The Cramps

*special introductory paragraph!
*Gravest Hits EP
*Live At Napa State Mental Hospital DVD
*Songs The Lord Taught Us
*Psychedelic Jungle
*Smell Of Female
*Bad Music For Bad People
*A Date With Elvis
*Stay Sick
*How To Make A Monster
*Look Mom No Head!
*Big Beat From Badsville
*The Secret Life of The Cramps
*Fiends of Dope Island

Although they're occasionally lumped in with traditional punk rock and their logo looks just like The Misfits' logo, The Cramps are actually a rockabilly band. They dress sleazily and revel in tacky double-entendre, but the music is more or less just good old late-50s/early-60s style rockabilly. Their name comes from a physical sensation that women experience every month during what doctors call "menstruation." When "menstruation" is completed, these "cramps" are not experienced again for another three weeks until the "menstruation" "period" begins again. Also during this "period," 75 gallons of blood come rushing out of what proctors call the "Tussy."

Reader Comments (Jeremy McMillan)
psychosilly?Fuck Off,man!!The Cramps fucking rock and if if having a sense of humor offends you why don't you go jack off to your Barry manolow posters you fucking dickhead.

Gravest Hits EP - IRS 1979.
Rating = 6

Rockabilly! Hillbilly music that ROCKS! Lots of vibrato and reverb on the guitars (neither of which sound like they've been tuned), a noticeable absence of bass guitar, rudimentary drumwork and a singer trying to make you think it's the `50s and he's a sleazy vampire garage mechanic. Only five songs and only one of those is an original! Underimpressive, quite frankly. Nice mood, but they don't play the songs all that excitingly. The original "Human Fly" is a cool piece of attitude, but they kinda flub up all the others in various ways - "Surfin' Bird" starts off pounding and fun but turns into amateurish, boring noise for the last half of the song, "Lonesome Town" fails to hit the desired emotion (lonesome) while also making the listener sit through a couple minutes of one guitarist just dicking around making stupid noises, and "Domino" is the wrong song entirely, having nothing to do with the popular Van Morrison song. Perhaps had they recorded the correct song entitled "Domino," I would have given the album a 10.

Probably not though, seeing as how I don't like that song "Domino" by Van Morrison.

Reader Comments
All the songs on this EP were recorded live in the studio -- the way "old school" rock & roll was recorded. These songs ooze and swing at the same time. These songs do not sound like the processed "punk" of today. No one sounded like this band when this EP came out and no one does today. Do yourself a favor and pick up "Bad Music For Bad People," by the Cramps. This is not skateboard punk. This is the real thing! Some people have trouble recognizing true punk rock.

"The truth, maybe you cant handle the truth." (Mike Harras)

C'mon, They arent expecting their music to be taken seriously but 20+ years of great music merits more respect than that dismissive label! First off, "Domino" was a Roy Orbison cover. Secondly, oh there is no secondly. Your horrible reviews have gotten me all upset. Please pardon me while I have a hissy fit (Adam Bruneau)
Good, good stuff. Probably my favorite Cramps record of all. I remember reading about the Cramps in that "Incredibly Strange Music" book that kinda gave birth to the whole lounge/exotica/50's revival in the 90s and just really thinking that "these Cramps people sure seem interesting, I bet they make some very fun music". And how! It's like the 50's revisited by the original punk era, and while some of it may seem a little silly, plenty of parts (like the shattering "Human Fly") just plain rock out with the best of 'em. The ultra-macho image Lux embraces is sometimes goofy and sometimes creepy, sometimes both at once ("Under the Wires"). I understand why you don't like "Lonesome Town", an experiment in Velvet Underound-esque narcotic pop, but aside from the "dicking around" near the end, I think it's a very suitable ending to the album. Almost like the band, riding off into the sunset old-Western-style.... A strong 7 from me. Not an essential album, but very fun if you get into the style.
First off..anyone who hears this can not fail to have an opinion wether GOOD or BAD,my opinion is GRAVEST HITS is one of their finest moments along with PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE but then again i love everything theyve done.HUMAN FLY throbs..SURFIN BIRD sounds like Lux had just been released from Napa Valley State Asylum where they did an early gig..DOMINO jerks and jerks,WONDERFUL.I LUV EM and have been going to see them live for the last 24 years...

The Domino version on Gravest Hits is a cover of a really early Roy Orbison song that came out on Sun records in 1956. It is a straight down the line cover which follows the original almost perfectly.

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Live At Napa State Mental Hospital DVD - Target Video/Music Video Distributors 2004
Rating = 8

If you consider human wreckage an interesting anthropological find, this DVD is a purchase already made by your soul - won't you allow your wallet to catch up? As its title suggests, this is footage of the young 1978 Cramps playing rudimentary rockabilly up on stage in front of a group of INSANE people. Will anybody ever fall in love with the chubby young man in the suit who gets onstage and sings into his empty hand as if he is holding a microphone? Will any girl ever hold hands with the skinny weirdo jerking his body spasmodically before biting into his own arm? Will the world share a Sunday with the two lobotomized punk rock girls who keep grabbing Lux's mic and shouting close to nothing into it? Probably not, because even though Lux politely insists, "Somebody told me you people were crazy. But I don't think so! You look alright to me!," this crowd is clearly not doing very well in certain important organs found in the skull. The vacant stares and unnatural body movements -- it's creepy! Why on Earth did a mental hospital agree to let The Cramps play for its patients? Was the president of the hospital alerted that Lux was going to rip his shirt off and suck on the mic as if it were a male sexual organ? Was he told that Lux likes to unzip his pants and stroll through the audience? And did anyone warn him that the band wasn't any good at all?

Just a-kiddin' you! Heh heh, ah me. True, this 20-minute performance sounds like a repetitive boring mess, but who's watching it for the music anyway? I'm in it for the adorable young visual Cramps and their horribly out-of-it audience. But there's MORE! Target and MVD made the DVD both longer and more exciting by including bonus footage of other great punker acts of the day, including Crucifix, Flipper (man, Bruce Lose was skinny!), Mark Pauline & Survival Research Labs, Toxic Reasons, MDC, Throbbing Gristle, Crime (live at San Quentin in front of hundreds of confused-looking prisoners!) and maybe a little TOO much Z'EV (this "industrial" fellow who strung together pots, pans, boards, tubs, metal, etc and then smashed them together rhythmically. Over and over and over and over and over.).

For several different reasons (none of which I will discuss here), this is a disc you really ought to buy. Don't ask me why there's nearly as much Z'EV footage as there is Cramps, but trust me when I tell you you'll be showing this thing to your friends constantly. Which will be a nice break from that thing you usually show them constantly.

Oh, don't start crying. Of course I'm proud of your removable ball.

Reader Comments (Mike Harras)
You didn't mention the guy reading the paper. Yeah, why would a hospital allow this to go on? (Brian Hyndman)
Actually there's a long history of punk bands performing for the institutionalized and incarcerated. The Angry Samoans and Fear both played gigs at the Camarillo state mental hospital in California -- the latter group writing a song about their experience. Then there's the notorious (and hilarious) Sex Pistols concert at Chelmsford maximum security prison in the U.K.(captured on a live LP you should add to your Pistols page by the way).

