Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thank you Lux Interior.
When I was just finding myself amongst the rogue/punk/skater kids at my high school, a friend gave me a copy of 'Bad Music For Bad People' by the Cramps. Having only experienced some of the better-known punk and college radio/alternative acts of the era, this wild collision of unhinged rockabilly with a fixation on trashy Americana, B-horror movies, and kinky sexual references ('What's Inside A Girl?', Can Your Pussy Do The Dog', 'Hot Pearl Snatch') immediately appealed.
Frontman Lux Interior's out-of-control onstage madness was instantly cool. Here was a band who did what they wanted, and worked far outside the confines of any scene. They roped in the punks (who apparently recognized the primitive renegade spirit of Lux, wife Poison Ivy, and the rest of the band), and the goths (the graveyard appeal of Lux himself was obvious enough). I followed the band through their major label days (even seeing them all over MTV at some point with their 'hit' 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns').
It's even strange (though not surprising) to see the whole 'psychobilly' scene evolving out of what I perceive to be a Cramps obsession. Yes, if not for the wonderful, trashy, darkly humorous B-movie weirdness of the Cramps, I doubt that scene could even exist. They were the first, and, to me, the only name that mattered. The Cramps were legends, and true rock icons, and will remain so forever more as they continue to inspire bands and artists both young and old.
On February 4, 2009, Lux Interior (aka Erick Purkhiser) passed away of a pre-existing heart condition. He was 62 (though his actual age has been debated). May he rest in peace.
Here's a rare but excellent set of 1979-80 demos from a vinyl bootleg, called 'All Tore Up'.
Cramps official website
And here's the band's infamous 1981 performance of 'Tear It Up', from the film 'Urgh! A Music War'...