Thursday, October 15, 2015

Notes On GG Allin & The Jabbers, from my own experience with them

Notes on the Jabbers, by Jim Danger [“GG Allin & The Jabbers”]

My main thought on the Jabbers is that they were better than they dared to be, without GG Allin. Maybe they were all too polite, I don't know, or just lacked the vision. I thought they were so great, even without GG Allin, but then that was a rare and unique lineup, of Rob Basso on lead, Alan Chapple on bass, and John Fortin on rhythm – whomever their drummer turned out to be, had those three continued together – but that's all imaginative and retrospective speculation.
What disappointed me about the Jabbers from when I first heard, around the year 2001, that they still existed & were playing, was their lack of band identity as A BAND in their own right, without the throw-back connection to GG Allin, who has essentially brought them their only fame, and remains their main claim to same – now over three decades since they played with him, and over two decades since his death. I'm disappointed that they took such embarrassingly disrespectful treatment from him, and basically kept their mouths shut about it. They showed no spine or self-respect, let alone the “balls” befitting a serious punk rock band. For them to – years after his death, and amid his lasting, rising fame – feign great personal regard for him, and some kind of kinship, is, to me, shockingly disingenuous.
The Jabbers' rage and hostility toward GG Allin {I speak now of Rob Basso and Alan Chapple} are barely concealed beneath a flimsy veneer. They are torn, it seems, between loudly rejecting GG as a total asshole for what he did to them, and, on the other hand, paying GG sufficient lip service to go on with the pretentious boast that he was one of them, and they a key part of the whole GG story. If they seriously blow their cover and admit to the bitterness and anger they still feel toward GG, then they presumably forfeit their right to ride in the hot-air balloon of GG's fame. As long as they perpetuate the idea that they are proud of their association with a beloved, kindred musician, who they still admire and love, then they get to remain in the bubble of GG's fame and glory. Press them on the matter, though, privately, and they will readily unmask, and display their seething contempt for the person of GG Allin, who used them villainously for his own gain and went on to “glory” {if you can call it that} while they – went nowhere, remaining forevermore stuck in the shit-stains of GG's storied past.
GG did not become really well known until years after his actual association with the Jabbers was over. This is what irks them so. First of all, they sting from the ringing explosion of their violently traumatic break from GG, in the mid-'80s. He was like a morphing monster who rose up from their band, knifed them in the back, cut their Achilles' heels, and then rapidly went into out-of-control-beast mode, leaving them not only used, but broken, dazed and, it turns out, permanently devastated. I think it was too much for their senses, for their very organic beings and entity, to process logically or viscerally. I think he basically did the Jabbers permanent brain damage.
Listen to them now, in their confused, conflicted explanations, justifications and attempted exonerations, regarding their self-perpetuated connection with GG Allin. They veer sharply, almost drunkenly, between minimizing GG's importance to the Jabbers on the one hand, to actually over-inflating his role in their existence, on the other. Depending on the focus of the conversation, they {again, I speak of Rob and Alan, who were the main crew on board when the “GG Allin & The Jabbers” ship first hit the rocks, in the summer of 1980} will either pay homage to their famous mate, and raise the GG Allin flag high {and salute it, on their knees}, or they will seethingly rip him to shreds for his ill use of them, and his vile crimes against them.
What happened was, there was this band called the Jabbers, and GG became a part of them. They were excellent, as a five-person unit {Al Chapple on bass, Rob Basso on lead guitar, John Fortin on rhythm guitar, various, temporary drummers, and GG on vocals, playing the frontman}.
Alan Chapple maintains – at times, and, “for the umpteenth time” - that it was merely a five-person band called The Jabbers, and GG was merely one-fifth of that unit, “nothing more or less”. {Sorta like John Fogerty being merely one member of CCR, or Jim Morrison just one member of the Doors.} He further insists – again, at times, that the band's name was, “just the Jabbers, it was always just the Jabbers. Only in GG's mind was it ever anything else.” This is where a break from reality first appears, as regarding the viewpoint of Alan Chapple, original and founding Jabber par excellence. {Alan is a serious, remarkably able musician, with a very cool persona, and with enormous talent and potential in his own right.}
I first encountered the Jabbers via a telephone call from GG Allin in early March, 1980. He told me that the band was called, “GG Allin & The Jabbers”. They were gigging as “GG Allin & The Jabbers”. They had radio airplay as “GG Allin & The Jabbers”. Their records, two 45-rpm singles, were labeled, “GG Allin & The Jabbers”. {In point of fact, in the year 2015, they are STILL promoting themselves with “GG ALLIN & The Jabbers” merchandise!} When I started driving them around, I spray-painted the side of my van, “GG Allin & The Jabbers – the Worst of punk!”
It was always GG Allin & the Jabbers – though maybe not in Al's mind. {It was very clear too, at all times, that GG was in charge, he called the shots, made the major decisions, was their leader.} On that LP, however, recorded before summer officially began in 1980, it wasn't even the Jabbers at all, but simply, and very pointedly, “GG Allin”! For that little bit of skullduggery on GG's part, Alan claims he wanted to kick GG's ass – to beat the shit out of him. Instead, Al had little stickers made, that said the Jabbers name, which he attached to the records he was able to alter in this manner. Then GG had bright, hot-pink buttons made, with black block letters saying, “GG ALLIN”, which he distributed liberally, of course right in the Jabbers' faces, even when they were all together. If it was “always just the Jabbers, except in GG's mind,” then I must say GG's mind was way better known than what “always was”!
So now, a line had been drawn, crossed, and a gauntlet thrown down by GG, vs. the Jabbers. He was taking over, he HAD taken over, and if they wanted to continue this ride toward stardom, they would do so as his underlings, his dogs on his leash. They muttered fire under their breath, but continued with him. Respect had been lost, all the way around, however. They now had a love-hate for GG – loving the potential stardom they stood to gain with him, and now, suddenly and basically, hating his rotten ways, and regarding him with personal animosity, feeling betrayed and deeply injured by him. He was still lots of fun to be with, and it was usually difficult to feel real hatred for him while enjoying the light of his humor and charisma, yet deep resentment had set in.
Planning preemptively for both Rob and Al to leave him for what he'd done to them with the album project {basically, using them to make his own album, which had been a collaborative effort of the entire band, financed by Rob Basso, chiefly, and a project that the entire band had pretty much lived for}, GG immediately began seeking a new band. He was planning to keep John Fortin on as guitarist, even the only guitarist, for he felt that John's energy and rock-solid rhythm didn't need a lead player's help, at least for the time being. Being so young {16 by then, I think}, he was not so much involved in or aware of the dirty tricks GG had pulled on Rob and Al, and he was easily led. I was to be the drummer, as my right hand was now healed, having been in a cast for the previous several months. I drove us around in search of a bass player. GG was brainstorming names for his new band, since the Jabbers would be gone {though he was always after me to change my name to Jim Jabber – for years!}. He was already mentioning the name, “The Scumfucks”, by late June/early July of 1980. He also really liked, “GG Allin & the Whoremasters”. {Whatever the name, it was always “GG Allin and the - “}
So, just as soon as that LP was out, GG was already planning for life after the Jabbers, and had all but ruled out any further association with them. Why? I think it was – in a perverse way – a gentleman's understanding that once a gentleman fucks over another gentleman, then said fucked-over party will no longer consider the fuck-er to be in his good graces, or have further dealings with him. It is my honest opinion that GG had more respect for the Jabbers than they had for themselves. He expected that they would no longer be willing to go along with his plans for personal glory, now that he'd essentially cut their balls open. To his surprise, instead of healing their wounded balls and going on as a band in their own right, they instead discarded their balls, and limped along with him, without them. Sadly, even though they would part ways with him anyway and forever within a few short years, their balls were gone forever.
In the year 2015, Alan Chapple is insisting, “for the umpteenth time”, that “it was always just the Jabbers,” and that “GG Allin was just one-fifth of the band, no more, no less.” It's very hard to understand how he's thinking, here; how he's justifying his representation of reality, in light of actual reality, of which he yet remains fully aware. It's hard to understand, and I don't get it. In fact, I just don't believe it. I still think the only reasonable conclusion is that he does hate what GG did, did hate what GG did, yet to this day, as in the summer of 1980, Alan would rather eat GG's shit and remain on his train, than to stand up for himself and bid final adieu to GG Allin, Star. The smell and the glimmer of GG's star power is apparently worth permanently surrendering one's balls, to stay as close to as possible.
It could be that GG Allin broke the hearts of Jabbers Basso and Chapple, while also de-spining them {and perhaps they'd never possessed spine or testicles to begin with}. I know that Alan has expressed that making the LP was something that they'd looked forward to and had as a goal “all our lives”. Al had even forced himself to make it to the studio for the recording sessions, in spite of being so very ill that he vomited between each track he played. He willed himself there, to participate in this monumentally significant event, to which, as he said, his whole life had been leading, guided by rock'n'roll dreams, propelled by much work and sweat. The fact that it turned out to be not the realization of a dream but rather of a nightmare due to having GG essentially steal it from the Jabbers, would be heartbreaking. The Jabbers' anger was largely a manifestation of their pain, of their bitter disappointment, and disillusionment, brought on by this conniving, self-aggrandizing cutthroat, GG Allin.
Rob Basso, sensitive soul that he is, was also seemingly heartbroken by the bursting of the bubble that, up to the time of the album's pressing, had seemed to be whisking them toward a true bid for Stardom. His personal experience with GG was particularly injurious and traumatic. It was Rob who did more than anyone else in the way of devoting his meager income to the band, including not only coming up with needed petty cash for gas, tolls, etc., on a regular basis, but he also funded getting the LP made! {He did confront GG with the threat of a lawsuit.} Rob had an excellent title in mind for the album: “Insult & Injury”. How apt, in a terribly rueful way, this turned out to be; GG did both to the Jabbers.
There were to be, according to the expressed plans of the group, photos of all band-members, and of course, the Jabbers name at least prominently placed with that of GG Allin, on the album cover – which would, of course, feature a group photo of the band. There was also to be an insert or sleeve included, with many band photos, of the group and of individuals. Two songs written and sung by Rob were recorded for inclusion on the album, and one of Al Chapple's, which he sang, as well. This was the album Rob was smilingly assured, by GG, that he was paying for. What he and the rest of the group got, is now history. GG's face alone on the cover, GG's face alone on the back cover as well. “GG Allin” was the artist, with no mention of the Jabbers name.  Rob's songs were cut. Al's song was cut. The title was – to everyone but GG's incredulous surprise, “Is, Was & Always Shall Be”. Now GG was God!
