Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Messer Chups........WITH OLEG GITARKIN !

Only available as a download.
Now, this is a bit of a scoop as I managed to get hold of the main man himself for this post, none other than one of St Petersburgs finest and a third of the fabulous Messer Chups..Mr Oleg Gitarkin ! I would imagine (and hope) that most of you would be familiar with this long standing and ever so prolific Russian based combo, not to mention the seriously rockin' side projects of The Gitaraculas and The Bonecollectors....if not, you are in for a treat and a half ! Messer Chups started out originally as a formation called Messer Fur Frau Muller way back in the late 90's, 98 or there abouts, eventually morphing over the years into what we now know as the classic core line up of Oleg Gitarkin and Svetlana Zombierella.

Attack of the 50ft babe !
The major turning point in direction for the group came in 2005 when Zombie Girl (Svetlana) joined Oleg, together slowly steering the sound away from the more experimental side of things and adopting a solid guitar based approach, blending this with a heavy Surf influence and more than a generous helping of Rockabilly, throw in imagery from their love of classic Universal and Hammer horror movies, 50's & 60's Sci-Fi, a bit of Tiki Exotica, some campy, kitsch trash and you've a mix which can't go wrong !
Amazingly productive, Oleg has released 15 albums with Messer Chups, some 14 albums or so with Messer Fur Frau Muller plus albums with The Gitaraculas & Bonecollectors, not forgetting credits to film scores. And just check out the dozens of groovy videos they've produced, most of which can be found on youtube and various sites, all well worth seeing !
Zombierella is no slouch either when it comes to filling her time, when not touring or recording she's a pretty mean DJ and can be found filling the dancefloors in clubs around Europe spinning sounds from her own vinyl collection.

We asked Oleg a few questions about the influences and plans for the band and here's what he had to say !

Go Go Gorilla !
Musically, what were your influences in getting started before Messer for Frau Muller? what were you listening to as a teenager growing up in St Petersburg ?

I listened to a lot of teen music by Elvis Presley, Ministry, Front 242, Marlene Dietrich, the Cramps, Sisters of Mercy, Coil and so on. 

Back in the mid 90's, Bomp released a compilation of Surf & Instrumentals called 'Surfbeat behind the Iron Curtain' were you aware that underground groups played these styles in Russia and the Eastern European states during the 60's and later ? and did they influence you in anyway ?

I'm not particularly interested in the youth that played in the 60's Russian groups or what was on the plates of something in the 60's because any music sounded good then.

Prometheus anyone ?
You're obviously a big fan of film 'Noir', the Universal horror movies, 50's and 60's Trash film culture, but could you tell us a little more about the cinematic influences on your music from the Russian movie scene ?

Russia didn't film any horror in the 60's but shot a lot of comedy and science fiction, which even Stanley Kubrick gets excited about, like the movie --- Planet of Storms !

You are a very busy guy, between making music with your bands, touring, working as a commercial composer, producing the videos for your music and running your label Gitaracula Records, how do you find the time for all of this, we assume you must sleep sometimes..............unless !

I sing a lot but I have enough time to do it all.  I just do not do too much of anything, but just the fact that I like to play concerts and record music is fun and it doesn't take up a lot of time, I spend weeks not knowing what to do !

Ahhh, Mr Gitarkin......we've been expecting you !
Can you tell me a little about how you come up with the ideas for your vast number of videos ? obviously a lot of work goes into these (I've spent way too many hours on Youtube with them).
Miscellaneous video was filmed at different times, usually the clips are very simple ideas when I'm on track to finish a script, although not always thought out completely when putting them together but it's always very fast and primitive because I'm too lazy to make something complex.
Get it on vinyl folks !

You've been around recording now for over 20 years and there has been a slow evolution towards a much more surf orientated sound (even though there are heavy rockabilly influences) especially in the last few albums......why the slow move away from using the theremin, the exotica/loungey sound and less of all the sampling and mixing ?
I do at the moment what I like the most, it's that just like that and try to come up with a classic approach, I think all musicians move forward.

What modern bands do you guys listen to at the moment, if any ? Are you aware of The Space Agency (former Vibrasonic) and the music of Simon Jones ?
No, I do not know many of these modern surf bands I like the Fathoms but we listen to a lot of music.
Just like a 1940's movie poster.

This is a subject very dear to my heart, we love all the albums that you have put out over the years even though they can be very hard to get hold of but why are only 4 LPs on vinyl ? (including one Frau Messer LP) 
Seriously Oleg, you design beautiful covers which would look so much better on a vinyl LP sleeve ! any plans to release the back catalogue on vinyl ?
We have three vinyl and two 45's soon we will be releasing a new album, 'THE INCREDIBLE CROCOTIGER'...regarding reissuing old albums, I'm not interested, I like to do something new !

