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The Cramps live at the Napa State Mental Hospital


cyd charisse
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Picture the scene. Jack and Meg White, the ex-husband and wife team of The White Stripes, are enjoying a night of passionate lovemaking when, all of a sudden, in comes Nick Cave, who starts buggering Meg. But he doesn't stop there, after he's finished with the lady of the duo, he gets to work on Jack. Things get even stranger when, from out of nowhere, up pop the 5.6.7.8's and the randy, depraved sextet decide to have an impromptu orgy. If that happened there's a slight possibility that, after getting to know each other so intimately, they all might embark on a trip to a nearby music studio and make an album that would sound not too dissimilar to this one.

The Cramps are the legendary band that we all love for classics such as Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?, People Ain't No Good [a personal fave], Sunglasses After Dark, What's Inside a Girl?, and TV Set, to name but five. But by far the best thing they ever did was to journey to the Napa State Mental Institute to perform in front of its variously psychologically-disturbed patients. Watching a seminal voodoo rockabilly punk act do its thang in front of a crowd consisting solely of the mentally ill is about as good as current music DVDs releases get. There are drawbacks: it's only 20 minutes long and difficult to currently pick up for anything under £11; the picture is dreadful, with the Target Video 'logo' and © displayed along the bottom at all times; and there's no extras to speak of bar an uninteresting showreel of other clips from the Target Video archives. But it's available from all the usual download places, so if you haven't already seen it you really ought to.

It goes without saying that it was considered politically incorrect at the time (no, really) and even more so now, but I'm not so sure that it was. I've never seen an audience have such a good time. Yes, some of the denizens of the asylum do look funny as they shamble along to the barely less freaky band, which consists of The Cramps' finest ever line-up of the ubiquitous Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, along with Nick Knox and the quite-wonderful but-now-also-quite-dead Bryan Gregory. This is a match made in heaven.

Either way, it's infinitely better than watching Marilyn Manson performing in front of some chavs and hoodies at Wembley Arena.

The Cramps, via a line-up of Lux and Ivy and an ever-changing selection of fresh weirdos, are still going, still making records, still touring, still fucking shit up (they as good as invented the phrase). But, sadly, they can't compete with this 1978 piece of rock 'n' roll history.

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The cool thing about that gig was the Cramps treating the audience like any other crowd, they didn't make any concessions or allowances and gave it the full on Cramps treatment. Apparently 15 of the inmates escaped that night.

Sadly, they can't compete with this 1978 piece of rock 'n' roll history.

Strongly disagree with this. Their last album, Fiends Of Dope Island is one of their best, probably the strongest one since A Date With Elvis or Flamejob and they're still by far the best live band on the planet. I can post up some shots from a gig I went to last year if you like.

Stay Sick.

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I can post up some shots from a gig I went to last year if you like.

If you are happy to do so then I see no reason not to do so ;)

The cool thing about that gig was the Cramps treating the audience like any other crowd

Yes, there's that moment during Twist and Shout when Lux is sharing his microphone with the two female inmates and he turns to one of them and does something (I'm not sure exactly what) and says 'you weren't expecting that one, were you?'.

The slightly pushy and completely metal one of the two contributes some good backing vocals too, it has to be said.

Strongly disagree with this. Their last album, Fiends Of Dope Island is one of their best, probably the strongest one since A Date With Elvis or Flamejob and they're still by far the best live band on the planet.

I'll concede that I came very close to giving myself the new username of Dr. Fucker M.D. (Musical Deviant) after listening to the album, but I didn't think it would go down too well. And Lux and Ivy do look better than any 50-something has any right to.

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I'll concede that I came very close to giving myself the new username of Dr. Fucker M.D. (Musical Deviant) after listening to the album, but I didn't think it would go down too well. And Lux and Ivy do look better than any 50-something has any right to.

Yeah, they're in amazingly good shape considering their ages and how badly they've punished themselves, Lux looks he should be in his 30's.

The pics from the Astoria last year, probably the best gig I've ever been to, they were insane. The shots are screen caps from a bootleg DVD.

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Rock and fucking roll.

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Oh Poison Ivy.

I know. I found out recently that the stories about her being a professional dominatrix and drug dealer when the band first started are true. Lux Interior is a lucky bastard.

Check her out in the Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon clip, it's on this page. Again, lucky bastard.

http://www.rockndog.com/Flash.htm

All of the other clips are brilliant too, not safe for work obviously though seeing as it's the Cramps.

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