Rob had tried to stand up to GG before, he'd tested his power before, and been overruled. Now, however, this album betrayal was the final straw, and Rob went in a heated wave of outraged momentum to GG's door, to put his foot down. GG just put Rob's foot up Rob's ass and broke it off at the knee, essentially. Rob was pretty much sick over the whole thing. All of his life's ambition to make it big in rock'n'roll had been leading up to this as well, just as Chapple has expressed. Now, he was not only fucked over morally, but financially as well. When the rift between Rob and GG finally came to its ultimate head much later, GG beat the shit out of Rob, leaving him completely bereft and by the wayside.
Rob, as I said, is a sensitive soul, and likes to see the good in people and things. He's enthusiastic and
the biggest fan and supporter of rock'n'roll in general, that there is. For him, with all of his hopes, good intentions, enthusiasm and financial support, to have been so thoroughly degraded and backstabbed by GG, even to the point of being physically beaten up on top of it all and at the end of his association with GG, has understandably left Rob very shaken up, to this day more than three decades later. He remains in a shatter of conflicted and contradictory thoughts and feelings regarding his association with GG Allin. The impossible contradictions he calls “dualism” – misapplying the term in another band-aid attempt to patch up the permanently broken and unresolved.
Rob, to me, always seemed content to be an honored guest in GG's shadow. It wasn't hard to see that he much looked up to GG, and regarded him with as much a sense of awe as did anyone else. He most certainly regarded GG as the leader of the group, morally if not officially. It made an impression on me early in my association with GG & the Jabbers, when I made a casual, unscheduled visit to Manchester to see them, and met up with Rob, who explained that GG was out of town, and there were no band activities going on that weekend. I shrugged okay and after hanging out for just a little while, began to depart back to Kittery {Maine}, where I lived, about an hour away. “I'll tell the Geege you were here,” said Rob, in a tone that brought to mind an underling referring to his boss, or a deacon referring to the Minister. I didn't particularly care whether GG knew I'd come by or not. He just wasn't there when I came through, no big deal, so I'd go home and be back another time soon, when we'd probably be doing something in the line of band business. {I was drummer-in-waiting at the time, with my injured right hand in a cast, but happy to drive the band around in the van I'd bought for drum-toting purposes when I'd first met them.} I felt it entirely unnecessary and ringingly telling, that Rob had swellingly announced that he'd report my visit to “the Geege.” {The year was 1980, remember – even before the advent of “the Donald”, et al.}This indicated to me Rob's own perception of his relationship with GG. Rather than seeing himself as comrade in arms with GG, shoulder to shoulder as mates, he was a trumpeteer, blowing a fanfare to the King, and genuflecting as well, while he was at it. He was basking in GG's presence and energy, nearly always, at that early period of March/April of 1980, grinning and enthusiastically cheerful. He seemed to be truly living his dream – and he'd earned it, in spades. He was incredibly hard-working, playing like a madman at the end of a livewire, an awesome and intensely dynamic showman as well; yet he wasn't particularly trying to be a showman, as far as I could tell. Having observed him not only onstage but in practice sessions and even playing air-guitar to a record in the room where he lived, Rob's way of getting into playing his guitar was to jump around – a lot. If there was room, he'd charge, jump, spring, stagger and otherwise jackrabbit around in a manner so over-the-top energized as to be, by turn, amazing, alarming, mesmerizing and menacing. {He used to say, “Play every gig like it's Shea Stadium, and someday it will be.” I never forgot this – and at the time, I believed he might just be right.} As the lead guitarist in a rock'n'roll band, and in this band in particular, Rob was unabashedly Great - First Class. His stage presence was fantastic, even rivaling GG's own. {Much the same could be said of Alan Chapple, who possessed comparable star quality.} His conversational, social manner was engaging, animated, rather polite and genteel – and he was, and of course remains, exceptionally knowledgable. He was nerdish. Most of the time when Rob wasn't playing, he was reading – voraciously. Rock'n'roll reading. Rock magazines, rock papers, rock trivia, rock info, rock history, anything and everything to do with – well, basically, with Music, though of course rock'n'roll music in particular. GG and Al as well were very knowledgeable, and GG read a lot, too, but Rob just burned pages up, reading, reading, reading, always with complete involvement – with relish. He loved the world of rock'n'roll so much, and was thoroughly delighted to be living in it. He had “found his bliss”, was fulfilled and brimming with readiness for what appeared to be a seriously bright future. GG Allin brought that hope to within breathing, touching distance. GG provided and instilled the confident assurance that this band was going to “make it big”, and with GG at the helm and at the microphone, and with GG almost constantly uttering positive affirmations of their certain success, it was very, very easy to believe that all rock'n'roll dreams were coming true – and the best was yet to come. They were right at the brink!
Then – WHAMMO. Dishonored, betrayed, double-crossed and eviscerated by GG Allin himself, who then stood defying anyone to do anything about the fact that he was willing to dump them all, for his own, personal, individual, promotion toward Greatness. Whammo, indeed.
It was easy to believe the dream, while looking at, listening to and being around GG Allin & the Jabbers, in early-to-mid 1980. Being caught up in the spell, the charisma of GG Allin, being in his presence when he was “on” - “on” like a lightbulb, which was usually – it was easy to see him as the vehicle for carrying one to The Heights – to rock'n'roll glory. I too was in that spell, bathed in GG's charisma, and a true believer in this band, when the lineup was as it was in the spring of 1980. I too was fully committed to this band and my future in it, my future behind and beside GG Allin. I was to be the drummer, as soon as my hand healed from being crushed in a machine just a few days before I was to rehearse with them for the first time. Then I was their driver and member of the “group”, though not officially of the band, of course, with my hand in a cast and having yet to play with them. During the months with my hand in the cast, being with GG & the Jabbers every time they got together and did anything {even going to the movies, to see “Animal House”, smoking dope in the Manchester movie theater balcony seats}, I got to know them all quite well, and was certainly in on the group mentality, the band's vision as a unit. For four solid months at a very key period in this band's trajectory, I was present every time the band members got together, and heard virtually every word spoken among them from March to July, which included all recording sessions for the LP.
GG & I hit it off to a greater extent than as “just” bandmates, which in itself implies a significant degree of closeness. He and I very rapidly got to be side-by-side cohorts. We definitely “clicked” {even “cliqued”}, and I think both Rob and Al were taken by surprise at how GG embraced me as a real co-conspirator, a partner, a bird-of-a-feather, within just a few weeks. GG & I were “bonded”, sometimes seemingly wired from the same circuit. This really hit home and became evident to him and me when I was driving the band to CBGB, on that long, long trip. We were on a stretch of the interstate, and nothing had been said for a while, just driving and riding, on and on, and all was quiet except for the sound of engine, tires and wind. We were approaching an underpass, and I noticed a teenage boy standing on the overpass, gazing down at the traffic of which we were a part. Cruising along at 60 or so, we were getting closer to that overpass, to that kid who was going to be looking down at us, as we passed beneath him. None of us were talking, everyone in their own headspace. On an impulse, at the moment we'd be right where this kid would be looking at us, my hand went up to flash the kid my middle finger – you know, if the kid was gonna be looking, let's give him something to see; just a spontaneous, momentary impulse. At the very moment my hand went up with the bird, GG's hand also went up in the same gesture, at the same instant, as in a mirror. We both flipped the kid off, as with one mind – by no prior consultation, yet with military precision. Simultaneity. We looked at each other instantly, our eyes locked in mutual surprise – and recognition. We were a pair. I'd seen that look – the look of recognition of a kindred – in GG's eyes before, though in a meditative state rather than one of surprise, the 2nd time we met.
This was in Portland, Maine, in mid-March of 1980, in a small and shabby, ice-cold room in a skid-row hotel above the Downtown Lounge, I think it was called, where the Jabbers had just played two sets, and there was a kind of party going on, including the manager of the hotel and lounge. I was seated, as everyone was at the moment, in conversation with someone to my left. While in conversation {and on acid}, I sensed, I suppose, that I was being looked at, being regarded. I looked immediately across the room, and there sat GG, his eyes gazing intently and directly into mine. As though caught in an embarrassing act, he quickly looked away, moving his eyes off to his left. It was too real, too intense and penetrating a gaze to maintain in the witness of its subject. I got it very clearly, though, that something had just “clicked” between us; I felt an inner tampering – a connection had been made, and it was received on my end. This was a Moment – noticed, appreciated and never forgotten. I think of it especially when I see the cover photo of the “Is, Was and Always Shall Be” LP. He's gazing into the camera just the way he was gazing into me that night: being God – inside a troubled, brooding, plotting and often guffawing young man. A brilliant, maladjusted and shrewd miscreant. An angry child sworn to vengeance on the world that produced him, and that produced such a sharp contrast between the haves and have-nots, the fulfilled and the brutally bereft. All of that, though – or much of any serious thought at all in GG – was hidden away from those who knew him, at the time. All he'd reveal now was a drive to rock'n'roll stardom – and he had some good momentum going. He was also harboring plans already – dark and dirty, Machiavellian plans for how to Get What He Wanted, no matter who he had to use, or how ill he had to abuse them in the process of following his own personal destiny.
As for me, I was just getting to know GG, increasingly from March to early July, 1980, and was not in on either his secret plot regarding the LP, or his lack of any abiding regard for members of the Jabbers, that would enable him to bury a hatchet in their backs without remorse. This side of GG, nobody was seeing, in March or April or May of 1980.
I personally “lost the vision” of sticking with GG and whatever band he was going to wind up with, if any, by the first of July, 1980. The LP fiasco had happened, hard feelings and enmities had developed, and now GG was planning to go back to square 1, and build a whole new band – with the LP now under his belt. I thought it was all over – and for GG Allin & the Jabbers, for the most part it really was, by then. I decided to break away now, and drove to Manchester {New Hampshire} from Kittery {Maine} – about a 55, 60-minute drive, to tell GG so in person.