With your label Gitaracula Records, did you set it up for just your own projects or will you use it to release other bands material ?

Gitaracula records is only for our own projects,  I don't plan to publish other people's music.
You guys are always well received when playing in Europe, what about America, how do you think you go down over there ?
The last time we had a problem with America, we've been denied visas twice now, it's a problem for Messer Chups probably because we're unknown Russians ? but we really want to play in America !

Easy Tiger !
Question specifically for Zombierella, How do you feel about being the pin-up for the band ? part Betty Page, part Morticia Addams and part Vampira, your look is great, is this how you are in your daily life ?
Zombierella is........ Zombierella
Grab the album 'Bone To Bone'

Do you find that writing music comes easily to you ? Does the group write songs collectively ? Who comes up with the ideas and themes ?
I compose myself and come up with all of the music, for me it's very easy and simple, Zombierella writes all the text with our friend Voxter,  ideas always come quickly and easily.

Can you tell us a bit about The Bonecollectors and The Gitaraculas, both albums are fantastic but again no vinyl releases and both of these albums would be perfect for LP releases ! Zombierella's vocals work really well for this type of rockabilly (The Bonecollectors).......did you know she could sing before this ?
Yes, and at a future date, we plan to record a new Bonecollectors album.

Who designs your posters (Tour, promotional etc), there are some fantastic pieces of art......short of stealing them off of the walls in the venues, is there anywhere where we can buy them ?
A lot of people come up with the designs and  lazy list,  but I've also began to make designs too.

Do you have any plans for a dedicated Messer Chups / Gitaracula Records website ? Some of us (me included) don't use facebook and would probably find it a lot easier keeping up if all the info, releases, tour dates, merchandise etc were in one place.
May do in the future, at the moment we haven't a lot of time to do this, just have to use face book for the time being.

Can you tell us about any news for upcoming releases ?
New release from Messer Chups....  very soon in March 2015 spring nazyvatsya is 'The Incredible Crocotiger' we plan to release it on cd vinyl mp3.

One last question.......What is Zombierella's phone number ?
666-66-66 calls after midnight.....

  • Miss Libido (2000) MC, CD
  • Bride Of The Atom (2000) MC, CD
  • Vamp Babes (2000) MC, CD
  • Black Black Magic (2002) CD
  • The Best Of Messer Chups: Cocktail Draculina (2002) CD
  • Crazy Price (2003) CD
  • Vamp Babes Upgrade Version 2004 (2004) CD
  • Crazy Price (new version) (2005) CD
  • Hyena Safari (2005) CD
  • Hyena Safari (2nd version)(2006) CD
  • Zombie Shopping (2007) CD
  • Best of The Best (2008) CD/LP
  • Heretic Channel (2009) CD/LP
  • Bermuda 66 (2010) CD
  • Surf Riders from The Swamp Lagoon (2011) CD
  • Сhurch of Reverb (2012) CD/LP
  • Jokermobile (2014) 7"
  • Rockin' Zombie (2015) 7"

Big Thanks to Oleg Gitarkin and Can't wait for the album.

Cheers !

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bit of a round up, Munster raving Loony party dates, new releases !

Time to be thinking about getting the factor 75 out folks, at least for the pale  & pasty like myself! and for what better reason than to head off to The Munster Raving Loony Party.....3 Days of Garage, R 'n' R and low down partying at Camping Arc De Bara, Roda De Bara on the beach, just south of Barcelona ! From Thursday 30th April to Sat 2nd May. 
Killer line-up with The Masonics, The Rippers, The Jackets, Thee Gravemen, Thee Jezebels,  Miss Ludella Black, The Pukes, The Cheating Hearts, Las Merlenes,  Charm Bag, Biz Naga, Go! Zilla, Leadfoot Tea & Fernando Smogger and some new band called The X-Men ?
Click on the link for ALL the details of how much (50 Euros for 3 days !), Airports and transport links, camping and chalets, full band line-up......And the bearded ladies DJing !

Cramps inspired weirdness.

