Posts Tagged ‘The Cramps’

Yeah it’s just what you need when you’re down in the dumps
One half hillbilly and one half punk
Big long legs and one big mouth
The hottest thing from the north to come out of the south
Do you understand? do you understand?

The Cramps, Garbageman

Okay, it’s just about Halloween. Between a deadly pandemic and the looming election, most likely many of you are already sufficiently spooked. But since those other things will still be hanging over our heads for a while, I thought we’d head towards more typical Halloween fare today. 

Well, a little more typical.

In a couple of prior years here on the blog, I have played a couple of songs from The Cramps, a now defunct band that emerged the legendary punk scene in NYC in the late 1970’s. The Cramps had their own look and schtick, a brand of macabre psychobilly that just made them a perfect fit for Halloween. Their first album in 1980, Songs the Lord Taught Us, had a host of weird but wonderful songs like I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Zombie Dance, The Mad Daddy, and TV Set, which is a gruesome but highly singable ditty about a cannibalistic serial killer.

I bought the album it on vinyl when it came out and have really enjoyed it periodically through the years. I say periodically because I believe a steady diet of it might be detrimental to my overall state of mind. That would no doubt please The Cramps.

One of my favorites from that album is Garbageman. It’s a song I revisit quite often when I want to get my engines revved a bit. I seem to always end up stomping around the studio, yelling, ” Do you understand? Do you understand?”

I thought I’d share it along with a great cover of it from the legendary rock vocalist William Shatner. Who can ever forget his cover of Rocket Man? He did this version of the song with The Cramps on a single whose cover, shown above, that employs the iconic artwork style from the cover of their greatest hits album, Bad Music For Bad People.

Actually, the Shatner version is not bad. A lot of kitschy fun. And in these weird and wild days, can’t we all use some of that?

Enjoy. And try to have a good day. And be careful — a lot of weirdos out there!

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I Was a Teenage Werewolf

Another Halloween rolls around and I’m on the road today, delivering my show to the Kada Gallery in Erie in advance of my show that opens there next Saturday.  I thought I’d throw out some scary music but there isn’t a great selection of monster themed music.  Oh, there’s the Monster Mash but that gets played to death this time of the year, like Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer at Christmas.  And the Addams Family or Munsters themes are memorable but not what I’m looking for.

But there are the Cramps.

The Cramps emerged out of the NY punk scene of the 70’s with a distinct sound  that influeneced by rockabilly and the B-Horror movies of the 50’s.  Two guitars and a small drum kit- no bassist- and a leader called Lux Interior and a girl guitarist/femme fatale named Poison Ivy, the Cramps’ music was often called psychobilly.  Many of their songs paid direct homage to old horror flicks, like Human Fly and the one I’m highlighting here, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, which starred  a very young Michael Landon in a pretty kitschy story.  But the Cramps created some high energy creeptastic stuff out of some hokey films.  Below I Was a Teenage Werewolf is a performance by them  from 1981 at NYC’s Mudd Club.  The first is The Natives Are Restless and the second is their macabre TV Set.  It’s a neat slice from an interesting time.

Have a very spooky Halloween!

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