There was a street fair, an annual festival, going on in Manchester that day, and I found GG with Linda McDonnell, Rob and Al, on the loose on the main street, among the throng of thousands. GG had a pint of whisky in his back pocket, and had clearly been enjoying some of that. He was even more exuberantly animated and extroverted than usual. He and Linda had been competing to see whether she could pick up more guys than he could girls. GG laughingly explained how he'd say to strange women, “Hi! Remember me? We went to school together, don't you remember?” and start hitting on them from there. I told him I needed to speak to him “alone”, and he threw his arm around me as though we were going on a date, and said loudly for his entourage's entertainment, “Well, sure, come right this way, big boy!” as though he had the hots for me {which I think he really did}.
We got a few yards away from Rob and Al and Linda, and I just told him that I was “out”, though it was still in his plans for me to be his drummer, whenever things came together again, and if they did. I don't remember what I said, except that I told him I was out. Really, I was tired of waiting around. After being with GG & the Jabbers for months, while my hand had been in a cast, I wanted to play – Now! My hand had been out of its cast for weeks now, Rob had personally checked out my playing ability first, then I did two or three practice sessions with GG and the full band, and I had also played in the studio on an uptempo recording of “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, that was done at North Country Sounds in Auburn, after the LP songs had been recorded. {I was thus the first drummer to record with GG, who had done all of his own drumming on recordings, previously – except for Bob MacKenzie's drumming on his own song, “Don't Talk To Me”. It was, however, my drums GG played on the LP recordings, as I recall.} GG had already told me, privately, concerning my being the new drummer, “If you want it, you've got it.” {He knew I might not want it, given the inner band turmoil that was brewing by then.} Now I was raring to go, and get on that stage with these guys – with some guys – any guys! I didn't see GG going anywhere at just that time, so I told him I was out, and though we remained friends, that was it. I do recall doing something with him the following year, I think I actually rehearsed with him for a gig that never happened, or something, on a fill-in basis – I hazily recall doing, “You Hate Me & I Hate You” & “Gimme Some Head” with him – but by then, 1981, I was doing such a profusion of drugs and alcohol myself, that I don't remember much. I think my van got towed away, & I got stuck in town overnight, or something like that.
From that point on in my life, as a musician, I never looked back, never thought about ever playing with GG again. I'd learned from him, and I'd been befriended by him. For the next three years, sometimes the phone would ring and it would be him. There was no caller-ID yet in those days, so it was always a surprise, and sometimes he'd disguise his voice and begin a false conversation, before cracking up and revealing his true identity. One time I was alone at home about to eat something, and had the TV tuned in for the Andy Griffith Show, which was just coming on when the phone rang. When I answered, the caller started whistling along with the Andy Griffith theme, before breaking up laughing. I must be one of the few who can say I heard GG Allin whistle the Andy Griffith theme song.
We eventually got into some pretty serious conversations on the phone, especially from '81 – '83. When I got into witchcraft, circa '81, which really seemed to be “going around”, “in the air”, in those days, I recall asking GG if he'd yet had contact with witchcraft people. I was into it pretty heavily by then, and I knew he would be in contact with someone from the witch world, too. He was kinda surprised that I would ask, as it was a coincidence. Yes, he said, in fact recently he'd been contacted by some witches, and “they seemed pretty cool”, he said, but he was undecided on what to make of them. I gave them my full endorsement, seriously advising him to listen to them – and I know I had an influence on him, in that regard.
GG didn't take a lot of suggestions or advice from many people, but he did take my counsel seriously. He was also open to using an idea I gave him once, before a gig. We were in Boston, on the North End, around April/May 1980, for a gig at a place called Cantone's {which he mentions in his “autobiography”, though his account there is wildly exaggerated, if he's referring to the same gig – which was wild}. We had pulled into town, and I think the band was all set up, when we all walked to a corner store so they could get some snacks, having not eaten. GG chose a cherry pie. When I saw the cherry pie, I thought of his song, “Cheri Love Affair”, and the actual Cheri magazine he always salaciously displayed while he sang it. I suggested to him that he take the pie out of the wrapper and put it inside the Cheri magazine, then when he's going through the porno magazine onstage, he could pretend to go down on a model in the mag, and come up with cherry filling all over his face. Though he was hungry, he saved the cherry pie and did exactly as I'd suggested – and it was a great effect.
There was also a packet-of-firecrackers grand finale at the end of the Jabbers' set, that was my idea. On their last song {“I Got A Right”, an Iggy Pop cover} when all hell broke loose and they were thrashing and knocking stuff around, I would toss an entire packet of firecrackers onto the stage, and it had an excellent effect, smoky and chaotic.
When I endorsed the witches he listened, too.
The fact is that after my first meeting GG & the Jabbers in March, within a month or two I had become so close to GG that there was some jealousy arising, particularly from Rob Basso, who then considered me an interloper, and he was the jealous rival. There was no way, with his personality, that Rob was ever going to be as close to GG as he would like to have been. GG's mind had a certain-shaped lock to it, and if yours wasn't the right shape, you weren't getting in – and Rob's just wasn't, which in some ways is certainly to his credit. He just wasn't as warped, twisted and inwardly hurt as were people like GG – and me. GG knew I was a kindred when we first met, as described in that gaze he'd fixed on me in Portland; he knew. Rob was a misfit in combing his hair just so, when getting out of the van after trips, as opposed to GG {and me}, who laughed, “I'm making sure my hair's messed up!” Al sometimes mimicked and mocked Rob's anal-retentive manner, always checking his pocket to make sure he had his key {to his room}, etc.. The only real mocking of Rob that I personally did, was at a point when he was no longer a part of the Jabbers around late June, early July of 1980, when I sang a line of his song, “Death Child”, with my own lyrics. His line was, “Been a death child since I left the womb!” and my line was, “Been so happy since Rob left the band!”
GG and I began to compete in acts of craziness, and eventually we were privately, between the two of us, discussing some very dark ideas, as only two like-minded lunatics can concoct and execute together. Death on stage, following mass murder of the audience, that kind of thing. We really were a major danger, together. It's definitely for the best that we parted after bonding, because if we hadn't, as I've said before, both he and I would have been dead within a year.
I know that GG knew and understood that I had my own thing to do, and he always encouraged me to get my own band together. {I did have my own band by 1984, but he was unaware of this, as we were lost to each other by then, out of contact. So, when I mentioned to him in '92 that I had a band – again – he said, gladly, “Well, it's about time.”} He knew that we were each too intense to even need to be together. He wrote to me in '82 or '83, “We should do a gig together sometime, just you and me. Do you think the world is ready?” {It wasn't!} When GG came out with his song, “Hangin' Out With Jim” a few years later, I must have become even more envied. He'd never written a friend song before. I recall Sandy [GG's wife] once asking why he didn't do any love songs. GG laughingly said, “I can't really see us doing a love song,” as though the thought was absurd. “Hangin' Out With Jim” is pretty fuckin' close to it, though. It was pretty obvious to me when I first saw the title on a tape I bought {“Antisocial Personality Disorder”} and when I listened to it, that I'm the Jim he had in mind. Rob Basso told me in 2001, “I always thought that song was about you.” I think he told me about it on the phone when I last spoke with him in September of '92, but I'm not sure, because at the time my only thoughts were desperately focused on trying to save his life. On the “Antisocial Personality Disorder” version of this song, it sounds like he mentions, “riding on a death-ship”, which would definitely be the van I so wildly drove – which he was still laughing about when I spoke with him last. Had I any doubt that this song was based on me, the matter was settled when, after the song on “Antisocial Personality Disorder” he says the song is “for Jimmy, a little boy that I've wanted for a few years now.” That was recorded in 1987. He's definitely talking about me. Obviously, as he did in his dubious autobiography, GG made up lots of crazy stuff for the song lyrics. Fans of GG have repeatedly said that the song is about Jim Beam whisky. Jim Beam, however, was never a little boy that GG had wanted for a few years. I was. {Coincidentally, when I lived in a brothel in Atlanta in early 2006, there was a hooker there with whom I sometimes hung out, who always called me Jim Beam. “Hey, Jim Beam! Come help me smoke this blunt....”}
Rob's jealousy of me eventually reached a boiling point, in an incident that GG alluded to in his fanciful “autobiography”.
A budding rift between Rob and I had initially come to light when I first had a safety pin in my ear. We were at the practice space, and were leaving as a group, I think to go to a movie – somewhere. Rob pulled a power play as we were exiting the door of the practice space, entering the hallway. He had been rather horrified at the sight of my low-budget piercing – though he had an earring in one ear. I think it was just “too real” for him, too stark, and he didn't like the direction it represented. In the hallway, as we all were leaving the practice space, he pulled up short and announced, “I am not going anywhere with him [me] until he takes that thing out of his ear.” This was clearly a power test, with his assumption that I'd lose. GG and Alan looked at Rob like he had three heads. “What??” Rob asserted that the safety pin in the ear was from several years ago, and was no longer tolerable – or something to that effect. It clearly embarrassed him, and as a key member of the Jabbers, he was not going to allow it in the Jabbers' public appearance. His opinion was dismissed as a momentary aggravation, and Rob had to shrink a bit, completely voted out and alone. His gambit had not only failed to work, it also backfired, lowering rather than elevating him – and, as an unintended consequence, reinforced my own “status”, as he would have perceived it. {I, on the other hand, had “won” such a confrontation – with GG directly – when I had refused to drive on to CBGB until Janis Joplin was playing on my van's tape player, after GG kept hitting “eject” on her.}
My closeness to GG continued to irritate Rob, and he repressed it until it became a seething, burning rage of jealous contempt.
It was exacerbated when GG unhesitatingly gave me a copy of the just-pressed LP, on the CBGB trip, after he'd signed it, at my suggestion, “I rolled a joint on this album. GG Allin.” He'd done the rolling on it, after I'd scored some weed on the street as we were leaving CBGB for the long drive back to Manchester. Rob was very peevish about me getting the LP
free, when everyone else had to pay for it. GG ignored Rob on this, too. Further coals on Rob's pent-up, glowing conflagration.
GG's “autobiographical” account of the rift between Rob and I was practically backwards in comparison with the truth, and certainly fictionalized. GG wrote that he and I, in the band's practice space, were heaping insults and abuse on Rob as he played, and if he objected, we beat on him, something to that effect. As I said, his account, at least in part, is backwards. GG also wrote, “Jim Danger hated Rob, too.” It was, as I've described, more a case of Rob hating me, once I became very close with GG. Not only so, but it was Rob who threatened me, or indicated an eminent attack on me, as follows:

