THE CRAMPS: Stay Sick!

16 09 2017

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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!

 





THE CRAMPS: A Date With Elvis

15 09 2017

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Prior to this record being released, The Cramps put out numerous compilations and live records. Maybe I’ll go back and write about them, but for now I am sticking with studio albums. Now we’re on record number three. Three is the magic number, and although I said I could never pick a favourite record by The Cramps- I’m pretty sure that this one is my favourite. So here we go.

This record is just phenomenal. It’s got all the classics. I’ve got a copy on vinyl that my girlfriend got me this Christmas just passed. It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever been given (she’s also got me a record by The Mummies which massively blew my mind! I think she got me it because I told her there was no way she would ever find a copy.) A Date With Elvis came out in 1986. A really good year for records. And you know, some of us were born in that year! A Date With Elvis only has Ivy, Lux and Nick on- again, three is the magic number. Of course the likes of Bryan and Kid Congo Powers are missed here, but the content of this record is nothing short of genius. There is something about Lux’s voice on this record that sounds super strong. The strongest it has ever been, and the way the three of them had put this record together is just amazing. It’s a record I am constantly playing. I don’t care if it annoys my housemates and neighbours- everyone has THAT one record they just need to put on after a tiresome day. This is my one.

The brilliantly named Kizmiaz (say it slowly) is my favourite on the record. I love how it is slightly slower than a typical song by The Cramps and Lux’s voice isn’t as deep here. There’s a different tone on this song, and I just adore it. I could play it over and over, and fall back in love with it all over again. The whole record has some greatly named songs on such as The Hot Pearl Snatch, What’s Inside A Girl? and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? Read into the songs however you want, but the humour is subtle but the genius is obvious all over.

People Ain’t No Good may sound pessimistic, but it’s a great song. Lux, Ivy and Nick just make it fun. Their second record had that Horror film to it, but A Date With Elvis has this really laid-back atmosphere to it. The songs won’t make you jump out of your skin, instead you’ll just want to throw a party and play this record on repeat. Although a party consisting only songs by The Cramps would probably guarantee my attendance, and I’m not a fan of parties!

We all have records by bands we love that justify why we love them so much. Sometimes it may just be a song, but for me this record totally explains and shows why I love them so much. It’s one of those records you cannot help but go back to. If I was telling someone who hadn’t listened to The Cramps before where to start, I’d say this one. Then I’d shock them with Psychedelic Jungle. Just to see if they can handle it.

Writing this has just made me want to go home and blast this record out. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll spend my evening. Then I will delve deeply into record number four and see what kind of world that takes me to.

Like all records by The Cramps, this one needs to be played loud. And often,





THE CRAMPS: Psychedelic Jungle

15 09 2017
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With a line up change, I guess anyone would question a little if The Cramps could maintain the magic and weirdness they created with their first record. Of course they could, and did. Exit Bryan Gregory, enter Kid Congo Powers.

Psychedelic Jungle is a brilliant record. We all know that. The smut and filth levels are upped here and by no means is it for shock value. It’s just how it is. Gloriously perverse. Others still try and do this but they just sound like creeps. Certain bands have done it since and have kept with the similar tone as The Cramps but others, like I said, are just creepy.

Caveman has this aggressive sound to it. It sounds like a motorbike chase at times. The whole record is one wild ride that you never want to end. It’s got the perfect mix of filth and strange. You have to really listen to pick up on specific references. But hey, if your mind is wired to head that way anyway, you’ll have smirked instantly within the first note.
This is such a great record to lose your mind to. Sure they made some records that make you want to dance but this is one to just lose your mind to. Yeah there are songs that will make you move such as The Crusher. But maybe don’t take the song so literally. Unless you’re a zombie perhaps. This song would fit perfectly in some 70s Horror B-Movie. You know the kind. Don’t be a snob, those films are great! In fact, the whole record feels like it is a handbook for ghouls, vampires and zombies.

For me, The Cramps are that ultimate band. They were just consecutively amazing and always brought out mind blowing and ear bending records. The influence they had and evidently still there. Bands like this don’t come around all too often and sorry to be that person but, they don’t make them like this anymore! The more I write about them and the more I listen to Lux’s earth shaking and hip swaying voice, the more I miss him. The more I miss The Cramps. I could say we need another record as insane as this but do we? This wasn’t the blueprint, it was perfection the second they released it. The haunting werewolf like cries on Primitive is one of the most enticing moments on the record. This song stays with you all damn day.

I love how The Cramps made the artwork to their records fit with what was going on in the record. Sure you can dance to their records, but if you take some time and look at the artwork as you play the record in full, you may see the theme of the record. You may truly feel what’s going on in the record and pick up on the stories being told. It’s genius and totally mind blowing.
I could easily say that this is their greatest records, hell I could say that about all of them to be honest. And you know, it’d be pretty difficult to actually pick a favourite- right? They are one of those bands that blow you away each time, and the thing is, they still do it now. Going back and listening to this record solidly was nothing short of fun. I loved being able to hear new things with each listen and to pick up on different reasons (and new) as to why I just absolutely adore this band.

Maybe behind the filth and sleaze are tips on how to survive the end of the world but hey- Don’t Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk!





THE CRAMPS: Songs The Lord Taught Us.

13 09 2017

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I had an idea earlier today to listen to every studio album by The Cramps and write about them. I’ve done this with several bands in the past, and it’s only right that I do this for the most important band of all time- The Cramps. An iconic, timeless and just brilliant band. What they did for music and us weirdos is priceless. Let’s go back to 1980.