But why? Were these peformances arranged for their perceived therapeutic value? Inquiring minds want to know.
The chubby young man in the suit who gets onstage and sings into his empty hand as if he is holding a microphone- he's my fav on this dvd and I could not agree more this is a disc you really ought to buy.

Loving the reviews by the way, been reading this site for the past couple of days great stuff.
I play this footage fer friends when I want them to leave...anyone else notice that they just keep loopin' the videofootage over and over but with a few shots of the Cramps actually playin' the song being heard?

People who don't dig this are mentally retarded...

Dan Brookes
For sociology: a 10. The music is pretty badly done though, really sloppy and hard to sit through. At some points it ceases to be novelty and just becomes a bit ghoulish.

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Songs The Lord Taught Us - IRS 1980.
Rating = 8

The Cramps have a schtick. The singer, Lux Interior, has an insanely huge pompadour, cross-dresses a lot, constantly performs fellatio on the microphone during live shows and has been known to show off his penis for the willing crowd. The guitarist is his girlfriend (wife?), Ivy Rorschach, who never smiles, has big red curly hair and often wears bikinis, lingerie or other scanty clothing. Both appear to be stuck in a `50s b-movie with greasers, monsters, pimples, loose women and nonstop rockabilly!

At this particular point in their career, they had a second guitarist but no bass player. So you'd think it would be really tinny - but it's not! Thanks to the odd production of Box Tops/Big Star legend Alex Chilton, the music is reverbed and murky, as if it is being pounded out in a dungeon in 1958. It never "kicks ass" and isn't threatening at all (nothing on here holds a candle to Link Wray's "Rumble," for example), but if you enjoy the thought of Gene Vincent performing kitschy horror movie lyrics like "I Was A Teenage Werewolf," "Zombie Dance" and the awfully funny "TV Set" (in which Lux describes how he sees you on his TV set and hears you on his radio, then reveals that he actually sees your HEAD on top of his TV set and hears your blood drip drip dripping on his radio - ha!), you might just be up The Cramps' alley. But don't buy for a second all the hype about them inventing "psychobilly" and merging a whole lot of different influences into a garbage stew, because it totally gives them too much credit. They were a retro band with a great visual gimmick to go along with it. That's all.

But this is a darn entertaining retro album. The two guitars buzz, fuzz and crang against each other, Lux wails and struts in and out of key with reckless abaddon and the tempos vary enough that you never get stuck too long in a trudger before a high-speed stomper comes along to wake you up. Nine of the thirteen songs are originals, and most are totally singalongable and interesting even in the restricted area of rockabilly, thanks to lots of neat little guitar breaks and odd turns of chord. The covers are all great too - "Strychnine," "Tear It Up," "Fever" and something called "Rock On The Moon" that I wouldn't know anything about.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't put any jokes in that review. What a letdown. I've failed everybody.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: It wanted to die.

I don't think I'm actually depressed. I'm just really tired. Not feeling very fun, smiley or inventive. It's been a long week. But I've got some new accounts at work (thank god), I've got all the lyrics written for my next CD, I just started a new psychoactive medication and I'm happy that I've lost so much weight. My face was starting to look a little chubby, but now I'm looking trim at 150 pounds, five foot eleven. How much do you weigh?

Reader Comments
This alblum kicks it. I have no idea why- but I can't stop listening to "Fever". "Strychnine" also rocks it. And don't forget "TV Set"- pure enjoyment. All around awesomeness- 9/10 for sure.
I get so excited whenever I put on this album I start to pee. There's something about the twangy chords and all that beautiful fuzz that affects me on a primitive level. I never felt this was retro at all. I don't piss when I hear "Sha Na Na."

Brian Hyndman
Prindle's patronizing dismissal of The Cramps as a retro rockabilly act is the most blatant distortion of the evidence since the O.J. Simpson trial. Can any sane person imagine Gene Vincent or Carl Perkins covering `Garbageman'?
Mark: I never followed The Cramps after this album because then I'd found the B- 52s. But they're another cartoon, another channel in that strange land of what happened between Punk and New Wave.

I first heard "Sunglasses After Dark" when my then boyfriend took me to I think it was Irving Plaza or 57 Irving Place in the late 70s-early 1980 or so. There was something about the music that immediately made me think of monster movies! Yes, "Dawn of the Dead".

And "Teenage Werewolf" was enough to have me laughing and just getting an energy rush from the whole campy weirdness of The Cramps.

I liked the Twilight Zone their spare, distorted sound took me to. Especially at a time when Punk was getting serious for some with all the political talk around the Clash, and the emerging ska of the Two-Tone music scene.

Mythen boyfriend and I had started, in late adolescent ignorance, seriously discussing which groups and music were more important in our lives. One that we agreed on was the Cramps and B-52s.

Like a novel cartoon with a short broadcast run, our own relationship fizzled out by the early 80s. While he's now nothing more than a blur across the TV screen of memories past, the Cramps are like an "Amen" that sent out my teenage years with an Outer Limits themed bash.

Come to think of it, The Cramps came to mind last summer when I heard this band on 4 Walls Records called "Dirty Bird". Their song "Little Girl" picks up on the monster movie the Cramps originally featured in long ago in my twisted imagination.

Maybe Rockabilly, maybe rockasilly, all a matter of opinion, but who cares?
Neat CD, probably my favorite by them. I weigh 125 and 5'7'', so there.

How much do you weigh?

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Psychedelic Jungle - IRS 1981.
Rating = 8

The album title doesn't have a thing to do with the album, but it IS the darkest record they've ever recorded, by a widebutt margin! Nearly every song oozes and throbs with the dark vibes of Dennis Hopper's underbelly of the American Dream. Less rockabilly than evilbilly, the album is split evenly between seven morbid originals and seven deadly covers with titles like "Goo Goo Muck," "Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk," "Primitive," "Voodoo Idol," "Jungle Hop" and "Caveman." And other titles too! GOOD ones! Ones you'll look at and go "WOW! Now THAT'S a title!!!!

"Vampire lesbos are after me?" Is that what he just said?

Guitarist Brian Gregory has been flushed down the wastecanister this time around, replaced by Gun Club guitarist Kid Congo Powers who brings his own slightly more correctly tuned style to The Cramps' procession. And The Cramps have told Alex Chilton to "shove it" where the moon "don't" shine, choosing to produce this one themselves, dumping the psychotic reverb to give the sound a much more of a loud, in-your-face "oomph" sound. No! Not "Oomph"! I take it all back!!!! More of a "moof" sound.

God I totally cut myself shaving tonight. Every single ounce of blood in my body is now on my bathroom floor. I had to replace it all with cereal! Now I'm all crunchy! Look at me!!! I'm crunchin' all over the damn place!!!! Mr. Crunchity! That's what everybody's gonna call me tomorrow! Mr. Crunchity This! Mr. Crunchity That! This isn't the shit at all! This is totally undef!!!!! Why did I have to shave with that dumb electric drill????

