LUX TRIBUTE VIA FANS' MEMORIES
The Cramps are dead (The Cramps had a song named like that in 1977), Lux Interior became Lux Exterior, after his departure for another world on February 4th 2009. This same day was issued a brand new (French) and highly recommended book on the Cramps: (http://www.myspace.com/julieprod).
"Hey I’m on my way, on a journey outta this world" is the epitaph that Ivy chose to announce her soul mate death on the Cramps page.I can imagine Ivy's emotion when she had to choose Lux epitaph and photo for the Cramps page... Poor Ivy. Two weeks later, it was her birthday, the first one without Lux since 1972!
On February 21st; the day after her B-bay, Ivy organized the ultimate ceremony – Astral ascensione – of the "singer, author, artist, 3D photographer, daredevil, shape shifter, Mojo man From Mars ; Ding Dong Daddy from Diddy Wah Diddy", like Ivy liked to name her other half. God bless you for ever, Ivy.
That was the necrology part. But the main idea of this is to celebrate Lux & Ivy (how can you say one name without the other one?) with anecdotes from real fans that are collected here. Most of them being Netpals members of the stay sick yahoo group, dedicated to the Cramps.
Kogar the Swinging Ape (Boston) – this guy had the genius to compile the famous “Lux & Ivy’s faves”, 11 voumes so far, number 12 coming soon):
My first Cramps show :I first saw the cramps on the “Look Mom, No Head” tour (being too young to see the STAY SICK tour). Needless to say, I was very excited. My friends and I got there early, and stood dead center, right down front.
When they hit the stage, Lux had a wine bottle in his hand. He strode to the mic, bit the cork out of the bottle, and spit it out towards the audience! Me being well over 6 feet tall, the cork was ALL mine! I quickly caught it, much to the crowd's chagrin, and shoved it into my pocket!
For the rest of that show, Lux proceeded to use me as a "lean-post" to get closer to the audience! I spent the bulk of that show staring up at him, as he used my shoulder(s) to lean towards the crowd. It was an experience I will never forget!
Two nights later, at another venue, after an equally sweaty, bloody show, as the crowd was filing out, I asked the bouncer up front if I could have the wine bottle Lux had left sitting there. It had "FUKIN-A WINE" scrawled on it in magic marker. After some haggling, he let me have it, as long as I put into my coat pocket.
I squirreled it out of the club and cherish it to this day.
The night I almost chauffeured The Cramps : Back on one of the last full tours by The Cramps, my friends and I headed down to Philidelphia to see The Sickidz open for The Cramps at the Trocadero. We were all pretty excited, because not only did we get to see The Cramps, we got to see the Sickidz, a band who played with The Cramps "back in the day."
Having become close to Sickidz member, Rich Lustre, over the years on the internet, I was looking forward to actually meeting him, and seeing his band play. My friends and I bopped around Philly all day, later i gave him a call (he did NOT have my cell number!).
He was glad I had called, but sadly informed me that if I had called earlier, I might have been able to drive the band from their hotel, to the club for the show that night! They had called Rich to see if they knew anybody who could drive them to the club. He immediately thought of me, but did not have my number.
So I was "that" close to being able to chauffeur The Cramps to a gig....
Lindsay Hutton, our other man from Scotland, Mr The Legion Of The Cramped and The Next Big Thing, reminded his first contact with Lux and the Cramps :
It’ll be 30 years this May 31st since the band did their first show at the Glasgow Apollo. They were opening for The Police and walking down the street not far from the gig were the two most exotic creatures that I had ever seen.
I think they were a little taken aback about being recognised but they went along with it. When “Songs The Lord Taught Us” came out, their show at the Astoria in Edinburgh was just astounding. I’m not sure what led me to believe that I could run their fan club but for some reason it happened.
That opened up a whole ‘nother world for me there and then and I can’t even begin to tell you what an honour it was to run the LOTC. Even though it ceased to be in 1983, it’s never really went away. It just simmered away in the ether.
Did you know that the award for the most members in one town/city is held by Inverness here in Scotland? Absolutely true. And they all came down to the Auld Reekie (Edinburgh) Nite Club shows in May 1981. If you have that show, Lux dedicates a song to them.
He was one of the sweetest people I ever met and at least 150 % for real at any given moment.
The man holds up a bar of his name brand soap at their UK debut show. Camera shake could be attributed to the effect of what was just witnessed. A life changing experience
L-man also kindly sent those unissued photos from June 7th 1984 in Paris (Eldorado), taken by Dominique Freslon-Saillard.
Margaret Doll Rod(s) – of the famous Demolition Doll Rods who toured with the Cramps during their last tour (Autumn 2006), and now on her own one woman band:
I wanna get in your pants ….(Margaret and Ivy like the same kind of clothes, that they swap, sometimes) I gave Ivy a completely see through Elvis style body stocking (see photo above). I will never forget the sound of the audience. it was like the buzzz buzz buzz just because. She looked so beautiful. She gave me her stage ring.
