The Cramps are one of the all-time great punk band’s and one of the last artists you would ever expect to pop up in an episode of a programme like Beverley Hills, 90210 — but, bizarrely, this did happen. For some unknown reason, the band made an appearance on the hit show in 1995 which sounds completely made-up, however, this genuinely happened and it’s glorious.
The punk duo, the embodiment of the spirit to play in any location and whenever asked, took them to some of the most unusual places on earth. This ranges from their guest spot on 90210 to travelling 3,000 miles from New York City to the Californian city of Napa to perform a notorious gig at a mental hospital in front of just a handful of hardcore fans, around 100 patients, as well as a few members of hospital staff back in 1978.
Their appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 came on the Halloween episode that was appropriately titled ‘Gypsies, Cramps and Fleas’ and saw them perform two songs ‘Mean Machine’ and ‘Strange Love’ during the two-minute allocated stage time. The segment began by Lux Interior saying to the crowd, “Hey boys and ghouls, are you ready to raise the dead?” and, remarkably, this was only their second national TV appearance which took place a year earlier when in 1994 after they previously appeared on ‘Night with Conan O’Brien’ performing ‘Ultra Twist’.
Beverly Hills, 90210 was a drama show that was a key part in American teen culture throughout the ’90s but it’s hard to imagine there was much crossover between fans of The Cramps and those who would tune in religiously to the programme. The series ran for ten seasons on Fox from October 4, 1990, to May 17, 2000, and due to the glamorous location it was set in, the programme was always good for a celebrity cameo but none beat The Cramps short but sweet appearance.
Producer Larry Mollin was proud of the show being able to lure acts like The Cramps into appearing on the series, saying in an interview that “the music stuff we had a lot of fun with, too. I come from a rock and roll background so I was always bringing in stuff,” he recalled fondly. “We had The Flaming Lips and The Cramps. Just stuff I really liked. Kind of odd stuff and we got the Goo Goo Dolls,” he added.
Mollin was the man we had to thank for the appearance and it’s surprisingly an experience that The Cramps enjoyed, with Poison Ivy saying to Louder Than War: “It was fun. It was synched. It was at a party.” Lux Interior then added, “It was supposed to be at a Halloween Ball. Wearing wild costumes. We played ‘Ultra Twist’ and ‘Strange Love’. For us, it’s strange doing a cover song cause that’s a Slim Harpo song.”
Watch the clip and enjoy one of the strangest one-minute and forty seconds of your life, below.