KID CONGO POWERS
Listen: She Said / The Cramps
There are not near enough Cramps singles with Kid Congo Powers. There are many members who traveled through the band’s revolving door of a rhythm section (which in the early lineups redefined the term ‘rhythm section’ to mean drums and 2nd guitar/avant noise inventor), but very few were real Cramps. Others might contest my statement, including Ivy herself – and if anyone would know, it would be her. But this is my opinion – and other than Congo, Brian Gregory, Nick Knox, Slim Chance and Harry Drumdini, there were no other REAL Cramps beyond Lux & Ivy. Well maybe Candy Del Mar, maybe.
The shows I saw with Kid were all priceless, for everything else there’s Mastercard or some such smart ass slogan. Hair, clothes, swirling on stage tornado – he will never be topped.
And talk about a lovely person, with a gentle smile and the sweetest sense of humor. Kid Congo is just a higher form of life.
‘She Said’, Kid’s first 7″ with the band, is so Cramps – it almost out Cramps The Cramps. Like the rest of the band, Kid stripped his contribution to the song of every excess not needed and documented the raw, naked power of primal purity.
Listen: The Crusher / The Cramps
PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE was my favorite of the early few albums, a hard and unsteady position to take when you’re tampering with a few of the wonders of the world. But, yeah, if forced to choose in front of a firing squad, I’d go with PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE.
‘The Crusher’ was one of the two singles from it, and like ‘Caveman’, will time travel you back to their live shows from ‘80/’81- or sadly inform you of what you missed.
Listen: New Kind Of Kick / The Cramps
Have a look back at my L7 post from May 4th, 2010. It ends with the following few lines:
“………a song as good as ‘Drama”, which also has one of the two best guitar solos ever committed to tape. EVER. And the other one is……..coming soon.”
Well come it has – the world’s other greatest guitar solo ever committed to tape. Yes, it’s the great Kid Congo Powers break on ‘New Kind Of Kick’, B side to ‘The Crusher’, above. B side!!!!!
If I am unfortunate enough to be inflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, I hope it doesn’t erase my memory of Kid letting it roll out of him as though he were having a simple drink of water, seemingly something anyone could do. When the band launched into ‘New Kind Of Kick’ live for the first time, I stood in anticipation and wonder: how is he gonna pull this one off. Wow. He showed me.
This particular occasion was at the old Peppermint Lounge on 44th Street, the last week of that club’s lifespan at said location. And thank the heavens above – I have a tape of it. So powerful was that show – I’ve never even needed one listen to relive it’s force.
Listen: Walking With The Beast (Single Version) / The Gun Club
When Kid decided to go back to Jeffrey and The Gun Club, I was not happy. And I doubt I was alone. There was no place for Kid in The Ramones or Suicide, so the only other seminal, world great band, The Gun Club, was the logical move. Their album, THE LAS VEGAS STORY, is flawless, scary almost in it’s greatness. ‘Bad America’, ‘Stranger In Our Town’, ‘Give Up The Sun’, ‘Eternity Is Here’ – forget it. And the US tour in support was debilitating to those not ready, even those of us that were. Kid played flawlessly, all the while swigging from a bottle of…..Pepto Bismol.
It doesn’t get any more Kid Congo than that.
I’ll never forget my lucky date seeing that show: 8/8/84. Another one I have a tape of, now a file, and in between, a cd. When I need to be swept into oblivion, I put it on.
Here’s the 7″ version of ‘Walking With The Beast’ and a very different version from that on the album. You need both.
Tags: Candy Del Mar, Hary Drumdini, IRS, Ivy Rorschach,Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers, Lux Interior, Nick Knox, Peppermint Lounge, Slim Chance, Suicide, Sympathy For The Record Industry, The Cramps, The Gun Club, The Ramones