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old punks web zine

Bands That Should Have Called It A Day

Okay ...
I've always found "Cosmic Thing" to be an impressive comeback by the B-52s. It's not my favorite album and they're by no means my favorite band,but when you're a high schooler in rural, upstate New York, and everything's dominated by hair metal, speed metal and Vanilla Ice ... "Cosmic Thing" came out of nowhere to add a splash of color. At least "Roam" added a reasonably cool, upbeat song to popular culture. It was fresh and it was poppy. It was a welcome step away from idiotic power ballands and moronic poodlehair attitude." Say what you will ... "Cosmic Thing" was at least a step toward bringing back classics such as "Rock Lobster." I was just getting into the Clash at the time, and saw that as a step in the right direction. So how did the B-52s follow "Cosmic Thing?" With the ironically-titled "Good Stuff." My roommate bought it when I was a freshman in college. It signalled a move away from fun party music into "serious" topics such as saving the rainforests.(Whatever one's views, Fred Schneider shouting about "open minds!" is pretentious and just plain stupid. Serious discussion is not what people buy B-52s albums for.) "Good Stuff" sorely missed the vocal talents of Cindy Wilson. The interplay between Fred and Kate Pierson was tired, forced and just couldn't cut it.And that was pretty much the end of the B-52s. They've done a tour and released a "Flinstones" single, but nothing nearly so interesting or cool as their early stuff. We all have our bad days, but I still find that depressing.


FROM MR. JOHN STABB (Government Issue)

now some folks will think, "man, who are you to talk?" just because i was in a band that lasted maybe one album too long called gov't issue but i'm proud of all we accomplished. and i g.i. will never take part in the ongoing "punk rock must pay my rent" reunion tour. while there are far too many rock bands that need to be put too to pasture like u2-- bono must be destroyed! or the strolling bones-- can you say "night of the living dead rockstars?" the punk damage?:

1. the misfits-- sorry, not even robo, dez & marky can save that rotting corpse. i'm sure danzig was a lot of work to endure but he started the band i always thought looked like extras from "sabrina & the groovie ghoulies but glenzig actually had the ego to not join them on this hopefully last tour.

2. dead kennedys-- what no jello? i never experienced brandon cruz in dr. know or other bands but i thought he was cute when he was a child actor on "the courtship of eddie's father"--- and i'm old enough to have watched it firsthand. like the misfits, east bay ray & klaus are trying to do w/ their original front man. it's really pathetic.

3. the damned-- their last several albums haven't made anyone wanna "smash it up". rat scabies has left the building. sure, there's dave vanian looking like a fat rockabilly vampire and captain sensible looking like.... well, an older captain sensible. but when the hell did pat bag of the bags become patricia morrison vanian? pictures i saw of em' online looked like "rocky horror picture show" not the goth-damned band i use to love.

4. bad brains-- hr is a nutlog. the guy attacks his fans & manager. those guys had their day in the early 80's & soon did serious damage to people w/ their hateful homophobic rasta attitudes. heard hr is reading passages from his bible onstage-- who wants that s--t at a punk concert?

5. exploited-- they was a load of shite when they formed & continue to stink up the country ever since. in the words of that genius wattie "get off your ass & form a band/and tour this godforsaken land!"... or maybe not. and i hear from a good source that mr. wattie cheats at minature golf.

oh man, there's just too many. i must stop now, before i kick in my computer screen. the only band that you should support still putting on a great show is tsol. their new album ain't too shabby, either.

if only U2 coulda hung up the whole thing after -under a blood red sky-. in 1985 U2's stoic mugs were looking out from everywhere. all i ever heard was that -unforgettable fire- album blasting out of dorm rooms and car stereos everywhere which i found truly forgettable. my best friends worshipped U2. at least U2 showed a very short-lived generation how to have religious faith with out being all weird, uptight and ned-flanders-y about it--like it's a natural part of life and NOT something To be shoved down the throat of anyone within earshot. for the next few years the U2 that was everywhere just seemed like so much overrated ego-centric mega stadium flatulence. then i finally got around to listening to -boy-, -war-, -october-, and -uabrs-. i just saw the red rocks video and was struck my how much more moving it was than -rattle and hum-. the early albums had a bad weather desolate quality to them that really rang true against the eternally grey soaked skies of bumfug western pa. i havent' listened to them much since bonzo was out of office.

i met a guy who worked as a roadie for the much later -zooropa- tour which just about bankrupted the band by trying to be the biggest tour ever. they had gotten a huge 30 ft tall tube television set and said the crew had caviar omelets for breakfast.

