A new documentary short takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Cramps and the Mutants’ infamous performance at a psychiatric hospital in 1978.
Directed by Mike Plante and Jason Willis and produced by Field of Vision, We Were There to Be There explores the events that led to CBGB mainstays the Cramps driving over 3,000 miles to perform at Napa State Hospital alongside San Francisco art-punks the Mutants.
The show is remembered as both a landmark moment for punk rock and for the perception of mental health care within U.S. popular culture, all in the wake of then-former California Governor Ronald Reagan’s cuts to social services within the state.
Sticking to a true punk ethos, the film documents the pivotal moment through a mix of grainy archival footage — taken by video art collective Target Video — and over-the-phone audio interviews from those who were there. As one interviewee puts it in the trailer: “You don’t know who’s who in that video — the band members and the mental patients are the same.”
We Were There to Be There can be streamed for free on the Field of Vision website.