Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Interview

And here is the other interview that was a part of the previous post until, while I was attempting to edit it, it spontaneously reformatted itself all to fuck. I got it sorted back out again, and maybe it will stay that way.

An interview with Lux Interior

& Poison Ivy

By Frank Reese

“ATTENTION” called LUX INTERIOR, “It seems that Y2K bug has struck in the form of what many are calling a ‘computer fluke’. Due to this technological ‘glitch’ you can only receive one TV station.” As he leafed through the couch potato bible, the TV Guide, he deadpanned like the best seasoned comic, “3:00 AM, ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice & Turner & Hooch”. What followed was the most bizarre movie treatment this side of FELLINI on LSD25.

As LUX delivered the punchline to this unhinged synopsis IVY banged out the chords to “TV Set”.

Yes, the millennium is here and thank god so are THE CRAMPS.

THE CRAMPS are a band that have eluded my tape recorder for far too long.
Practically every tour for the past few years I have tried to set up an interview with them, but as always I ended up running into a wall of resistance (inept promotions people, not being able to keep up with their “label jumping” and just plain bad luck)

THE CRAMPS define everything that is great about rock’n’roll, period.
LUX is like no performer I have ever witnessed in my life. The music seems to totally derange his psyche to the point-of-no-return, summoning some ungodly spirit of rock’n’roll and possessing him to bend micstands over his head and practically swallowing the mic itself in the process. By the shows climax of “Surfin’ Bird” he is usually half naked, straddling atop the PA system, shouting incoherently to no one in particular to the accompaniment of the beautifully chaotic wall of guitar feedback delivered by the lady herself, IVY.

The current lineup is of course
and the addition of their newest member, SUGARPIE JONES - bass.

As New Years got closer it looked as though I would not get the opportunity to interview them. No one from the record company returned my calls so I decided to get to the club early and hopefully coerce the band into one. As i reached the door of the club, a worker was busy decorating for the evening’s event.

“Hi, I have an interview with THE CRAMPS”
“Oh yeah, go ahead, i think their upstairs”.
That was easy enough.

Snickering to myself as i climbed the stairs, it seems that they had just finished their soundcheck and IVY was signing a few autographs for the stagehands. I intercepted her as she made her exit.

Are there any New Year’s resolutions for THE CRAMPS?
IVY: Ummm... continue being perfect!

That won’t be too hard. What can we expect from the band this year?
I: A new record, we’ll be touring. SUGARPIE is touring with us now so that’ll be the first album that he’ll be on. What else?
LUX: We’ll also be working on a boxed set.
I: That’s set for 2001 but we’ll be working on that.

Who do you think will put that out?
I: Vengeance Records
Is that your label?
I: Yeah, it’s our label.

What’s the story with your website? Every couple of weeks i check it out & it still is under construction.
I: It’s not us, it’s a squatter. He put our picture up and it looks official but he’s been contacted... I understand that it’s a fan but we really need to do something ourselves. We’re attempting to take it over.

Are you into the whole internet thing?
I: Not at the present but we will do the website and sell our dirty underwear on it (laughs) Get money anyway you can.

What happened to your deal with Epitaph?
I: We weren’t happy there, so we told them we wanted to leave and had to make a deal with them, give up something that they owed us in exchange for leaving. The guy who signed us had left the label, he had some personal problems right after he signed us and the guy who took over really wasn’t a fan. Not a really interesting story, but that’s what happened.

So now you have a new bassist...

Who did he play with previous to THE CRAMPS?
I: He played in CELEBRITY SKIN, an LA band.

What happened to SLIM CHANCE?
L: We did a lot of albums with SLIM but it didn’t seem to be quite as much fun there towards the end.

You and IVY are the core writers, do the other members contribute ideas as well?
I: We write the songs but we certainly require a band effort.

How did you eventually hook up with SUGARPIE?
I: There was a series of auditions, but we met him through DONITA.
L: From L7
I: But we did audition a lot of people.

Do you feel as though you are part of the music scene in LA? The reason why I ask is because when you hear about the whole punk scene in New York in the late 70’s, early 80’s, you never hear about THE CRAMPS.
L: We never felt like we were part of that scene either, even though we played there, sold out shows once a month. We were never included in any of the write ups. Nationwide press but nothing from there.

Why do you think that was?
L: Well, I think they looked at us like we were a bunch of hicks (laughter) And they’re right, we weren’t a bunch of art students like most of them.
I: Ooooh, good one. (laughs)

When you come down to it very few bands were from New York, but they fit in. THE CRAMPS always seemed like the outsiders.
I: We’ve been like that all our lives.
L: People still continue to write books about that scene without including us like it never happened.
I was really disappointed that there wasn’t anything written about the band in the book, “Please Kill Me”, which was one that was quite good.
I: That’s true because we knew all those people, we were around them everyday. I think that you needed to die to make it in that one. (laughter) But here we are, not quite dead.

What ever happened when you submitted the demos for the JOHN WATERS film, “Crybaby”?
L: We were asked to write a few songs for the film. JOHN WATERS really wanted us and it turned out to be music business crap. He never even got to hear the songs. Somebody in LA was choosing the songs. Later we released the songs on the b-side of a record and somebody played it for him and he said

“I wish I would’ve heard this, I would’ve put it in the movie”.

It seemed like they were shooting for a very homogenized, squeaky clean sound.
L: Well, it was other people picking the songs. I think DAVE ALVIN was one of the people picking the songs.

You guys always look so great, I'm surprised that you haven’t been offered more film work.
I: LUX got offered a role in “THE CROW”, the one that BRANDON LEE got killed in. He tried out for the villain role but turned it down cause the script was completely different, really juvenile.
L: Well, I don’t know if it was completely different because i never saw it but it was all hardcore, just shit jokes and stuff like that and i couldn’t see myself in something like that.

How did you get the job of doing the “voice-over” screams for “DRACULA”.
L: FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S daughter liked THE CRAMPS. (laughter) She basically told him that she liked the way I screamed and so he called us. (more laughs)

I remember seeing an episode of “90210” that had THE CRAMPS on it. How did that come about?
L: JASON PRIESTLY’S wife wrote that episode and she also likes THE CRAMPS.

Did you enjoy that?
L: Yeah it was real easy. We spent one day there and it was kindda like playing a gig. We just played the song one time and walked off.

Are you still in contact with any former CRAMPS members...
L: We see KID CONGO pretty often cause he still lives in LA.

Did anyone hear from BRYAN GREGORY lately?
L: He lives in LA somewhere.

What’s he doing, anything musically?
L: Nothing

So all the rumors about him running a chain of adult book shops, a tattoo artist in Florida, weren’t necessarily true?
I: He lived in Florida before moving to California but he’s pretty... burnt.

What ever became of CANDY DEL MAR?
I: Well, she lives in New York and we kindda lost touch. She still does music, she was doing something with some of THE DEVIL DOGS.

Are there any particular songs that you really still enjoy playing, even from the early days?
L: We really like them all, there’s not one that really sticks out.
I: Well, “Human Fly” is for me. It was one of our first songs and it just blew my mind the first time. You don’t know how good of an idea it is until you hear it and it was like “Oh shit”. (laughs)

Any current bands that you enjoy?
L: No
I: Ummm... no.

When you toured in the early days you were on some unusual bills, playing shows with bands like THE POLICE...
L: They were real nice to us. That was a fun experience.
I: Yeah, there weren’t any horror stories. I guess since we were a band from New York they kinda treated us good.
L: There was a few pop acts that we toured with in Europe that we didn’t have much in common with but everyone kinda treats us ok.

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