1st album.
New album from Blackpool's scariest duo, out on 'Slime' green vinyl too no less....following on from where their 1st album 'Boneyard A Go Go' left off. They cover The Cramps 'The Crusher', 'New Kind Of Kick, 'Sunglasses After Dark', 'Zombie Dance' and 'I Was A Teenage Werewolf' as well as Alan Vega's 'Jukebox Babe' and 'Ghostrider'......On Boneyard A Go Go they had covered 'The Natives Are Restless', 'Under The Wires' and 'Strychnine' also a different version than on 'It's Fun To Be A Monster' of 'New Kind Of Kick'.  
Checkout their website for details and all kinds of fun things!
Those fine people over at Big Beat have released a vinyl version Dean Carter's 'Call Of The Wild' and if you're quick enough you may get a copy of the Orange vinyl edition (I got mine at 'No Hit Records', just click on the link in the panel on the right !).
Incidently, the CD came out in 2002.
14 Tracks (28 on the CD, so why no double album ?) of mayhem from this certifiable lunatic. I'm guessing he got the dials on his time machine a bit mixed up as he looks as if he's stepped out of the 1950's only thing is that these recordings were made in the very late 1960's...So while Vanilla fudgepackers and assorted hippies were dominating the airwaves, this looper is belting out class A Rockabilly !   Talk about turning up late for the party !
Now here's little thing to get all you punksters and mad collectors a bit hot under the collar, over at Squoodge Records :
Be quick or miss out !

There's the chance to get your hands on some super limited edition vinyl 7"s, one a month in fact with only a 100 (yep, just a hundred) copies being pressed. At 166.80 Euros for the 12 this isn't bad value !  Exclusive tracks from Bloodshot Bill, Marcel Bontempi, Bill Fadden & Dangerous Curves, King Salami & The Cumberland 3 as well as the ever prolific Mr Billy Childish among others means that these will be in demand....well worth the investment in my eyes !If you don't know Squoodge then you're probably missing out on something! They are a mail-order company and a high quality record pressing service, producing some of the best limited editions of Garage, Rockabilly and Punk vinyl on the planet...their attention to detail is second to none !

Soon, Soon, Soon !
News about the long awaited Marcel Bontempi album 'Witches, Spiders, Frogs & Holes' should be in the next post as will be a bit of an interview with the twisted genius himself, where we'll get the lowdown on what's coming next ! Keep an eye on Stag-O-Lee website for when the album becomes available!

Thanks for all the cool messages, appreciated.
Take it easy and Stay Sick.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Raymen......Early years.........By Darren & Hank Ray.

1987....There's a full moon tonight!
Woah folks, we got that hillbilly werewolf, The Holy Roller himself to dig deep into the memory banks for this post ! Along with The Cramps, The Vibes, The 5678's and The Gun Club...The Raymen are in my all time top five groups ever. To say I was a little flattered when Hank agreed to help me out is an understatement ! 
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last 30 years or so, Berlin based The Raymen, have been belting out their own unique mix of Swampy, Trashed up Rockabilly since first getting together in 1983. Really guys and ghouls, if you don't run out and grab up everything you can find from these guys, you need to get your head looked at by a professional ! We're going to be taking a look at what I think is their 'golden' period if you like, from 84-90 but they haven't made a bad record ever and Hank's solo 'Death Country' releases are well worthy of snapping up too.......So onwards.

Line up. March 83-July 85.
Tell me, how did you get together initially ?

