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March 20, 2013 3:32 PM   Subscribe

The Cramps ripped it up, madly channeling the sordid specters of rock 'n roll's past while staying true to its psychedelic future, even when voxman Lux Interior was a lean 59 years old. The first show from their last-ever tour does nothing but prove it. posted by item (19 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble


Thanks for this, item! Can't wait to watch the whole thing tonight.

Anecdote: so my partner is a collector and restorer of stereo cameras, and he's built a little bit of a following for his unusual adaptations of modern lenses to old '50s and '60s Realists. Several years ago, he was emailed by a guy here in L.A. who was interested in buying one of his souped-up cameras. They met up at an old diner in Glendale to make the sale, and hung out for an hour talking about 3-D photography; my partner said the guy was dressed like a semi-recluse from another era, a bit soft-spoken, but very cool -- and he seemed vaguely familiar, he said, but he didn't want to pry. A few days later, the guy emailed my partner and said it was the best camera he'd ever used, and was the new centerpiece of his collection.

A couple of years after that, my partner was putting up an auction for one of his cameras on ebay, and used some quotes from previous customers noting their satisfaction with his work, including a sentence from the email from the guy from Glendale (using only his first name and last initial). Within a few hours, my partner received a very urgent message from the guy, demanding that he immediately remove his name from the auction, even though it wasn't his full name. My partner did, and the guy sent back a second message, apologizing for his frantic tone (and thanking him again for the great camera) but explaining that "in his line of work" it was better to remain anonymous. Okay, a bit odd, but he shrugged it off.

Fast-forward another couple of years to last month. My partner was reading something on a stereo camera collectors site, and someone else mentioned the name of the same cool semi-recluse from Glendale, saying that "I think he died a few years ago." Curious, my partner googled his name: Erick Purkheiser.

I came home from work that day and was greeted by the statement, "well, honey, you may have kissed Paul Weller, but Lux Interior said I'm the best camera restorer he ever worked with."
posted by scody at 3:57 PM on March 20, 2013 [27 favorites]

Check out the cramps on Urgh. It's the highlight.
posted by mattoxic at 4:09 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have a nice vivid memory that's stuck with me all these years for some reason - walking to my job at a paper mill on a blazing hot summer day in 1981, listening to Psychedelic Jungle on my cassette Walkman.
posted by davebush at 5:01 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

madly channeling the sordid specters of rock 'n roll's past while staying true to its psychedelic future,

Item, our tastes verey rarely intersect (the Cramps and garage rock in general would be one of the main places), but that's a damn perceptive way of stating what made the Cramps so good. (and the tension between roots and the future is what's made for many great artists, but that's a whole other conversation).
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on March 20, 2013

The high point of my music career was opening for the Cramps at Irving Plaza. Ivy was so very nice to us. I wonder how she's doing. Either she's thriving or just surviving. Either one feels appropriate but I hope it's the first. I'm sure Lux does too.
posted by Brainy at 5:15 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

You're welcome. And, FWIW, my mom used to have a part time job where she'd go to college fairs and hand out pamphlets from her alma mater (a small Catholic girls college in rural Vermont). Sometime, in the summer I'd go with her). At one such fair on Long Island, when I was about 12 (this'd be 1983 or so), a kid passed the table wearing a "Bad Music for Bad People," Cramps shirt. My mom (who ordinarily was like Bonnie Franklin on One Day at a Time, minus the divorce) found that funny as hell. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 5:24 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

One day Jon you and I shall drink and talk about Rock and Roll. And it shall be awesome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:43 PM on March 20, 2013

The first record LP I ever bought was Songs The Lord taught us. My favorite song in high school was All women Are Bad. The first time I got drunk I listened to the human fly. Sometimes, when drunk I go BUZZZZZZZ w my lips just to feel the essence of psychobilly. I miss them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:46 PM on March 20, 2013

Check out the cramps on Urgh. It's the highlight.

No, no, no. It was that band with the cardboard guitars.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:01 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I listened to the Cramps in high school and only saw the occasional photo of them but really had no reference until I saw Urgh. I couldn't believe my eyes and made it my mission to see them live. My expectations were surpassed by orders of magnitude when I finally got the chance to see them live and Lux spent nearly the entire show in a black g-string and the largest set of red pumps I've ever seen. Totally epic and life changing.
posted by photoslob at 7:06 PM on March 20, 2013

Cramps were easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. Talk about not giving a fuck about what anyone else thinks and doing what you want to do for no other reason.

Mr. Quintron opened and that would have made the night worth it alone.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:33 PM on March 20, 2013

I never saw them live. I wanted to. Desperately. But it never happened.

But then, the highlight of all my visits to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is not the smashed bass from the cover of 'London Calling', is not Elvis' Cadillac, is not Roy Orbison's glasses, is not Peter Hook's bass, is not Jacko's glove, is not the synth from 'Music for the Masses', is not Lennon's Epiphone Casino, is not Neil's lyrics for 'Rockin' in the Free World', but a bass drum that Lux happened to pop his head through.

I hope you're doing well, Lux, wherever you are. You too, Ivy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:34 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

the mystic arts of gardening and 3D photography

Oh my god, that's an awesome clip. Aside from everything, they're so clearly crazy about each other, it's adorable. RIP Lux (and all love to Ivy).
posted by scody at 9:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great clip. Best show I ever saw was The Blasters, Cramps and X in SF in the early 80s. If I had had a son I would have named him Lux.
posted by Isadorady at 9:37 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

All you Cramps fans need to check out Kid Congo's current band Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds. Nothin' but pure awesome.
posted by spilon at 8:57 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is great, and this is the best soundtrack for the day. Thank you!

I love this interview from the Stool Pigeon that talks about Lux and Ivy's extraordinary past and devoted relationship. So admirable.

I really miss the Cramps. The last time I saw them was in October 2004, and I was quite pregnant, and boy did my kid really kick a lot that night. She still loves them like crazy - what nine year old wouldn't love Goo Goo Muck? So much for studies that have shown that consistent exposure to "chaotic, discordant music" can have a negative effect on the baby.
posted by peagood at 10:54 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh god Lux is just terrible. This is not the band I saw in 1982. But I saw about 30 seconds of closeup of Ivy's fingers and I think I just learned 8 chords and 10 licks I've been trying to master since 1982.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:16 PM on March 21, 2013

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