-- Paul Kinosian

the misshits. i mean misfits! let's face it, the count floyd get up was long over after danzig left in '83! they were (and i mean were!)great live back in the days. but now? those 2 last albums blew! and what up on robo and dez in the band? reliving the past? and that horror shit don't cut it like it use to. boo!

the expoilted should have went on the dole years ago and started living like "trainspotting" the movie. i saw them them play last summer in frisco at the "holidays in the sun" tour and they were terrible! wattie had his hair in a mohawk like the bo derek look! and he looked like he needed a walker!

fear. kids if you think this is the real fear then you better buy the first album(fear:the record)! the rest don't count. my buddy and i walked out on them at the roxy in l.a. last febuary. they were boring. it sure wasn't the good old whiskey a go go of 82.

bad religion. for every album sounds the same.

blink 187 and green gay. please no more albums! you have ruined the scene enough w/ your bubble gum power pop! now they are more posers now in the scene than when i was growing up in it back in 81. thankx guys for making punk like a teen beat cover.kill all bands that try to act,dress, or play like the above bands. meaning blink 187/green gay. please dissappear!

-- lonely boy, hollywood los angeles death squad

The Circle Jerks. Let's face it, they haven't put together an album that's listenable from start to finish since Wild in the Streets. Each album afterwards has had it's standouts, but how many times has anyone listened to Wonderful from start to finish. Oddities....... come on! That album was fugging heinous! Much respect to one of the most important punk bands of all time, but let's keep it a strictly live show, boys.

Also, I think it's time for Epitaph Records to hang up the hat. It's time. They've already had a long,successful career of taking great bands, and overproducing them into obscurity. BEER!

--- Airrock

Well, for one obviously the last two New Misfits albums shouldn't have happened. I mean its great and all that Jerry tried to bring back the Misfits but if your gonna do something like that do it fugging right. Or at least get a singer who's maybe, ya know HEARD the Misfits before. The tracks don't even sound punk at all, they sound almost metal or something, but nothing like the old Misfits. It pretty much ruined it for a lot of people. I know music changes and Blah Blah but its so disappointing, i was expecting a lot more from a band that calls themselves "The Misfits." Also, what's with bands doing so many covers of songs? They get all famous for releasing their versions of singles by other bands. I dunno what that one band is called that did the Smooth Criminal cover but that's just one good example. Its cool to do it for fun but jeez, putting covers (that relatively suck) on a record and getting hella famous for it sounds kinda lame to me. Jeez, i sound like a nazi, hehe i'll stop now =)


The Bad Brains : They never should have made those records without H.R. Unfortunately, they abandoned their roots in the mid-80s and found god. fugg god. He ruined a great band. Anyhow, just saw them live and I love the toned down approach of H.R. I wish they would cut down on the dub stuff. Enough with the spiritual fest. Still a tremendous band live, they've lost their political edge, but the band is tighter and better than ever. (please, don't make any more albums!). On Like Popcorn???

Mr. Vonwaldo

Okay, I'm not sure if anybody has already said this,but I think we all would have probably been better off if Elvis had died while still in the army. I know I probably sound like I'm rehashing an old Dennis Leary routine, but if Elvis had died 16-17 years earlier then we would have remembered Elvis the way he was in his prime, the vibrant young rock'n'roller, instead of the old, fat, bloated drug addict-cartoon we now remember of him.

