The thing about The Cramps that I have appreciated more and more as I’ve listened to them and also written about them is that with each record; they got more and more weird. If that was even possible! They did it but by no means did it every sound like they were trying too hard- so far from it. It was just natural progression for them.
I spent a bit of time today watching some live clips, and I honestly don’t think anyone could actually compete with them. Apart from them obviously sounding great, Lux was just the greatest frontman. If you want to put someone up against him and how got the crowd going, that’s fine. But you will lose. He was and always will be the greatest.
Let’s now get into record number four- Stay Sick!
The way Lux controls his voice on The Creature from the Black Leather Lagoon is one of my favourite moments on the record. I love that infectious shake he had in his voice. You can just imagine him recording this song, and typically deep-throating the mic to give out certain sounds. He’s the only person who could do it, and not seem like a creep in doing so.
This record is peak smut and filth. God Damn Rock ‘N’ Roll is the perfect song to emulate this, and it’s the way in which Lux sings and the Ivy’s glorious sounds she annihilates on her guitar that make it so perverse in the best way. It’s not the lyrical content in this one, it’s just how it all sounds. I love how Lux just takes down how bland Rock ‘N’ Roll had become. It took guts, especially then and Lux had guts by the tonne. Stay Sick! was produced by Ivy, and it was also the last record that Nick would appear on.
I love All Women Are Bad, and I absolutely love the line; “Save me the label of that perfume on the table. So I can remember what made a wreck of me.” If anyone else sung this, they would just sound utterly whiney. But Lux does it in his own charming way. A way that is evident in every single song/record. When I listen to The Cramps, I can’t help but imagine what it would have been like to have seen them create their records. To see what the atmosphere was like in the studio, to see them perform the songs in an intimate setting and what inspired the lyrics. They are a band that I am constantly intrigued by. For me, and probably everyone else that loves this band this constant wonder and admiration seems to grow and grow with every listen. I always feel like I am discovering them for the first time when I listen to them, and I think that is one of the reasons as to why they are just the best. No contest.
Everything Goes sounds like a sordid affair. It sounds like the aftermath of a bar fight. It’s a totally wild song. If you just read the lyrics, it reads like a beat poem. You can imagine these words being spoken as part of Beat Generation. As a song, it’s so far from that. It’s just a massive insight into nothing being held back. It’s brilliant.
Stay Sick! was released in 1990. If you listen to a lot of the music that came out then, The Cramps easily could have just thrown in the towel or given into the trends. They didn’t. They never ever did. They maintained just how relevant and influential they really were, and for a record like this to come out then was just incredible.
Stay Sick! showed that The Cramps were still going to dominate in a way that only they could- and boy, did they!