Lux and Ivy both are so precious to me. They would put me on their lap, and I felt like the littlest big kid ever. I have such a big love for them. They played one night in Detroit, and it was one of those nights that I just wanted to blend in with the crowd and just enjoy the show. So I dressed like a greaser boy. I rolled up my jeans put on a black leather, and greased my hair back, wore a white t-shirt. Really I was pretty unrecognizable, and Ivy stopped the show did her sultry little walk over to Lux and whispered in his ear, and they both did this little prance over to where I was standing and said look it's Margaret. Then Lux slammed the microphone stand down and started the concert again. I will love him forever no matter what planet he chooses to be on.
Isabelle Chelley is a French writer. As soon as she opens the door of her apartment, you know you enter in the Cramps universe. If I add that Thierry C and Isabelle got married in Glendale Memorial Park and that one of their cats was named coincidentally Cleo, like one of Lux & Ivy's, you probably get the picture:
A date with the Cramps : anyone who's read Rock’n’Folk magazine undoubtedly knows the monthly 5-page spread, “My records collection”, in which VIP’s (or NSVIP’s) are interviewed about their collection and assert with a straight face that by the tender age of 3, they were already listening to the Velvet Underground on their Fisher Price turntable.
For years, Lux and Ivy were, of course, at the top of my list. And I'd volunteered to take care of that dirty job… I had tried to set up a meeting during my holidays in Los Angeles in 1999, coinciding (by chance, I almost swear) with their mini Halloween tour. But they were too busy and I had dropped the whole thing...
I waited until they came back to France in September 2003…
A few days before their arrival in Paris, the record label confirmed me that the summit meeting would take place before the gig at the Elysee Montmartre. They would call me that same day to set a time.
D-day arrives. I keep my mobile phone at hand constantly for fear of missing the all important phone call. Hey, it’s ringing right now !
A very upset PR girl informs me that everything is cancelled. The night before, after many a sleepless night in their tour bus, the Cramps, desperate for a real bed, have checked into a hotel. And the PR girl has had the brilliant idea of calling them early in the morning to let them know they've got a full day of promotion ahead. Before hanging up on her, Ivy has replied that it'd be nice to let her enjoy her beauty sleep and sorry, but they were too tired to give interviews.
Mayhem erupts at Rock & Folk headquarters while I'm trying to cope with my major disappointment. We decide to wait until Ivy has finished her catnap and then, Phil Man, the editor in chief, calls the band himself to explain the interview is a big deal, a cover story for that matter, etc. Ivy, who really doesn't like to be awaken and I can sympathize, vaguely agrees. Phil Man then calls me and declares that once they see me, all resistance on Lux and Ivy's part will be futile. Yeah, right… [note from Patrick : Isabelle is as cute as Bettie Page]. I had already met them at the House of Blues after a gig a few years ago, we have mutual friends, but it's not like we're bosom buddies.
Five minutes after I've arrived at the Elysee Montmartre, the PR girl takes me backstage to meet Lux and Ivy. The poor girl is scared, probably convinced she's going to get spanked by the ex-dominatrix and uses me as a human shield. When Ivy emerges of her dressing room, I'm literally pushed in front of her by the poor girl who says : "it's Isabelle from Rock’n’Folk, she comes for the interview" before disappearing, leaving me here, still tottering on my stilettos.
Ivy's bad mood has obviously evaporated. She's all smiles and calls Lux to meet me. We exchange a few words, I explain them that my interview will be all about their record collection and in five minutes, everything is settled. She asks me to come back in a half-hour before heading towards the Sacre Cœur in search of something to eat (ah, the sweet memories they must have given to all those Japanese tourists !).
And at last, I'm sitting in front of Lux and Ivy in a dressing the size of a big cupboard.
They’re still wearing their civilian clothes (a mini skirt and high heeled boots for Ivy, black vinyl trousers for Lux), but are already flaunting heavier make-up than groovy Las Vegas showgirls. They look as happy as kids at a birthday party at the idea of speaking of their records collection …
They are fascinating, of course, curious about everything, they could talk about their passion for hours and I start to feel crushed at the thought of cutting this or that part of the interview in order to make it fit into my alloted space. There's something very touching about their closeness, about the way Ivy rolls her eyes when Lux declares he bought one of his first singles "because there was a girl in shorts on the sleeve" [I like short shorts], in the way he looks at her when she talks and swoons about the '68 Comeback Special Elvis.