How did we hook up? Well, we all went to the same high school. A bunch of bored teenage freaks who thought forming a band would be a good idea to escape the dullness. You’ve heard that before, right? That was late ‘79 /’80. We didn’t even have a name in the beginning. After some changes in line ups – people would be droppin’ in and out and in again at that point of time - we’d become the Garbage Groupies in ’81, who after some more shifts became The Raymen in ’83.
Early 1986.
Had any of you guys been in bands before the Raymen ?
Nope! No musical background let alone any technical instrumental skills. We basically picked up some instruments and started from scratch. Early takes of “Waiting For The Man”, “I Got You Babe”, “Eve Of Destruction” or “Wooly Bully” were the worst shit you’d ever hear. Oh Gawd, did we suck. Hahaha! But then again. Here are my heroes - The Germs - doin’ this incredible cover of the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” and it actually did come out on vinyl (“Germicide” / Mohawk Recs). Wow!! So we thought, ”well, if they can do this we can do it too”.
Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Darby and the Germs. “Manimal” – the “Tooth and Nail” version - is one of my punk faves ever! Always felt kinda sorry that he fell for this “suicide-rider: live-fast-die-young” trip and went so young…but that’s a different story.
Your approach to the sound is kind of familiar yet very distinct, what were you listening to at the time ?
Well, that’s always a tricky one for all the obvious reasons but here’s a list of must-have albums that were particularly influential during the formation period of the band. Your house is not a home without them!
Just for the record. I could list 5000 more but you know that already, right?!
Okay, here we go.
Class album you should own.
Alan Vega – “Collision Drive” - We took a great deal of inspiration from that album as far as song writing is concerned. Has the incredible version of “Ghost Rider” – great use of echo!! Well, all the tracks are hits! The first album “Alan Vega” is cool too! More hits here! “Jukebox Baby”, “Speedway”, “Bye Bye Bayou”! If you listen closely to the title track from the “Desert Drive” album you’ll hear echoes of “Ghost Rider” and “Bye Bye Bayou”.
Goes without saying !
The Cramps – “Gravest Hits”, “Songs The Lord Taught Us”, “Psychedelic Jungle” and “Smell Of Female” – Love their later albums as well but these are the REAL DEAL! In short: more than anything else, the Cramps brought raunchiness and sensuality back to rock’n’roll. The original sinister driving forces that were so sadly missed in rock'n'roll in the 70's...well, up the arrival of punk. But hey,all of a sudden the dangerous edge prevailed! The Cramps took the musical style that had been around for 20 years and turned it into this twangy ‘n’ fuzz-drenched spiritual-sex-demon-cult thing! A bottle of red wine spilled over Bela Lugosi’s grave! Yeah! I remember putting on “Human Fly” and played it maybe 5 times in a row before getting on to the next song because I simply couldn’t believe it, hahaha! Sooooooo great!
One of the all time greats.
Gun Club – “Fire Of Love” and “Miami” – Wow, another strong influence.  Nobody and I do mean “N-O-B-O-D-Y” could do the high and lonesome blues moans and yodels better than Jeffrey Lee Pierce. His high falsetto-wails in “Devil In The Woods” still give me the chills. An early version of “Mean Redhead” is kinda inspired by the “Devil” groove. The “Fire Of Love” album broke completely new ground back in ’81, so did “Miami” a year later. “Mother Of Earth” is just beautiful. One of the greatest ballads of that era. “Death Party”, “Las Vegas Story” and “Mother Juno” are essential also. Basically everything the man has done is worth listening to. So check it out! There’s a pretty cool cover of the Gun Club’s “Black Train” by LUCIFER SIDEBURNS – a new combo of mine – coming soon BTW!
Speaking of ballads. “Noone Waits Forever” by the Orson Family is a great track also. It kinda inspired “Blue Romeo”.
Their 2nd album I think.
Flesh Eaters - “A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die” - Their best effort by far! Fantastic cover, great songs. “Cyrano De Berger’s Back” is my fave, the rest is close behind. Chris Desjardins - great lyricist! Love his stuff - Flesh Eaters, Devine Horsemen and solo all way through, b ut like I said before , this is the must-have!
Mad cap Cramps producer.
Alex Chilton – “Like Flies On Sherbert” – Love it or hate it! I love it! Swamp Punk Blues at its best. Not to forget the great “Bangkok” / “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” 7 inch. Alex’s feed-back guitar on “Can’t Seem” was a huge influence on Toulouse’s playing. I just love the guy! Production of this album, if you wanna call it 'production' in the usual sense is ground-breaking as well. Leave all the weird shit on! Btw! John Cale's "Music For A New Society" though different and a more classical /European approach to rock'n'roll has the same features. Maybe my fave among Cale's biggies"Paris 1919",  "Fear", "Slow Dazzle", "Helen Of Troy", "Sabotage", "Animal Justice", "Honi Soit".
Velvet Underground – “White Light/White Heat” - # 1 album of all time. The black bible of anti-soul! Amen!!
The Grand Daddies of Trash !
The Sonics – “Here Are The Sonics” – Oh, my Gawd! Greatest garage album ever!! Add “He’s Waiting”, “Cinderella”, “Shot Down” and “Louie Louie” from “Boom” and you’re in 7th heaven. I gave every drummer a tape with my favorite Sonics tunes and told them to copy Bob Bennett’s drum rolls. He’s my main-man in rock’n’roll. “Psycho” just makes me wanna scream and shout every time I hear it! We did a cover back in ’87 which is half Sonics, half Swamp Rats! Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be. Good deal of wishful thinking here, hahaha!