Reader Comments
Nice to see this album get a good review. I always thought it was the most underrated disc in their entire catalogue. If you could hear moss growing around a tombstone -- this is what it would sound like.. (Alex Stevenson)
Thanks for reviewing this old gem. it's one of those vinyl keepers from 20 years ago. Hilarious and the songs rock too. Bad Music for Bad People has more good songs, but this was my first experience with Cramps (no pun intended). It's special, a band that likes Ricky Nelson with a sick sense of humor. I love a band with a sense of humor and songs that rock. Here are the top kick ass funny rock records ever, Ramones/Rocket to Russia, Beastie Boys/Licensed to Ill, Donnas/Turn 21, Cramps/Bad Music for Bad People.
High on speed and cruising in a 66 Lincoln.......with "Can't Find My Mind" blaring......caused a few worried (or was it terrror?) looks from the small SOCAL Desert folks of my hometown.....

Awesome and underated album......

Obviously recorded while on various mind altering substances.....Great to listen to ...the same way...

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Smell Of Female - Restless 1983.
Rating = 7

This is an eight-song live album recorded at The Peppermint Lounge in 1983 with the Kid Congo Powers line-up. But don't glance past it like it's an old shoe! Only ONE of these eight songs can be found on their studio albums! The others are all new. And they're rockabilly! Lots of fast, happy, interchangeable tunes - a compleat turnaround from Psychedelic Jungle. The liner notes don't make it clear which are covers and which are originals but I'm going to assume that "Faster Pussycat" is a cover because it sounds like a James Bond song, not a Cramps song. And I KNOW that "Psychotic Reaction" is a cover because the Count Five original is one of my favorite garage rockers from the sixties! The cover isn't nearly as good though, ruined by lazy guitaring and awfultrocious harmonica working. To be honest with you, if you REALLY want to know what the Cramps are like live, you have to see them. I did, and it was great! He sucks the living KNOB outta the mic! And slams the stand against the ceiling! And makes you stare at his pubic hair the whole show! He RULES!

"I Ain't Nuthin' But A Gorehound" is boring and filled with beans though, and don't let anybody tell you any different. Especially a respected musical critic.

Reader Comments
This a very engaging live recording. Since the Cramps record their stuff live in the studio anyway -- there's not that much difference between this and a studio album like "Songs the Lord Taught Us." The crowd seemed to be supportive enough to coax a lively performance out of the band. That should be good enough for you. "Call of the Wighat" is pretty rocking' and there's a nice cover of "Faster Pussycat," the theme of the classic exploitation flick FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL, KILL..... Russ Meyer fans can look to "A Date With Elvis" for the theme of SHE DEVILS ON WHEELS. "Get Off the Road" is sung gleefully by Ivy.... Smashing....
For those who want to know why Date with Elvis sounds different, this album is a good starting point. You can start to see the growth in the music at this early date with The Surfin Dead, Most Exalted Potentate of Love, and Aint Nothing but a Gorehound. R&B snuck in through the back door, and new musicians started playing with the traditioal Cramps crew of Knox, Lux, Ivy, such as Candy Del Mar and ___. Anyways, this album is a classic, to say the least. One can see from songs like "She Said" that they were having the time of their life, and it is not surprising that they got in label trouble, and waited until 86 to release Elvis. This is the transitional Cramps album, which marks the shift from punkish psychobilly to more r&bish or classic psychobilly.

Dan Brookes
Only six songs on my vinyl copy (45rpm) but six great songs nonetheless. I'd be tempted to give this a ten. Sure, it doesn't 'mean' much and is just a rock band playing a set, but there's no fat on it, it's a great performance filled with humour, tune, sex and rock and roll action.

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Bad Music For Bad People - IRS 1984
Rating = 7

This is a compilation of early Cramps tracks - two from Songs That The Lord Taught Us, one each from Gravest Hits and Psychedelic Jungle, and seven that must be from singles or something. Only five are Cramps-written originals; the others are covers of old-timey '50s rockabilly songs by the likes of Phantom, Charlie Feathers, Hasil Adkins, Ronnie Cook, Mel Robbins and Warren Smith. In sum total, the disc is only about half an hour long, but that's pretty much all you need when every song sounds exactly the same. Lots of 12-bar rockabilly with one guitar playing fuzzed-out chords and the other doing that two-note rockabilly thing whose name I don't know where you keep tapping one higher note, like "dee-do-dee-do-dee-do-do-do-do" while resting on one chord. I'm sure it has a name, but what is it? What is its name?

Although from a number of different sessions, the recordings are inevitably rudimentary, raw and primitive. Sometimes their guitars are buried in tremelo, sometimes overfuzz, and sometimes reverb. Lux is always a charismatic and entertaining singer, but let's face it - eleven songs that all sound the same can suck a dick after a while. But see, here's the thing: any other band doing a set of material this old and tiresome would get a 2 or 3. The Cramps, however, have something special (or at least HAD something special, at this point in their career). They were dark and morbid, they had a great sick attitude, and the music is full of a wonderful sense of fun, absurdity and horror. Check out the way Lux keeps jumping into falsetto in the middle of a word in "I Can't Hardly Stand It." Love the bendy string solo in the middle of (and sleazy breathing at the end of) "Save It." Wig along with the beach party backup revelers in "Drug Party." Groove to the fast, crunchy, jangly coin slapback fun of "Uranium Rock." Enjoy all of these things. Enjoy them for me.

It's a confusing life, this one we live in. Sometimes you embarrass yourself. Sometimes you go over the top. Sometimes you sleep til 4 PM. These are just minor thoughts. Like that awesome Ian MacKaye band. The case may very well be that the newer Cramps material is actually every bit as "good" as this early stuff -- but they don't have this sick, slightly threatening recording tone anymore, and that DOES make a huge difference. They should have kept this guttural, dark basement sound through their entire career. It would have even improved records as melodic as Stay Sick! and Look Mom No Head!. Oh well. Can't skim darts, might as well sink butts!

I wrote this review on a Saturday. That's why it's so boring. They're better when I write them at work. I'll make up a joke for you anyway:

Why did The Cramps cross the road?
To get to the other chord!

That wasn't bad. Let me try another one.

What do The Cramps and a split-single featuring M's "Pop Muzik" and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" have in common?
Take out the 'm' and you get the craps!

May have been trying too hard on that one. Let me do one more.

What's the difference between Lux Interior and Billy Joel?
Lux Interior only rhymes with "Sucks, Inferior"!

Those were all great jokes. Now my topsy-turvy "I'm good"/"I suck" dichotomous brain must leave you in order to watch an old Zebedy Colt porn movie called Virgin Dreams. Hopefully it will be better than Wes Craven's Red Eye, which I watched this afternoon. Sure, I got a boner when Rachel McAdams shoved that phallic pen into the guy's vagina-esque neck, but am I nuts to expect a bit more cunnilingus from a PG-13?

What do you mean it doesn't stand for "Pussy Gulping 13 Times"?

