“Somebody told me you people are crazy! But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me.”—Lux Interior
On June 13, 1978 The Cramps gave a free concert at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa. It is, simply put, one of the single greatest rock and roll moments ever captured on videotape (in this case, on a half-inch open reel Sony Portapak by Joe Rees and his Target Video outfit). Also on the bill were The Mutants from San Francisco.
One hundred years from now this video will be as iconic as The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But enough description, HIT PLAY AND WATCH IT, ALREADY!
Artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard meticulously recreated this event (and the video itself) as an elaborate art project at the ICA in London in 2003. Forsyth and Pollard’s “Cramps” also performed in front of an audience comprised of psychiatric patients in their “File under Sacred Music” re-staging of the infamous 1978 gig.