Essential !
Suicide – “First”, “Suicide” …well, let’s not forget the “Roir Tapes” by these electro-punk pioneers! The version of “Harlem” is just…aaaarrgghhh!!!!!!!!!!! “White Light/ White Heat” in reverse! “Way Of Life” is an excellent album also but these were played on heavy rotation back then, especially the first one.
Okay, hope this helps in some way. Hahaha! Other big faves were: Ramones, Hank Williams, Johnny Thunders, Joy Division, Hasil Adkins, Bad Brains, Slickee Boys, Dead Kennedys (bass player # 2 - Gary P. - was heavily inspired by "Police Truck" when he came up with "Drive My Rocket!" for the  "From The Trashcan To The Ballroom" album back in '87), Wipers, Stooges....
The mighty first album from 1985.
Your vocal style is totally unique and instantly recognisable, how did that come about ?
Thanks very much! Honestly I’d never really considered myself to be a singer at all prior to joining the band and even afterwards. Hahaha! Well, everybody had some banged-up, trashy instrument they could bring in. I didn’t have anything. Sooooo, if I wanted to be in the band I had to become the singer. Well, there you go! Then I got me this old organ that I ran through a cheap amp and that kinda helped. Cowboy singers like Tex Ritter, Bob Nolan, Jimmy Wakely, Marty Robbins and early Vaughn Monroe (“Riders in the Sky”) were a major influence on the later stuff. Never forget the moment I heard Tex singing “High Noon” in the film when I was a kid. Awesome! If I had to pick just one, it’ll be him. His version of “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” of the “Blood On The Saddle” album…well, that’s it!
Rarer than hens teeth !
How comes that the first recordings only came out on cassette ?  It would have made a fantastic 10" release.
Well, we did six songs as a demo back in September, 1984. All in one day. Recording and mixing. I gave a copy of that tape to some friends and to the guys at Glitterhouse. They gave it to Lindsay Hutton and he did the cool “skull eyeball” cover. They made more copies of it and sold them via mail order. It wasn’t really meant to be released at all. It all kinda happened.
This tape also got us the record deal in February, ’85. A SPV guy heard the tape being played at a record store, picked up a copy (3rd generation cassette- you know what that means) and took it back to SPV. They called me and offered us the deal that led to “Going Down To Death Valley”, “Desert Drive” and “From The Trashcan To The Ballroom”.
You had covered Goo Goo Muck on your first release, was this a Cramps cover or were you aware of the Ronnie Cook version at the time ?
I heard Ronnie Cook's original on “Scum Of The Earth” volume 2 first but our version definitely is a Cramps cover.
Released as 3 different versions.
Death's Black Train is dedicated to the memory of Lux,(nice touch) did The Raymen ever play with them and just how much of an influence were The Cramps on you personally and the band in general ?
Great influence on the band and on me personally! Lux is my teenage idol! Just loved their sound and Lux’s stage antics. Ivy’s a goddess! Right up there with Debbie Harry from Blondie. Bryan Gregory, maaaaaaaan…! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. Greatest fuzz player EVER! His guitar on “Songs the Lord Taught Us” and “Gravest Hits” is just ..w-o-w!! Just listen to the breaks in “TV Set”. Congo was a cool fill-in though completely different. More twangy-cool, less fuzz. The guitarist – Toulouse – liked them too. Not as much as I did though, hahaha!
And no, we never played with them. We were offered the opening slot for their European tour back in ’85 but didn’t really feel like doing it! I mean, they were stars in those days and every opening act would die a pretty slow death on stage. I saw the Primevals doing, let’s say 'not so good' before the Cramps. I liked their “Sound Hole” album pretty much though.
2nd album, released in 86.
The Raymen wrote brilliant original material but you also did a couple of oddball covers for the did it come about that you chose and covered Little Eva, surf bands The Chantays and The Surfaris, numerous Elvis songs and Kenny Rogers during his acid period ?
Well, as far as I remember ”Locomotion” was Dee Dee’s - the bass player’s idea. When Jimmi Quidd – the producer for “Going Down To Death Valley” – heard our version in the studio he suggested that we should do Elvis’ “His Latest Flame” as well. But that was all going too fast for us right then, hahaha. We couldn’t even figure out the chords and stuff, but then we did it for the “Desert Drive” album. 
Comp with tracks from the first 3 releases.
Well, instrumentals were a pretty obvious choice in those days. Stuff like the Swanks’ “Ghost Train”, Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn”, Link Wray’s “Batman Theme” made up for cool show openers back then and still do. Toulouse kinda liked “Wipe out” – he dug Fenech’s version of the first Meteors live album - so we did that too. Johnny Thunders had done a pretty cool version of “Pipeline” on the “So Alone” album which we liked a lot…and then the Agent Orange version , of course. We sped it up a little and skipped the bridge for cool. “Just Dropped In”, I picked it up from the Killer - Jerry Lee Lewis. Still my fave version! Personally I prefer Mickey Newberry’s original over Kenny Rogers’ cover.....
If this has wet your appetite to delve further into the world of The Raymen you can check out a very looong interview with Hank at this here link 
And you can, of course, head on over to the websites and facebook pages here :  Online store for all things 'Raymen'