Reader Comments
billy joel = silly, droll (Mike Harras)
Wow, this is the first Cramps review I completely agree with you on. It's just tone. There really isn't much difference from album to album. That's why I like them all more or less. If they kept the creepy & lessen the campy maybe they'd have a bigger following. You mention the originals, well a lot of those are of others' tunes as well (Garbageman = Rumblers' Boss). Still, this is the best place to start if you're curious about the Cramps when they where still gooey, and then start seeking out the originals because Charlie Feathers rules and must be remembered. And the guy with a dead twin, he was alright too, you should start a page for him.

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A Date With Elvis - Restless 1986.
Rating = 6

And suddenly the band has NOTHING new to offer. Nearly every single song is stereotypical "rockabilly" at its least interesting, and lyrically, we're subjected to stupid, crude double-entendres just one after the other after the other ("Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?," "What's Inside A Girl?," "(Hot Pool Of) Womanneed"?, "The Hot Pearl Snatch"?). This album is indicative of why nobody at all has cared about this band since the early `80s. The production is boring, normal, slick. It was recorded as a three-piece. And it's one thing to be retro - it's another thing entirely to simply recycle the same exact rockabilly chord sequence at different speeds ten times in a row (with the one exception being a dumb Indian joke called "Kizmiaz" - ANOTHER double-entendre!).

So how can I give it a 6? Well, they play around with rhythm a little bit and the overall mood is incredibly exuberant and good-timey fun, if not particularly inspiring.

Speaking of inspiring, I was in a really awful mood this morning. Another "long-time site visitor" had emailed me to express his intense displeasure at my irreverent, offensive, disrespectful Miles Davis reviews and it made me feel really bad. Just awful, actually. I'm essentially a really terrible writer who relies on the same types of jokes over and over again. I can't "try" to be a good writer or I become too anxious and can't write anything. So instead I just let the words flow out of my fingers. And if I'm not in a happy, alert mood, the words become boring, at which point I go back and interject mean comments about other artists for no reason. As if mindlessly acerbic comments are at all witty or engaging. I definitely enjoy some of my writing, but not all of it. And the parts of it I DON'T like make me feel just awful - completely inadequate, like I should just stop doing the web site entirely. But then some guy sent me a nice email this morning and made me feel better. It's good to feel better. Thank you, some guy!

Reader Comments
I just threw back my head and laughed until blood ran out of my nose. You REALLY need to go back and listen to these albums again.... (Mike Harras)
By far their best album even though the production has taken away that murky quality, Get this & Bad Music for Bad People (or off the bone)& you'll be set.
By far their best album, even if production has lost that murky quality. Get this and "Bad Music for Bad People" or "Off the Bone" & you're set. (Cliff Davis)
very telling. i don't hold the cramps as gods, but i do think they've been consistently interesting since the first time i saw them live about 15 yrs ago.

your review is *very telling* because you spend six lines saying dismissive, snotty things about the album (as if somehow your superior intellect would guide you, intuitively, to a far superior showing), then spend eight lines talking about yourself. some things never change. critics, for example. consider this a not-especially-subtle example of someone telling you your fly is open.
Mark: In one of your Cramps reviews, you write: "I can't "try" to be a good writer or I become too anxious and can't write anything. So instead I just let the words flow out of my fingers."

I've been reading your reviews the past few months, and I'm often entertained, sometimes offended. And you know what, who cares if I'm offended? Or not always falling on the floor with a nosebleed laughing? You write what you feel. Or what you feel like writing. And that's what's important.

I've taught composition and creative writing, and I do writing for pay (although I don't always consider myself a "professional" writer), and I know *exactly* what you're referring to in that first sentence of yours that I quoted. I seize up if I *try* to write well; most of the critiques on my own stuff says as much. It's only good if it comes naturally. To go one further, I'd contend that good writing is the kind that flows out of your fingers. Trying too hard isn't writing, it's typing or taking dictation from the spirits of grade-school teachers who still crack your knuckles when you color outsides the lines. You have a great site--one of the most entertaining I've spent much time on. If they don't like it, they're only missing out on some unique insights and great entertainment.

Whatever you do, remember, you do the writing for yourself. At least some of your readers appreciate you letting us in on it.

Btw, the best thing the Cramps ever did was their cover of Warren Smith's "Uranium Rock." They probably should've hung it up after that.
i had just started getting into the cramps when i got this cd, i had smell of female, songs the lord taught us and Psychedelic Jungle and i REALLY LOVED them, but this album was a let down. the opening drum beats just sounded 80's-ish and not like the cramps usual AT ALL, and they were a warning for what was ahead... now, i dont know if it's just because i missed their 'growth' as a band between smell of female and this album, but i didn't like this one much at all...
A Date with Elvis typically appeals to Cramps fan who are either young or ignorant. That is not to say it isn't good, and the purists who dis it are full of shit as well. Elvis is a perfect example of a little discoesk psychobilly thrown into the mess with songs like hot pearl snatch and then some "The Wall" type parody with People Aint' No Good, and strange experiments in songs like Kizmiaz. All in all the album has some of the slickest lines about dames and snatch and deserves to be a classic even to purists just for that. By this point, in Cramps history, the driving early punkish psychobilly is almost forgotten, replaced by the r&bish psychobilly that helped define and keep alive the Cramps in the heart of the Thriller and Red Corvette era... A real treat. This also marks the start of the great artwork and album layout, spiked heels, black leather, underwear, tits, snatch, and sex ...
This album really showed how much the Cramps had improved and grown musically. I believe this was the first album that Ivy played her 58 Gretsch 6120. on, which gave this album a more Rockabilly sound as opposed to the Science Fiction Frybilly they had previously mastered.

Also the addition of Ivy playing tick tac bass adds to the sonic endeavor here as well.

The songs are good too.. Very clever .

A mini masterpiece
Dear Mark:

What makes this a great Cramps record? Let me explain. I was living in rural Oklahoma watching a christian tv program on how satanic music lyrics are brainwashing teenagers. Up comes a picture of the "Date with Elvis" album with the commentator declaring "This record's lyrics are so vulgar and lascivious we dare not quote them". I pulled out my copy of "A Date With Elvis" which I hadn't listened to in years. It sounded great!

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Stay Sick - Restless 1988.
Rating = 8

Dat last record done right! Stay Sick is a veritable farmhouse of energy, neat bass lines (that's right! They have a bass player now!), singalongable vocal melodies and cool chord/note vibes jiggling `round rockabilly as always, but with lots more interesting Cramps toss-ins than the last album bothered offering up. The bassist makes a BIG difference, as Ivy now has another player (a GIRL!) to tangle her twangle with. They don't seem out of ideas this time, for some reason. And all it took was the teeniest bit of songwriting effort on everybody's part. THE TEENSIEST BIT! WHY? WHY?

Also the lyrics aren't as gross this time - even "Daisys Up Your Butterfly" and "Journey To The Center Of A Girl" seem wholesome! WHOLESOME!!! WHY?

