We recently chatted with Gillian McCain, author of two poetry books, Tilt and Religion, co-author (with Legs McNeil) of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, and co-editor of Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose (also with Legs McNeil). She is also a collector and exhibitor of found photography. She spoke about her time at NYU and her eclectic artistic pursuits.
Listening to One Prayer One Sin erupts symbiotic visual reels of 70's city's streets and Travis Bickle wearing a bloody smile. Watching singer Johnny Scuotto flail his arms around hysterically while taunting the audience with a devilish grin pronounced by bare brows as he shouts and jerks around- can only properly be described as a "psychopathic Ian Curtis" dance. OPOS is a dynamic combination of the Birthday Party, the Pop Group, Brian Eno, and a distinct influence from Iggy Pop's albums of 1977, The Idiot and Lust For Life.
Here's a tour of the East Village in 1993, courtesy of local Iggy Pop, who at that time was living in the Christodora House—he had been there three years by the time this was shot (before that, he was in Greenwich Village... vacuuming). As he gives the filmmaker a tour of the neighborhood he talks about some of the things he loves there (like the "nice little cafes," a Chico mural and the better quality graffiti than in the rest of New York, and "oh cool, a cop on horseback"). Watch the full thing below (it's worth it!)—some of the highlights:On the Psychedelic Church of 9th Street: "I never got that interested in it. There's a guy here who took a Swiss girl, and made her in to soup... he used to go to that church." That would be Daniel Rakowitz, the Butcher of Tompkins Square.On noise: "Nobody would dare shut you up for making noise, I make as much noise as I want all the time."On living in a nice apartment: "It gets up a lot of people's tree. But fuck it. What the fuck? I'm not a martyr."On Pedro's Bakery on 8th and Avenue C: "This is where I eat when my wife's not in town. I come here and get sandwiches and cake and strong coffee. That's what I live on."
I never paid much attention to GG Allin when he was alive because I thought he was a talentless bottom feeder who’d do anything to get attention. Consequently, I never bothered with his music, and stayed away from reading about him. I mean, compared to my pals in the Ramones, what could Allin possibly have to offer? GG seemed like a spectacular mess who was just taking up space until he killed himself. I didn’t really need any more garbage heaps in my life. But after he died, my best friend Tom Hearn told me he’d hung out with GG a few times in New Haven, Connecticut, and that he was a nice guy.“Really?” I asked Tom, intrigued that I let my preconceived notions keep me from checking Allin out. I love it when my prejudiced ideas get shattered and I have to take another look.“Yeah,” Tom told me, “He was like this incredible asshole on stage, just fighting and screaming and shitting on everyone, but off stage he was really nice. He was kind of like a more violent, fucked-up version of Joey Ramone. Ya know how Joey was so incredibly focused on stage? And then when we were hanging out with him, he was funny as shit? GG was kind of like that …”Hmm, I thought, Maybe I was wrong about the guy…When I was doing a reading tour of the south last winter, I became friendly with Johnny Puke, from Charleston, South Carolina, where he books and manages the Tin Roof, a fun, dumpy punk club. Johnny told me that he was with GG the night he died and I thought it would be an interesting story to get on tape. So I asked Johnny if I could interview him some time, Johnny said, ”Yes,” and last October, just as it was getting really cold outside, I headed back to Charleston to interview Johnny Puke. This is his report.