GG Allin & the Jabbers practice space, Elm St., Manchester {NH}, 2nd floor office, rear of building overlooking large parking lot. Al Chapple and Rob – I don't recall whether John Fortin was present or not, but I'm thinking not – were working on a new song. It must have been June now, 1980 – 'cause things were very near an end – at least the end of GG Allin & the Jabbers, Phase 1.
There were posters on the walls – the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, the Dead Boys, etc. The Ramones poster was signed by all of the Ramones – GG and the others had gone to see the Ramones several times, I gathered, and had their albums signed by the band – and this wall poster too. GG and another person or two had also signed the poster, and at some point I had briefly decided to call myself Nick Nayme {hadn't thought of Danger yet} and I too signed the poster, “Nicholas Nayme”. Rob was pretty miffed about that, I recall.
Rob was miffed, all right, and more-so, about a number of things. The LP bombshell had lately struck. Rob had been fucked, as had the others, by GG. Down the drain at the same time was Rob's imagined or hoped-for personal closeness with GG. GG, the charismatic born leader, was a dynamic person who everyone around him wanted to be close to, personally. Not only so, but to Rob, I think, GG represented The Ticket To The Big Time. Accordingly, he was enamored.
Then I had come along, and very quickly become what certainly appeared to be a fast friend and buddy-cohort, with The Geege.
At the moment, Rob and Al {and possibly John Fortin, don't recall – probably not, he lived a ways off and didn't drive, got rides to meet us for important stuff} were working on a new song that Al had written, called “Underwear Party”. {“We're going to – an underwear party / Bring the girls – and don't be tardy....”} It sounded pretty sophomoric, if not childish – doesn't it?
As they were going over it {I still remember it, quite clearly, 35 years later}, GG and I were sitting atop PA speakers that were sitting on the floor, just high enough so that our feet were up off the floor, and were kicking back together, smoking pot out of my small bong. I had this same blue bong with me throughout the time I was with the Jabbers, and was even able to load and light it while driving, with my right hand in a cast. Didn't have it on that CBGB trip, though, which is why I'd had to buy papers on the Lower East Side.} GG and I were laughing at Rob and Al, quite giddily, as we got high and listened to their efforts on this all new song. At the moment, they didn't look like great musicians, and the song wasn't exactly catching fire in front of us. GG's and my laughter got loud, and GG laughingly blurted out “What the fuck kinda fucked up song is that?” and I found this hilarious, as did he. The fact that it was open ridicule, made it all the funnier. His last remark, in fact, GG had directed more at Rob and Al, in a derogatorily heckling way.
Rob snapped. All of the late frustration in Rob's mind geysered to the surface. He spun, grabbed a mic stand down near its base, and picked it up like a javelin, over his head and pulled it back about to throw the deadly spear - right into my chest. I saw where he was aiming. GG and I both yelled as though our car was about to crash, and scrambled to get out of the way. {Yes, folks, GG Allin was once terrorized by someone wielding a mic stand toward him, before he ever did it to anyone else! Rob can be proud of that, if he likes – I would be!} Rob's eyes were locked on mine, with fury and hatred. He wanted to kill me – he wanted me Gone. Had he fired that javelin, I'd've been a hurtin' bastard – if not dead; but he held his fire. “Jesus Christ!” GG proclaimed.
In this way, then, I was momentarily the focus of Rob's rage – at GG.
Almost immediately, GG and I were in my van going around looking to start a whole new band – Rob and Al were out.
As recounted already, both Rob and Al basically came crawling back to GG {this is my view}, their one shot at rock'n'roll stardom, and since they were at hand, GG used them again. The love was fuckin' gone, though.
Over the next several years, Rob would do a thing or two with GG – until that violent final parting – and Al would continue playing bass with GG on recordings and at gigs, along with a guitarist GG had met named Chris Lamy, up until around '84, I gather, before they finally split with him for good, one way or another. I wasn't there, so I can't say. Chris tells me that it was the Jabbers who dumped GG, because of his out-of-control onstage behavior. GG wrote the same, in his “autobiography”, so it seems to be so. {I always put GG's “autobiography” in quotation marks, because so much of it is fiction and exaggeration on GG's part – though I'm sure he wrote it, because no one else could have known some of the stuff included.}
Well, as we all know – as the whole world knows – GG's behavior got increasingly out of control from that point on until his death. So, why do the Jabbers still wish to associate themselves with him?
Rob Basso told me, when I re-connected with him on the internet around 2001, he and GG had a “love/hate relationship”, that they were both very intense personalities, who sometimes clashed. Still, though, he embraces GG – and especially, his own place as a former bandmate of The Legendary GG Allin. With such words, he smooths over the jagged, cutting, tearing, and finally eviscerating edges of what he went through with GG Allin. As I write this, Rob's FaceBook profile photo is of himself, smiling faintly, looking gaunt and rung out, his hand resting mechanically on GG's shoulder – and GG looks rather annoyed. Photo from early '80s – and probably just prior to GG's beating the shit out of Rob.
By turns, Rob speaks lovingly of his old chum GG, or venomously and bitterly denounces him as a treacherous, lying, backstabbing asshole. With the latter, he's telling the truth. With the former, he's still grasping at a dream. Just a couple of weeks ago, he commented that he still has dreams in which he's onstage with GG – over three decades later. Dreams, indeed.
- Jim Danger, Sept., 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEW VIDEOS 3/23/15