Big, big thanks to Hank.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Cramps....Songs The Boots Taught Us.....By MondoSean

Well, Professor von Bainée’s Top 10 7” boots is a tough act to follow and I’m flattered that I’ve been asked. I don’t plan to replicate any of the stuff that appeared on the previous list – no Ohio or Miriam era demos here!

The Cramps vinyl boots were an important part of not just my Crampular education, but my rock’n’roll education in general. They provided the archaeology of the band as well as a road map for any serious excursion into the history of the Big Beat. This really was the “ancient knowledge believed lost to the world” that Mr Hutton‘s book referred to. Although, scoring a new Cramps boot from a brown-sauce-stained cardboard box on the manky, rat-shit-strewn floor of the Glasgow Barras Market in the mid-eighties was not quite as romantic as that phrase implies!

The band’s ongoing legal battle with IRS at the start of the eighties led to a drought of class A Cramps on the streets. As with everything else, nature abhors a vacuum, and soon there was illicit product being peddled from dark alleys and disreputable abodes. This illegal stuff was rawer, meaner, nastier and provided a (new kind of) kick for us teens needing some of the good stuff.

There were demos, songs we’d never heard before and wild live versions of our faves; sometimes featuring git-wranglers and tub-thumpers we never knew had tenure. And, once we were through listening to the Cramps tearing up the songs, we had to hunt down the originals. And in the dark days before the interweb, that were no easy task!
Anyway, enough blabbing, here’s…

Mondosean’s top 10 Cramps boot LPs!!!!!!!

1. Rock ’n’ Roll Monster Bash – the first boot I got and always my fave. First run of this one is a
white sleeve with artwork (ripped off from the classic Hallowe’en gig poster from Hurrah, NY on 28 October 1978) printed across the full sleeve with white labels. Second pressing is a plain white sleeve with the art photocopied onto a wraparound A3 sheet of paper with printed Turn Blue Records labels. Picked up a variant a few years ago with the art photocopied onto a (turn) blue sheet of A3.

The show captured on the LP is from the Edge, Toronto on July 18 1980 and it sounds like it was gouged into the wax with a switchblade. Yep, this one is raw and uncompromising; the sound is nasty and ain’t taking no prisoners. Recorded not long after Bryan had disapeared into the night, it features Julien H (Hechtlinger/Griensnatch/Greensnatch/Bwond) on second guitar and is the only vinyl to capture this exciting short-lived line-up. A more complete recording of the two sets contained here surfaced a few years back and it kind of makes you wish that the bootleggers would go down the super-deluxe-anniversary reissue route – a 180gm double of this for Record Store Day!
There be monsters !

Mention has got to be given to the T-shirt the LOTC did at the time with the Monster Bash design on it with luminous lettering - wore that thing ‘til it fell off me!  Same show turned up on the Stay Sick, Turn Blue boot.

Also comes in red !
2. Hot Club - The sleeve on this sucker is a nightmare! Try hunting for one that doesn’t have ring-wear, edge-wear, sticker-rips, corner-dings etc. Hell, one touch and the damn thing seems to feckin’ mark!
Packaging aside, this is one hell of a boot! Recorded at the Hot Club, Philadelphia on 10 November 1977 this boot has really good sound from a killer show featuring the classic early line-up of Lux, Ivy, Bryan and Nick. Without a doubt, the best version of Jimmy Lloyd’s Rocket in My Pocket available. There’s three versions of this one that I’m aware of and I’m not entirely sure which one is first or second pressing. All versions have the same sleeve, but one pressing has Basil Records (UK) Ltd labels, one has white labels and a third has both - white labels and separate sheet with Basil Records label stickers!

