Wednesday, May 20, 2009

THE CRAMPS – “ALL TORE UP” ’79 DEMOS

On my previous site/blog I wrote about how THE CRAMPS were the one band who wholly changed my musical taste (which for all intents and purposes, is the same as saying they changed my life). After hearing “Garbageman” and “Goo Goo Muck” on college radio in the early 80s, and then seeing their insane stage-wrecking performance of “Tear It Up” in URGH: A MUSIC WAR, well, that did it for me – that was it, The Cramps were it, and I wanted to hear anything else I could that was this unabashedly wild and raw. I believe at one point or another in my life I’ve owned just about every pre-1985 record in their catalog, including over a dozen bootlegs, but there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Why it has not been given official release with great fanfare, and is not physically in the hands of everyone reading this, is a mystery for the ages. I wish I could say “Of course you know I’m talking about The Cramps’ 1979 Alex Chilton Ohio demos", but there’s a very good chance you’ve not heard of these, am I right? Well, all I can say is this collection of crisp, loud and extremely crazed 1979 demos blow clean away any official Cramps release, and that includes “Songs The Lord Taught Us” and “Psychedelic Jungle”. I’ve gone on record as calling it the greatest bootleg of all time, and now I’ll tell you why.

I own this collection as an LP called “All Tore Up” (pictured), but it has also been unofficially released as an LP called “Ohio Demos” and a 3x7” box set called the same thing, as well as a CD called “All Tore Up” with a different cover than the one that is pictured here. Every song is a total raw-assed blast, full of hot fuzz and ultra-reverbed chords, as well as minimalist drumming recorded so up front & alive you’ll swear that Nick Knox was an understated genius (as I do). The lineup includes what are arguably their best set of tunes not called “Human Fly” or “The Way I Walk”; they are: Teenage Werewolf/Jungle Hop/Mad Daddy/Rockin' Bones/What's Behind The Mask/Sunglasses After Dark/All Tore Up (also known as “I Can’t Hardly Stand It”)/Twist And Shout (essentially what later became “Drug Train”, but with totally different lyrics)/Uranium Rock/Subwire Desire (this was on the “Psychedelic Jungle” LP as “Under The Wires”)/Mystery Plane/T.V. Set. Everything that was great about 1950s rockabilly was vacuumed up and then owned by The Cramps, and they happened to infuse what was already a wild form with a simultaneous punk rock abandon and a sense of detached cool that made for a pretty goddamn compelling package. You’ll never hear them better than on this collection; the set that came out soon thereafter as “Songs the Lord Taught Us” sounds so thin and lifeless by comparison – and I love that record.

When Lux Interior died earlier this year, I have to be honest, it was the first time I’ve ever been seriously and truly bummed to my core about a “rock star death”. Usually these people are such an abstraction to me – paid entertainers that I’ve never known and never will know, and who usually are well past their creative powers when they expire. I try to take a pretty sober & realistic view on death in any case – after all, it afflicts 100% of the population. But Lux was different. He & Ivy were such beacons of unrefined taste, and these amazingly giving cultural pied pipers who led thousands of people to incredible cultural riches that were just out there, waiting to be heard and seen. Knowing what that sort of musical leadership meant to me, and being totally unaware that the man had health issues, I was pretty startled the night he passed away. I got all maudlin on Facebook and Twitter as I drank my sorrows away (OK, I was already drinking at a bar in Boston when I found out).

Here are the complete 1979 Ohio demos, a.k.a. the “All Tore Up” LP, zipped up into one convenient package for you.

Download THE CRAMPS – “All Tore Up” LP (zip file)

16 comments:

Andy said...

Awesome post. Do you happen to have a track listing? Thanks!

Cheers,
Andy

sdd said...

Thanks Jay!

Jay said...

Andy, I listed the names of the tracks within the post - and then once you download it, the tracks are all listed within the zip file. Enjoy!

Andy said...

Got it. The track info came up blank in iTunes, and I wasn't sure if the songs were in order within the post. Thanks again, Jay. You have a mighty fine blog here.

1009 said...

Thanks for this. Coming to the Cramps really late, but most of the bands I love cite them as an influence. Especially glad to hear the rawer stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jay

http://kicksville66.blogspot.com/

Dave said...

This is indeed some of the finest stuff I ever did hear. Bought a copy on LP on ebay after you listed this last time. Thanks!

The Sweetest Psychopath said...

Great review of an Amazing piece of vinyl history !!!
The greatest bootleg of all time...
absolutely !!!
Thanks for posting this...
and allowing us to download the LP.

d. said...

are these demos on the "how to make a monster" dbl cd?

Jay said...

D- no they're not, but that's another essential piece of CRAMPS history. Strongly recommended.

d. said...

nice. thanks! cool blog

seconefan said...

cool blog!!!lux we will miss you!!! youll love this band --MECHANIQUE
www.myspace.com/mechaniquemusic

Gangland Mafia said...

listened to these guys since i was thirteen and tbh its the only band i still listen to from that time.
thanks for pputting this up i lost all my original vinyl collection in a nasty split so this is a welcome find
you made my day :)

lux we all love ya

uglyradio said...

Thanks so much for putting this up.
I've been seeing this around on vinyl and was curious.
You are 100% correct - these tracks flat-out fucking rock!
Also, I echo your sentiment re: Lux's passing. I still get incredibly sad when I think that there wont be any more Cramps records. One of my fondest memories is seeing the Cramps live on my birthday and having Lux sweat flung on me.
When I heard he died, I was at the station I DJ at and it was nice to be around people to whom I didn't have to explain who he was. Everyone was similarly bummed.
Here's a link a Cramps tribute show I did shortly after he died:
http://tinyurl.com/dhu8zm

Anonymous said...

dead link. :(

Anonymous said...

fyi, Alex Chilton has nothing to do with the ohio demos