Monday, November 2, 2009


Flame Job Your Meat with the Cramps
Kurt Schellenbach & Niko Courtelis
interview Poison Ivy
From PLASM Magazine

K: Have you ever chewed on tinfoil?
I: No, but my cats do. Do you get some kind of buzz from that?

K: Uh, yeah. Ever been to a rodeo?
I: No.

K: Ever wanted to?
I: No, they smell bad, and, I don’t know, it seems like the animals would get hurt.

K: When you played your first show in at the Marquis quite a few years ago, Lux came out on stage carrying a bone. What kind of animal was it from? I: I remember the Marquis, it was very exciting, but I don’t know what kind of bone it was. A lot of times fans will hand us stuff we don’t know where the hell it came from: a cow, a human, or whatever.

K: Did you ever meet somebody in who gave you a Rat Fink model?
I: Is that where I got it? On the last tour, somebody set one of those on-stage, near where I was playing—a fully completed model all painted—and he didn’t put his phone number or name on it to thank him.It was fragile, all glued and painted, and I didn’t want it to get smashed or anything.

N: Still have it?
I: Yes, I do. I keep it on a table on the tour bus so it won’t get all beat up, but well, I do thank him for it, whoever it is. He was the anonymous Rat Fink artist.

N: What can you tell us about art cars?
I: You mean art cars like Wild Wheels? I love that movie. It’s great. We have a 56 Dodge that has a leopard interior, but I don’t think that’s quite an art car. It’s pretty stock.

K: About one of your songs “Eyeball In My Martini,” what was your influence for the title of that song?
I: Uh, from Martinis. Influence came from ingesting Martinis.

K: Are you familiar with a book by Jim Shaw called THRIFT STORE PAINTINGS?
I: Oh yeah, I’ve seen that book. It’s really cool.

K: In that book is a painting of a pink elephant holding a Martini, and in the Martini is an eyeball.
I: No!

K: Yeah. I: I think we wrote that song before we saw the book because we saw it at that Robert William’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Iowa.

K: It’s good to know that your songwriting is at the same level as a thrift store painter.
I: Yeah, that universal unconscious mind.

N: Ivy, I was reading about another song “Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs.” You own a Duchamp, is that correct?
I: Yeah, well, Lux is really into Duchamp. He has read every biography and autobiography written. I think if Duchamp hadn’t died in Lux’s lifetime, I’d think that Lux was reincarnated as Duchamp.

N: And you own the original is that right?
I: It’s an oil painting. It’s amazing. I don’t know.

N: And that’s on the new album?
I: Yeah, "Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs" by Marcel Duchamp.

N: Is Lux ever going to exhibit any of his 3-D photography?

I: I think so. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful stuff…and all those album covers were shot in 3-D. We haven’t used both of the slides to actually print them in 3-D, but they can be shown in 3-D. We make a view master reel to look at them.

N: What about taking a look at the political climate when you started the band, as opposed to now. In this respect, is it more of a challenge or more interesting, now, for you to write the kind of songs you write? Do you think you balance out the right?
I: I don’t know. I guess things, now, are politically more up-tight than when our band started out, musically, not politically but musically. I think things were more oppressive when we started out. We never set out to shock, but we were shocked in spite of the sound of our music. And there weren’t women in bands, and that made us seem very strange in the 70s. Now, I think there’s a lot more variety in music, but yeah, politically, the climate is a lot more repressed now. Still, I think we’re too strange. I think we’re confusing to those repressed types. We haven’t been hassled, if that’s what you mean. I’m not afraid of being incarcerated or anything.

N: I guess what I mean is: there is a need, now, with the Helmses and Newts of the world to push it, go even further.
I: Yeah, I don’t know. I guess I’m in a band so I could stay out of politics.

N: So, it’s not your motivation?
I: No, they don’t scare me.

K: What’s the best music to clean house to?
I: Maybe Esquivel.

K: You live in the Burbank area, right?
I: Glendale, right near Forest Lawn.

K: My daughter had her Christmas pageant at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
I: I love Forest Lawn. It’s like an amusement park. It’s very pretty, and with a gift shop.

K: I hear a rumor you were kicked out of Disneyland with Lux. Is that true?
I: Yeah. That was really stupid of Orange County. We didn’t look that flamboyant or anything. But we were there with a bunch of friends, and we did a bunch of mushrooms, and then we were trying to walk into the place, and they wouldn’t admit us. We weren’t behaving strangely or anything. But it was frustrating because we had just…you know…already eaten all these mushrooms. Kinda all dressed up and no place to go. And so that was just all very frustrating. They said we were wearing these costumes—because we were wearing black clothes, because the men were wearing earrings. And they said that me and June couldn’t enter because of our make-up, that it was considered a costume, which I thought was really insulting. I guess we had too much eye makeup on? And sometimes I wear eyeglasses, and they have rhinestone frames. They were prescription eyeglasses, I needed them to see, and they called that a costume, and they won’t admit people in costumes.

K: So what did you end up doing while you were beaming on mushrooms?
I: We went to the Tiki Ti bar in LA. We were supposed to see the Ventures at Disneyland, and Lux was going to do a phone-in review of the show to Rodney Bingenheimer, a radio show, live on the spot. So, instead he did a review of what it might have been like.

N: We were thinking of having you and Lux fill out job applications for McDonalds. I: OK, you can fax it to me.

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