Monday, June 09, 2008

The Cramps – How To Make a Monster

Without a doubt, the biggest current influence on my 80’s musical career was the Cramps. I would dare say that I was attempting to do a 60’s-styled version of their band (as opposed to their 50’s psychobilly style). Of course, I had a million other influences which kept me from a single cohesive vision and things never quite worked out. Luckily, the Cramps did a much better job and were – and continue to be – an amazing rock’n’roll band.

This self-released 2 CD set mostly showcases the band’s formative years in the mid-70’s and has a variety of demos, rehearsals and live takes. Accordingly, the sound quality is overall what you would expect in a bootleg – or from rehearsal or live tapes made in the 70’s!

Yes, there is some amazing sloppiness – check out Lux’s guitar playing on “Lux’s Blues”! – but this also shows their consistency of vision right from the start. Ivy could really play, Lux could really sing, and while it took a while to pull together the rest of the band – convincing Brian Gregory of the importance of fuzz and obtaining the proper drummer, who turned out to be Nick Knox – the songs and concepts are there.

Though most of the first CD is early takes, there are some 80’s demos, with much improved sound quality. CD2 includes two live sets from ’77 and ’78 both of which are rockin’ and sound pretty darn good!

Definitely not a first purchase for novices, but for fans, this displays a great insight to this phenomenal band!