Chris Defoe

Ok y'all im going to throw soem wave at ya..and god bless teh editors for attemtpign to clean up my major typos. First off lets dispense with this gawdaful term retro.ITS NEW WAVE YOU IMPS! Ok with that done i continue. I hate to saythis because Devo is one my favorite bands of all time but New Traditionalists shoulda been the end.Did we really need Shout?Thehndrix cover was alright very much in teh vien but that was the time that the industry was changing and peopel instead fo lookign forward was beginign the lame ass20th anniversary of teh summer of love bulls--t, which really almost killed new wave altogether as labels were lookign for throwback pop bands intead of takign risks as tehy did in teh early 80s.Now it Can Be Told is a really good live albumadn the new anthology Pioneers that Have Been Scalped is fantastic.But everythingelse up to that point was an attempt to capture old glory.notonly did it seem out of place it just wasn't very good.It was as if Mark had lost all interst in both teh band and teh ideology which also made Devo satn dout from teh others.Of course hes doign soundtrack work and music for commercials in Japan.he id Rugrats and Liquid Televison themes amoin others.And you really have to feel sorry for them to be booked at the testosterone Lallapalooza sandwhiched in between Soundgarden and Th eRamones.It had to be agreat feelign for them to be booed one again iek teh good old days in 78.

thom gabaldon

I think that the SEX PISTOLS should have broken up after 'Never Mind The Bollocks...'.

Oh, ...... they did ?



X. I am the biggest X fan there is. Really, I am. They are my absolute favorite band. But they made some mistakes along the way and eventually fizzled out sadly with a ot-nearly-as-cool-as-Billy-Zoom guitarist. Here's my idea as to how X should have done things after _More Fun in the New World_. See, their problem was that they wanted to be commercially successful so they switched producers--they ditched cool ex-Door Ray Manzarek, who was doing a really good job keeping their sound somewhat rough at the edges, and ran to heavy metal producer Michael Wagener, who made their next album, _Ain't Love Grand_, which had some potentially very cool songs on it, sound like a Blondie record with his shameless overproduction.

And then, to make things even lamer, the album still wasn't commercially successful! So Billy Zoom left out of frustration and killed X forever (sort of). Here's what should have happened. They should have stuck with Ray. He should have produced _Ain't Love Grand_. Maybe it would have been a really big hit and X could have ridden off happily into the sunset and made records forever. And if it wasn't, they should have stopped when Billy left. They never really captured the spirit the band had in the early years with no wild Zoom guitar in the background. But hey, I'm glad they kept going anyway because there's more for me to listen to, hooray. X rules.

-- Simone X

"Bacchanalia" by Rectal Seepage should have been their last album as the cries of "sellout" and "poseurs" had been ringing in HC circles since their ill-faited appearance on the TV show "Fridays" in 1981. (lasting all of 21 seconds before being yanked off the air.) Their next album, 1985's "I Know You Are But What Am I?" was described in _Spin_ magazine like this:
"...Rectal Seepage, the darlings of the alternative college radio set have produced a roots-conscious LP with pop sensibilities, showing lead singer Cookie Crumb's lyrical maturity. With some growth, they could someday become as good as R.E.M." How did they go so wrong?

Started as far back in the early 1970's four bored kids from Plainfield, WI who access to the most incredible collection of old rockabilly and 60's punk 45's started a wild, raw, incredible sound vaguely reminiscent of Acheton Bros. & co. Of course by 1975 the Stooges were just another casualty, but that didn't stop RS from putting out three incredibly hard-to-find 45's in 1976-1977 that actually received some FM airplay in Miluakee (!) Probably before some boneheaded DJ flung them out the window to play the Eagles or Yes or some other such crap. Lots of heroin and amphetamine use led to some grotesque stage antics like an S&M bondage routine involving a girl dressed as a nun and a #56TYWA John Deere hydraulic tractor. There is no need to recount the famous "Illinois chicken incident" only to say that bassist Tyrone Pointsman eventually pled guilty to indecent exposure,and the case was later thrown out of court for lack of evidence.
By some strange fluke I was fortunate enough to actually see RS when they toured with the Dry Heaves in 1980. Young whippersnappers, let me tell you, it was a violent time for punk back in those days. Anybody showing up at one of those shows with baggy pants and his boxer shorts drooping out would get the safety pin ripped right out of his earlobe. A couple of big bikers in the front were spitting on Tyrone and Cookie. The biker said, "You're a faggot!"

