Hated in America: An Interview with Merle Allin of The Murder Junkies
By: Sarah L. Myers
You recently finished seventeen shows in seventeen dates in Germany. How was it?
I mean, when you go through Europe it’s like you either play every day or you lose money, (because) when you’re not playing you still have to pay for the vehicle and the tour manager and everything else and then you have to find places to stay and it becomes an expense when you’re not playing. We just like to play. Even when we did the Hank III tour he would have a couple of days off between every four or five shows and we would fill those shows with our own shows. When we’re on the road we just want to play all the time. We’d play every night if we could. Every once in awhile you have to stop and give your singer at least one day’s rest.
Are there any planned DVD releases of that tour?
We’ve got a DVD coming out next month from the first tour we did last year of Europe, which was extensive. We played for almost a month last year and we played like eight countries. Basically all of the shows we just played were in Germany. We played a couple in Holland and a show in Austria, but other than that everything was in Germany. Last year we got to go to Denmark and Holland and Sweden and Finland and Norway and Germany and Switzerland.
How was the response?
Great. When you’re playing seventeen shows in Germany it’s different. We have a good response there but we have a really good response in the Scandinavian countries. Those people are nuts. (laughs) They drink a lot, and a lot of those people were waiting to see us even back when we were with G.G. so a lot of people don’t know what to expect from us. They try to test us and push us to the limit. Whoever is singing for us has to deal with their share of people trying to take the stage from him, or try to prove something, you know?
How does a current Murder Junkies crowd compare to that with G.G.?
Now we have more women that come to our shows!
Now we have hot women that come to our shows instead of back in the day with G.G. there were hardly any women at all, and if there were they were tougher than most of the men that were there. The crowd back then, if you look at G.G. videos from back in those days, you would swear there was nobody in the club because nobody would be anywhere near the stage. Everybody would be hiding out near the back, or in the corners, or up against the walls or in any dark, secluded area in the club where they could still see something without the danger of getting pummeled with this, that, or the other. Nowadays our fans have come to realize that we’re not trying to imitate what G.G. did so we get a bigger crowd, and we get more people that are willing to come up to the stage and participate in the show. So that’s cool.
Dee Dee Ramone was in the Murder Junkies for a short time, and you’ve played with Wayne Kramer as well. What was it like working with your heroes?
I put an ad in the Village Voice, and one day Dee Dee just called me up out of the blue. I had seen him around the Village, and I knew he was just hanging out, he wasn’t doing too much, playing in little bands here and there, but when he actually asked if he could audition for us, I almost fell on the floor. So of course I called G.G. right away and I’m like, “You’re never going to believe this,” and we had Bill Weber who became really what I would call our original guitar player, and the guitar player that gave us the sound, and played with us up until we got back together recently. They both came and auditioned, and Bill was just a great guitar player and Dee Dee was Dee Dee and we just kind of finished the audition and we were like, “We’ve got to hire Bill but we’ve got to hire Dee Dee” so we basically hired both of them. We rehearsed with Dee Dee and he would come by my place and we would show him stuff. There is a DVD of a couple of different rehearsals with Dee Dee on it that’s in my catalogue and what not. We never actually did a show with him. I think by the time the reality of what was about to hit Dee Dee came about, he decided he was just going to bow out. We never got any explanation from him why he decided not to play, he just one day didn’t come to rehearsal and we never really heard from him.
What do you do when you’re not on the road?
I hang out. I work out. I ride my bike. I try to come up with new designs, book shows, book tours, do my mail order, practice, try to write shit. I’m always working. I work at home. I don’t have a job or anything but I’m always doing something to get us out there or now I’m working on trying to hook up a tour for next year. We’re doing a few shows in December. We’re doing a couple of gigs with CKY and then we’re going to put a few shows around that. I’m already working on trying to set something up with a big band we can tour with next year.
How did the relationship with Hank III come about?
I knew about him and stuff. I went and saw him a few years ago and the first time I saw him I said, before I even saw him play, I said I’ve got to meet him, I’ve got to get on the bus. The next thing I knew I was in the back of the bus hanging out with him and we just became friends right away. Once I saw him play I was like blown away by his talent and just the fact that he’s real. He’s a real person who sings about, and writes songs about, how he’s living and what’s going on with him. That’s hard to find.
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