RIP: Lux Interior

Still from their classic performance on Urgh! A Music War
Still from their classic performance on Urgh! A Music War

I am very sad.
The Cramps were a huge part of my teenage years.
I only got to see them live a handful of times, but I have always loved their music.

Cramps Frontman Lux Interior R.I.P. [Pitchfork]

Even when I eventually got tired of conventional rock music, per
se, I really appreciated Lux and Ivy’s devotion to obscure mutant rock
and roll and obsessive record collecting.

Lux was like Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Mad Daddy (or Ghoulardi – take your pick), Iggy and countless wild Southern rockabilly rebels all rolled into one being. He was Frank N. Furter’s white trash cousin; Lux and Ivy came from their own damn planet. The Cramps never lost sight of Rock music’s hillbilly roots, even as rock critics attempt to sweep that fact under a rug. Their music was far from being a corn-ball nostalgia trip; they played music as if the 60’s never happened and inhabited an alternate reality where Elvis may have died, but he never got bloated and old.

Save It – Off The Bone (released in the US as Bad Music for Bad People)

Surfin’ Dead – Return of the Living Dead OST

Damn it.

But to assuage your grief, here’s a little tidbit: It’s a collection known as The Purple Knif Show, where Lux spun records on some Hollywood radio station in 1984. He channels countless late-night DJs (he grew up in 1950’s Cleveland, remember) and -as mentioned above – the inimitable Ghoulardi, in his manic, over the top, reverb drenched announcing.
You also get not only a sense of the breadth and length of Lux and Ivy’s record collection but also an idea as to what informed their repertoire.

Download here.

You can read the tracklisting at Discogs here.


  1. I first saw the Cramps here in New Orleans in the mid/late eighties and they were brilliant. As the years went by and I caught more and more of their shows (working many in my time at House of Blues) I watched an amazing effect: they just kept getting better.

    I’m sure someone will dispute me, but after over 12 of their shows I stand by my statement. Always a great show and usually a better show than the prior tour.

    I was actually talking to someone about that when I found out…..

  2. Thanks, Nate!
    Yeah, George. Weird Crampsian coink-e-dinks abound…
    I had just last week run across a wonderful WFMU interview with them and listened to it again, which prompted me to go re-read the Lux and Ivy portion of ReSearch’s Incredibly Strange Music book, which prompted me to dust off some Cramps LPs and play them.
    And I had just resolved to go out of my way to see them again…
    I was even calculating how much it would cost me to fly out to LA for one of their Halloween shows…
    Now this…

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