Friday, October 22, 2010

KOGAR THE SWINGING APE presents Lux and Ivy's Favorites Volume Fifteen!

Here is Lux and Ivy's Favorites Volume Fifteen!

This volume is a mix of left over songs from that magical tape that came into my possession earlier this year and some other hold over songs that I've been waiting to throw on the series.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Haunted George for doing the cover for this volume. For those unfamiliar with his work, I highly recommend checking out his Myspace or Facebook pages (the URL's are part of the artwork when you download the volume). Be sure to check out his stuff. It's some of the more interesting/different music being produced today in a landscape filled with the usual garbagegarage (tm).


A few notes on the songs.

The intro/instrumental was reassembled from the original tape using the best sources I could find. You can read the whole story about "instrumental" on my blog. It shouldn't be too hard to find the track title if you really want to know. I kept it a mystery for the hell of it. The actual intro will be familiar with most everyone (i hope!). It was on the tape I was given and I had to laugh when I heard it. You could tell it was recorded using a cheap microphone that was more than likely held up to a television so it could be put on the tape.

Ruth Wallis - Ubangi. Wow, here is a song that i've looked for for years! In an old interview with the Cramps, Lux had attributed this song to someone named Ruth Fallen, and described the song in pretty good detail. I could never find this song anywhere. He called it YOU BANGI ME, I BANGI YOU (or something like that).

Then, as a result of that interview I gave to Dig It magazine, someone contacted me (thanks Colin!) suggesting that it was Ruth WALLIS! I tracked down the song, listened to it, and decided it HAD to be the song Lux was referring to. My guess is that the interviewer mis-heard Lux when he said the name of the artist. FALL-IN, WALL-IS, it could have been careless notes, or a bad transcription of a tape the interviewer had made.

Finding a good copy of the song was nearly impossible. It originally appeared on 78. I found a CD compilation of Wallis's songs with Ubangi on it. Great, right? A version taken from CD has to be good quality, right? Wouldn't you know it? The CD has a glitch on that particular song! Any mp3 rips of it sounded like shit. Besides the glitch it had an amazing amount of background noise.

After a while I found that it had been issued on a LP as well and through some further searching found a sealed copy for sale on ebay. This is the version on this compilation. And even then, it doesn't sound that great. I think it was mastered from the original 78 and not a master tape. The song even gets louder and softer, so I guess no one cared because it was for stag parties anyway!

Then I found a few more holdover songs from the original INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC interview.

Red Hewitt and the Buccaneers - D.J. Blues; Lux never mentioned the artist, just talked about the song, and the lyric "music right out of the swirling all!" The first few seconds of this track remind me of a cramps song. So happy to have found this track. Red Hewitt was from New Zealand and released a few 45's on the Audion label (see scan on tracklisting).

Sheri Lee Douglas - Chime Bells; Never thought I'd find this one. Lux and Ivy swear this is KAY MARTIN singing, and I have to agree with them. It sounds exactly like her. The b-side of this 45 will be on the next LAIF volume.

Let's see, what else? There are a few more tracks from Forbidden City Dog Food as well as a bit from the Purple Knif Show. After listening to it again recently I heard a few seconds of something that never registered with me before. As the show ends, there is a few seconds of the deadly ones song, the mad drummer! It is such a great song, it HAD to be included on this volume.

Enjoy this volume, it might be awhile before the next one, but you never know!

My plans for remastered versions of the earlier volumes are still going according to plan. Volume 6 will be next, then volume's one, two, three and five.

Huge thanks go out to: Debbie D for doing a little sound voodoo on a bunch of the mp3's to make them sound better, Howie Pyro for the secret track, Bruce Milne, Colin Duff, Olaf Jens for helping me with a few songs, Steve Pallow, and Adam Fitch for his amazing graphics.

The first Black Centipede novel, Creeping Dawn, will be creeping your way in ...

