The Cramps

LIVE –  NAPA MENTAL STATE HOSPITAL

On June 13, 1978, Garage punk band 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 experiments 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  I hope this video will be not considered so outraging and that people who have mental health problems will no longer be ostracized from the rest of society. This was done with utmost respect to the patients, hope you watch it with that respectful point of view too.

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.

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                        The Cramps are (were) Lux Interior (RIP) and Poison Ivy.

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Tobe Damit

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