Friday, February 6, 2009

stay sick

Just before going off to bed last night I read about this and just last summer I was remembering the shows we saw here.

Lux Interior has gone beyond. He has shuffled off his mortal coil. He burned his candle from both ends with a phosophorescent light of glory. There's not much news about this yet but if you were a Cramps fan you know there was no other live act like them. Each and every show was a cathartic experience perhaps best described by this note from their home page:

It would be almost impossible to have never heard of The CRAMPS. Their career has been the stuff of legend. Dangerously bizarre but most of all cool, The CRAMPS represent everything that is truly reprehensible about rock’n’roll. Founding members Lux Interior (the psycho-sexual Elvis/Werewolf hybrid from hell) and guitar-slinging soul-mate Poison Ivy (the ultimate bad girl vixen) are the architects of a wicked sound that distills a cross of swamp water, moonshine and nitro down to a dangerous and unstable musical substance. Their cultural impact has spawned a legion of devil cults and dance-floor catfights, and created in its wake a cavalcade of cave-stomping imitators. As punk rock pioneers in the late seventies, they cut their teeth on the stages of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City and recorded their first record at Sam Phillips legendary Sun Studios, funded mainly by Ivy’s income as a dominatrix in NYC. They coined the now popular term “psychobilly” on their 1976 gig posters. Their hair-raising live performances are still a total, no-holds-barred rock’n’roll assault. After a quarter century of mayhem, they’re too far gone to even consider any other course.


  1. Oh wow....I never heard of CRAMPS, but I remember getting cramps a lot when I was a teen.

  2. I am apparently older than I though I was. Like Mary Ellen, the only cramps I remember are the thousands of years of menstrual hell prior to the removal of my uterus. From the description given of their musical stylings, I have to admit to being chicken about listening. I'm very sensitive to anything amounting to aural sock and awe.

  3. Aw shit, I've got heavier stuff than that. ;-)

    The Cramps are certainly goddamn groovy. The cramps are probably not as groovy.

    Being the loner metalhead/video game player/future serial killer that I was in high school, I never heard of The Cramps until I had a chance to go to Ohio State for a geeky computer class for a few weeks before my senior year. Strolling down High Street, we decided to head into the supremely-named Magnolia Thunderpussy and lo and behold, what greets the customer, but a colossal and psychotic Cramps poster.

  4. hmmmm, thinking it over and after blowing up the guy's writhing body and the ghostly image in the video, I am too chicken....and too peaceful to blow it and I'm impressionable! ;)

  5. They were a smige before I got into punk. But, I did enjoy some Sex Pistols and then moved onto Black Flag, Social Distortion,and the Dead Kennedys. I even did some slam dancing in my time.

  6. I'd never heard of them. Reminds me a little of Kiss...

  7. I saw them on a video called, if I remember correctly, "Urgh" which they played on the midnight movies out on the East coast. Urgh turned me on to Oingo Boingo but I can't say I liked the Cramps (or Claus Nomi) as well.

  8. uh, that was back in the early 1980s if I may date myself here some.

  9. nunly - I'm pretty sure that's how they got the name and they were fun.

    utah - It's only a little video and you'd have complete control of the volume control. I know you're braver than that :-)

    randal - So did you see them play or not? I'm pretty sure I saw you staggering out of the mosh pit one night clad in nothing but your g-string.

    linda - Okay, you can have a free pass on this one. Take this note from the nurse and give it to the bouncer or your way out :-)

    belette - They were doing shows up to a year or so ago but they were sometimes hard to find.. very, very popular in Europe and the far east. Jello Biafra was also very cool and I can imagine you slam dancing to California Uber Alles ;-)

    lol - Yeah, NY Dolls as well but well beyond generally acceptable popular music forms.

  10. lib - Let's Tear This Damn Place Up! We were seeing them in Providence in the 80's but the last time was out here in Portland at the Crystal Ballroom about 5 years ago.

    Lux was a madman on stage but reputed to be a very sweet guy in person. I'm going to miss knowing he's still on the planet and I feel very sorry for his wife, Poison Ivy.