Ty said, "That's not what your mother said when I was fuggin' her last night." ...and that's when all hell broke loose. Bottles started flying, the crowd just rushed up to the stage as I allowed myself to get squeezed out like a turd from the press of solid sweaty Ohio hostility. I rejoined my date now looking impssively and slightly ticked rattling the ice in her drink and said, "I TOLD you we should'a gone to the England Dan and John Ford Coley show at the Colusseum." Needless to say I didn't get laid that night. But the memory really stuck with me all the years.

I didn't hear much about Rectal Seepage for a long time and just figured that they were all probably dead, considering the way they were going. Turned out Cookie went through rehab at the world-renowned W.C. Fields center, Hershell Gordon, the guitarist, got born-again. There were a few lineup changes and then they turned all mellow and all the "alternative" rags started making a big fuss about them.They had a semi minor hit on MTV with "Drone On" that coulda been a Replacements throwaway. And then...

VH1 Where are they now:

Lead singer Cookie Crumbs changed her name back to Angela O'Herlihy and is the mother of 6 living with her family in Pawtucket, RI.

Guitarist Herschell Gordon never left the music scene entirely, and has taken to producing compilations for K-Tel and has his own website.

Tyrone Pointsman went back to school and then got a job working on missile guidance systems for Boeing. After being laid off in 1993 he want on a shooting spree in San Ysidro, CA killing 4 and wounding 7. He is now three consecutive life sentences.

Meanwhile drummer Sal Monella is running a delicatessan and vet clinic in
Chinatown, NY.

...and that's the way it is. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.

- J.P. "Sonic" Naisonik

They were a great melodic gnu-hardcore band (they were the first of the "I'm so hurt" metal bands, and did itright-bands like Staind and Korn stole a lot from these guys); they released their opus, Ugly, and then decided that Soul Searching Sun would be their last album. There are two good songs on it - "Weeds" and "Desire," and everything else is either a second-rate re-write of Ugly or River Runs Red material, or songs that your local grunge-pop band could've written after a few joints and a six of Piels. The fact that their lead singer left to persue a solo career and they picked up Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe should tell you a lot.

2) Christian Death
ALBUM THEY SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AT WITH VALOR: Sex, Drugs, and Jesus Christ No, wait, scrap that. They both should have stopped at Catastrophe Ballet. I think it's more of a "ugh, the band shouldn't have done this" in reference to a song or two, rather than a whole album. Album filler makes up the majority of most band's catalogs; I'd much rather that Dead Kennedysjust released "Soup is Good Food," "Chicken Farm," and "MTV Get Off The Air" as a single or possible EP than Frankenchrist, and I'd be so much happier if They Might Be Giants were not allowed to release their last 4 albums
altogether. -- Rev. K.

Okay, here's my rant. The Exploited should never have put out a record period. Yeah, I know that sounds like your standard Punk As F___ lame-o comment, but bear with me, please. Many years ago, a friend and I traded records, and one of the ones I obtained was "The Exploited...Live at the Whitehouse" I put it on the turntable, and then promptly put it in the back of my record collection. I took it out several times just to be fair, and only came away more convinced that they were a terrible band. Anyway, recently I was at a newsgroup that I frequent, and I made an offhand comment about how much I thought the Exploited sucked. Several people whose opinion I respect, defended the band, saying they were really cool. So today I was at a used record store and came across "The Exploited the Singles," and figured, "What the hell," and bought it. Here now are the reasons why I hate the Exploited.

