Lux Interior, lead singer and all round deviant psychobilliac of the Cramps, died a couple of days ago. Talk about bringing your own mortality into question. When heroes die, things get weird. The Cramps released many albums and were one of the bands that introduced me to the idea of things being not of the norm as a kid. The idea that somewhere in deep Ohio in the 70s, there was a man wearing leather and ooozing fetishism who would come into my world was crazy. Along with his hot wife, Poison Ivy.
As a teen Stretch was lucky enough to attend a Cramps gig in the Town and Country club
in Kentish town, Londingham with the boozy Gallon Drunk supporting. At the time, I was obsessed with all things Americana: Wild at Heart, Repo Man, Marlboro cigarettes, Budweiser (before I realised it was piss), White Zombie and any indie movie that would show a desolate expanse of the American mid-west. So to be at this gig would only be matched by seeing Iggy Pop, who I didn’t see till about two years ago.
I remember drinkng Special Brew and being generally young, numbed, dumb and full of excitement riding the tube on the way to the gig. The place was raucous that night and even as a smaller Stretch I rocked out and I will always love the fact that at one point during “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns” (at least I think that’s what they were playing) Lux offered his bottle of wine to the crowd. Being an opportunistic gibbon, I grabbed at it and gulped deeply. He wrestled it back off me, but I don’t know, maybe there was something in that bottle which made me what I am now, always restless, always wondering, always ready to go!
Tonight I am going to play all my Cramps stuff and especially their version of “Fever,” which is one of my favourite covers of any song. Since 1979, they have made their music great. It was never going to take over the world, but I loved the fact that in the dark recesses of culture there existed the Cramps.
Below, listen to “Fever” and “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns.” Turn up your speakers real loud.