Thursday, February 05, 2009
Photo Creative Commons 2008 by Yves Lorson.
It has come to my attention that a great punk icon has passed away.
Those of you who are familiar with The Cramps know of Lux Interior’s snarling, piercing vocals. You know of his original songs (co-written with his wife Ivy) with titles like “Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?”, his almost parodic treatment of dusty pop war-horses like “Lonesome Town”, or his band’s thrashing reading of Hasil Adkins’ “She Said...” which outdoes Mr. Adkins’ bloodcurdling original, no mean feat.
I remember hearing The Cramps’ debut 12-inch, Gravest Hits back in ‘79. I was suitably impressed to say the least! The record sounded to me like it had been made on a thrift-shop cassette deck using the cheapest grade of tape available. The reverb on most of the tracks was the classic Lincoln-Tunnel variety. All the previously-buried 1950's rockabilly cliches had been newly exhumed, hosed down and given a fresh coat of red-lead paint. In an age of Teflon-slick FM rock with synthesized orchestras and 20-minute drug-fueled guitar solos by people who flew to gigs in Lear Jets, The Cramps’ gritty back-to-basics style stood out.
News reports say that Lux died of a bad heart, which makes no sense to me. He and his band had plenty of heart. So long, Lux. It’s too bad you had to split. The music world needs people like you more than ever. My sincerest condolences to Ivy, the band and all of your fans the world over.