05 November 2009
B. She Doesn't Love Me
A. Suzy Lie Down
Rip-Off Records, RIP-007. 1979.
Cramp were from Portrush, Northern Ireland and released their sole single on George Doeherty's Rip Off label in 1979.
Richard “Toadie” Todd - Vocals
Tim O'Hara - Lead Guitar
Nigel McComb - Bass
Declan Service – Rhythm Guitar
Colin McDowell – Drums
And, as an extra treat, here's an interview we did with Richard and Tim....
Sing Sing (SS): Can you speak briefly about how you met and who your earliest influences in Cramp were?
Tim O'Hara (TO): I recall our first meeting at Declan's house in Queen's Park. I was not sure if Toadie was a genius or just plain mad! But after that, we used to rehearse in some weird places - Ray Kennedy's billiard hall and Nigel's dad's stockroom to name two. Our influences in Cramp were of course mainstream punk, the Pistols, Clash, etc. but we did do a rather nice reggae song, "Tribute", which Toadie will hopefully remember. We also liked the new wave stuff like Joe Jackson, the Buzzcocks and the Ruts.
Richard "Toadie" Todd (RT): It was a bit strange at first singing and jumping around in a garage in front of 3 complete strangers (I only knew Colin at first) but looking back I suppose that was pretty normal for me in every way!!
SS: When were your first lives shows, and can you describe them?
TO: The live gigs were quite something as I recall. Toadie was quite a presence on stage and knew how to entertain the punters - think Robbie Williams on lighter fuel! The occasional youngster would gob on us and there was a memorable night when a large scale fight broke out. There was also the day the Undertones (before they were famous) saw us in Spuds (a pub in Portstewart, long since gone) and asked Declan if we wanted to play in Derry at one of their gigs. Derry was of course a bit dangerous place for young Ulster Protestants so nothing came of it. How different things could have been!
RT: Yea, the Easter Monday and Boxing day gigs in Spuds Portstewart were always the best… 400 people crammed into a venue that could hold about 200!!
SS: Who were the other bands you would play shows with?
TO: Other bands at the time were Clive Culbertson's lot: No Sweat (later called The Sweat) and of course the Xdreamysts. I can't remember any others.
RT: Flying Squad gigs on a Thursday nights, again in Spuds, were always great. They later became known as Xdreamysts, a great bunch of guys!!
SS: How did you come in contact with Rip-Off / George Doherty?
RT: It was through Clive Culbertson that we met George...
TO: Yea, Clive Culbertson introduced us to Rip-Off Records. Clive's band had already got a deal with George and recommended us to him.
SS: Your single on Rip-Off credits George Doherty as producer. Can you speak about the experience in the studio with him?
RT: I can't remember too much about the recording except there was a lot of beer consumed!!
TO: I remember the recording sessions very well although it was Clive rather than George who did the actual recording. Great fun it was, although the facilities were quite basic. I seem to recall tins of McEwans helped Toadie’s vocal performance a lot! George and Clive did the mastering later. Some syndrums (quite novel at the time) were added at this stage and the members of the band were, as I recall, not overly keen on this! I had real trouble keeping my guitar in tune so if the tone sounds extra distorted, that's the real reason.
SS: Can you speak about the how was the single received? What kind of airplay, if any, did you get?
RT: I haven’t a clue… It didn’t seem to matter at the time!!
TO: Don't know how many copies were issued but we did sell enough to get one royalty payment! It got some airplay in Ulster and John Peel played it on Radio One. We had to pretend ‘She Doesn't Love Me’ was the A-side given the explicit lyrics of ‘Suzy Lie Down” - quite tame by today's standards. My mum loved it - fortunately, she never really listened to the lyrics.
SS: Beyond the two tracks released on your Rip-Off single, did you have any other material recorded, or plans for other releases?
TO: We did do a further recording of some other songs with Clive on his reel to reel recorder but I doubt they’re still in existence. We definitely recorded “Tribute” and “Belfast's Burning.” Don't know if Toadie can remember any others? There is quite a market, apparently, in Japan for retro punk/new wave of the era and Clive has his own studio so we may well do some re-recording in the near future if I can remember the chords!
SS: What was the end of Cramp like, and did you pursue any other musical projects??
RT: Believe it or not I went solo; just me and an Eko acoustic, singing many a crude song merged in with other stuff that I had written
TO: Yea, Toadie just decided he had had enough, that we had done all we were going to do and he was right. As I recall, he then did some solo gigs and performed such legendary songs, "I Live in a Pair of Underpants" and "The Boys They Call Her Polo".
Nigel and I played in Minor Classics after Cramp. We released one single Sign Language (you can hear it on http://www.myspace.com/1977records) and did record a number of other tracks at the studio at Templepatrick with a view to releasing an album but nothing came of it. We mostly did local gigs. I also did some gigs with a local artist, the very talented Joey Newcombe - just show-band type stuff; weddings and the like, but got the best money of my playing career by far!
Posted by Trey Lindsay at 12:49:00 AM