90 Slobodan Milosevic
92 Tony Millionaire, The Moth
@T T" 92 Michael Franti, Charlie Hunter
THE CRAMPS LIVE AT THE NAPA STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL lMVD DVD retail) 0...
’ve seen Lux Interior
humping a monitor amp
while fellating his microphone. This was about half a dozen songs into the Cramps’ headlining set on the opening night of the Reading rock festival, 1000 years ago and long before that closing night’s headliners the Pixies had split, let alone reformed. Lux strutted on stage wearing an Elvis 69 comeback special black leather outfit, customised with high heels and a still higher dyed quiff - and swiftly stripped down to a black thong (retaining the stilettos). Shortly after mounting the monitor amp and groaning into his mic, and with the sound engineers still trying to make Poison Ivy’s guitar licks heard (the Cramps never sound check), Lux began to throw up. Ivy, now audible, continued licking, while her man regurgitated what must surely been a mix of booze and uppers. The crowd were murmuring ‘that’s it, the set’s over’ but I noticed Ivy didn’t look perturbed. And neither did Lux. With stomach emptied, he continued belting out wild rocking numbers to complete a very lengthy, very loud, extremely lewd and fiendisth memorable show.
I offer this anecdote as evidence of the Cramps’ status as the daddies of American punk or, more accurately, ‘trash’ music. Energising a back catalogue of rock’n’roll, rockerbilly and surf sounds with the anarchic, nihilistic spirit of punk, and dressing themselves up with a retro lifestyle of tawdry glamour and sleazy Showmanship straight out of the seedy underbelly of the square 19505 (where booze hounds roam and reefer madness preys on the innocent), the Cramps are the ultimate bad taste, feeeel soooo gooood band. During the 19805, their cult popularity crossed the Atlantic and they took Britain’s children by storm, appealing to all those punks, Goths and psychobilly rebels. Years, tours, records, booze and pills later, Lux and Ivy (the founders and constants in the Cramps’ ever-changing line-up) are still wigging out.
Dig that music. The Cramps’ cover versions are legendary, often better than the originals, as is the case with their stoked up rendition of the theme tune to Russ Meyer’s bitches-with-jugs exploitation flick, Faster Pussycat. Kill! Kill! Kill! And when composing their own ditties, Lux and Ivy give
94 Mashed, Harry Potter
95 Audition, The Cockettes
96 When I’m 64
SHOLY AFI'ER MOUNTING THE MONITOR AMP AND GROANING INTO HIS MIC, LUX BEGAN TO THROW UP
0.... Excellent .00. Recommended Good 0. Flawed
97 The Goat
1 12 Ande Collins, John Fardell
great title: ‘Elvis Fucking Christ’ and ‘Bend Over, I’ll Drive’ cum to mind. The lyrics are even better: ’Well I don’t like art, but I know what I like/ I like surfing in the swamp on a Saturday night . . . All I ever do is fool around/ I ain’t nuthin’ but a gorehound.’ They say all rock’n’roll songs are about either girls or cars, or both. The Cramps’ brand of rock’n’roll obsesses over sex and psychosis.
You can see all this and more on the recording of their legendary gig at the Napa Mental Institute. You have been warned. (Miles Fielder)
I The Cramps Live (it the Napa Slate Mental Hosp/rm IS out now (MVD DVD rota/ll
1’L’.Jii| f» »\ii(11)i’ll~!THE LIST 89