Record Review: The Cramps – Eyeball In My Martini

Big Beat Records | UK | CD5 | 1991 | CDNST 135

The Cramps: Eyeball In My Martini UK CD5 [1991]

  1. Eyeball In My Martini
  2. I Wanna Get In Your Pants
  3. Wilder Wilder, Faster Faster

I always kept up with The Cramps singles as their B-sides could be simply amazing. The singles from “A Date With Elvis” were purchased on UK 12″ initially, but a bit later, they came out on French CD3, and after that, all of my Cramps singles were on shiny silver discs. After “Stay Sick” boosted the band’s profile immeasurably, they did the unexpected thing and produced a follow up album the very next year! This had only happened once in the history of The Cramps at that point, so I jumped right on the pre-release single.

“Eyeball In My Martini” was an ode to ommetophobia via a blues riff played at breakneck speed with Poison Ivy playing fast, clean treble picking which dovetailed wonderfully with the aggressive fuzztone bass of  [then] new bassist Slim Chance. The relegation of sound to the low and high ends gave the sound of the cut a bracing quality. All the better for Lux Interior to  become more and more progressively unhinged throughout the song. His adlibs in the long fadeout were a wonder to hear. Leave it to The Cramps to stray from their comfort zones of sex and monsters with this hyperkinetic excursion into flat-out madness.

The first B-side, “I Wanna Get In Your Pants” was also on the “Look Mom, No Head!” album, but it was a classic Luxian double entendré. Not only did he have rocking and rolling [in the first sense] in mind, but also indulging in his penchant for cross dressing. Of course, he delivered this number in his most suave and persuasive tone. The music bed for this one walked a fine line betwixt The Troggs “Wild Thing” and “Louie, Louie” by The Trashmen. In other words, The Cramps, had just made a perfect object in this tune! Other bands would have quit right there; cowed by their touching of the void, but fortunately for us, The Cramps soldiered onward.

Photographer Rocky Schenk montaged these shots without a computer back in 1991

The primary reason for buying this CD5 [apart from the phenomenal Rocky Schenk cover photos…] was the sole non-LP B-side, “Wilder Wilder, Faster Faster.” This was the longest studio recording ever by The Cramps; almost five full minutes! And you wouldn’t want it any other way as the entire track played like a radio ad for the ultimate Cramps-bait exploitation movie. I only caught the end of this phenomenon, but in the waning days of exploitation films, [before home video], shady distributors with a 16mm print of a 20 year old grindhouse flick would book [four-wall] theatres to show it and plaster the airwaves with lurid radio ads… that seemed exactly like this song, to lure the unsuspecting towards parting with their shekels.

The frenetic pitch just got more and more pronounced as the song unspooled with the key of the song rising to match Lux Interior’s energy level. The band kept it simple with a basic vamp not changing overmuch throughout the track. After two, four-verse sets of frantic exhortations by Lux, the track would have sound bites and sound effects from this unnamed movie. The second of these daringly dropped out the music bed entirely for some bongo furioso. Most impressively, it just slayed me when Lux offered “hear The Cramps sing ‘You’ve Got The Blues!’” followed by exactly a single bar of this apocryphal Cramps song that eventually got drowned out by the sound of a circular saw revving up. I have seen old trailers that use this gambit of selling the film with a hot rock & roll number back in the late 50s.

The Cramps were sponges for exploitation cinema, and they crafted in this number a perfect distillation of all of the cheap, hopped up J.D. thrills they had ever sought out on film, lovingly rendered in a nearly five minute collage that ended of course with Lux intoning severely “under 18 not admitted without parent!!” “Wilder Wilder, Faster Faster” was a perfect Cramps moment brought to its ultimate conclusion. Cramps B-sides rarely got more entertaining than this… okay – so maybe “Jackyard Backoff” topped this.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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