The Importance of Being Cramped

Yep, there they are: Poison Ivy, Lux, and the other two that everyone has to Google. Credit: kentarotakizawa

Yep, there they are, Poison Ivy, Lux, and the other two that everyone has to Google. Credit: kentarotakizawa

About three months ago, Spoon did a cover of The Cramps “TV Set” for the Poltergeist remake. Also, on that note, why is it that anytime in the past two years that pop music’s wanted to acknowledge Goth Rock royalty it’s come in the form of truly forgettable movie soundtracks? But in any case, I was caught completely off-guard by Spoon’s late night Conan performance the first time I saw it. Even today when I heard it the song again on radio I’m still haunted by that cover. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great take from, what was for me a totally unexpected source, but it likely has more to do with being the first good bit of Cramps news in a long time. Maybe the last we’ll ever get after frontman Lux Interior’s truly unfortunate death in 2009. And if you don’t get what’s so important about the band, here’s why I like ’em: because they’re so consistently good. I’ve witnessed a legitimate argument between whether their cover of “Goo Goo Muck” or late period original composition “Creature of The Black Leather Lagoon” was the more “definitive” Cramps song. It didn’t matter of course, because no matter what they did, they were still uniquely and indisputably The Cramps. Their rockabilly voodoo gave the world Garage Punk, for Elvis’s sake! If one looks at the album cover for Songs The Lord Taught Us, they wouldn’t just tell you they look like the punk version of Queen, they’d know deep down in their miserable little guts that they are the punk version of Queen. They’re a band that snagged the legendary Alex Chilton, spit out a pretty by the numbers compilation, and still turned it into their most famous work. That’s why The Cramps matter so much after all. No matter how many times you kill ’em, you’d better watch your back come 3AM. You just might find they don’t stay so dead. Below I’ve embedded part of the creepiest and best use of The Cramps’s music on film (fret not; it isn’t Poltergeist) from the 1987 cult classic Near Dark. For best results, crank it loud on your own TV Set. NSFW language and content ahead.

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