Where was I going before I swallowed all that Ritalin? Ah yes! The bass lines carry the songs, so Ivy doesn't have to. She can, instead, fiddle around with vibrato and conjure up SUPPORTIVE guitar lines rather than having to worry about making sure that every single rule of rockabilly is followed to the T. Perhaps that was the problem with the last album. Too much was demanded of her. And that's not fair. That's not fair at all. A woman should not be relied upon to raise her own child, or even speak to it all that often. I'm not saying that Stay Sick comes close to recapturing the weirdo reverbed monster movie spirit of the first couple albums, but as far as modern-day, well-produced retro `50s-style garage rock and roll goes, this CD accurately updates that Jerry Lee Lewis wildman flavor almost as well as Radiohead's Insomniac which, from what I understand, is comprised entirely of Hasil Adkins covers.

Did I already review this album? I can start over if you need me to.

Reader Comments
Slick production but this one still rocks like a monster! "Shortnin' Bread" is like a blast from a flamethrower and "Muleskinner Blues" is delightfully demented! This one also has a nice balance with all the songs being pretty strong. No filler on this one.
The Cramps had recently redefined there sound. Enjoying unheard of success from such cult hits as Pearl Snatch, they did not let us down and came back pumpin with Bop Pills, Lagoon, Journey and my personal favorites Jackyard Backoff and all women are bad. This marked a climax in the r&bish psychobilly and they were later to switch with Look Mom, no head, but then went back to it with Flamejob. This album has some of their most MTV successful songs like Bikini Girls which is still played out to this date. Shortnin Bread, Jackyard, and Saddle Up a buzz buzz, most likely helped define a whole new era of Southern billy ... although the jury aint out yet. A hard sell to me at first, this album gets better and better over time ...

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How To Make A Monster - Vengeance 2004
Rating = 6

Since the dawn of ink, artists and playwrights have written smug, self-serving platitudes about how women get cramps before having their period. Well, I'm not one to tuggle the boat but I can't help but wonder if these self-proclaimed "members of the creative elite" realize the implications of their moral terpitination. On the one hand, if a woman enjoys her menstrual cramps, we call her a whore (or slut). On the other hand, if she complains about her menstrual cramps and says "Ow!" or variants, we physically label her a tease (or lesbian). It is this very dichotomy of religious bigotry that led Ivy Chain and Lux Inferior to create their band The Foolishly Maligned By The Literary Elite Menstrual Cramps in the mid-70s. The rockabilly stuff was all an afterthought. Interestingly, when the band was defunded by the NAACP in mid-March 2005, they shortened their name to simply The Cramps. Thus, this album.

Before I begin, let me share you with a grantastic put-down I came up with last night on the pot (toilet, not devil's hemp). Here it goes: "If you are misguided enough to consider the Cramps' tepid approximation of '50s rural rockabilly to be 'cool, raw and intense,' I have this really kickass Mojo Nixon album you gotta hear!" There. That's it. That's the best I could come up with.

Sub-labelled "Cramp Fiends Only," this double-CD is comprised of incompetent early demos and live material. Lowlights include pisspoor early renditions of "TV Set" and "Journey To The Center Of A Girl," oddly chosen cover material like Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" and The Katz-Kasenatz Musical Circus Jamboree Thingy's "Quick Joey Small," and Lux's one solitary attempt to play guitar on a Cramps recording (he's actually not that bad! Wrong notes sure, but the intent! The drive to learn!).

Highlights, on the other hand, include tons of excellent covers ("Five Years Ahead Of My Time"!!!, "Rumble"!!!!, "Sunglasses After Dark"!!!!, "Sweet Woman Blues"!!!!!, "Lonesome Town"!!!!!, "Can't Hardly Stand It"!!!!!, "Sweet Woman Blues"!!!!!, "Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk"!!!!!, "Strychnin"!!!!!!, "Love Me"!!!!!, "Uranium Rock"!!!!!!!, -- it's weird how they only cover songs whose titles end with a quotation mark, multiple exclamation marks and a comma, but that's what happens when you drink as much BEER as they did! Heh heh! Yeah, The Cramps and Beer! Have two otherwise unrelated activities ever been so inextricably entwined? Not since Reagan and eyesocket-fucking, I'd wager!)

So the Cramps were a great cover band. So what?

So.... LET'S DANCE! ("Any way you want it! That's the way you need it! Any way you want it!")

That was my small but meaningful tribute to the late, great Rodney Dangerfield. As for the Cramps, they wrote a few good originals in their day; I'm sure you know the ones I mean. And several of them are on here. Unfortunately, most of them are on here two or three times. Yes, the double-disc appears to boast a whopping large mac of 45 songs, but look a little closer with your eYes, and you'll notice that there are actually only 28 DIFFERENT songs represented here. And not only is that a drag, jack -- that's a comedown.

I don't claim to speak for all Cramps fans -- just the ones who feel that the Cramps aren't actually very good. But it's cool; I'm tight with Kate and Charles (you'd know them as Poison Ivy Rorschach and Lux Interior), and they know I'm right. They even admitted to me that their last three studio albums blew ass on purpose because they're trying to lower the fanatical levels of expectation that have hounded them since The Freewheelin' Cramps and Another Side Of The Cramps. Hopefully this will be the year when they'll shoot right on back into shape with a comeback album straight outta lightnin'. So prepare to feel BLOOD ON THE heroin TRACKS on your arm, because this is - -see se eehhh pblbl.

(*Fires head joke writer*)

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Look Mom No Head! - Restless 1991.
Rating = 8

I'm leaning towards a 7 here, just so you know. This one is slightly less consistent than Stay Sick, with a few too many generic riffs ("I Wanna Get In Your Pants" is "Louie Louie," and if you've never heard the melodies of "Don't Get Funny With Me" or the atrociously uneventful "Bend Over, I'll Drive" before, then presumably you've never heard ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!!!).

No, not that Led Zeppelin song "Rock And Roll". I mean the entire genre. And if you haven't heard every single song in the genre, believe me - you've never heard ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!!! But let me continue. It's hard to get too angry at the generic ones because (REASON #1) as usual, the record is a stone cold hoot of retrospective goodtimes, (REASON #1) even the generic melodies are always played in rhythmically interesting ways, usually thanks to excellent guitar stylings by the missus and nice bass lines by a long-haired hippy freak named Slim Chance, and (REASON #1) the songs that aren't generic rockabilly are awesome songs. 4 Xample, "Eyeball In My Martini" is a high-speed, surprisingly cross-melodic little thing nearly unlike anything they've ever done, "Alligator Stomp" stomps alligators every bit as much as the title, "Alligator Stomp," with really growly vocals by Lux Interior, and "Blow Up Your Mind"'s entire verse consists of a drumbeat and a maniacally blast of heavy guitar feedback - during all three verses! This is neat stuff, and a nice break from the rockkinkbilly Axition.

As for the guitars, once again Poison Ivy lets the bass carry the weight so that she can tinker around with sounds, tones and massive string bends (check out the gorgeous, full string swoops in "Miniskirt Blues" - awesome!). And I don't know enough about drums to tell you whether Jim Sclavunos does much different than long-time drummer Nick Knox did (this is the first record without him), but I'll tell you how much I love the distressingly slow metallic pounding that marks the breaks in "Hardworkin' Man." He sounds like he's not on cocaine!

