Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Cramps, live at Napa State Mental Hospital - The Way I Walk


In June 1978, the Cramps, a pioneering New York-based rock band who blend the primitive twangy stomp of rockabilly with the attitude and willful perversity of punk, were touring the West Coast and discovered they'd been lined up with perhaps the most unusual gig of their career. The Cramps were booked to play a show at the Napa State Mental Hospital, a facility for the emotionally challenged, and found themselves facing an audience that was half smuggled-in punk fans and half in-patients whose reaction to the performance was often vocal and demonstrative. A cameraman from the punk-oriented video collective Target Video was on hand with a primitive black-and-white camera, and the results became the infamous The Cramps: Live at the Napa State Mental Hospital. As the band faced a truly unusual audience, it roared through a handful of songs, including "Human Fly," "Love Me," "Domino," "The Way I Walk," "What's Behind the Mask," and "T.V. Set."


irene mccollam said...

this is incredible. one of my all time favorite bands. how in the world did they get that gig? do you know the story behind this?

John M. said...

Hi Irene!

All I could find I just posted above. I had trouble with that NYT link, which was more or less the same as above, so I just scrapped it and found the original.

Everything else I can find online is the same writeup, word for word.