Thursday, October 21, 2010


What can I say about Lux Interior? What kind of a eulogy can I give him on what would have been his 63rd birthday? How can I explain why the Cramps meant so much to me and still do? Frankly, I do not know. That is to say, I can't quantify it, I can't give you a formula. What follows has been assembled from a couple of earlier posts, and a few other things I've written on the subject. Looking back, I think I did a fairly good job of saying what I wanted to say, so I thought it might be appropriate to bring it out again. I've put it together and filled in some of the cracks with more or less fresh insights. I hope it says something to you.
My painting in honour of Lux's Birthday
SlimGil DeLuxe

by Chuck Miller

I was born in Akron, like Lux, and I lived in Cuyahoga Falls, no more than a few miles from the Purkheiser residence in Stowe. It is entirely possible that child-me and young adult Lux passed one another on the street now and then, neither of us aware of what destiny had in store. Erick Purkheiser may have glanced at that dopey-looking little redheaded kid bouncing along and never dreamed that his future activities would affect that child's life in ways both subtle and noisy; profoundly rewarding and profoundly dangerous.

Of course, it ain't about geography. Lux and Ivy could have come from Idaho or Wisconsin or the moon or Planet X, and the result would have been the same. And in fact they WERE from all those places, and quite a few more. They pulled together such a diverse array of inspirations and influences that they were from everywhere.

It is perhaps easier to say what the Cramps were NOT than to try to define what they were. They were not punk rock or psychobilly or any of that. They were unique in a way that very few things ever are, and there was never a pigeonhole built that could hold them. They were sui generis. What kind of music did they play? Cramps music. What kind of a band were they? They were the Cramps kind. Where can I find their records? Under "Sacred Music" of course.

The first time I actually SAW the Cramps in action was in the movie "Urgh! A Music War." As you know, they contributed a blistering rendition of "Tear it Up," which not only eclipses every other performance in the movie, it eclipses every other performance in the fucking history of the fucking world. At the time, though, I did not quite see it that way. It was frightening. I was a bit stunned. What is this I am seeing? Is this man having a nervous breakdown on stage? Is this like one of those clips of Elvis when he was too fucked up to remember his lyrics? And look at that poor guitarist! She must hate this guy. I mean, if looks could kill...

Obviously I knew nothing at that point. I was staring directly into the sun and trying to make sense of what I saw, but I lacked the vocabulary for it. However, instead of blinding me, this sun began to pull my eyes open. It would take me a while longer to complete enough of a paradigm shift to accommodate the Cramps, but once I did, there was no going back. The interesting thing is, it was not so much a process of discovery as it was of recognition. The Cramps spoke to something that was already in me, dormant and undernourished. The change was not instantaneous. Nothing worthwhile ever is. And when it had been accomplished, I could finally answer the question posed by Lux in "Garbageman."

Yeah, I DO understand!!!
And what's more, I have understood for a long time, though I didn't know it because I had never had it shoved into my face and shaken like that. I knew that this was the purest form of what it was, and what it was was what I wanted.

I, like Lux, ended up playing in a band that was a de facto homage to my inspirations-- mainly, in my case, the Cramps themselves. I did not come up with a stage name, but I had a person in me that only came out on a stage in a club late at night, and it's a damn good thing. This person would do or say absolutely anything. He wasn't me, and yet he was. Possibly he was more me than the one who walked by day.

And I did not consciously invent him. More like I discovered him living down in my basement, so to speak. Which makes sense, when you consider the fact that most of us spend about 90 percent of our time refraining from doing whatever it is we REALLY want to do.

Many observers took Lux's stage persona at once too seriously and not seriously enough, without really understanding just what they were seeing, and they got it hopelessly confused with the man behind it. Which it both was and was not. In many ways, I suppose it was the purest distillation of what Erick Lee Purkhiser really was. As with all great fiction, it was closer to the truth than mere reality; it was authentic on a level the "real world" seldom reaches.
To say that Lux was my favorite singer would be like a Christian saying Jesus was their favorite guy that got nailed up on a cross. Technically true, but missing almost all of the emotional subtext.

