The Cramps were an American punk band, formed in 1976 and active until 2009. The band split after the death of lead singer Lux Interior. Their line-up rotated much over their existence, with the husband and wife duo of Interior and lead guitarist and occasional bass guitarist Poison Ivy the only permanent members. The addition of guitarist Bryan Gregory and drummer Pam Ballam resulted in the first complete lineup in April 1976. They were part of the early CBGB punk rock movement that had emerged in New York. The Cramps are noted as influencing a number of musical styles: not only were they one of the first punk bands, they are also widely recognized as one of the prime innovators of psychobilly.
Their music is mostly in rockabilly form, played at varying tempos, with a minimal drumkit. An integral part of the early Cramps sound was dual guitars, without a bassist. The focus of their songs' lyrical content and their image was camp humor, sexual double-entendre, and retro horror/sci-fi b-movie iconography. Their sound was heavily influenced by early rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll like Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as The Ventures and Dick Dale, 1960s garage rock artists like The Standells, The Trashmen, The Green Fuz and The Sonics, as well as the post-glam/early punk scene from which they emerged, as well as citing Ricky Nelson as being an influence during numerous interviews. They also were influenced to a degree by the Ramones and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who were an influence for their style of theatrical horror-blues.
In turn, The Cramps have influenced countless subsequent bands in the garage, punk and revival rockabilly styles, and helped create the psychobilly genre. "Psychobilly" was a term coined1 by The Cramps, although Lux Interior maintained that the term did not describe their own style.
Browse our unique collection of The Cramps photos and prints below
Stunning photograph of Poison Ivy of The Cramps taken by Michael Grecco in Boston, USA in 1980.
Kid Congo Powers of The Cramps lying on the floor playing guitar at The Channel in Boston, USA in 1980.
Poison Ivy and Lux Interior from The Cramps photographed by Jill Furmanovsky in 1981
Limited edition giant vintage pin badge for The Cramps designed by artist Tony Dennis AKA Tape Deck Art.