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The Cramps - Live at Napa State Mental Hospital DVD (Cover Artwork)

The Cramps

The Cramps: Live at Napa State Mental Hospital DVDLive at Napa State Mental Hospital DVD (2004)
Music Video Distributors

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: joegjoeg
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If you're in a band and were thinking about places to play, in all likelihood the state mental institution would probably never have crossed your mind. Well, for whatever reason, the Cramps thought it would be a good idea to not only play it, but bring along the Target Video film crew as well to doc.
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If you're in a band and were thinking about places to play, in all likelihood the state mental institution would probably never have crossed your mind. Well, for whatever reason, the Cramps thought it would be a good idea to not only play it, but bring along the Target Video film crew as well to document it. In June of 1978, they made the trip from New York to play the California State Mental Hospital in Napa, CA. What unfolds is truly one of the most bizzarre scenes ever. But then again, this is the Cramps we're talking about, so maybe it shouldn't be all that surprising.

The black and white footage jumps straight into a scene from "One Who Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest." It's a surreal moment as the band starts to play "Mystery Plane" and a dozen or so patients are just wandering around. One man is hopping around in a dress while another lady walks across the stage scratching her head in confusion. And behind them is the hospital staff clearly amused by it all.

But within the first couple songs, the Cramps fuzzy, sleazy style of rockabilly/psychobilly starts to win over the crowd. The audience really gets into it as some grab the mic and randomly scream into it. One patient to the left of the stage is in full spazz out mode. Singer Lux Interior is the consummate showman, constantly moving around on stage, shoving the mic into his mouth while taking turns dancing with some of the female patients. He comments midway through the set "Somebody told me you guys were crazy…I'm not too sure about that." And at that moment, if you didn't know the context behind the film, you could've guessed it was just another early Cramps show and not be that far off. The end of the set is there before you know it, but the crowd, or at least the ones who were paying attention, is treated to an entertaining rock'n'roll show.

Despite the rudimentary stage setup and equipment, the band comes off tight and professional. The set is only 20 minutes, but they manage to play such classics as "The Way I Walk," "Human Fly" "Domino" and "TV Set." Poison Ivy is cool and calm as always and guitarist Bryan Gregory is obviously getting a kick out of the whole thing.

The video and audio quality is what it is -- footage from 1978 filmed with a ½-inch Sony port-a-pak black and white camera so don't expect too much. Nonetheless, the film has held up over the years. It's certainly not unwatchable and actually pretty decent towards the latter parts of the set.

The "extras" on the DVD amount to nothing more than 20 minutes of advertisements of other videos Target offers. Included are a bunch of live clips of Flipper, Crucifix, MDC, and Crime (playing a prison).

Any Cramps fan would enjoy this, but it's hard to recommend this as a buy for everybody else simply because it's such a short set and that's it. But if you're looking for a rental, give it a try just to see what this was all about.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 18, 2006)

what's inside a girl?

BrandonSideleau (February 13, 2006)

I'd love to get a DVD verswion of the SCREAMERS live at the Camarillo Mental Institution......considering it's now a college.....the one which I happen to attend lol. I'm not sure what part of the campus used to be used for shows though.....FEAR and a few other big punk bands apparently played there as well.

xote (February 13, 2006)

dude below me you are one sick fuck but the thing is your right

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

I would love to take advantage of a hot, mentally-challenged girl. Unfortunately, there are very few of those in the world today. I bet they moan pretty good too.

-phdecontrol

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

I just want to second the emotion. I've got the video, and its very good. I had a bootleg years ago, which was practically unwatchable, and the new release isn't exactly like Pick Floyd in SACD 5.1 Surround Sound or whatever, but then its that good that it doesn't need to be. Check out 'How to Make a Monster' on CD too.

xote (February 12, 2006)

This sounds fucking awesome I have to get this.

the_other_scott (February 12, 2006)

hey rkl. go get a debit card. it'll work as a mastercard or a visa, but you don't need good credit to get one.

rkl (February 12, 2006)

joeg, no credit card for me :(
when i was 18, i was flooded with credit card applications. 5 years later, i cant get one at all.

joeg (February 12, 2006)

"i don't think the cramps are from new york. aren't they from ohio or indiana or some shit?"

i think lux and poison ivy were in ohio for a brief period but new york was where they actually formed the full band.

joeg (February 12, 2006)

hey rkl try netflix or blockbuster online.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

i don't think the cramps are from new york. aren't they from ohio or indiana or some shit?

rkl (February 12, 2006)

where exactly would i rent this?

givemeamuseumandillfillit (February 12, 2006)

I absolutley love this one.

joeg (February 12, 2006)

"This review has the historical aspect really messed up. Napa actually thought punk shows would be good therapy for their patients. Other punk bands (like the Skulls) played there"

really? that's an interesting approach as a form of therapy. i was actually thinking about that when i was writing the review. i'm glad you brought that up.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

This review has the historical aspect really messed up. Napa actually thought punk shows would be good therapy for their patients. Other punk bands (like the Skulls) played there.

-Will

SlackMFr (February 12, 2006)

Long Live The Cramps!! (Although nowadays, the look like the walking dead!)

etwiels88 (February 12, 2006)

The motherfucking Cramps

inagreendase (February 12, 2006)

This sounds really interesting.

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