Local Wire

The Cramps

Few bands have made the trashy side of rock 'n' roll feel dirtier or more inviting than The Cramps, a psychobilly force of nature with a Ph.D. in EC comics, drive-in movies, striptease sexuality, and the fuzz-guitar genius of Nuggets. With Lux Interior channeling Elvis as the undead, G-string-wearing host of local scary-movie programming, and Poison Ivy on guitar and fishnets, their earliest records hold up as the quintessential trash-aesthetic masterpieces of the early '80s' all-too-brief flirtation with music that actually rocked — from the crypt-keeping promise of "Songs the Lord Taught Us" through the loincloth-rocking "Psychedelic Jungle" to a way-too-early greatest-hits collection with a title that says everything about what made The Cramps so damned endearing in the first place: Bad Music for Bad People. And while even diehard fans would argue that their latest records can't compete with "Goo Goo Muck," they never lost it live. Kid Congo Powers, who played on "Psychedelic Jungle" and some other early sessions, says he saw them recently, "and it's totally fresh; hands down, the best live band I've seen in years."
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ed Masley