This might not be the very best footage of The Cramps you’ll ever see—that designation would probably be bestowed upon the infamous video shot at the Napa, CA mental hospital in 1978—but it’s most probably the second best. Oh yes…
This is The Cramps—Lux, Ivy, Nick Knox and Kid Congo Powers—caught live at the Mudd Club in NYC, at their prime, in 1981. The source for this was a broadcast of Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube and it was apparently taped off the air. Recently it turned up on the Dime a Dozen torrent tracker and then on YouTube. I’ve owned—for about 25 years—a really good low generation dub of the final three songs, so to see the entire set is pretty glorious.
A few years ago, Paul Tschinkel teased the Internet by releasing a little bit of what he’s got and here’s what I wrote:
Since I was only ever able to catch a few of them on TV (I moved to NYC the year it went off the air), I was always on the look-out for bootlegs of a cable access program called Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube, perhaps THE greatest (I can’t imagine what would compare to it) underground video archive of late 70, early 80s punk, post-punk, No Wave and New Wave music that exists.
The Gun Club, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, The Cramps, Blondie, Talking Heads, James Chance and the Contortions, Johnny Thunders, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Dead Boys, The Ramones, Siouxsie and The Banshees… the list of bands seen on Inner-Tube goes on and on and on. Shows often shot in color, with two cameras and sound board audio. Performances taped at CBGB, Mudd Club, Danceteria, Max’s Kansas City, Irving Plaza and usually the camera was right up front.
Inner-Tube ran for ten years on Manhattan Cable (meaning that you could only watch it if you lived in Manhattan, the outer boroughs didn’t get it, TV Party, Midnight Blue or The Robin Byrd Show, either). Seriously, it was the best of the best. Unbelievable shit.
I’ve been waiting in vain for years, hoping for a proper DVD release of the “best of” Inner-Tube, but the rights issues would probably make that a nightmare. Now it looks like Tschinkel is starting to put some on YouTube. This should be encouraged!
I wrote that two years ago. Since then Paul has released precious little of his treasure trove on YouTube. Hopefully he’ll note the interest in this Cramps post and give us some more? Pretty please???
The sole downside of this amazing video is that Poison Ivy spends much of the time behind a big pillar, hidden from the camera. You do see her, but not as much as you might want to.
“Don’t Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk”
“New Kind Of Kick”
“The Green Fuz”
“Can’t Find My Mind”
“Goo Goo Muck”
“Natives Are Restless”
“Sunglasses After Dark”
“I Was A Teenage Werewolf”
If this doesn’t get you off, then you don’t like rock and roll… and get the fuck off this blog.