We mourn his passing, and rightly so, for he was a rare bird whose like will never be seen again.

But leave us always remember and never forget: What Lux was to a set of vocal chords, Ivy was/is to an electric guitar.

The Cramps without Lux Interior would be like Elvis Presley without Elvis Presley. However, as Lux himself knew full well, there is no "I" in Cramps but if there were, it would stand for "Ivy." That doesn't make much sense, but sense is not what I'm shooting for. I'm trying, in the most roundabout way possible, to say that the Cramps were, essentially, a duo. Drummers and bassists and second guitarists could come and go-- and there were some great ones-- but in order to have the Cramps, you have to have Lux AND Ivy.

Now, we only have Ivy. And we must continue to cherish her. The Cramps are no more and will never be again. But we still have a kick-ass nasty red-headed guitar heroine by the name of Poison Ivy Rorschach.

Back in about 1990, I had the very great good fortune to interview Poison Ivy for a little entertainment paper I worked for at the time. When I say "little," I mean just that. It was extremely local, given away for free at libraries, laundromats, college campuses, etc., in Mobile Alabama. Not exactly Vanity Fair, it was almost as prestigious as the Thrifty Nickel. Most of the writing was as boring and crappy as the small, parochial "music scene" it covered. (I also played guitar in a band called the Church of the Chainsaw, which might just as well have been a Cramps tribute band.)

So, I had a grandiose idea. I was going to try and get an interview with someone who was actually famous. I selected a few artists I really liked and wrote to their record companies or publicists. The Cramps, of course, were on the list. The very top, in fact. Some time went by and I heard nothing from anyone, which I had more or less expected. I had almost forgotten the whole business when one day, while I was at work, the phone rang. I answered, a female voice asked to speak to Chuck Miller, I admitted I was him. The caller said, "This is Poison Ivy of the Cramps."

Since reaching adulthood, I have never once shit in my pants. But if I had, that would have been it. I knew It wasn't a joke because any of my friends would know that they'd be signing their own death warrant with such a stunt. I got my shit together, got a tape recorder, and we talked for more than an hour. It was the highlight of my journalistic career, if not my whole fucking life. I wish I still had that tape.

Another thing I've never done is have a religious experience, but, again, that came very close.

I have interviewed a few more celebrities since then, but that was the only time I ever came away from it feeling that I had just talked with someone who genuinely appreciated my interest and who thought I was just as important as she was.

Years later, I got to meet both Lux and Ivy face-to-face, for all of about 15 seconds, at a club in New Orleans while they were making their way to the stage. I seriously doubt she actually remembered me, but she very sweetly pretended that she did. I shook hands with Lux and stammered out some incoherent but sincere expression of my admiration and devotion. To which he replied, "Thank you." Those were the only two words ever spoken directly to me by Lux Interior, and I have no doubt that he meant them as much as I mean it now when I say, rather belatedly, "You're welcome, Lux. And thank YOU."

I always had the impression that Ivy was the brains of the outfit. But not in a creepy Colonel Tom kind of way. More like an "I know that what we are doing is some incredibly great and unique shit, and I intend to take good care of it" way. She built and maintained the framework that allowed Lux to be the magnificent beast that he was. She was his foundation. Had there not been an Ivy, right now there might be only a handful of people mourning the death of that weird old Mister Purkhiser who ran that used record store out by the airport. Would young Eric ever have found the freedom to gleefully bounce around nearly naked on a stage in a pair of high heels? Maybe, maybe not. And had he not, how much poorer our lives would have been.

Now, I am not seriously suggesting that anyone here is likely to forget or even discount her. But with everything that has been written about Lux, a lot of it by me, I want to take the opportunity, now that some time has passed, to express my gratitude, admiration and appreciation to the Cramps' other half.