Although their first release was the EP, Gravest Hits in 1979 The Cramps released their first full length LP in 1980. Songs the Lord Taught Us consists of 13 brain shattering, life changing, and limb flailing songs. These songs were made to creep out anyone who hear Lux’s voice. His voice is Halloween all over. It’s creepy, utterly spooky and something you cannot tear yourself away from. Although they made music that some may have turned their noses up at, it is their live performances that probably had the raw shock value. When you listen to The Cramps for the first time, it stays with you.

The Cramps are that kind of band who within the first listen, the first note make you instantly realise that they are going to rule your mind. Their music will be something you constantly turn to. Ivy and Lux were the most perfect couple. Everything they did was a reflection of them, and although I never a show- we have dodgy YouTube recordings that somewhat capture the atmosphere slightly. Ivy had this demeanour on stage that made you idolise her. Lux was all kinds of outrageous, and that is why we adore them so. Songs The Lord Taught Us was an in depth look into the journey that The Cramps would take their fans on.

One thing I’ve realised from being a massive fan of the band is that there is no such thing as casually listening to them. There is no such thing as just listening to a few songs and being content with that. Far from it. Songs The Lord Taught Us and the rest of their records are addictive. You play one- you end up spending your day listening to all of them. And probably more than once too.

There are a couple of covers on the record, and the one that obviously stands out is Fever. Lux manages to really take this song somewhere else. Fever has been covered by so many, and the most notable is probably Peggy Lee’s version. Her version is lustful and seductive. The Cramps take the lust and the seductive tones, and turn it into something gloriously smutty. Hey, if you’re going to cover a song- you might as well do whatever you want to it. The Cramps created something truly remarkable with their first record, and this went on with everything they did. Nothing they did could be repeated. A band that were consistently great and managed to keep their fans hooked for decades with all they did. There’s no denying at all just how influential they were and still are. Songs The Lord Taught Us was just a small taste of what was to come.

Brian and Ivy made their guitars sound like weapons, Nick’s drumming was a glorious thump to the head and Lux just stole you away. If we were going to talk about the greatest frontman of all time, I’d probably say that Lux was up there. The way he moved, the way he managed to make the universe feel as if it was quaking with his voice. He just had something about him. They all did, and for it to come across so prominently on their first full length record is nothing short of fascinating and straight up incredible.

What I love about this record is that you can imagine bands you love listening to this, and wanting to start a band. It’s got something about it that just drives you on. It’s got something about it that leaves you in awe of how fantastic this debut (full length) record is.

Their songs are wonderfully smutty, filthy and humorous. I guess the Lord taught them well.





THE CRAMPS: A Date With Elvis.

19 11 2016

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“I know a place that’s far from here
Where the squares they won’t come near.”

Last Saturday I turned 30. Nothing feels different, and I still look about 15. Maybe I made a pact with the devil at an early age, and I don’t recall it. Anyway, as someone who isn’t really a fan of birthdays I have someone who wanted me to have a damn good day. She did just that, and more. She got me a record that I had no idea I was getting. A month earlier I ruined a surprise by attempting to buy one she had already got me. I don’t pick up on signals, I need to be told. Even if it involves me potentially ruining a surprise! This one record she got me has blown my mind and I find myself playing it every day. I either play it whilst I get ready for work or when I get home. Sometimes both. My love for The Cramps started in 1996. I was 10 years old and I was going through a cupboard in the house. I was looking for something, not sure what but I found a mixtape. I picked it up and asked my stepdad if I could listen to it- being the cool person he is, he said yes. He told me all about the band before I went upstairs to my room and fell in love with Lux’s voice.

I wish I could remember what song was on the tape, but I’m pretty sure it might have been Human Fly. There was a Sisters Of Mercy live tape that I took also. Along with The Cure. I was being exposed at a young age to the bands that would form something inside of me that is still there. It’s never going to go. Its one thing about me I won’t ever fight off.

The record I was given on my birthday last Saturday was A Date With Elvis. She had gone through their records, listened to them all and found the one she thought I’d love the most. I think this proves just how well she knows me and how bloody great she is. A Date With Elvis is such a great record, and for me to shows everything about The Cramps that I love, and fell in love with 20 years ago. I love the raw and creepy sound that is consistent on all their records but there’s something about A Date With Elvis that heightens all of this.

The record opens with one of the greatest songs by them, How Far Can Too Far Go? Alright so some may say it isn’t their greatest but it’s pretty much my favourite. I love the words and I absolutely adore Lux’s voice on this song. The record came out the year I entered the world and it was produced by the beautiful Poison Ivy. Three is the magic number, kids and The Cramps proved that so easily with this record. Everything about the wonderfully sexualised lyrics and dirty guitar makes it for pleasurable listening. It is the record you should take home with you, to meet the parents. It’s the record you play as loud as you want. It’s the one you play to take you down a road of self-discovery. For some, the lyrics may be too much- but hey, don’t surround yourself with prudes. Let it all out. Let The Cramps drag it out of you.

A Date With Elvis is the kind of record that brings you to your knees because you can’t get over how great it is.  For me it just embodies everything I love about music and everything I look for in music. It’s the right level of creepy, it’s loud and it’s in your face but not in an intrusive manner. It’s so beautifully produced and created. That brilliant Psychobilly mixed with a bit of Punk sound that they were known for comes alive on this record, maybe it is more apparent on this one. Maybe I’m just being biased because I wholeheartedly love this record, with all I have. I don’t have the best record player in the world but it is currently making Aloha From Hell sound like the masterpiece that it truly is.

There are many reasons why I am fascinated with certain bands, but I’ve never really set myself a reason for doing so with The Cramps. It just comes down to a whole bunch of reasons. Mainly that it’s completely fine to live outside of certain “norms” and to just be whoever and whatever the hell you want to be.