After something like ten minutes, their drummer (Jungle Jim) pops into the dressing room. Lux asks him to go and pick up his 3-D camera. And during the rest of the interview, he starts clicking away madly at me in 3-D. My ego quivers with delight. I'm usually rather blasé, but right now, I secretely exult. I'm on cloud 9 (or 10, or 11) – wow, my heroes have been captivating, I have a hell of a story in the works, Lux photographed me, they invited me backstage, lalalala ! – during the whole show. And after.
It's only once I'm back home that I realize that, considering the length of my mini-skirt and the way I was sitting, Lux had a panoramic view of my red thong… But all things considered, I'm delighted to know that my undies, in 3-D to boot, have been immortalised by this ageless rascal…
Click on pictures to enlarge:
Gildas Cosperec (Toulouse) - This guy runs “Dig It!” best French fanzine and radio show.
"to Jildas, who taught me everything I know." Ok, Lux wrote it with a “J” (instead of G) but well ... I glance at him to guess if he is pulling my leg. But he laughs kindly ... I feel secure ... We spent the last hour together doing an interview in a very good mood, with L & I responding with humour and availability to the stream of passionate questions put down by the staff of the Dig It! Radio show (Sylvain, Tommy Boy and your servitor).
We had to make a deal a few weeks earlier : we gotta swear we’re not going to tell anyboby about L & I’s visit, or they won’t come. The Cramps just finished an European tour - the last show was in Greece (Rodon), and before going back to LA, L & I accepted the suggestion of their French label (Vogue) to promote their brand new album Look Mom No Head in some chosen parts of France (Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier, etc...). Most of the meetings with the indie medias took place in hotels living rooms or FNAC (big “culture” shop in France) ... Except in Toulouse where the whole stuff happened in rockin’ as hell studios of Radio FMR. Live in Dig It ! radio show, to be more precise.
The couple arrived at the fixed hour. Lux, of course, had his splendid cane with a silver knob, and Ivy was wearing her leopard coat. They were both a little sick (influenza). Well, it was in fact a little crowdy around the studio, as we couldn’t manage to tell a few Cramps-maniacs … buddies that would never have excused us otherwise … The interview lasted about an hour, we spoke about the new album, of course, including Iggy’s visit in the studio during the recording, about B-movies too, and also about Bordeaux wines which L & I had tasted the day before, including a special vatful of the Vampire selection that they particularly appreciated. "A 13 degrees wine" specified Ivy. And the girl who was taking care of phone calls at the radio told us that listeners were calling from all the region to ask it was REALLY L & I there in the studio ...
After the show, L & I stayed to drink a few glasses of wine to the bar of the radio. "This place looks like one of those radio stations of the 50’s where you could enter to see the DJ and speak with him" said Lux to the journalist of La Dépêche du Midi (a newspaper) before dedicating me, the way you know now, a copy of the single "Eyeball In My Martini". Ivy wrote a more neutral but very decorative "Wipe Out"... And the couple left ... We stayed to drink a few more bottles and our eyes suddenly shone a litle more.
After the show, they stayed to drink a few glasses of good wine at the bar from the radio.
“Garbage” Juan Tellez, (Spain):
One of my favourite experiences on a concert was seeing after The Cramps´Gig The Addams Familly of R´n´R smiling to the Iggy and The Stooges show on the backstage on Azkena Rock 2003.
Somebody told me they should play after Mr. Gimme Danger but they asked the organization pay tribute to their idol and play before...I don´t know how true is that, but i can only remember their smiling faces...
Martin Percival (England) – remind me how many times you saw the Cramps live, Martin? As Martin coulnd’t come on Halloween 2006 in Frisco, we planned to spend a full week in California during the Cramps next Autumn tour … This is an interview of the Rezillos by Martin a couple of years ago :
Martin – When did you first meet the Cramps?
Jo – We went to one of their gigs. Someone had told us that the Dictators were doing a guest spot at this gig at CBGBs and the Cramps played later the same night and we stayed on for their set. It was a fantastic night.
Fay – They really knocked me out, even now it’s like a flash bulb memory.
Eugene – We went back stage afterwards and I introduced us to Lux and Ivy. I was amazed when Lux said “Yes. We know who you are. The Rezillos music is so cool” and Ivy said “We love your “I Can’t stand my baby” single. We were shocked that they knew us. They then invited us back to their apartment. They had an ENORMOUS record collection of 45s.
Martin – Did they feel like kindred spirits?
Fay – Yes, absolutely.
Martin – What was the story about Lux giving you the master recordings to “Human Fly” and “Domino”?
Eugene – Lux said “Can’t stand my baby” is great and we’d love to be released on that label in the UK” and he gave us the tapes and said “Can you give these to the label and ask them to release it?” so we took them back to Scotland. I played them to Lenny Love who ran the Sensible label and he said “I don’t like it”. I told him he was making a BIG mistake by not releasing it. When they visited the UK the next year I remember giving Bryan Gregory a ride in my Messerschmitt bubble car and he said “This is the best ride I’ve ever had in my whole life and when I die I will remember this day.”