Hi, Friends -
       Made some new videos, had a rare opportunity to make lots of noise in my dungeon hangout, had to work quickly, so no time for a soundcheck, which would have involved popping the memory card out of my camera, uploading onto computer, just to check levels. Sound on camera is barely audible. Result is that vocal isn't loud enough. Other than this however, new vids came out better than any previously available.
      Can be viewed here at, or esp. on YouTube.
     Titles: Jim Danger Cool & Bared
                Jim Danger The Long Way Down & Hot Wax Baby  {2 songs on one video}
       and soon: Jim Danger Cut Up & Streets of Kittery
                 Hope You Enjoy, and Thanks for the Support!
                          Will be getting out playing in public soon. Will play just about anywhere, anytime for anyone who wants live rock'n'roll.
                             Best of Everything to You,
                                                       Jim Danger  3/24/15

Friday, March 13, 2015

March, 2015 Update

Hi, EveryBody -
       Here it is March, 2015 - about fourteen months since last i was onstage. Previous blog outlined how 2014 went.
     Yes, i'm still in the starting gate; haven't left the starting block yet, however one phrases it. The world is still looking at me, going, "Well?" {The world, not people.}
     i am very active, musically, and have been for at least the past bunch of months. I'm not inactive. If i wasn't playing, i'd be inactive. I'm Playing - a lot. I'm also working continually on material, new song ideas and all that - always looking ahead, not back. I'm also keeping my current set list polished and ready, going over a couple of dozen songs with particular focus, out of the several hundred originals in my whole repertoire {approx. 200 of which are performance-ready, Right Now}.
     For the past couple of months, i have been so enthusiastically involved in learning new things on the guitar, learning to really express myself through my guitar, that this has been my main focus. It has taken much of my focus away from getting out onstage, and everything else. As of March 12 - yesterday - i have readjusted my focus back onto getting back Out There, onstage, so i am now using most of my musical energy on going over {& over & over} a handful of songs that i want to do publicly a.s.a.p.. I expect that i'll be doing a bunch of Open Stage things, which will allow, in most cases, anywhere from 2 to 10 songs, usually 5 or 6. So, i've got, right now, a set list of 16 songs {* Listed, Below} that i'm focusing on, with of course particular attention given to the 6 or 8 i'm most likely to be doing. I want to hit with a Big Punch, and leave a crater. I Will be noticed. This is why i practice so hard, so intently, deliberately and exhaustively - this is Everything to me. Going onstage, for me, is an incredibly intense moment of truth. In practicing at home, i feel like a fighter in training for the Main Event; and when i go onstage - Show Time - the title's on the line, every time. You won't find anybody that takes this more seriously than i do. If i'm going onstage at all, i'm going to KICK ASS, and every moment i've lived up to that time, comes with me and it's ALL on the line. That's how i feel about it.
     Now, for some very serious matters of strategy. How am I going to Start Out?
     Here i am, a Kick Ass Rock'N'Roll Player, solo. As yet unknown. Unconnected. Broke.
     How, in the year 2015, does such an artist begin? How to actually Get Somewhere? In this case, Get Somewhere means that when you're going to play at a place, a whole bunch-a people flock to see you, because they know who you are, they know what you do, and they like it so much that they're willing to leave their home to go pay a few bucks at the door to where you're playing.
     All right, so this involves, mainly - as i see it - getting my music heard by a bunch of people, initially. Seems to me, that's Step #1. This is done in two main ways, the first by far more powerful: 1} Get it online, free, & promote the hell out of it as much as possible. 2} Go out & play it, live, in front of as many people as possible. Step #2 suffers greatly, if Step #1 is not yet in place. This is the position i'm in. Getting good recordings of myself online, i have not yet managed to accomplish. There are of course some Free Downloads right here on this web page, but sub-par quality, due to technical insufficiency.
     Videos, of course, is part of getting one's music heard, and this is another goal of mine that i have not yet managed to pull off: getting good videos of myself, to put online. Again, there are a number of Jim Danger vids on YouTube, but again, nothing satisfactory as a fair representation of this artist. "I Guess That's Love" video, from 1986, is a good quality video, and a good video, yes. However, it was done nearly 30 years ago, and i wasn't playing the guitar myself, as i do now.
     SO, while i continue to work on getting good recordings and videos of myself online, i'm going to go ahead and start playing publicly, even with these disadvantages.
     What can i hope to accomplish, in playing Open Stages? So, i get 15, 20 minutes onstage, in front of a crowd that doesn't know me at all. Let's say i impress the hell out of them - the best case scenario. What have i then got? A few people now know who i am and are familiar - those few who were there, who paid attention {i'm a very good attention-getter, but some people wouldn't pay any attention to Alice Cooper Himself if they're sitting in a bar doing whatever they're doing}. In the classic Never Really Happens scenario, someone in the little crowd happens to be some Mr. Big, who takes notice & approaches with a briefcase full of Stardom. No. I've impressed 5 or 6 people, then i go home & so do they. Have i advanced my career? A tiny bit, yes. A tiny bit. Have i made any money? Laugh laugh!
     Seeing the relative benefits of going out & playing Open Stages, which include simply onstage experience itself, which is pretty much Vital {one doesn't really want one's FIRST onstage experience to be in front of a massive crowd, scrutinized by cameras & recorders & stuff}, i am going to use this way, and do that, yes. However, i have no delusions of reaping any great benefits to my career as a musician, by going out & playing even a thousand Open Mic events. It's just a Step - one that i CAN take, and so i will.
     Here's the thing. I am The Real Thing, in terms of being ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, as far as anyone but myself is concerned, as a musician. I am, truly, one with no connections, no funds, no technological gadgets OR technological know-how - just a Skyscraper full of talent, The Goods, for Real, as a rock'n'roll musician. Here i am, a goose with a golden egg, stuck in an obscure barn in nowhere land. HOW do i bridge the gap - to Somewhere?
     What i am hoping for, and still trying to accomplish, this year, is to put good recordings of myself & good videos of myself, online. Better Stuff. All i really want to do, for the foreseeable future, is become known, by getting my music heard by as many people as possible. I have faith in my music, that once enough people hear it, things will fall into place pretty naturally, and all will be well. My career will seriously BEGIN, as i see it, when i start getting paid to play. I don't see this happening any time in the foreseeable, because first things haven't happened yet - nobody's heard my stuff yet. So, i plan on continuing to work a regular day job to support myself and my family, while Becoming Known. That's the only Goal i have, for now.
     Thanks for taking the time, for caring enough to read this.
     If anyone wants to talk to me, jimdangerzone@gmail will work. Or friend me on Facebook.
     I will Play practically anywhere anyone wants to have me come & Play.
     Best of Everything to You.    - Jim Danger 3/13-Fri./15
* My Current List of 16 Songs I'm Focusing On, with the first 10 being most important:
1} She Doesn't Want Me Anymore
2}She Cut The Cord On Me
3}The Long Way Down
4}Hot Wax Baby
5}Cut Up
6}Streets of Kittery
7}Cool & Bared  {new, never before heard}
8}She Don't Want Any {new, never before heard}
9}Einstein's Grave
   11}Who Gives A Fuck?
   12}I Guess That's Love
   13}She's A Zombie {newish, never before heard}
   14}Get Over You  {newish, done once in public before}
   15}I'm All Alone When I Cry   {video on my FB page - Jim Danger - in Photos/Videos}
   16}As Long As The Wind Blows   {Newish, never before heard publicly}


