Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Live at Napa State Mental Hospital

“We’re The Cramps, and we’re from New York City, and we drove 3,000 miles to play for you people.”

The Cramps : Strychnine


On June 13, 1978 The Cramps performed a psycho-billy concert for the enthusiastic residents of Napa State Mental Hospital. 

Lux Interior:

We always wanted to play at a mental institution because we always had a problem with audiences not being quite what we'd like them to be. We thought if we went to a mental institution, the audience would contribute --and they really did! There were male and female inmates humping each other on the ground. It was the most bizarre show we've ever done. Those people just went crazy -- doing everything you'd imagine people in mental institution would do. There were people licking the walls, people laying on top of each other and coming up and talking to us while we were playing , but mainly it was people dancing the weirdest dances you've ever seen.

It also strikes me as an incredible humane gesture by the Cramps. Is there anything that make people feel more free, or lifts them form their troubles than music? Residents were allowed to share the stage, even the microphone, with the band. There was so little separation between audience and performers, some patients thought The Cramps had come from the T Ward, where terminal patients lived. 11 patients escaped briefly during the show, perhaps seeking even a greater sense of freedom.

The Nomads, a punk band out of the Bay Area, also performed a set that day.

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