The Cramps – Songs The Lord Taught Us – [A few undisputable facts]

February 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

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A few undisputable facts about The Cramps.
The Cramps were, and still are the most deranged and dangerous band ever. There will never ever be a  cooler or better sounding alias than Lux Interor. Poison Ivy was (and still is) one of the sexyest women in rock’n’roll. Lux Interior & Posion Ivy have been together from 1972 until Lux left (t)his world 2009 (R.I.P). They were the one and only rock’n’roll couple, here’s your thought for Valentine’s Day (Of The Dead). The title of their first album, this album, is one of the greatest titles in rock music ever: remember to file under sacred music. They played in a mental hospital, and watching the tapes now, the only difference between the inmates and the band seem to be the instruments. They were outcast. They were ghouls of rock’n’roll feeding on the flesh of dead and long forgotten music, sucking out the excitement and danger of a genre that was later deprived of all of these juicy features. They were the Dr. Frankenstein of rock’nroll. They were the Frankenstein monster of rock’n’roll.  They told us how to be cool, in one easy lesson. The Cramps were not  ironic: though dripping with black humor and the sexyest sleaziest lyrics you may find around, they were dead serious at what they did. Pictures are worth many words on this issue. When they played in Italy for the first time ever in 1980 in Milan (supporting The Police, believe it or not), people were so astonished and puzzled that most of the audience was just staring at the stage, jaw to the floor: at the zombie dance nobody moved. True story. When me and my friend Alessio “The Baron” put together a band we couldn’t find a bass player: we decided that we didn’t need one, because The Cramps didn’t have one. I wasn’t a very good singer so I soaked my voice in echo, as Lux Interior always sounded like two (haunted) singers howling from a cave. Their drummer sounded like a robot and looked like a zombie. We didn’t have a drummer at first, so we played with a robot: a drum machine called Mr. Grady. When we found a drummer he said never held a pair of sticks before: we gave him a Cramps tape, and a week later we had our first rehearsal together.

A few words on Man Or Astroman: here. To this I may add that Destroy All Astromen! is maybe their best album (even if it’s not an album). Or at least it is my favorite…


Download Side-A /Download Side-B

Stream Side-A on MixCloud/Stream Side-B on MixCloud

Encoded from a TDK FE60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

[Side B] Man Or Astroman – Project Infinity / Propagandhi – Less Talk, More Rock [A pusher’s gift]

January 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

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Side B of this tape features simply the “best of” two records which I had on vinyl: tipically you would tape some of the songs you had on vinyl or CD so that you could listen to them on your Walkman. The process was much slower than covnerting or transferring files, and the lenght of the tape was another limit to your playlist. I wouldn’t go back to those days, but with hindsight those limits can be seen as qualities: the attention and dedication you put into choosing which songs to record, made for tapes that you’d literally tear apart by endlessly listening to them. Making a proper mixtape would take hours adding meaning and “aura” to the object itself. If you ever made a mixtape for someone you loved, you know what I mean.

However.

I bet almost every music enthusiat could recall where they bought almost every record they have: in fact I clearly remember the day I bought Project Infinity by Man Or Astroman. That day I went to my favorite record shop, New Zabrinskie Point and left with this Lp plus After Dark  by the mAKE uP and Dead Cool by Chrome Cranks (check’em out!) having spent all my money. I was happily broke. Later I checked with some friends at a park in Milan where notoriusly people went to buy and smoke weed and hang out. Police knew all about it, but for quite some time they didn’t bother too much. I saw a wallet on a bench. I sat down next to it and let it slide in my pocket. I met my friends, let it out and opened it: a fac-simile driving license with the picture of a north-african guy sporting a funny face and something like 300.000 Liras* in it: I had found the wallet of  a pusher. Of course, the thought of giving it back didn’t even cross my mind: we split the cash and had fun. Cherry on top: that day a dealer had paid for my music.

For the record: Man Or Astroman were an American surf-space-age-punk band, but that’s quite reductive, as they were one of the craziest nerdiest bands around in the 90ies. Check out their Wiki page for more infos!

Not much to say about Propagandhi now, more will come soon.

*300.000 Liras (roughly 150€) was quite a sum in 1996, specially for us kids: mind that for the three vynils I had spent less than 40.000 in all and THAT to me was already a lot of money.

Download Side B –  or Stream on MixCloud

Get to Side A

Originally recorded on a DK D-60 cassette.
Noise, cracks and hissing are intentionally left untouched.

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