1) Their greatest hit "The Mods". What kind of a hit is this? Urging mindless violence to the tune of "Jingle Bells." This has to be a joke. If you can't come up with your own song, at least pretend your writing something worthwhile. "Jingle Bells" is neither clever nor funny. 2) Warping impressionable minds. Thanks to this band, I have to endure people here in the beautiful midwest affecting phony Cockney accents, and wearing dangerous metal shrapnel on their leather jackets. Okay, I can't pin that solely on one band, but they're a part of it. Getting slashed by spikes and studs doesn't define a punk-rock experience for me I'm afraid. Damn, I hope I'm not considered a poseur by the movers and shakers in the thriving scene here, but that's another story. 3) Glorifying the mohawk. This has gotta be the single most retarded hair cut, or at least as ridiculous as white guys with dred locks. What gives? 4) Having a song called, "I Believe In Anarchy" Yeah, and I believe I have Jedi powers and Jawas do exist. This kind of relates to Number two. Kids are gonna buy into this drivel and get tribal tattoos on their face. Have a nice life sweeping floors for a living, Mr. Young Adult. Whew, I'm getting carried away. 5) I just think the music is bad. I think the lyrics are worse. I hate to bitch, but these guys are just plain awful.

I understand that this is kind of not what you asked people to write about, but after listening to this CD, I had to vent somehow. If somebody gets offended that I ripped on one of their favorite bands, what can I say? I think that's cool. Please don't throw beer bottles or tables at my head when you're stirring up anarchy at shows, and I'll keep my stupid mouth shut and respect your right to be into a band that I think is dreadful.
Punk's not dead! -- Corpseboy

(8-12-00) E-mail response from Joe Fig) hey, this is to corpseboy. dude i respect your views, so no offense, but i think your fulla s--t, man. the Exploited, i mean, sure their music is bad, but punk started out as "fugg it, so what if we cant play", so who cares? plus at least their political, i mean, itd be worse if "i believe in anarchy" was something like "i believe in p---y" or some other cock rock bullshit. but i think they shoulda called it quits after 1989. w/b if ya want....(editor's note: notice how I edited p---y but kept in cock? Huh...)

(9-5-00) Holy crow! Dustin writes back: Joe, that's alright if you think I'm fulla s___. I just wanted to clear up two things. When I said that I thought the music was bad, I was by no means talking about technical proficiency. I don't care for their melodies or song structures. The "at least they're political," is part of the problem for me. I don't care to have dogma crammed down my throat. My favorite band is the Misfits, a group not known for either their impeccable playing or biting social commentary. The DK's were cool up to and including, "In God We Trust," but then they just got bogged down in a morass of paranoid bitching. Jello should collaborate with Oliver Stone. That's as political as I get. What I like to get out of "Punk" is music that makes me get my mind off of day-to-day
troubles. If the lyrics make me think, that's a plus, but I don't like self-righteous preaching. Just my personal opinion. I don't think that makes me "right," or you "wrong," if you know what I mean. The whole reason I wrote the thing was because I felt ripped off by my own stupidity, I didn't mean to insult someone by making fun of their favorite band.

(3-15-01) From MVW: Mods is in response to Mod thugs in Scotland. Get your facts straight or learn a bit more about the band. I believe in anarchy means let everyone do as they will without being mindfugged by authority. It really means "I believe in action" in the Aristotlean sense (look it up aright?). Wattie rules.