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hi - Jim Danger Here October, 2014

Greetings -
     Just In Case Anyone Cares what's happ'nin' with me since January:
     It went like this, this year:
          Had practiced like mad, for weeks, for my glorious return to the stage at the Pressroom on Jan. 14. That went okay, since few were there to witness it, and i learned that i must practice with a pick, 'cause i wasn't used to one, and couldn't hold onto it at the Pressroom. {i only RECENTLY - like, this week! - realized, too, that the pickup i use when guitar is plugged in, doesn't pick up the fattest E string, which i use heavily and emphatically in most of my songs. This is why "Hot Wax Baby" guitar sounds kinda like nonsense - the low E string was nearly inaudible. So, now i turn the pickup around, so it picks up that all-important string very well. I would have sounded much better at the Pressroom, had i been aware of this at the time. Since i practice and play alone, nobody's around to point these things out to me.}
     Okay, so my intention was to start playing like crazy, in public places, after January, after that initial "debut". THEN, however, it was suggested to me that Portsmouth's RPM Challenge would be a good thing to get involved with, so i shelved my live-appearance plans for that month, to focus on recording a CD. To make a horrible story short, i failed to figure out how to operate the digital recorder i'd bought over a year earlier, and had never tried to use. The month was shot.
     Having planned, and then failed, to make the RPM Challenge CD, my spirits were very low, my focus on live appearances now very un-focused, by a month of frustration trying to record, and not being able to.
     Then i got laid off, on the day-job i've had for years. Pretty serious, being the sole provider for three. Money now squeezed badly, living on unemployment, i couldn't continue to buy and smoke my medication, and the combination of not being able to figure out how to record, when others tell me it's "easy", and losing momentum on live appearances, and getting laid off, resulted in a crushing depression {artists can be like that}. i was basically inactive for the following months. i did get another day-job, with a fluctuating, unpredictable schedule, very physically demanding, and this kept me, for a while, too exhausted to play at all. Some days i had to be at work by 6 a.m., and i rarely get to sleep before 2 or 3, and many of those early shifts were 9 hours long.
       I did finally get myself playing again, a Lot, and that's NOW. At home, i mean, where it all begins, getting myself musically back into shape in the dingy basement where, bat-like, i hang out - and play.
     So, i am now getting geared up to get Out There again. Still trying to stabilize things personally, though, as i'm still laid off from what was my regular day job, a Mon.-Fri. daytime gig, which enabled me to practice every night and get rested on weekends. I also, very recently, quit the crummy job that was tiring me out so much, for several very good reasons - reasons that didn't involve the tired-out part, so much, which i'd basically adjusted to. It just needed quitting - sometimes a job does. Now, then, again, there is some considerable stress, and the possibility of getting depressed over being jobless, but so far i'm maintaining as a musician, just Fine, still going ahead, practicing, learning a lot on the guitar itself, and getting Ready to get back onstage.
     I have not yet done myself justice, done anywhere near as well as i can, regarding any recorded representation of myself as a musician. In other words, the few videos and stuff that's available online, here at and on YouTube, are devoid of anything that shows what i can really do. The recordings, free downloads on are disappointing, because they were taken from very good-sounding cassette tapes, and put on CD by a hack who screwed 'em up pretty badly. Also, some of my better songs aren't there at all. {Man, if i could only make my own CDs!!!!!!!!!} The videos, well, the stuff at the Pressroom was screwed up as described, performance-wise, and also having songs chopped up, beginnings and endings missing, well - ! Chalk all that up to First Time. So, i'm very eager to not only do well onstage, but also to be adequately well presented by recordings, audio and audiovisual. These things lie ahead - and i'm looking forward.
                       Here, Now, AND Forward,
                                                                        Jim Danger    Oct. 14, 2014

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jim Danger Update

Jim Danger Update

March 2013

Check-In by R.U. Stoneworthy

When last I reported on Jim Danger, it was my first written piece about him, written as a favor to him because I am a writer, a musician and a friend of his, well acquainted with him and his music. Since I have adopted the habit of using a different pen-name for different subjects I write about, I have chosen the above pseudonym for the subject of Jim Danger. {I picked it at random, from a phone book, Officer.}
For the record, I use a tape recorder as often as I can, to get things right. If I quote someone, it's verbatim. This is actually required, when the topic is Jim Danger, whose own skill with words rivals – well, even my own.
So, 2012 wasn't quite your year, was it, Jim?” My first question might have been more tactful, but there it was. Since Jim seems to deal in truth, it seemed okay for me to be as straight from the shoulder; and so it was.
Well, everything I said about last year, just move it to this year, and it's still all true,” he summarily responds – to start with. From here, he speaks for the next couple of minutes, non-stop, in elaboration, explaining what went wrong last year. His tale is credible, and unfortunate, though not in any way final. This is a tentative set-back, not a quagmire.
I had a gig set up as a pretty big deal, a combination 'comeback' show and a kind of premier, at the same time. In other words, I'm kind of a has-been, but even more-so, I'm also a hasn't-been-yet, but-is-about-to-be. It was happening because a friend of a friend had a venue and a means of word-of-mouth promotion, and since I had an urgent need for a lawyer at that time, and couldn't come up with the money for one, it was to be a Benefit show, as well – which was the excuse for getting the venue, and all that, but it was a legitimate excuse. Anyway, when it came down to getting toward the time for this gig, for which I'd been gearing up for weeks, the venue fell through, became no longer available. I was told not to worry, there was a backup venue – which also fell through, because the owner was out of town and wouldn't okay it while he was away, or something like that.”
I want to burst back onto the scene, in a way where there's big pressure, but a big payoff.
So, after the let-down on the venue front in the summer of 2012, Danger decided to simply keep his eyes and ears open for another opportunity along the line of what he has in mind, while re-grouping and re-honing what he does. He also purchased recording equipment, which he is confident will enable him to make the CD he is planning, of his original music, as an introduction – and a re-introduction – to the world.
I'm spending a lot of time working on my guitar playing, itself, learning new things I never knew before, doing things I could never do before, developing my own style even further. I'm also spending a lot of time working on my singing, learning new things, singing different types of things, as training for my voice, stuff like that. I mean, I can't stop being a musician, a student of music, just to try to get a career off the ground.”
Again, it is apparent that here is an artist so deeply involved in his art, that self-promotion, marketing and exploitation are distracting irritations.
“Yes, it's true,” he allows, “I get all geared up to promote myself and try to burst upon the world every now and then, like once a year, and then if it doesn't work out, I go back into my hole and continue to develop myself quietly, unnoticed and unseen.” He chuckles, seemingly undefeated – because he doesn't seem to care if the “show-biz” part doesn't work; he's quite fulfilled just doing his art.
So, why the recent turn toward self-promotion and the effort to “Happen”?
Well, I'll tell ya,” he begins, before pausing. “Part of it is the money, which I realize is not likely to be very significant, but then again, at my sub-poverty level, a couple of hundred bucks for a gig would be very helpful, now and then. If I could do that a couple of times a month, man, I'd feel rich!
The thing is, though, with music, I've gotta do things my way, and not do something just for money. I could go around singing all kinds of crap, crusty old covers, and imitating Elvis or Hank Williams or Johnny Cash, or some kind of masquerade, like that, but I'm not going to do that. I mean, ya, I'll sing those [cover] songs now and then, and maybe even to make a few bucks – if I can – on the street, but that isn't what I'm interested in doing as a musician. I'm not really a run-of-the-mill bar singer. Not only do I not do covers, but the originals I do do, are a little heavy for the average bar crowd. I don't accompany your conversation very well. I'm apt to say something or do something that pisses somebody off, or scares somebody, or something. So, that's one reason, to be honest about it, that I want to do a Jim Danger Show, and make it understood that it's about me and my music, it's not about being an entertainer for a bar full of people who came there to drink, not to hear anybody in particular. So, if I say, “fuck,” it's part of my art – it's not a fucking public offense!” We laugh.
Jim Danger wants a stage; he wants a Jim Danger Show, and is hesitant to do anything until that opportunity comes to him. Is that about it?
He looks down and away, thinking, and nodding slowly, nodding some more, still slowly, before he again meets my eye, with the answer.
When we get done laughing, he refers immediately to recording.
I'll be recording, and that's my main focus right now, in these winter months. Now that winter is drawing to a close, and it's getting warmer, I'm going to get ready to begin recording. It's been too cold, in the basement, where I'm located, and where I keep all my stuff. Now, I have to just get my recording thingy registered, online, as soon as I can figure out how to access cyber-space, since I'm not online at my house. Then, once that's registered, I start learning how to use it. Then, I'm recording, man – and don't anybody try to stop me!”
He delivers this with the wild-eyed mask of the desperate criminal. Which, all things considered, he – well, almost – is.