I have a friend in California with three daughters, all under the age of 15. They are lucky kids indeed because they all got to see the Cramps in 2006. The youngest was less than a year old. The two older girls were enthralled with Ivy. She touched something deep inside them. There is still a lot more sexism in the music world than anyone wants to admit. There are a few basic molds into which most female performers squeeze themselves. There are way more Pussycat Dolls than there are Girlschools or Runaways, more Brittneys and Jessicas than Candy Del Mars. Where can a young girl look to find a guitar heroine of her own? Not many places. But one of those places was the stage before which those girls stood on that day. And they will carry that with them for the rest of their lives.

They saw a little glimpse of freedom, a hint of their own potential, just like I did so many years before. Someone telling them, without words, that they could do this too, if they want. I don't talk too much about the trappings, you'll notice. The cheap horror movie sensibility, the kitsch, the camp, the fashion. It happens that I love most of these things myself, but the truth is, they are just details. Not all that important. It could have been anything. They could have dressed as giant lobsters and played polka, and they still would have been the Cramps.

The Cramps demonstrated that it is possible to live a life untainted by compromise or surrender, that it is possible to be, not so much what you think you want to be, as what you really ARE at your core, no matter what that is, in a world that encourages anything but. It is a lesson that few will ever grasp and even fewer will ever live. But, thanks to the Cramps, some of us poor suckers will at least have a chance.

Oh, and perhaps the most import thing-- I never eat stuff off the sidewalk. No matter how good it looks.

-- Chuck Miller

The photos above, sent in by SlimGil DeLuxe, show Our Founder Mister Interior in the studio, giving voice to "Rayo X," a super-wrestler in the animated film Los Campeones de la Lucha Libre, the English-language version of which was released earlier this year.
Los Campeones de la Lucha Libre is described by the American Cinematheque’s website as “A feature-length animated action-comedy” in which “Masked mayhem ensues when a team of wrestling heroes is caught in the middle of a struggle between a gang of barbarians right out of Mad Max and a legion of monsters inspired by the golden age of Mexican horror films.” There’s a bit on the animation company’s blog about Lux Interior’s role:
We needed a creepy, unearthly yet endearing voice for Rayo X, and after testing many actors, it was apparent that the role was made for Lux. Working with him was both a blast and an honor…Tomorrow night will be a sadder experience hearing his voice ring out at The Egyptian, and a little unnerving when Rayo utters Lux’s favorite line in the movie ‘Ah, the heady stench of death‘.

Some of you may not be familiar with SlimGil's great Crampcentric artwork. Below you will find a few examples. You can see more on his MySpace page:


Erick Lee Purkhiser (October 21, 1946 – February 4, 2009), better known as Lux Interior, was an American singer and a founding member of the legendary garage punk band The Cramps from 1976 until his sudden death in February 2009 aged 62.
Born in Akron, Ohio, he grew up in its nearby suburb of Stow and graduated from Stow High School. He met his wife Kristy Wallace, better known as Poison Ivy, a.k.a. Ivy Rorschach, in Sacramento in 1972, when he and a friend picked her up when she was hitchhiking. The couple founded the band and moved from California to Ohio in 1973 and then to New York in 1975 where they became part of the flourishing punk scene.
Lux Interior's name came "from an old car commercial", having previously flirted with the names Vip Vop and Raven Beauty, while his wife's name change was inspired by "a vision she received in a dream". The couple called their musical style psychobilly, originally claiming it to have been inspired by a Johnny Cash song, (One Piece at a Time), and later saying that they were just using the phrase as "carny terms to drum up business."
Interior was also a visual artist, in particular he was a 3D camera collector and enthusiast with which he created artworks and collages.
The Cramps gave their last show in November 2006. When asked why he continued to play live well into his middle age, he told the LA Times:
"It's a little bit like asking a junkie how he's been able to keep on dope all these years, It's just so much fun. You pull in to one town and people scream, 'I love you, I love you, I love you.' And you go to a bar and have a great rock 'n' roll show and go to the next town and people scream, 'I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.' It's hard to walk away from all that."
In 2002 Lux Interior performed the voice of a character on SpongeBob SquarePants - the lead singer of an all-bird rock band called the Bird Brains. SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny attended his memorial ceremony.
Lux Interior died at 4:30 a.m. on February 4, 2009, in Glendale, California. The cause of death was aortic dissection. He is survived by his wife Ivy and two brothers, Michael Purkhiser and Ronald "Skip" Purkhiser. The memorial service for Lux was held on February 21st at the Windmill Chapel of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. This was a very private ceremony but a report of it, agreed to by Ivy, was posted for fans by long time friend Jonny Whiteside on the blog of LA Weekly and later in the print edition. Lux's brother, Mike, also provided insight into his relationship with Lux in a newspaper article.