You know, it should be said that The Cramps are basically a novelty band. They started off doing something a little drippy and weird, but ever since Smell Of Female, the entire act has been so clean, joyous and predictable that they basically come across as about as genuine as Mojo Nixon. Which is to say NOT AT ALL. Nobody would ever mistake this stuff for real rockabilly - even the covers are performed so sterilely and recorded so pristinely that no muck of bygone ages is permitted to creep through and muck up the tape. I for one love the songs and they way they're played; I'm just saying that I totally understand why everybody lost interest in The Cramps the minute Alex Chilton and his basement-level production hit the low road. Why listen to fake rockabilly when there's so much REAL rockabilly to be found in old record stores and on reissue labels? And honestly, I'm pretty sure that The Cramps would agree with me on this one, judging from the high volume of fantastic obscure old songs that they choose to cover on every record.

Reader Comments
I want the Cramps to SOUND like the Cramps! They sound like the fuckin Stray Cats on this CD.
The earlier post dude says this sounds like the Stray Cats .... hmmm..... never heard anything like Hard Workin Man from Setzer pansies ... Just don't get it dude. PErhaps songs like I wanna get into your pants, slick and dirty, got their waves reoriented upon entering your cranium. Sad, since this is a solid album. It is understandable that by this time the purists were either off the bandwagon or tired of the new sound, but that is only because purists are usually immature youth-music listeners who wish things were like the old days while they sit and shit in their office bathroom and wish they could still get sex like ivy and lux. let see, the solid songs on this album besides workin man, are get in your pants, miniskirt blues, hipsville, and, of course, blow up your mind, which promised the new generation the truth. not a bunch of stupid lies like we would be told by the hippy rap, and the white snake lovers rampant at the time. in fact, this album lined them up well for what is probably their best album flamejob, where they would give us more truth, and tell the little kiddies to get fucked up

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Flamejob - Medicine 1994.
Rating = 4

Sometimes in life, you just gotta fold up the transvestism and call it a day. If Lamejob (ZINGER!) is any in-dick(ZINGER!)-ation, now is the time is now for The Cramps to crank up the jalopy and careen on down the trail, 23-skidoo they'll go. Maybe FOUR of these 15 songs display the energetic, slightly creative modern take on rockabilly that they gave us on the last two albums. The rest of it honestly sounds like nobody in the band has any interest at all. The tempos are too slow, Lux sounds like he's half asleep, the bass player is doing nothing but playing the exact notes that the guitar is playing, and the guitar? What is UP, Ivy homeslice? After two albums of givin' it all she got, she gives us NOTHIN'. Just NOTHIN'. No great slides, jerks, feedback - not even any interesting chord sequences or lead breaks! The band sounds like they're completely going through the motions with no real interest in the results or regard for the fans (if they had any left at this point). They don't even sound like they're trying to be cool, leading me to wonder if perhaps they were influenced a bit too much by Huey Lewis And The News' "Hip To Be Square," as every musician who has ever been in The Cramps has gone on record time and again to stress that that song is their main musical and lyrical influence. The problem with being so affected by a Huey Lewis And The News song is that Huey was always in it just for the money. He claimed he was "Workin' For A Living," but was he? I don't think so. I think he was born into a multinational corporation with a silver spoon shoving snow up his nose. And if he's not a cocaine addict, then at the very least, that Sports album is entertaining as shit.

I realize I shouldn't get into politics in the middle of a record review, but this is important. Not the Huey Lewis thing - I'm past that. I've moved on to this execution of this Timothy McVeigh fellow. Here is my political argument: My dog could have been in that building. Honestly, this isn't even true. He wasn't born yet. But I'm speaking hypothetically here. Let me start over. My fiancee could have been in that building. And now she could have been dead because of the political convictions of an asshole. But do I believe that Timothy McVeigh should have been executed by the state?

No. I believe that he should have been locked handcuffed and leg-cuffed into a room full of the victims' survivors. That's what I believe. That way, if any of them were man (or woman) enough to murder him, then they could take care of it in as violent, torturous and bloody a fashion as they'd like. If not, they could at least beat him up or slice off his peen or something before sending him back to spend the rest of his life in prison with all those monsters that were arrested for the violent crime of marijuana possession. I mean, what vengeance is there in watching a guy's heart stop while he's asleep, not feeling anything? Especially when his ghost will probably just come back and haunt you for the rest of eternity? No - it could have been done better, in a much more fitting manner. I'm not saying that this should be done for EVERY execution - but certainly ones for which I deem it necessary. As Dee Dee Ramone once said, "Let the punishment fit the crime." For example, when Pee Wee Herman got arrested for touching his tooter in an adult theatre, all of his victims should have been given the opportunity to give him mean-spirited hand jobs in retaliation.

Reader Comments
I really can't get behind the NEW sound at all. That being said, I love the version of Route 66. Yawn, that's about it..
I think you missed the point of this album. Go listen again. Engage brain. Appreciate

While I m a very biased fan of the Cramps I d actually rate this album as one of the best of the later albums (and yes I think much of Big Beat from Badsville and Dopes from Fiend Island was a bit weak). Flame Job has to be taken differently, its themed, some of the songs are superbly well written and they pay a nod to a variety of other influences than the usual Rockabilly and garage rock. I think to appreciate the Cramps you have to take on board everything particularly their views on the music industry, which they have always made explicit. The big issue for them was that momentarily Rock and roll was something primal and belonged to the teenagers and young people who created it. This lasted about five minutes before it was commercialised and brought under the control of the industry. Same with garage punk in the early sixties and so on and obviously for about a couple of years with punk rock in the seventies. I guess you know all this though, having looked at your pages briefly. Ever read any Adorno?

The point about the Cramps is they saw this happening with the punk scene and tried to reflect the things they liked in music. Yes they ve had commercial success (and were honest about it) but they ve always stood up for the people who wanted to create music for the right reasons. While much of what they have done could be described as just rehashing other peoples work Ė thatís what most rock n roll is after all- they ve turned a whole generation on to music that would have been likely lost forever.

I m not an apologist, Ive seen them do the odd ropey show, and I think some of the albums have a lot of filler. But they helped me find a whole world of music when I was a young teenager that I could never have found before (not many copies of Green Fuzz in the UK!).

But above all donít attach too much weight to it. Its music, its fun, its about not being too serious , not being Bono, just enjoy it and donít over analyse it. Why do you think they cite Surfin Bird as a favourite song?

