Circles of influence

“I once had the pleasure of interviewing a founder member of a Detroit-based militant electronic music collective and asked him a question that I thought he might answer in a way that would help me with an artistic struggle I’d been having since hearing the phrase ‘sell-out’ at the age of fourteen during the punk rock wars of 1977.

“As you get older and possibly have to burden financial responsibilities such as a family,” I asked, “does it become harder to maintain outsider credentials and anti-commercial principles and pragmatism begins to take hold?”

He listened politely and pondered for a minute or two and answered: “Everything I do comes from God.”

I once had the pleasure of interviewing all the members of a Hackney-based militant industrial music pioneers and asked them a question that would help me with an artistic struggle I’d been having since being offered money from corporate interests wanting to use my music as product flogging background noise.

“Do you think that using the money from commercial projects to further un-commercial projects is acceptable?” I asked.

They listened politely, pondering for all of two seconds, before one of them replied: “Absolutely not. The art created with that money will be tainted.”

I never had the pleasure of interviewing pioneering Vietnamese video artist Nam June Paik, but apparently when asked a question in a similar vein to those above, he answered: “An artist should always bite the hand that feeds...but not too hard.” (Warning: You will be reading this quote again in any interviews I give to promote my forthcoming triple CD mix on Ministry Of Sound.)

Occasionally I still have to ponder the ‘selling-out/buying in’ conundrum and always wish I had the balls displayed (sometimes literally) by the subjects of the following: Simon Ford’s book Wreckers Of Civilization: The Story Of Coum Transmissions And Throbbing Gristle, and Todd Phillips’ film Hated: G.G.Allin And The Murder Junkies.

It is to the latter that I respectfully draw your attention to today. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please stand well back as I introduce Mr G.G. Allin.

Recording and touring between prison sentences, G.G. was first committed to vinyl in 1979 with a single on Orange Records called
‘Bored To Death’ and an album on the same label entitled ‘Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be’.

Although an exuberant and high physical front man in the Iggy mould at the time of these releases, as time passed the crowd started to expect G.G. to go one step further, and on-stage antics that Mr. Osterberg had pioneered (and long since abandoned) featuring peanut butter and razor blades were being acted out with excrement and switch blades. I hesitate to use the word ‘recommend’ in relation to Mr. Allin’s work, but as far as vinyl is concerned I could point you in the direction of, and I quote, ‘Needle Up My Cock’ by G.G. Allin and The Texas Nazi’s or ‘My Bloody Mutilation’ by G.G. Allin and the Aids Brigade.

However, rather than just an oral introduction (sometimes via recordings than go beyond lo-fi) I would suggest the full visual assault delivered by Hatred, an on-the-road-documentary of the G.G. Allin train building up a monumental last head of steam before crashing on June 27th 1983 after a gig in Manhattan the night before.

G.G. Allin doesn’t so much bite the hand that feeds him rather than rip it off at the wrist and force it back into his victim’s mouth. G.G. Allin is outsider art by dint of its creator’s impotent rage and blood-lured vision in the face of humanity…or was he just a bitter junkie who sold out at a far cheaper price than those he derided?

Maybe I’ll put it to someone in a future interview or get that nice Mr. Achora to put it to a dead Vietnamese video artist…”
Read more Circles Of Influence features from Micachu, Mathew Herbert and Gravenhurst.

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