The Cramps roots can be traced back to 1976 when, according to legend, Erick Purkhiser picked up hitchiker Kristy Wallace in Ohio. They discovered a mutual love of old-time rock'n'roll and classic SciFi B-movie matinee fare... The rest, as they say, is history.

They soon decided to form a band. Akron Ohio was not the place for a band like The Cramps to "happen" so the couple packed on up and moved to New York City, drawn by the lure of what they read and heard was happening at a club called CBGBs... Erick took the stage name "Lux Interior" from an ad he saw describing an automobile ("Lux" as in the advertising abbrv for "Deluxe") and Kristy took the name "Poison Ivy Rorschach", from a dream she had (of course, everyone knows that a Rorschach Test is the ink blot quiz a shrink gives folks). Lux would be the singer, Ivy the guitarist. The band was soon rounded out by Bryan Gregory on guitar and Bryan's sister Pam "Balam" on drums. Pam quickly dropped out and was replaced by Miriam Linna. After recording one demo and playing a few gigs, Miriam left to join Nervous Rex. Her replacement was Electric Eels drummer Nick Knox (Nicholas Stephanoff).

Their "minimalist sound" may take some getting used to, but this is pure raw rock'n'roll. Two guitars (they only recently submitted to having a bassist) and a basic trap drum set (Bass drum, Snare and cymbal) were the only instruments. Ivy played lead guitar while Bryan (and his subsequent replacements) played highly fuzzed and distorted guitar riffs, more than making up for the lack of a bass. In New York they became cult favorites and, with Alex Chilton (of Panther Burns fame) they recorded a couple independent singles which caught the ear of Miles Copeland, who signed them to his fledgling I.R.S. Records. Those first singles and a fifth song, were released as GRAVEST HITS. The Cramps toured briefly then headed back to the studio with Alex Chilton to begin work on their first full-length LP, SONGS THE LORD TAUGHT US

Shortly after the LP SONGS THE LORD TAUGHT US was released, Bryan Gregory left the band, taking their van and most of their equipment with him. It's rumored he didn't like the direction the band was going and wanted a more modern sound and thought the lyrics should be meaningful, like The Clash. Obviously Bryan had no idea what it meant to be "Cramped." He surfaced a while later in a band called Beast, releasing three singles. They soon Dumped Gregory, moved to the UK and became Veil, vanishing after a one shot gothic LP. Gregory later worked as either a satanic minister or a porn shop vendor, depending on who you believe. (Bryan Gregory died of heart failure in January, 2001. See the IRS Memorial Page for more details). Gregory was replaced by Julien Greinsnatch, whose time with The Cramps, while limited, was forever recorded on film in URGH! A MUSIC WAR.

Gun Club's Kid Congo Powers, a longtime fan, picked up the guitar duties and the band went into the studio to record PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE. It was during this time that The Cramps started having problems with Miles Copeland and I.R.S. Records. Royalties, unapproved cover art, and lack of promised support on tour were the reputed sources of the dispute. Ultimately the case was settled out of court, but not without having a severe impact on the band. During the period of litigation they could not record (technically they were still contracted with I.R.S.) so touring became their only source of income. Because desperate fans hungered for new material, fear of bootlegging kept The Cramps from doing new material at these concerts.