As regards How to make a Monster Ė I bought it and enjoyed it Ė I would nt recommend it to anyone who wasnít a diehard fan though (except maybe the second live gig on the second disc)
I think most of your "critics" must have never listened to this album. every song on this mofo is a hit, a classic, a jam, a piece of r&b psychobilly genius. Their new drummer who was with them through Fiends, although looking like a pansy ass, helped breath some new energy into this project. This album is rad. I'm Customized makes me want to take my 350 out for a ride every time I hear it, let's get fucked up is a perfect message to give the world during the house party era (ending, however, see pharcyde), and swing the big eyed rabbit is another southern gem, and how about mean machine, a badsville foreshadowing blast, and sado, naked, trapped, inside out - are these fucking critics stupid or just talking about shit they never heard. a lot of old timers came back to the cramps with this album after being off since smell of female. now wonder. this album ranks with classics like mozart, mark twain, plato, aristotle, hegel, kant, the founding fathers and shit like that. this album is a fucking goddam masterpiece.
My fave Cramps CD. Sorry, I normally agree with you. Not so good afterwards though. Fiends... had to go back to the shop.

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Big Beat From Badsville - Epitaph 1997.
Rating = 4

Never mind what I just said about them should breaking up! I could go for another FIVE HUNDRED albums this boring!!!! Keep `em coming, guys!!!!!

"Badass Bug" features what might be Lux's greatest, most hilarious vocal delivery ever. And "Burn She-Devil Burn" has a wickedbass ass line. But most of these songs are brutal. Humiliating. Worthless. Everything you ever wanted in a rockabilly song, but stripped clean of all intriguing elements. This is definitely the worst album they've done yet - I came this close to giving it a 3, but I really love four of the songs (the two I already mentioned, plus "It Thing Hard-On" and "Wet Nightmare") so I'll let this lemon squeeze by, even though it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

If AfterM*A*S*H had had writers as good as me, it would still be on the air.

Reader Comments
Yeah, this one is pretty bad.. I'm a pretty big Cramps fan and I still cant listen to this one. After "Stay Sick" they made the same mistake the Ramones made in their later recordings. Both bands switched to playing louder and faster. This does not compensate for writing shitty songs. (Mike Harras)
Alright not their greatest, but it's still an improvement over Flamejob. Shitty songs? I think Ivy is only getting better, it's that sparse "stripped" quality that creates an exciting tension. And Lux? give him a break, he's what, 55 now? But hey, anyone with a Mamie Van Doren scrub-brush can't be all bad. I dip my fore-finger in the waterey blood of your impotent man redeemer and write over his thorn torn brow, "The true Prince of Evil, The King of the Slaves". (Brion Briggsh)
I personnaly like this album! Granted several of the songs are pretty boring the first five songs are all great rockabilly songs! queen of pain is marginal, monkey with your tail is pretty bad, devil behind that bush is marginal....well most of the album is marginal but I would at least give it a six. (Jason Hernandez)
Call me Mr. Fanboy Douchebag, but I think the Cramps have only made one really bad album (Flamejob) and I consider this one of their best. If I were the kinda person who threw parties, I might put this on at some point.

"It Thing Hard-On" is the song they keep in the live setlist and for good reason. Side 1 ends with a few dull ones, but side 2 is all good high brow entertainment. "Super Goo" makes me sing along like an idiot ("jelly jelly in the zoo...") and "Hypno Sex Ray" is one of their better straight rockabilly tunes.

And you gotta love the cover. The vinyl LP cover. Poison Ivy is in a different pose than in the CD cover photo.
The Big Beat is one of the most ridiculed of all Cramps albums. Officially old at the album's release, everyone and their fucking mother was looking for a reason to diss on the Cramps. why? because the sound on it was not so good, because they made a song for their legacy, because it was too fucking intelligent with Sheena, queen of pain, and hypno, devil behind that bush, and shit like that .... IRONIC - the Cramps swing back to a more punkish psychobilly and their fans think they got soft!? What a bunch of morons, .... Badsville is a perfect hybrid, it represents all the best from Flamejob and mixes in a Gravest hits sensation ... This album kicks ass. When you are done reminiscing about 1983-1986, or similarly about the Ramones and the late 70's - for those really fuckin old farts out there - listen to this album again, I know you will be surprised that MTV fucked your head up so much that you didn't even hear this album ... what are you going to do with that cane?

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The Secret Life of The Cramps - CLSC 2006
Rating = 5

This Australia-only release compiles 21 songs and 76 minutes worth of non-LP B-sides and live material recorded between 1985 and 1997, including:

2 songs from the 1985 Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? single
2 songs from the 1986 Kizmiaz single
1 song from the 1989 Bikini Girls With Machine Guns single
3 songs from the 1989 All Women Are Bad single
2 songs from the 1989 The Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon single
1 song from the 1991 Eyeball In My Martini single
1 song from Look Mom, No Head!. I've no clue why. Maybe it was left off the Australian pressing of that CD?
3 songs from the 1992 Blues Fix EP
2 songs from the 1994 Ultra Twist single
1 song from the 1997 Like A Bad Girl Should single
2 live versions of Flame Job songs
1 live version of a Gravest Hits song

As we dig a bit deeper, we see that these tracks include:

12 covers of songs by Dave "Diddle" Day, Jackie Lee Cockran, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Andy Starr, Dean Carter, Lee Dresser & the Krazy Kats, Tender Four, Captain Beefheart, Lightnin' Slim, Walter Brown, The Embers and The Trashmen
9 original compositions, including 7 non-LP songs and 2 live versions of LP tracks

Concentrating on the non-LP original compositions alone, we are disappointed to find:

1 "Gloria" ripoff
1 "Rumble" ripoff
1 "Hey Bo Diddley" ripoff
1 "Rubber Biscuit" ripoff
1 generic 12-bar rockabilly
2 others that are okay, I guess. One has Lux & Ivy singing together, which is cute. And the other one has a fun swooping-down bass line, I suppose.

Moving our focus to the cover tunes, we encounter such oddities as:

1 theme from the HG Lewis classic She-Devils on Wheels! Unfortunately it's kinda messy and out of tune.
1 lovely melodic pop song called "Beat Out My Love"
1 wonderfully jittery garage pebble called "Wilder Wilder, Faster Faster"
1 warm and woolly r'n'b song entitled "It's Mighty Crazy"
1 great Del Shannon-style double-guitar piece called "I Walked All Night"
1 15-minute live version of "Surfin' Bird" featuring a hilariously ridiculous and overlong section of Lux making silly mouth noises
1 song that totally blows, and some others that are fine or whatever. It's the Cramps doing rockabilly and r'n'b cover tunes; what do you think they sound like?

In short, this CD is an absolute must-own for Cramps completists, because it brings all these rare tracks into your home without necessitating a long and boring search for nine old singles. But if you're only a semi-Cramps fan, skip it. Too much of this material sounds exactly like the Cramps at their most mediocre: riffs you first heard when you were one second old, performed with great guitar tones but little spark or innovation.

In fact, the only thing keeping this CD from being a complete bore-a-thon snorefest sleepstravaganza is the always spirited vocal delivery of Erick Lee "Lux Interior" Purkhiser. Unfortunately, this exceptional rock and roll singer passed away on February 4, 2009 due to aortic dissection (a tear in the inner wall of his aorta caused blood to flow between the layers of his aorta wall, forcing the layers apart). He was 62, and had been in a relationship with Kristy Marlana "Poison Ivy Rorschach" Wallace for 37 years.