In a phone call conversation with Jim Danger, the topic – one I should have thought of bringing up before, but somehow hadn't – is his music itself, in terms now of his public performance of it, and what we would have heard, and seen, had last summer's “comeback/premiere” not fallen through. What would he be doing if we saw him onstage right now? What, therefore, are we to expect when – finally – he does hit a stage, somewhere, presumably in 2013. Funny, I hadn't thought to ask him about this, and – believe it or not – he's basically too shy to sing and play in front of me when I have visited him, twice in the past year. If he does play, as he has briefly, it's obvious that he's holding way back, just demonstrating how a song sounds, or offering an example of a song he's discussing. It's easy to see that his stage presence is going to be something far different – it would have to be.
He begins by talking about his posture.
I still haven't decided whether to sit or stand,” he says. “I always figured I'd stand, with a strap, 'cause that's what you're supposed to do, and it's a lot more exciting, basically. But then, not only do I think I can generate plenty of excitement while sitting and playing, but I also see a lot of other great musicians doing great performances while sitting, too. Of course, the main difference is, it's a helluva lot easier to play the guitar while sitting – for most of us, anyway, for those of us who have a hard time playing the guitar to start with.” Break for laughter, once again.
Another thing is, I think staying seated might keep me out of trouble.
At first I think he's joking, but when he doesn't join me in laughter, I realize he's not. He won't much elaborate, though.
“Well,” [pause, pause] “I tend to get pretty, ah, well, you know,
wound up when I play, and, um, I just think it might be safer if stayed sitting down, at least most of the time. That way I don't – well, you know, I do want to stay focused.
Having heard some stories 'from the old days' of Jim Danger's onstage – and offstage – penchant for not only unpredictable behavior but sometimes destructive and – well, frightening behavior, I can only imagine what he might be not saying, here. He moves on – and I let him.
“Well, if it isn't one of the best rock'n'roll performances anybody's ever seen, then I'm just pissing in the wind,” he states – which, personally, I find very comforting, about what this guy's going to do.
I do my music, and I do it – “ [pause] “ – with the passion fitting, for doing a rock'n'roll song.”
I ask if he can be any more descriptive about what his act will be like, how he'll come across to an audience not sure what to expect.
Well, if you're into James Taylor, forget it. If you're into uptight, black-tie or nice people music, you're gonna HATE me!” He's suddenly very ardent on the matter, and I can hear in his voice some of that barely-suppressed rage we've referred to before. This Danger guy honestly despises authority, for example, every bit as purely as as the most embittered teenager. Somehow, I must confess, I find this, too, oddly comforting. {It's just so hard to find anything authentic, anymore.}
You don't like nice people, Jim?” I query lightly, as if. He comes back like a triphammer.
I HATE nice people!” Whoa! I could hear his teeth, in that one.
Nice fucking people, Stay Away,” he decrees, as though cursing an avowed enemy.
Soon, he's taking deep breaths, calming himself, obviously having felt a big, old, sore nerve for a minute there. He actually growls like a wild animal, in the process of putting the beast back into its cage – temporarily. Is it this that he intends to unleash on his audience? I wonder.
I remember,” he begins, in his way of making a point by using an illustration, “when I had my 'punk-van', the one I drove GG and the Jabbers around in, but just after that, when I was in the Murderers, with Emett Blotter – aka Bob Fuckin' Murderer. On the side of the van, below the big, black, dripping MURDERERS name, I wrote, in dripping, white spray paint {the van was green – originally}, 'WE HATE YOU.' Somebody asked me, 'Who is that directed at? Who do you hate?' I said, 'It's directed at anybody who takes that seriously.' If it upsets you, then yes, you are the target. That's what I mean by, 'nice people'. If they're offended, then fuck 'em. They are the ones I hate.”
Sometimes, when talking with Jim Danger, I wonder how he could have been friends with the ultra-wild, savage beast known as GG Allin. At other times, when his anger flares and he talks about “nice fucking people”, it's easy to think he is fucking GG Allin – or at least, easy to see the two being partners.
So, can we expect an expletive-ridden show? Is that it?
Well, geez,” Danger responds, as though bothered by the question. “Ya, I might say a thing or two, but that's not really the point. It's just the fucking attitude, you know? If it's pretense you want, it's pretense you don't get, and fuck you if you're looking for it.”
Uh-oh, maybe we'd better talk another time. I think he's still pissed off, and likely to stay that way.
It's just my attitude,” he's saying. “I just don't get along with straight, fucking Decent Fucking People. That's why I always said my best audience would be in jail, 'cause then I don't have to worry about offending anybody.”
Well, we'll have to leave his performance description at that. He will be a performer not popular with nice fucking people, or Decent Fucking People, and “might say a thing or two” - and feels like it might keep him “out of trouble” to remain seated. Oh yes, and he'll be doing his music, with “the passion fitting for a rock'n'roll song.”
I get in one last query, concerning what's to be expected of the CD he plans to soon begin recording.
It's going to be all new,” he says. “Beginning with the primary song, Pass Hell, Keep Going, which is the title song, it'll have stuff I've never recorded before, stuff I've done in the last few years which have gone over well with audiences, when I was playing hoots and stuff, like Bluegrass Night at the Barley Pub. Popular songs will be on it – hits, that no-one's heard yet.”
Ah, good, I've got him back – the lyric wizard, not the angry, nice-hating punk.
I want to do some really raw things, too, some really punk-edged dirt music, to remind people that it's important to be lower than the fucking low. So, it'll be a combination of popularly listenable music, and hateful, raw-edged, murderous music. I'm pretty happy about the prospects.”
Bidding him the requisite, “See ya later, Jim, carry on,” I leave him to his further devices. I'm briefly tempted to say a prayer for him – but he's convinced me that this would do no good.
So I continue to Hope for the Best – and now, I'm really hoping he gets that CD out a.s.a.p. – and I, for one, am dying to see that 'comeback/premier'! Somebody get this man a venue – and drop it in his lap – Please!
- R.U.S.