I had a huge long-winded e-mail that just got toasted into computer purgatory the contents of which had to do with how bad Iggy Pop's new album sucked going off into a lot of tangents. the best I can do to re-create it from memory goes something like this:
Every artist, no matter how great, always manages to put out a stinkeroo once in a while, though some more than others, even William Shakespeare has this nasty little play called _Titus Andronicus_ that most critics consider his worst and is almost never performed, though I saw it years after reading about it in _Fangoria_ and thought it was great because of excessive gore. Now I am just about as close to an unconditional Iggy fan as it is possible to be in this life. I can even forgive hime for _Zombie Birdhouse_ which still sounds better than the sonic semi-digested cheez-whiz they play on the radio today. (and tell me, while we're on the subject, why does Shania Twain have to bark like a little chihaua dog, also that Santana song with the guy who looks a frog singin' most clearly contains the dreaded f-word, so why isn't the FBI breakin' down HIS door?) Even the Igsters "gotta get a hit" collaboration with Ivan Kral _Party_ still returns to my turntable probably more frequently than it should. (I played the song "Pumping for Jill" for my girlfriend one time while we were "doing the deed" and she busted out laughing right in the middle of it!) So please Mr. Osterberg, why didn't you just hang it up after _Naughty Little Doggie_, which I thought was very cool, even though nobody else did. I am not kidding when I say that I actually fell asleep while listening to _Avenue B the first time. Okay, to be fair I had just got done working 12 hour graveyard shift but, fall asleep to an Iggy Pop album!? Sure, both myself and an old punker where I work (who in the early 70's was asked to front a Lou Reed/Stooges cover band, so how's that for credentials?) agreed that "Yo Hablo Espanol" was an okay tune, but the drek you have to sit though to get to it is enough to fry your fast-forward finger. My own vision for a new Iggy album would be for him to do old country songs a la Patsy Cline while backed by the Jesus and Mary Chain. Couldn't you just imagine the sinister demented edge Iggy could give to "Crazy" while drenched in reverb hollow-body sewer-pipe fuzz. But noooo, we get him droning on and on about breaking up 25 year old girlfriends and gettting old. Fer Pete's sake Ig, Ronnie Dawson's older than you and he makes the New Bomb Turks look like a lounge act! There, that was probably better than the original and much more concise. Now I think I'll go stick some pencils in my chest and rub peanut butter in the wounds.

The Rolling Stones _Let It Bleed_. The world could have done without such sonic turds as _Vodoo Lounge_ and _Emotional Rescue_. By the time Ron "Keef is my hero, he's so big and strong" Wood joined the band, Mick was so full of himself and Keith was too wasted to break any new ground with anything working in a reliable way. Their edge, no doubt from living in that unheated flat where they smeared boogers on the walls and could barely affford a meal every six weeks was gone. They should'a forsaken stardon roundabout 1973, gone back to their old catalog, and played with Flaming Groovies. -- Paul Kinosian.

MINISTRY "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste"Al Jourgensen, of course, is one of the big names in industrial today. His band, however, is not. It bequeathed that position after releasing "Dark Side of the Spoon," an album as fat and bloated as the fat woman on the cover. Ministry evolved from a synth-pop band (yes, Al "I'm So Hard" Jourgensen was a New Romantic, y'all!) into an industrial band, and the aforementioned album was their crowning achievement. After that, they started piling on the heavy metal, resulting in the good-but-cheesy "Psalm 69". After that, well, do I really need to mention "Filthpig?" I don't think so. Those 43-year-olds and their drum machines. -- Cameron Archer

PEARL JAM "Vs."I know, it's a grunge band, but Pearl Jam supposedly is one of those "We don't sell out even though we're on Epic and sell millions of albums" bands that alternative thinks it has. Pearl Jam's speech about staying true to your roots was tired before 1993. As for their TicketMaster spat, well, that was selfish. I realize they were trying to keep the ticket prices down, but most bands don't, as a rule, tour like Pearl Jam, so I don't see the point in that spat. No one won. Anyway, listening to "Vitalogy," it is
a terrible album, and their following albums have been derivatives of past albums. Whatever. As Richard Lacayo said about Bruce Springsteen in the December 1992 issue of Life, "It's not easy to stay in character as a working-class hero when you pull down $30 million or so in a year." Doesn't that apply to Pearl Jam as well? That said, let's also list... -- Cameron Archer (The same Archer as featured in the film "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow")

U2 "October"After "October," U2 became fat and bloated, losing all sense of identity in the process. Today Eric Clayton's doing the theme song for "Mission: Impossible 2", and Bono's pet project, "The Million Dollar Hotel," collapsed amid the standard Hollywood fare. They sold out bad. "Boy" was probably their best album, BTW. -- Cameron Archer