Once the case was settled, The Cramps recorded a live set at New York's Peppermint Lounge which was released (on the late great Enigma Records) as the "tastefully entitled" SMELL OF FEMALE. Kid Congo then left the band (amicably) to return to Gun Club. I.R.S., either to fulfill a term of the settlement or as a final kiss-off released the psuedo-greatest hits collection BAD MUSIC FOR BAD PEOPLE.

Then a period of rotating second guitarist/bassist and rotating labels began. Guitarists/bassists who came and went included Click Mort, Ike Knox (Nick's brother), Mike Metoff (formerly of The Pagans and Nick's cousin), Fur and finally Candy Del Mar who stuck around for a while. After she left a fellow named Slim Chance assumed duties on the bass.

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, arriving at the current line up of Lux, Ivy, Slim and Harry.

In 1989 The Cramps seemed to have smoothed over some of their problems with Miles and I.R.S., as they assisted in the preparation of their I.R.S. catalog for CD release. This apparent reconciliation may have only been for the sake of making sure "it was done right" for The Cramps continued to work independent of any "major label" influence. The Cramps continue to record and perform and have released many albums since leaving IRS. While this site is devoted to IRS Records exclusively, all of The Cramps recordings are worthwhile and, in humble webmaster Mr. Bill's opinion, worth seeking out and owning... Look for the aforementiond SMELL OF FEMALE, A DATE WITH ELVIS, STAY SICK, LOOK MOM NO HEAD, ROCKINNREELININAUKLANDNEWZEALND (a live concert recording), and FLAMEJOB.

In 2001, Lux and Ivy revived their Vengeance Records label and regained most of their non-I.R.S. catalog for reissue. And not only on CD -- they're also available on cool colored vinyl (which makes Mr. Bill have flashbacks to the glorious 80s)!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


LUX AND IVY'S FAVORITES is a series of great music compilations assembled by KOGAR THE SWINGING APE

Patrick Bainée recently spoke with Kogar about the series for DIG IT. All you ever wanted to know about LUX AND IVY’S FAVORITES
The best compilations ever made, a must have for fans
of The Cramps or anyone (or apes) with ears.

Interview by Patrick Bainée

Kogar's Top Ten of the Lux and Ivy's Faves
1. The Musical Linn Twins - Rockin out the Blues
2. The Symbols - Do the Zombie
3. Jan Davis - Watusi Zombie
4. The Original Starfires - Fender Bender
5. Link Wray - Genecide
6. The Electro-Tones - Ghost Train
7. Link Wray - The Fuzz
8. Bob Taylor - Thunder
9. The Saxons - Camel Walk
10. Davie Allen and the Arrows - Theme from the Unknown aka U.F.O.

If you only know 4 or 5 from this list, don't cry, it's normal. Then read this and go dig into those fabulous Lux & Ivy's faves: they're for free, thanks Kogar.

Patrick : Kogar, you’ve heard that question a lot of times.
So let me explain that the idea of your Lux & Ivy’s favorites compilations emerge after you read this book « Incredibly Strange Music », from 1993 (on Re-Search), featuring (among others) a long interview of Lux & Ivy speaking about their favorite records.

Even if there are no songs by the Cramps on your LAIF, those compilations celebrate the tastes of Lux & Ivy in music. What made you become a Cramps addict ?

Kogar : Well, I was a big fan of horror movies and comic books as a kid and when a friend introduced me to The Cramps in my early 20’s, I immediately fell in love with them and their sound. Since then, I’ve been a cramps fanatic…

P : Of course, LAIF can be considered as bootlegs, but on another hand, there should be a statue in your honour. I mean you brought to peoples’ ears music that they never have heard otherwise. Anyway, most of the labels of the records featuring on LAIF have disappeared. What’s your point of view about that ? (LAIF being a bootleg, rights …)

K :I really don’t consider the series a "bootleg" series, but a fan made compilation. There is a difference. To me, bootlegs are just a way for someone to make money. I in no way want to make money off these, ever. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have done this interview at all if it weren't for my relationship with you. I have always done this for the love of the music and for Lux and Ivy, and not for any notoriety or money.