Blues and the Isolated Chair

Blues and the Isolated Chair 

by Jim Danger March, 2013

How could you isolate a chair?
If you thought this chair was so special that you wanted to purify it, to isolate, disentangle it from all other things, how could you do that? The moment you put it in a glass case on a pedestal, now it's not just a chair, it's a trio; it's a glass case, a pedestal and a chair. Not only that, it's the floor, the whole room it's in, the building it's in – 'cause you have to go to such-and-such a place to see it, so you've certainly failed to isolate that chair.
You can't isolate the chair – or anything else!
This is how I feel about “the blues”, as a brand of music. “I'm all blues, man, I am the blues. I'm all about the Blues, Blues, Blues, and I don't do nuthin' but the blues.” I mean, that would be stupid. “The Blues” is like that chair. You can't isolate it.
To me, the blues is a constituent; it's an ingredient. No, you can't isolate it, you can't purify it, in that sense, and detach the blues from Music Itself. Then try to separate music from anything else – forget it!
This has everything to do with what Bruce Lee was talking about, regarding martial arts. He scoffed at the notion of separate styles, segregated and presumed to be removed from other styles. “As long as a human being has two arms and two legs, there will be only one style of fighting. I no longer believe in styles.”
It's not just the blues, of course, it's the same with bluegrass, or country, or even jazz, any brand or attitude of music that gets its own general heading, its own pigeonholed stereotype, which may later spin off another, allegedly separate style, so we get all these sub-headings, like “progressive jazz”, or “progressive rock”, or country-gospel, or gangsta rap. You think there are only a few different headings, like something is either jazz, blues, country, rock'n'roll, classical, or folk. Then you realize that you really can't stop. The headings continue to come to mind, another, then another, and another. Pop; Easy Listening; Tinpan Alley; Ragtime: Salsa; Swing; Ska; just try to exhaust the number of delineations, and you'll find out someone's just split another hair, and the Psychobilly crowd has splintered away from the Rockabilly gang, and raised their own flag, stuck in its own pigeonhole. Turns out, the more someone – of any “style” – strains toward being purely “this” or “that”, the more full of shit they are. What's “pure country” today would have been banned from the Grand Ole Opry one or two or three generations ago. Everything, in musical categorizations, it turns out, is as fluctuant as everything else in life – and you're never going to be able to isolate that chair!
The Blues, as an ingredient, is really indispensable to almost any “other musical style”, for its essential power, once heard, is remembered, recalled and reproduced, to greater or lesser extent, in any music that has come into being since the Blues has first shown its unique face. It has bled into, and blended in with, so much of – especially – popular music, almost any sort commercial music, to the extent that if one could imagine a scenario in which the blues had never yet been born, what would be left of any music produced in the last hundred years? Jimmie Rodgers, the “singing brakeman” and “father of country music” {circa 1920s and '30s}, was most definitely steeped in the blues. Though a “country” yodeler, he titled his songs, “Blue Yodel #2,” “Blue Yodel #5”, etc., and his style was very bluesy indeed. This is “the father of country music”! Hank Williams {introduced many a time as “the Lovesick Blues boy”} was quite bluesy, himself. One isn't going to be able to tease the Blues thread out of country music, ever. It was born in the blues.
I consider myself to be a rock'n'roll player. That I do some “strictly blues” songs as part of my repertoire, is to me a natural and foregone fact of being a rock'n'roller. Rock'n'roll required that “the Blues” come first, because blues is a necessary and vital component of rock'n'roll. Then there's “Rhythm and Blues”, from the Fats Domino New Orleans rolling sounds of “Blueberry Hill”, to the “Got My Mojo Workin'” of Muddy Waters and the Chicago sound – and the pre-dawning rock'n'roll/R&B of Bill Haley's “Rock Around The Clock”, which is so closely related to the two above-mentioned rhythm-and-blues tunes that it's senseless to try to make any stark distinction between them. When Country, Bluegrass and Gospel music were thrown into the mix with this fiery R&B sound, and rooted, still, in the Blues, rock'n'roll was truly born and came into being on its own, as its own “new style”. Rock'n'roll was {I say “was”, because as mentioned, nothing is not in flux, and rock'n'roll of today is often unrecognizable when compared to what it “was” or will be} a unique kind of music because it was a hybrid, an inevitable blending of all that had been up to that point, especially what had been up to that point in the southern half of the United States. Southern Baptist and Pentecostal church music – Gospel music – was every bit as indispensable to the creation of rock'n'roll as was the blues. Rock'n'roll came to be in its season. Other forms, other brands of music had to come first, just as the ingredients of a cake must be extant before said cake can be produced. These other accents – blues, country, bluegrass, rhythm-and-blues and gospel {I don't mention jazz specifically, because its connection to rock'n'roll, its contribution to rock'n'roll, was in the R&B branch – and in the very-much blues-influenced great jazz vocalists. The jazz influence on rock'n'roll was more in its offshoot of R&B – thus, an indirect influence. In fact, Elvis Presley, when asked by cynics about “real music” like classical and jazz, stated flatly that he did not understand jazz music. {“I'm not going to knock it, I just don't understand it.”} Elvis, one of the four main “architects of rock'n'roll”, one of the four main pioneers and creators of rock'n'roll, had a phenomenally thorough and encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of blues, country, bluegrass, R&B “race” music {yet another pigeonhole of the day} and gospel music, of the American South. He could authentically and with utter sincerity, sing “pure” blues, “pure” gospel, “pure” country and “pure” bluegrass, as well as the “race” music and R&B that came before him. He had to have a thorough knowledge, understanding and genuine feel for all of these ingredients, in order to combine them with a natural grace, into what came to be called rock'n'roll. Jazz, however, he had no understanding of, no appreciation for – it had not “spoken to” him. This is why I say that jazz had no direct influence on rock'n'roll. Jazz, as stated, did, certainly, have an important secondary, or indirect, contribution, via its merger with blues which led into Rhythm-and-Blues. Listen to Benny Goodman, and where the blues got into his music, rock'n'roll would inevitably come to be – after the introduction of the other elements, country and gospel. Louie Prima's “Sing Sing Sing” {circa 1930s, showstopper performed by a number of big bands, and even used as the basis for a “Battle of the Bands” on at least one occasion} virtually had to eventually result in rock'n'roll!

Speaking of “Sing, Sing, Sing”, especially as performed by the Benny Goodman Band with Gene Krupa on drums, I remember thinking that this would be the perfect song, if only one song could be selected, to play for alien civilizations on far-away planets, to let them know what the best of the human race was capable of. I would be proud to say, “Yes, I'm from the race that created, Sing, Sing, Sing.” Rock'n'roll is in that music, as surely as it's in the mad energy of Rossini and the 4/4 rhythm of Beethoven.
Just as an incidental note, I thought Chuck Berry wrote the book on how to play rock'n'roll guitar – until, recently, I was studying the guitar work of John Lee Hooker, and realized that's where Chuck Berry got most of what he was doing on the guitar. In fact, anyone who learns to play John Lee Hooker's riffs, can play just about any rock'n'roll guitar solo, which, to this day, are all based on what John Lee Hooker, pure blues man {or “boogie-woogie” man – pick your label} was playing.

Really, it was the whole thing about labels, brands, styles, and “musical purism” that I wanted to address, here, with the isolation of a chair being my allegory. Why not just use the labels less, or at least, since I can see the practical importance of keeping folkies and rockers apart, and jazz artists and country players out of each others' paths, not use them so strictly or exclusively. I just think everyone should take their labels with a wink, realizing, first of all, that such distinctions are not important, and secondly, that what the person actually plays is very likely to bleed out of one musical pigeonhole and into, or at least up against, another one, two or three. You'd really have to be quite stupid, and incredibly ignorant, it seems to me, to stay very tightly within the cordoned-off borders of any particular musical style, consistently. I see that like I see someone who speaks with a very heavy, hick accent, as though they've never heard anyone speak who wasn't born and raised in their little neighborhood, and haven't realized how absurd and ignorant their accent makes them sound, to others outside that hick little patch. It does turn out that not everyone who speaks with a stupid accent is stupid, which surprises me, but I know this to be true. It just makes them sound stupid, to most people outside their neighborhood. That's how musicians seem to me, who stick so very closely to their little particular style, and even wear costumes and hairstyles and everything, all pointing to that little alley of music in which they live and breathe. I see them as apparently fucking stupid.
I just don't like walls, anyway. I mean, walls that divide humans from each other, like teams all aligned against one another, or fearful tribes huddling together to avoid all others, or people gathering psychically under headings involving a political or religious point of view, or philosophical, sociological, ideology of any kind, which excludes some humans and therefore sets itself in opposition to others, rather than seeking to find points of agreement with them, and a way of harmonizing, living peacefully, learning more about themselves by learning more about one another. It seems that the only glue guaranteed to hold a group of people together is opposition to those not in their group. A group, segregated psychologically from others, is held together by having someone to oppose. You can't even worship a God, without demonizing someone or something, so that this idea of “God” is itself held together by having someone to oppose. {This actually makes such a “God” story bogus, because an actual First Cause, or Source of All, could logically have no opposition.}
So I say, don't put a lot of emphasis on musical headings, styles, or other narrow or well-defined groups or schools of thought. As Alan Watts said, that's like trying to hold water in a sieve.