Sunday, December 6, 2009

Big O 1990

Lux Interior, singer of The Cramps, died on February 4, 2009. But back in 1990, before the internet and webcasts of live shows, DJ/musician/critic X’Ho had to fly in to Los Angeles to watch The Cramps live and trade tattoo tales with bassist Candy del Mar and guitarist Poison Ivy. The following article was published in BigO #57 (September 1990).

The Hollywood Palladium In Hollywood
June 15, 1990

I got cramps even before I got to the Cramps. It was, I guess, a serious case of the foreign intestinal bug that came with debilitating runs every half hour or so.

Still, would I miss the one chance to catch 1983’s best rock ‘n’ roll band in the world live? I must admit I had many moments of reservations about going. When my Israeli friend (studying in LA) arrived at my hotel half an hour late to drive me to the show, I was half glad I could be given more time to, literally, get my shit together.

And when he got lost looking for the Palladium, I wasn’t complaining. Hollywood Boulevard on a Friday nite is jampacked with cruising-down-the-drag traffic that, on that nite, accorded me the rest I needed in the little automobile’s front seat. Eventually, we got there all right.

I was feeling cold and weak - ready for the next run to hit me. As they say - when the shit hits the fan… boy does it take on a different meaning here. The Cramps (I mean the band of course) had already started their set. Inside the Palladium was a crowd of about 1,500 people - mostly leathered goths and bikers and clean-cut punks and thrashers, I figured I was at least half an hour late, missing Flat Duo Jets, which opened the show (reported to be one of the most happenin’ Southern rock combos at the moment whose music was heard in that Athens, Georgia sampler soundtrack a few years ago).

As for the main attraction, after all these years, the Cramps remain a rare mummified rock commodity that service trash with outrageously gawdy wit. And the show displayed that quality through and through. The only possible misgiving would be the group’s descent into manic raunch and roll so nullifying at times you’d wish for the smarmy dank mood of their Psychedelic Jungle days to re-surface.

Nonetheless, the show contained some of the Cramps’ best musical pieces - You Got Good Taste, Drug Train, Psychotic Reaction (tho’ not an original) and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog. Of course, the band was a sight to behold. Cool B-grade shock-horror with a ranting-&-raving maniac came in the shape of a gangly Lux Interior whose bodily contortions suggested a rubber skeleton filled out with pale dead flesh.

Interior bared all - wearing nothing but a skimpy black G-string as if to outstrip some imaginary bikini girls with machine guns. As usual, lead guitarist Poison Ivy, in her Fifties-Las Vegas showgirl sequined bikini and diamante tiara, was cool and taunting.

Bassist Candy looked the part of a blackPVC-leather side-kick from out of some Sixties spy-thriller flick. Drummer Nick Knox sat drumming away with a dead-pan expression that belied his hippy-shake rhythms - he could pass off as a young dead version of Roy Orbison forever trapped behind dark glasses.

Interior gave a costume change for the encore - dumping his G-string for a pair of red see-through meshed briefs with matching colour high heel shoes… as in stilettos, dig?!

And I thought to myself then and there, what would our $ingapore neighbours say about this? Who cares. After the show, I met up with Knox, Ivy and Candy and pulled down my pants (no underwear) to show the two ladies my Cramps tattoo.

Candy, who looked stoned out of her mind in an euphoric high, took a good look and said: “I see lots of little lines… and stars… yeah, that’s great!” Wished I could take her up on the matter and pursue the galaxy together. Instead, all I could do was obey the Cramps’ new motto - Stay Sick! and rushed to the toilet.

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