February 5, 2009

Zombie Dance - RIP Lux Interior

"Somebody told me you people are crazy. I don't know about that. You seem to be all right to me"

Lux Interior- to the audience at the Napa State Mental Hospital- 1979

Wow, Lux Interior died. This sucks. One of the greatest frontmen in rock history. Master of the psycho-billy genre. On the short list of the coolest fuckers ever.

The Cramps mix of old 50's rock, rockabilly, country and r n b with their general insanity was one of the most unique sounds ever created. And one of the most fun.

If you never saw The Cramps live, man, that's your loss. You had Lux, stripped down to the tightest leather pants in the world; gyrating, genuflecting and flailing about on stage. Poison Ivy on one guitar, the epitome of unflappability, all fishnets, curls and leather. Nick Knox on the skins, hitting that simple beat and whomever the other guitarist du jour was (there were so many over the years), completing the quartet.

We had the privelidge of seeing the Cramps several times over the years and being among the lucky ones at the legendary Peppermint Lounge show which became the Smell Of Female record. Memories of hallucinogenic intake as well as my buddy getting kicked in the head by Lux's boot still resonate.

Man, all the great punk rock front men are doing the dirt nap: Joey Ramone, Stiv Bators, Joe Strummer, Lux, Johnny Thunders.

this from my peep - Dave... a fellow traveller in all things Cramped:

Nazz...just ran across this contemporaneous review of some 19th C opus... i think this crit tracks just as well if you swap out the last word "wagner" with "lux interior" -

This din of brasses, tin pans and kettles, this Chinese or Caribbean clatter with wood sticks and ear-cutting scalping knives … [t]his reveling in the destruction of all tonal essence, raging satanic fury in the orchestra, this demoniacal lewd caterwauling, scandal-mongering, gun-toting music … the darling of feeble-minded royalty, …of the court flunkeys covered with reptilian slime, and of the blasé hysterical female court parasites … inflated, in an insanely destructive self-aggrandizement, by Mephistopheles' mephitic and most venomous hellish miasma, into Beelzebub's Court Composer and General Director of Hell's Music—Wagner!

Rest in pieces, Lux... You are now one of the Surfin' Dead. Or something.

The Cramps - Human Fly (demo)
The Cramps - What's Behind The Mask - (live CBGB 1-13-78)
The Cramps - The Crusher
The Cramps - Can Your Pussy Do The Dog
The Cramps - You Got Good Taste (live Peppermint Lounge 1984)


Piley said...

Geez, not been a good year already for music heroes has it??

I met Lux and Ivy in 1986 whilst wandering around Kensington Market. Believe it or not, some 60 mins earlier I had just bought the new Cramps album 'A Date With Elvis'... What were the chances of that??! I went up to them not knowing what to expect, but they were both SO friendly and chatty. We spoke for some 10-15 mins and the hapily signed my album as a lasting reminder.

A great frontman and a great guy. RIP Lux.


roc said...

I heard about this yesterday. its a fucking shame

Uncle E said...

Ah, fuck me. That's a shame. They were always one of my favorite bands. I'm partial to Psychedelic Jungle, Songs The Lord Taught Us and especially A Date With Elvis (for some weird reason).
Satan's having one hell of a party tonight...

ib said...

Thanks for digging out the Napa State footage with Bryan Gregory, Nazz; a pal advised me to look it up on TouTube, but I was too lazy and caught it here first instead.

What a gig! Bad Music for Bad People.

Man, this is a shame.

gomonkeygo said...

Nice memorial, Nazz. Missed them the only time they came to my parts that I was aware of. Found out about it the day after the show. I was already a huge fan - my brother had taped Psychedelic Jungle and Songs... for me and that tape was rarely out of my reach. Still have it, in fact. And it sounds better than the CDs I bought to replace it.

So long, Lux. Anyone know how Ivy is?