Jo - Bryan was quite influential on Phil from the Human League. He saw the Cramps live and was especially blown away by Bryan.
Martin – Was there anyone else from that era that you had an affinity to? There are a few bands that, superficially at least, people might link to you like the Dickies or B52s.
Eugene – Lux HATED the B52s. Lux and Ivy really walked it like they talked it. Ivy said “The thing about the B52s is they turn up to their gigs in……ANORAKS! Then they later change into their wigs”.
Craig W (England) the Cramps saved his life:
Well it all started in 1983……….I had heard about a band called the Cramps but not any of their music, loved the name and on the back of that alone got STLTU. Placed the vinyl on my deck and was immediately transported by the pounding beat of TV Set. My Dad shouting ‘turn that fucking hillbilly crap off’. I turned it up and danced around the room! Been dancing these last 26 years.
1984 – Many nights at Ziggy’s subterranean bar in my home town in Wales dancing to the whole of Smell of Female (the DJ was a mad Cramps fan) – eventually the Cramps were banned from being played in every bar and nightclub in that godforsaken shithole 'cos they caused a riot every time their records were played (I left shortly afterwards).
1986 – the Tube, first time I had seen them perform live on TV – My Dad ‘What the fuck is this!’ Me – ‘Wow’. On the way to Liverpool for my first Cramps gig – so excited I would not let the coach we hired (for 60 of us) to stop for a break – everyone had to piss into empty beer cans. The gig was everything I imagined and more. Lux swinging from the balcony in his leopard skin underwear, the crowd open mouthed – not exactly Mersey beat!
1990 – Brixton and the Town & Country Club– Candy del Mar & Ivy, lots of shiny clothes, Lux tearing it up atop the speakers - never seen anything like it. Reading festival – Lux punched the squares right in the face that night - ukhan kizmiaz - wearing nothing but a heart shaped g-string, steam rising off his skin and vomiting red wine all over the stage – way too cool.
1991 – 5 nights at the Town & Country – yeehar! – Ivy chucking goats eyes back into the audience, Lux in a coffin, a riot every night, Lux pouring red wine into my mouth singing ’drink some bad wine’ and filming the Mae West drag artist from the stage wings.
1995 – Like the song says ‘Let’s get fucked up’ and I did. Best goddamn version of She Said I ever did hear (listen to ‘Trash is Neat 2’), Lux dropping every pill thrown at him on stage and eventually losing it mid song and forgetting where he was – or was that me?
1998 – Astoria – first night took my wife – very impressed especially with Ivy’s flame hot pants, not so impressed with Lux waving his dick at her. Second night – bedlam – Lux rolling in the glass and ripping up the floorboards, why is it I always lose my voice for days after these events?
2003 – Astoria - 5 long years to wait – they just get better – 1st night Lux has a bra on his head, 2nd night all hell breaks loose - Lux smashing bottles over the audience and drinking sweat from Ivy’s boots – Ivy picking glass from her hair, Lux ends up wearing Ivy’s red hairpiece, screaming at the audience like a demented maniac with his block and tackle hanging out. Ivy flashes her knickers at the crowd and smiles. Lux escorted off the stage gibbering like a madman. Me - speechless
2006 – Astoria – The most amazing night. Lux all blond and Ivy beautiful and me drunk. Hanky Panky, Caveman, “See you Jimmy” Hats (Google it) and me crowd surfin’ (I know sad at my age). The last time I'll see them - 26 years of unadulterated madness, pleasure and liberation – Bad taste is good taste and it never mattered however many times I saw them, it could never and will never be enough. It’s only now that Lux is gone that I realise what unique celebrations the gigs were - like stepping into another dimension of libertine lunacy. I always got irritated when people said it was pantomime. There was nothing pantomime about Lux's performances - deranged yes, confrontational yes, funny yes, rock’n’roll yes, pantomime no. If you got what the Cramps were about then you really got it - like an incurable disease, you understood something beyond the wit of other less perceptive mortals - for me Cramps fans are like something out of the Children of the Damned, different from others - I think Lux & Ivy would like that.
Thank you Lux, you were and always will be my hero.
My own anecdote with the Cramps is when I saw them in 1990, they were very kind and laugh when they saw that my son (Jonathan was 6) and me dressed with the same perfecto (leather jacket).
They dedicated my test press of STLTU (and congratulated me for having a copy) etc. I gave them a dedicated single by Jackie Lee Cochran "Georgia Lee Brown". Lux said "hey, but that must be very pricey" - I answered it's nothing compared to all the treasures they made me discover, in music, or else (H G Lewis, J Waters, Bettie Page ...) then had to leave place for the other guys waiting to get autographs.