3. Tränsylvåñan Täpes MCMLXXVIII – Sometimes referred to as “The Last Record”, Tapes really earned its reputation as one of thee legendary early Cramps boots. The sleeve lists side 1 as recorded by Chris Spedding in “Dracula’s house” and the live show on side 2 as coming from the “deep Carpathian mountains”.  Actually, only three of the tracks on Side 1 were the Chris Spedding demos, the rest produced by LX Chilton in Memphis.
Uber Classic.
The record blasts off with Weekend on Mars - one of my all-time fave Cramps songs – which, criminally, never got a real studio workout. The out-take from Smell of Female was good, but paled in comparison to this monster. Also, up until the first CD release of Psychedelic Jungle twinned with Gravest Hits, this was the only place to hear Lonesome Town with Lux’s spoken word intro from Rick Nelson’s Teenage Idol.
The live side is rockin’ too: a pick of songs from a wild show at Max’s Kansas City on 10 November 1978, including the best vinyl recording of Glen Glenn’s Everybody’s Movin’ and the only vinyl version of the Big O’s Problem Child. Recordings of the full two sets from this night are out there and capture the early incarnation of the band at the top of their game. Two pressings of this one: first has a gloss finish on the sleeve and a picture of a dude in a suit on the labels. Second issue has a matt sleeve and plain grey labels.

Sounds about right to me.
4. Sex Cramps and Rock ‘n’ Roll – OK, first things first, there’s two different Cramps boots from the ’86 Spring Tour with this title, but both are from different shows. The one I’m talking about here is the Swingin’ Pig double LP release that can be found in three different versions: pink vinyl, splatter colour vinyl (thanks Miss K!) and double CD (in one of those great early GIANT CD cases).As with all Swingin’ Pig releases, the sound on this one is fantastic (FM radio) and really captures the feel of the live show. The full set is on here, and what a show! Starting with each member of the band taking to the stage one by one to add their part to a rollicking cover of Heartbreak Hotel (in the style of Buddy Love, not the King). Followed by a great showcase of tracks from Date with Elvis and some old faves. Mr Presley turns up again with a killer cover of Do the Clam from the “MGM motion picture, Girl Happy”. This is one of the few times on the tour the band didn’t mess it up either - give Rockinnreelin’ another spin if you don’t believe me! Recorded live at the Volkshaus, Zurich on 21 April 1986 and featuring Fur (Jennifer Dixon) on bass guitar. This was the first time the band had toured with a bass player and the first time we got to hear the older songs re-tooled for the band’s new sound. As the inner sleeve says “a special selection of rare material for the collector and the connoisseur. Accept no imitations”.

5. You Betta Duck – The ’84 tour was the last hurrah for the classic twin-guitar Cramps. Kid Congo had departed the band the previous year and Nick’s cousin Ike Knox (Mike Metoff) was filling in for the tour. Ike sometimes gets short shrift from Cramps fans, but this recording really shows his guitar playing to be a fine fit in the band.

G,g,g,googoo Muck
Recorded at Club Soda, Montreal on 16 May 1984, the record kicks off with the double-headed sucker punch of Shorty Long’s Devil with a Blue Dress On (played Mitch Ryder style) going straight into You Got Good Taste. There’s also an early run through of Freddie and the Hitchhikers’ Sinners which would surface many years later on Flamejob. Also of note is a prototype What’s Inside a Girl? sans-bass, “wop bop a loop a lop a lop boom bam!”
On the Alien Records label, You Betta Duck! Can be found on black, clear, blue, grey, cream, dark blue, clear blue and silver vinyl – collect ‘em all!    For the more adventurous, a hunt for the full sound board recording of this wonderful show rewards with further gems, including covers of Lonnie Allen’s You’ll Never Change Me and Andre Williams’ Bacon Fat.

6. Voodoo Rythm – On the “O. KR cds” label, Voodoo Rythm [sic] is a rare breed of boot. This baby has live stuff, demos and… a soundcheck!
Hoodoo Hoedown.
Yeah, it’s all here! Before the Blind Vision 7” boot, this was the place to hear the October ’82 demos with Terry Graham from the Gun Club on drums. Two of the tracks from the demos would turn up on the official How to Make a Monster comp in 2004, but Sinners and Thee Most Exalted Potentate of Love would remain all alone in bootleg land. Most probable reason for the latter is that the demo is clearly the first track on Smell of Female with crowd noise dubbed onto it. The soundcheck is really good fun and most probably from around the time of Smell of Female, or indeed from the Peppermint Lounge on 25/26 February 1983. The live show includes The Mad Daddy from one of the nights in February recorded for Smell, but the rest of the tracks are from CBGBs on 7 November 1982. The first boot to feature The Lowdown – basically Lux waxing lyrical over a Weekend on Mars riff - it don’t get much deeper than “Gerry Roslie said ‘hoooogh!’ and it’s better than poetry”.
This one was rejigged in ’98 by Alien Records as Persecuted Prophets with B-Movie Souls, which erroneously claimed all the live tracks to be Smell out-takes. But a fine re-boot all the same!

