When transgressive burlesque bad girl “Bloody” Betty Bathory approached club promoter wendythirteen about bringing her GG Allin tribute band, BB Allin & the Stabbers, to Thrashers (AKA Funky Winker Beans), wendy laid down the law: Bloody Betty was welcome, but there were no fish allowed.
GG Allin, who died in 1993 of a heroin overdose, was arguably more famous for what he did during his performances than for his music. The Hangover director Todd Phillips, in his documentary about Allin, Hated, shows the misanthropic shock-rock reprobate fellating his brother, assaulting audience members, and crapping on stage, whereafter he would either smear the feces onto his naked body or, occasionally, slurp it up.(And then there was Allin’s body of work, which included brutal but surprisingly catchy tunes like “I Want to Fuck Myself” or “Eat My Diarrhea.”)
It takes a pretty resilient soul to embrace all that Allin did in the name of, um, art, to say nothing of his conviction for sexual assault. But to my knowledge, he never did anything particularly outré with fish. So, why no fish?
Bloody Betty laughs. “Yeah, there’s a story there! The Bloody Betty fish ban – it was about seven years ago. I was putting on a metal birthday party” for Three Inches of Blood’s Justin Hagberg and his twin brother, both of whom are fishermen. “Me and Tristan Risk – Little Miss Risk, the burlesque performer – decided we would do a tribute as them, so we sat onstage dressed up as these two redheaded Viking metal twins, and gutted a fuck-load of fish and threw them into the audience.”
They weren’t particularly fresh fish, either.This took place at wendythirteen’s former venue, the Cobalt – which, back in the old days, didn’t smell so good at the best of times. But after the fish episode, “It smelled so bad that wendy was walking around with Tiger Balm and putting it under people’s noses all night.”
Bathory laughs proudly as she relates the story. “I’ve been told by a few promoters now: ‘No fish!’”
She also seems pretty pleased to have perfected what she calls her “poo recipe” for the performance. “Not only does it look exactly like poo, but it doesn’t fall apart in my diaper, and it smears like the real deal. When I come at you with a handful and smear it all over your face, people are pretty fuckin’ horrified, until they smell it. It does have a smell, but it smells like its ingredients, not poo. But the look on their face is just as rewarding as if it was the real thing!”
Besides fakin’ the poop, does Bathory sidestep any other aspects of Allin’s stage show? Are there songs of his she won’t perform – “Expose Yourself to Kids,” perhaps? “I’m Going to Rape You?” Did Allin ever go too far for her?
Not really, she says, laughing. “I have a really, really warped sense of humour. I don’t agree with any of that stuff – I’m not condoning it – but I find it fucking hilarious. And I figure, if you’re going to go for an offensive show, just go for an offensive show and see how far you can push it.”
Bathory has gotten into trouble with more than one venue in town for the “horrible things” she does onstage. “Sometimes I’m the only person who’s laughing afterwards,” she says. “So when I was going to do a tribute to somebody, it had to be someone more disgusting than me.” Which didn’t leave many options.
“Plus, I always wanted to wear a bald cap and a tiny penis and smear poo on myself in front of people, so…”
It sounds like the ultimate Halloween dress-up gig, in fact. And fans of “Bloody” Betty will be pleased to note she’ll also be fronting the Fuck Guns, her tribute to the Sex Pistols, earlier in the evening (Friday, Oct. 28).
Alas, the clock is ticking for the venue: As wendythirteen announced on Facebook recently, the present owners of Funky Winkerbeans have declared their intention to stop putting on live shows, once again leaving the punk impresario without a venue in No Fun City. She’s struggling to get an extension past November 5, the current end date for Thrashers as we know it, with many pre-booked shows – including Chris Walter’s book launch for his biography about D.O.A. bassist Randy Rampage – now in peril.
“Fuckin’ poor wendy, man, has worked harder in this city than anybody… tryin’ to make this shit go,” says Bathory. “She’s been kicked out and moved around, I don’t even know how many times. It’s pretty unbelievable that she has that much stamina and love for the scene, when all it’s ever done is fucked her over. But, major, major respect to that woman, because none of these shows would be happening if she weren’t around. She’s the biggest supporter of punk rock and metal. Without wendy, we’d all be fucked!”
BB Allin & the Stabbers perform Friday, Oct. 28, at Funky Winker Beans (37 W. Hastings), 8pm. $15 at the door ($10 for those in costume).