In conclusion, I'd like to share with you a little song I wrote about The Cramps.

by Mark "Duck's Posterior" Prindle

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
Why, those lousy scamps!

Lux Interior pulled out his butt
And wet dung rolled down the back of his nut
Ivy Rorschach whipped out her tush
And liquid brown shot all over her bush

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
We've joined two different camps!

Harry Drumdini pulled out his ass
Dropped a corn brownie of significant mass
Greg "Bryan Gregory" Beckerleg
Squeezed out a turd that made his pecker beg

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
Go get my nipple clamps!

Julien Grindsnatch pulled out his bum
Blasted brown baseballs so big he went numb
Brian "Kid Congo Powers" Tristan
Went #2 'cuz he was high on Dristan

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
Put their face on shit stamps!

Mike "Ike Knox" Metoff
Rubbed it on his pud so he could get off
Click Mort pulled out his hairy behind
Dropped 15 fudge pebbles and then pressed "rewind"

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
What a gross bunch of tramps!

Scott "Chopper" Franklin whipped out his tuckus
Covered the stage so they'd no longer book us
Shauna "Sean Yseult" Reynolds
Needs a more rhymable last name than "Reynolds"

The Cramps, The Cramps
Took a dump on my amps
The Cramps, The Cramps
What a gay bunch of vamps!

Tim "Touch Hazard" Maag pulled out his hole
Came nowhere near the toilet-ass bowl

Thanks, that was my little song about The Cramps. Please note that the first three verses are in 15/4 time.

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Fiends of Dope Island - Vengeance 2003.
Rating = 4

Why do they even bother having an "m" in their name anymore? Garage rock I'm fine with, and I can even deal with the basic 12-bar-blues chord progression, but at some point you have to put an actual HOOK in there. And this is something that the Cramps simply don't seem to realize. The three cover tunes are excellent -- why can't they WRITE songs like that anymore? The covers - The Wailers' "Hang Up," Margarita Lecuona's "Taboo" and Jerry Reed's "Oowee Baby" - are in the same style the Cramps play, but they have RIFFS too, instead of just plodding through the same exact chord progressions over and over and over again while Lux Inferior cusses awkwardly ("Elvis Fucking Christ!"). The one single big ol' bright shiny exciting day occurs at the very end of the CD, when they rip-roar into a catchy original high-speed punk rock tune called "Wrong Way Ticket." Sure, they let it drag on too long, but at least it shows some inspiration on the part of these aging disappointments. Have you ever visited a Stink Factory? This is a Stink Factory! It smells and is bad and is a Stink Factory! You put it in your CD exchange player and a Stink comes out! Because it's literally a Stink Factory! With blue collar workers in a union, and a middle management! They control the production of the Stink. If there is a union/management dispute, the production of Stink is halted briefly, but generally they work out an agreement and the workers get back on the assembly line to create more Stink. It's a trying life working in a Stink Factory, but luckily the majority of the workers make a decent living, even in this depressed economy, and can treat their families to a nice trip to the amusement park or dirty movie penny arcade every once in a while. One particularly articulate worker, James Forsythe, has argued that the assembly line he mans at the Stink Factory is comparable to the metaphorical "treadmill" of life, on which we are all forced to get up in the morning, go to work and prove ourselves to be successful members of society, only to go home and do the same thing again the next day. Although not going so far as to shun the IDEA of work as certain anarchist sub-groups have done, he nevertheless makes an accurate point about the dehumanization and maddening repetition inherent in an industrial society. Unfortunately, this is simply the way things have to be; pushing buttons and levers for a paycheck has replaced the hunting and gathering that our ancestors had to conduct daily just to SURVIVE. So truth be told, the workers should consider themselves LUCKY to have a steady job at the Stink Factory, and should be grateful to the Cramps for keeping them employed through regular requests for more and more shitty albums.

Reader Comments (Mike Harras)
Even though it seems most of the best Cramps songs aren't even their own compositions, they still do have something to offer after all these years. Dopefiend Boogie and Fissure of Rolando are terrific. I purchased this on vinyl & from what I heard off the Compact Disc, I made the right choice. Plus, it has different cover art of Lux really losing his head! 7/10 (Jonathan Haack)
Little idiot - you should keep your stupid opinions to yourself. The fact is, "Dope Fiends" (03) - is the BEST shit the Cramps have ever done. From your silly remarks about bridges and beats, I can tell you are some sort of lame punk-head who doesn't know rockabilly (which the Cramps have been for 15 years) when it hits him the face). Wrong Way Ticket is a great song, but so are the other 13. They played in town and they played a lot off this album recently and That kicked ass too.

The Cramps are like the only band that has not sold out. They are the most consistent ass holes around. I think you need to seriously need to also consider the amazing advancement from Fly to Rolando. Furthermore, Lux sings better than ever and Poison Ivy can stick her fluffy underwear in my face any day of the week. YOU - seriously got your head up your butt.

Aside from some really graphic song and album titles, the Cramps are a cool rockabilly/ psychobilly band. Dominoe, was originally called "Cat called Dominoe" and had nothing to do with Van Morrison. It was a cover of Roy Orbisons recorded in the late 50's with his Teen Kings. Rockabilly Rules
The Cramps started the whole psychobilly movement. They are fucking legends. you know nothing. You are a stupid fucking idiot. Get your head out of your ass.
Well, my post above somehow wound up on this site ... back when i thought opera was a good browser ... Anyways, everything about Fiends stands except for the fact that the "15" year date was a typo and was supposed to say "25." Anyways, this album was a fucking treasure - just when you thought you might get more clever and quiter badsville sounds, we got louder and better live shit than ever. studio produced this album is great. live - this album fuckin rocks. the cramps rocked the house in ABQ, NM and signed my blood red vinyl, on their new label, and looked fucking great. i almost asked poison ivy out but pussed out as my wife was there. her red underwear were in full force and lux was practically naked and choppper was a great fucking addition .... drumdini i hear has left ... he served the legacy well. anyways, this is hellrat and headrat setting the record straight.

The Cramps fuckin kick ass!

Peter Morgan
As a late teenager living in Brisbane Australia in the early eighties any young shaver aspiring to hipster status just had to like the usual crap like The Ramones, Saints, Stooges, Birdman etc, but this was the band that really did it for me, boy does this bring back some memories.

So more than quarter of a century later and with slavery to fashion no longer an issue how do they stack up.

I still think they were one of the more interesting bands to come out of the whole late seventies early eighties punk/indie scene.I much prefer them to the boring Ramones with that tedious heavy metal bubblegum sound.

They were record collectors who formed a band to play the kind of stuff they collected, obscure fifties Rockabilly and sixties garage but they were not entirely retro as the sound is modernised somewhat what a quasi seventies punk edge.Also they didn't ruin their sound by trying to play really fast, so the music is much more tough and raw than The Ramones, Pistols, Dolls etc.

In some ways the Cramps did to Rockabilly, what funhouse did to soul, so even today after all these years I still dig em'.

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