, you know, corrupt them before someone else does.”
When I asked him about mixing in old material with the new, he was very adamant that this would not be the case. “There’s always some jackass out in the crowd who keeps yelling for us to play ‘Bite It, You Scum.’ We just tell him to *%$!! %*$. Any time someone wants to hear it we don’t play it just to piss them off.” In regards to new material, Merle said “it’s pretty much similar to the old stuff, the same style, you know, old-school New York Style Punk Rock.” The song titles have not changed much either. With titles like “I Hate You, “ and “Freak Show,” fans of the MJ of old should not be disappointed. He then added “We’re not trying to be like GG of course, you know, with the stage show. It’s obviously still an aggressive show, but not the same as GG.” I should add here, for the uninitiated, that GG Allin shows often ended up with various bodily fluids being thrown around the club, and fights were a nightly occurrence. That all went away with GG’s passing, however, and this band is more about being aggressive with the music than with the audience.
As far as the current lineup goes, Merle plays bass and backing vocals. Lead vocals are handled by PB Duvet (who, if I’m not mistaken, I saw play with Hank III in Muncie a couple of years ago), who came to the Murder Junkies from a band called They Hate Us. On guitar is FC Murder, who was the singer for the band in the mid to late 90’s, but is now on his second tour as the guitarist for the band. Rounding out things is Dino the famous naked drummer (again, for those of you in the know, Dino has been known to play naked from time to time, and this is often requested by the audience). Merle finished this particular discussion my saying “this is the best lineup we’ve had in years.”
I couldn’t end this interview without asking about UNK. If you’ve seen Hated, you will know who UNK is. If not, just know that he could be called a Murder Junkie superfan, and has earned his place in Murder Junky lore by the birthday party he once arranged for GG. I can’t go into details, lest my editor fire me, but maybe Merle will tell you about it if you ask. Anyway, anyone who is curious to know about UNK, he is apparently living in Indianapolis. So if you make it to that show, you just might meet the infamous UNK.
Lastly, I asked Merle if he has kept up of Todd Phillips move career (Phillips made Hated while at NYU, and has since gone on to direct such films as Old School). Merle’s response? “Hated was the best thing he ever did, so I’ve never seen any of his other movies.”
So that’s Merle Allin of the Murder Junkies. Make sure you come out to the Brass Rail Friday, June 5th to see some punk rock legends in the flesh. The show is 21+ and cover is $8.