What’s this? A random, non-topical post on The Cramps? That’s right. Maintaining non-topical irrelevance is the very raison d’etre of Gemini Spacecraft. Besides, some pretty ace footage has recently surfaced catching Lux & Ivy and their various cohorts in their prime, back before they trafficked in sorta hokey self-parody, that stuff of middle-aged rock 'n' roll.
The first clip originally ran as a wrap-up story for a local Memphis news show, circa 1977, when the band was there in Bluff City cutting those first sessions at Phillips Recording with Alex Chilton. I first saw it sometime in the mid-90s, when author/documentarian Robert Gordon included it in his collection of Memphis music shorts he called “Banned, Burned, & Forgotten” (or something like that), which he showed during his book tour for It Came From Memphis. Yes, I know the footage is kinda rough. But the band rocks! And check out Bryan Gregory! Dig Axl Chitlin’s effete, southern stoner accent. Then of course, there’s the story's end, when you get to hear the Memphis tv journalist announce The Cramps' show at the Orpheum, all those year ago. Of particular interest is that moment when the news guy mentions the other bands on the bill that night. How often to ya get to here a “The Clits” on TeeVee? Is it just me, or did journalism have more integrity back then?
The second clip catches the band in ’81, with Kid Congo Powers in tow, playing a smokin’ version of their “hit” version of the Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads tune “Goo Goo Muck.”