  11. lib - ps: We're big fans of Boingo too :-)

  12. "do you want the real thing or are you just talking?"

    so sad. hugs.

  13. Goth Rock with tight pants - "Do you understand?"...
    Fucking boring and no talents.
    If I am completely drunk, I might dance to this shit, as long as there is a lady around to pick me up from the floor after the knock-out.

  14. I never saw them live, but we have at least one album of theirs. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned their funny play on words song.

  15. Hi Susan
    Interesting post – I have not heard of The Cramps either but that is not surprising since I was never one to embrace the punk rock scene, or alternative stuff except for folk & jazz, and selected rock but I gather from your post you would need to actually be at a concert to appreciate all of the artistry and energy that went into each performance.

    You will have to excuse my rather more conservative tastes (as primarily an opera buff) but after having listened to the recording it sounded remarkably to me like a Mick Jagger on steroids with similiar style type lyrics interspersed with brief intervals of mild big guitar twang reminiscent of the early seventies.

    Best wishes

  16. zee -

    Take a magic carpet to the olden days.
    To a mythical land where everybody lays.
    Around in the clouds in a happy daze in Kizmiaz...Kizmiaz.
    Flamingos stand easy on bended knees.
    Palm trees wave over tropical seas
    Of azure waves and lazy breeze
    In Kizmiaz...Kizmiaz. :-)

    lisa - You mean that one? There was always something so fresh and wholesome about them..

    lindsay - I like lots of music too, although I personally draw the line at C&W. They had a wonderful twisted sense of humor well suited to our decadent age as exemplified by the title of a favorite album, Bad Music For Bad People.

    Best wishes.

  17. I guess my ulcer randomly acted up when I listened to your Cramps flick, Susan. I will give it a second try.
    Thanks for the magic carpet though, I'll make good use of it!

  18. Dear Zee,

    All I can say is that I was very sad to hear Lux Interior had died of a heart attack last week. They never pretended their act was serious music but he never hurt anyone. Instead, they were like a nightmare trip through the American culture of the latter half of the 20th century and so saved the plane fare money of a number of Europeans and Asians who 'got' them.
    Seeing them perform live was really all about the context of the moment. They were as much protest singers as anyone who commanded greater critical respect.. like Dylan:

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don't criticize
    What you can't understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin'.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can't lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    You are forgiven,

  19. First I take a magic-flying-carpet...and now I am even forgiven for all the dreadful sins I did and said?
    Are you being partial Susan?

    Unfortunately Bod Dylan was wrong. The times are not a changing, they just get worse by the minute.

    As for punk'ish gigs I did dig the Clash, but they are grandfathers by now as well. No more "calling from the underground"...
    And present attempts to create noise or music, 90% of that stuff sucks, no originality, no mission. Most of the bands don't even know how to play instruments above the three year beginner level of learning. The voices sound like a crappy copy of a 60's, 70's, 80's or nineties song.
    There is nothing new out there, and by golly, I am giving my best to find it open minded.
    (this also relates to the so called "classical-music" - a perfect disaster-stew in modern times.
    People are not brilliant anymore, they just make mediocre copies of what once was genuine brilliant.
    Oh, that goes for the visual arts as well, not only the time arts like music, acting, dance and so on...
    So there I sit on my fat ass (if it were fat) and rant and bitch instead of lifting it up from the soft pillow and do something about it. And I rarely manage.
    This aside, I am with you with the notion that life music is the experience, the real thing, the way to go.
    Ah, I'm out of breath.
    Thanks for your "forgiveness" Susan!

  20. Very interesting stuff about terra preta. I actually read your earlier post first, Susan.

    It's mind-bogglingly depressing and happens slowly enough that people aren't sufficiently freaked to do something about it. Amazing stupidity.

    I like the semi-clad lady. Especial as you created her with a fullness that is healthy in a woman! ;-) The whole thing is quite pleasing but then again, I am huge fan of your art!

    I'm going go get Cramps now. And then look at the painting some more.

    Your in peace,