Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Unobtrusive Nick Knox

Nick Knox (born Nicholas George Stephanoff, c.1958, USA) was the drummer with the psychobilly band The Cramps. He replaced Miriam Linna in 1977 and left in 1991. Knox was with The Cramps during the peak of their worldwide popularity when they toured Europe extensively in 1986 with the "A Date with Elvis" tour. He even drafted in his cousin, Mike Methof (aka Ike Knox), during the preceding European tour in 1984. Knox was recognised as the drummer who brought a tightness to the Cramps sound and stayed longer than any other drummer in the band. Knox lost an eye in the 80s after a rare infection. (Wikipedia)

Nick Knox, stalwart drummer, had long suffered from vision troubles and after eye surgery left him blind in one eye, decided to leave the band and retire. He was replaced by Jim Sclavunos, and soon followed by Nicky Beat and then Harry Drumdini.

(RESPONDING to a LUX INTERIOR obit) Wow…what a shame….great performer, true visionary whose music influenced many many of today's punk and pop-punk bands….Don't forget the other NE Ohio connections here….Nick Knox, the Cramps' drummer was really Nick Stephanoff from Parma, he went to Normandy High School I think…Lux's brother Mike Purkhiser was also a Kent-Akron musician, playing in The Action first and then later with Johnny Teagle in The Walking Clampetts, another great rockabilly-surf-psychobilly band with the Bassone brothers on bass and drums….let's all take a big swig of our favorite drink…Cream of Nowhere……Goo Goo Muk Forever…..

Dennis DiMartino, February 6, 2009 at 3:17 am, comment posted at


"In 1974, they (The Electric Eels) were wearing safety pins and ripped-up shirts, T-shirts with insulting things on them, White Power logos and swastikas: it was offensive and they meant to be offensive. They meant to distract people, but I don't think they were exceptionally racist: they were being obnoxious and outrageous." Mike Weldon quoted in "England's Dreaming" - Jon Savage.

The Electric Eels were the original anti music heroes. Formed around 1972 in Cleveland, they lasted three years and played only around half a dozen gigs. The centre of this maelstrom was the peroxide haired John Morton and violence whether onstage or between members of the band and audience was always bubbling under the surface. Morton, originally drawn to art, wanted the excitement of performing. In the Electric Eels he combined the two (creating all the bands artwork). As Heylin in 'From the Velvets to the Voidoids' observes: "Their roots...led them to deconstruct rock'n'roll, retaining only the noise element, the polemical nature of the rock lyric and the confrontational aspect of the live performance." One gig had John Morton and Dave'E'Macmanus being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The one wearing a coat strung together with safety pins and the other covered in rat traps. Morton's hand was broken in the arrest. The next gig he had various tools strapped to his cast and proceeded to beat the shit out of a sheet of metal with a sledgehammer.

"The Eels never saw the inside of a recording studio. These tapes were made using an assortment of junk PA equipment and a low end home cassette deck. No compromises to the recording process would be made and the band played just as always deafeningly loud. Care was taken to maintain the loud edge of the fuzz guitars as well as the overall distortion of the bands live sound." - 'God Says Fuck You' sleeve notes. Agitated is a pure slice of the finest punk - insanely mixed past the point of bleeding and fucking brilliantly proud in its audacity. Its also worth noting the drummer on their recordings providing that solid back beat - one future Cramp - Nick Knox.

The curious can find a sampling of Electric Eels tracks from "Eyeball of Hell" here:

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