Ongoing History Daily: Could this be the weirdest concert video of all time?

Most of us have seen concert videos, either on TV, online or on DVD.  It seems that every band has done some in-concert thing at some point in their career.  Ninety-nine-point-nine-nine percent of these films were shot in clubs, arenas, stadiums or at festivals.  A few were taken at private shows.  But I know of just one concert video that was filmed at a mental hospital. 

In June 1978, the Cramps, a crazy zombie/rockabilly band from New York City, played a show at the Napa State Mental Hospital in California.  It was a free afternoon show that was filmed by a friend.  Some punk friends got smuggled in, but the bulk of the audience was made up of patients.  The film circulated underground for years, but it’s now available online.  It’s a weird black-and-white concert experience where you can’t necessarily tell the fans from the band from the inmates. 

The Cramps: Live at the Napa State Mental Hospital.  Fascinating.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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