Idols.....Voodoo or not !
7. Voodoo Idols – To paraphrase a good friend of mine, this one really is “the tits”. Recorded live at Crazy Als, Indianapolis on 7 July 1981, this has everything you want from a live boot: great sound, great package, great songs and it’s a perfect showcase for Kid Congo’s sublime fuzz-wrangling. Highlight of the set is a raucous version of She Said, where Lux takes us on an hilarious travelogue from the Indianapolis junk yard to France (“where the people dance”). En route, he stops off in Washington DC to talk to Ron-ee, where he confesses he’s in love with Lady Di, but he’d have to “take her home every night and beat the shit out of her”. Explaining he’d never hurt any woman, but in her case, he’d make an exception!
Comes in a plain white card sleeve with a photocopied front and back glued on. Each copy is stamped, individually numbered on the back sleeve. Although usually listed as a run of 300, my copy is 455, so who knows how many exist.
Resurfaced a few years back as Psychedelic Jingles, which claimed to be pressed from the original stampers of Voodoo Idols. Although a real nice boot in its own right, the sound on Idols is far superior to that on Jingles.

Shame Bryan wasn't around for the photo !
8. Let’s Get Ugly – One of only two (that I know of) vinyl boots to include a live version of Fever (the other is Voodoo Idols), Ugly is another fantastic set featuring the Kid Congo era Cramps. Sound on this LP is incredible (FM radio quality) and worth picking up for the abundance of rare songs lurking within its grooves. Recorded live at the On Broadway Club, San Francisco on 6 November 1981. In addition to Fever, you got Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Hungry, Tommy James and the Shondells’ Hanky Panky, rare Kid-era run-throughs of What’s Behind the Mask? and Zombie Dance and the only time on vinyl for the rarely- played-live Save It. Originally appearing on the Trademark of Quality label, Ugly comes in a plain brown card sleeve with a single-sided, 12” colour card insert. The record was re-booted at the tail end of 2014 in a glossy full-printed sleeve with no label taking ownership this time round. In additon to the full show being available online, the entire set of one of their support bands that night, the Gun Club, is also out there (sadly no Panther Burns) and is a fine apetisier for the main course.

9. Booze Party – An exquisite double album set featuring my fave bass-wielding Cramp, Miss Candy del Mar. Recorded on 3 January 1989 at the Ritz in New York, this one really shows the evolution of the band between Date with Elvis and Stay Sick.
And a bottle of Bop Pills please.
A lot of the songs from the Date with Elvis tour are still in the setlist, but there’s also a lot of the new tracks from the then-unreleased follow up. Must have been wonderful to attend these shows in ’89 and hear new, unheard, original Cramps tunes getting played live for the first time. In addition to some more of the old classics getting the bass guitar make-over (Goo Goo Muck working particularly well), there’s a rare appearance of Three Aces and a Joker’s Booze Party. Side 4 features a show (and heart!) stopping end-of-the-night barage of Psychotic Reaction, The Mad Daddy, The Crusher and She Said – how many thrills can YOU take?!!!.
Everything about this LP set oozes class from the clear sound in the grooves to the sweet photos used on the sleeve. Can be got on black vinyl and peachy orange vinyl, both on the Lux Records label. Re-booted by Exile Records on CD as The Wild Wild World of the Cramps, but missing side 4.

10. Live at Harry’s – For the last one in the Top 10, we have another great sounding Kid-era boot from Larry’s (NOT Harry’s!) Hideaway, Toronto on 14 June 1982.
Harry's ? Larry's...Dixlexkia is all around us !
This one is worth tracking down for possibly the best sounding live recordings of the band ripping through The Third Bardo’s Five Years Ahead of My Time and The Standells’ Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White. First available on the Vengeance Records! Label (yeah, right!), this came in a printed white cardboard sleeve. Re-booted (aren’t they all?!) as New Kind of Kick, with no label, in a printed white cardboard sleeve (featuring art ripped off from Electric Frankenstein’s How to Make Monster LP!), as Fetischism [sic] on Ghoul-Ash Records in a nice full-colour sleeve (with an out-take from the Pussy Do the Dog shoot on the front) and Spank ‘n’ Roll, on Non Profit Productions label in a printed white cardboard sleeve.

So, what did I learn from putting together a Top 10 Cramps boots list? Right up front – there’s no better way to spend a couple of days than listening to a stack of Cramps boots! Thanks to Darren and Trash, Garage Garbage and Other Delights for giving me a reason (like I needed one!) to do so.

What a run down this is !   Big Mucho Gracias to Mr Mondo for taking the time.

Stay Sick Kiddies !