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC "UHF" Here's where Weird Al stopped becoming quirky and slyly adult, and became a kiddie performer. This was also a Weird Al movie, and it starred...hey, ever see his TV show? Amazing how badly Dr. Demento can ruin a career. -- Cameron Archer

THE ROLLING STONES "Exile On Main Street" This is really self-explanatory. They had two best-ofs by 1970. To this day, watching The Rolling Stones crank it out is like watching your childhood heroes die right before your eyes, literally. Keith Richards looks dead, and Mick Jagger...well, Jagger is Jagger, he's so damn obstinate. At least The Ramones had the good sense to pack it in after fifteen years. -- Cameron Archer

When I first came accross your request for opinions, my first thought was "Of course, The Clash!". The Clash were vital, of course, in their day, and their first album is one of the first I ever purchased, but there was no reason to toss Combat Rock or Cut the Crap out into a world already full of dreadful fake music. Although part of me would axe the clash after London Calling, I realise that their widespread post-punk popularity has helped make punk, as music, culture, whatever, available to poor shmucks like me who weren't
around in ''76. -- Van

Metallica, who were at some point interesting, though probably not innovative, up throuh their self titled album. Enough money was made off of that one release for the whole band to retire happily at their artistic peak, instead of reincarnating themselves as some sort of post-metal lounge band or whatever they are now. If you cover Thin Lizzy, you've gone too far. --Van

Beck, who from Odelay on has churned out horrible commercially oriented pop with absolutely no redeeming artistic value. His last album should have been the limited/not major label release that came immediately after mellow gold, which was an astounding feat of musicianship when it came out.-- Van

The Cramps definitely should'a known when to say when, but a sharp line of cutoff is hard to say. It's more like a continuum, but if I had to say I think that their last album should have been _Stay Sick_. Now at live shows I've seen since, supporting their weaker, more recent albums like _Look Ma No Head_ they've given fantastic performances. More wild than ever, Maybe it's the presence of the who "hired guns" now on bass ans drums (the drummer looking more than a little bit like Timothy Dalton's younger brother) causing a subtle shift in the balace of Cramp power so now it's just "The Lux and Ivy Show" with no one drooling over the delectable Candy Del Mar or buggin' their eyes out at the inscrutable Bryan Gregory. Maybe the power shift is exactly what's caused the Cramps, album-wise at least, to take a nosedive. Maybe Lux and Ivy are in a similar creative slump that Blondie was during their waning years. Apparently Chris and Debbie were so on heroin and so into each other as to isolate themselves from the rest of the band and from everyone else for that matter. Narcotics tend to place the user into a dreamlike state that evenually, with time alters the inner intuition, the flow of inner feeling to outward expression. Something jams up the signal and the rage and angst that really fuels rock n' roll gets replaced by like a cold hearted-calculating-ness where everything is there but that spark of life is missing, that one part of the visceral sensation that cannot be easily defined or put into words is buried. Yet after Cris and Debbie broke up, they made a surprisingly good album. So what is it? Age? Complacency? Drugs? Who knows? All I know is that every Cramps album since _Stay Sick_ has made like a Hoover upright and is now rotting in a liquor store cardboard box in an obscure corner of my house next to Twisted Sister and R.E.M. Maybe years from now, in the Blade Runner year of 2019 a geriatric Lux Interior will start howling with a microphone in his mouth and rolling his eyes back in their sockets so just the white is showing and entertain mental patients in support of their new opus: _Ramboona Never Fails_. So, despite great live shows, the studio stuff just doesn't have it. All the right elements are there, but something's gone, the songs, mysteriously just don't work. They sound contrived and constipated. I would much rather the Cramps be remembered for their truly outstanding work like _Songs the Lord Taught Us_ and _Psychedelic Jungle_, and let The Ubangis and Ronnie Dawson carry the torch.

-- Paul "unpaid by the word" Kinosian

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