The Cramps

Songs the Lord Taught Us (IRS)

Songs the Lord Taught Tombstones in Their Eyes: John Treanor, singer with LA shoegaze outfit Tombstones in Their Eyes, told us about his love for a Cramps classic.

John Treanor: Choosing one album that changed my life is pretty tough.  I first thought of the Germs (GI) and Devo’s Duty Now For the Future record, both of which I purchased at the age of 15 and which blew my young mind.  And those records still resonate today.  But for this one, I’m going with The Cramps’ Songs The Lord Taught Us, as it also had a lasting impact on me musically, with roots, punk, psychedelia, fuzz guitar, reverb and edgy lunacy smashing together.



I started Tombstones In Their Eyes with James Cooper, whom I have known since I was about 13.  We both got into punk at the same time and started a little band together, writing a couple of songs before we veered off into different orbits.  It was after reconnecting with James about 10 years ago that we started writing songs together again, even though he lived in NYC and I lived in LA.  And we joke about those old days.  One running joke is that James says our main difference is that he and his buddies went with TSOL while I went with The Cramps, haha.  I still find myself trying to play fuzz guitar lines like Bryan Gregory and Poison Ivy (whoever did the parts on the record). That record came out when The Cramps were less of a cartoon than they became in later years, and to 15 or 16 year old John, they were cool and scary looking.  Songs like Mystery Plane, Garbageman, TV Set – every song on that record is classic.  And I was too young to know about the cover songs, but The Cramps made them sound like Cramps songs anyway.

I saw The Cramps a bunch of times in this era, but I’m pretty sure that Bryan Gregory was already gone by the first time I saw them at a place called Fairmount Hall down in San Diego.  I remember myself and my friends Elia and Joe chasing their rented Ford Fairmont (taking a Fairmont to Fairmount Hall) down the alley behind the venue before and after the show.  Fun times! And Kid Congo was a worthy replacement for Bryan Gregory, for sure, but if that’s Bryan doing some of the crazy fuzz guitar on “Songs…” I wish I’d had a chance to see them with him.

I read that Poison Ivy was not totally happy with the production on “Songs…”, and that she didn’t feel like it showcased the bands “toughness”, but it’s hard to imagine anything tougher sounding in 1980 to a 15 year old kid (except for the Germs GI record, of course, haha, but that’s another story).

Songs the Lord Taught Tombstones in Their Eyes: Tombstones in Their Eyes’ new album Sea of Sorrow is out May 16 via Kitten Robot Records.

















































































































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