P : The first two volumes of LAIF were cool comps you made only for your own ears. What gives you the idea of making other volumes (a total of 13 so far!) ?

K: Well, originally it was, as you mentioned, from that RE/search book, but soon, other sources popped up and it went from there. I always have a list of songs that i am looking for, etc. Every time i read an interview where they mentioned a song, i would add it to the list. The list would get longer and longer.

P : Can you explain the exact concept / philosophy of LAIF to us …

K: Well, the only real philosophy is that i try and be true to the theme. I really try and include songs they mentioned or played before shows, or put on a tape. People try and suggest things all the time, but usually i don’t include anything like that, because they are just guesses.

P: Volume 1 was mostly 50’s oriented when volume2 was a mix of 50-60’s era, right ?

K : It just happened to work out that way, because of the book’s concentration on exotica, and music from that time period…

P : Most of the other volumes are more eclectic. Is there always a major idea in the construction of the other LAIF ?

K : There usually isn’t a theme of any sort, except volume 12 because it happened right after Lux’s death, otherwise i just keep a list of songs and when i see that i am nearing 30 or so songs, i get to work on sequencing them, etc. I do take some time to sequence the songs so they flow together in what i think are a good way.

P : Since this book "Incredibly Strrange Music", what are your other sources of reseach :
Interviews, songs played before Cramps shows, what else ?

K : Mostly interviews with lux and ivy, tapes that they have made etc. I even went so far as to try and memorize songs they played before there live sets !

P : Did you identify songs mentioned by Lux that in fact never existed (Nasa & the Sputniks …)

K : Well, let me explain that a bit. I believe Lux started making some songs up and throwing them at interviewers just to mess with them! The DJ Mad Mike, from Pittsburgh used to do that all the time, make up song titles and bands that didn’t exist, just to confound his listeners.

I believe that nasa and the sputniks doesn’t exist, but if there’s anyone that’s reading this that can disprove this theory, contact me immediately! The same goes for “ubangi, me bangi too” by Stacey Bengal (another record mentioned by Lux that I can’t find mention of ANYWHERE). Was he referencing Mama Ubangi Bangi? I don’t know….

P : There are a lot of songs you got from those Vip Vop tapes that remain unidentify
I imagine it’s a lot of work / deduction to identify them ... ?

K :Yes, there are a bunch of songs that remain to be identified. But, believe it or not, its been kind of enjoyable identifying these songs over the years. The joy of hearing a song you’ve been looking for pop up on my ipod, or on an internet radio show, can be a religious experience !

P : Do you know the full story of those "Vip Vop Tapes" compilations made by Lux for friends ?

K : I really don’t know the full history; Apparently, Lux made a lot of tapes back in the day (Forbidden City Dog Food was originally booted from a tape of Lux’s). I stumbled across someone years ago who had 2 tapes called the “vip vop tapes”. Apparently they were made by Lux to be played at parties etc. The quality isn’t that great, and there were no track listings, so as I identify songs they are added to the LAIF series (there are still about a dozen that remain to be identified).

P : Also, for non 100 % bonafide Cramps fans, could you remind where the nickname Vip Vop comes from. There's also a song …

K : It’s from a Marvin and Johnny song (NDA : only available on an album by the Isley Brothers featuring Marvin & Johnny). Lux at one point had his name legally changed to Vip Vop back in the early 70’s.

P : Do you have any help from guys all over the world ?

K : Yes, i’ve had an amazing amount of help over the years. Rex Doane of wfmu’s FOOL’ S PARADISE, Howie Pyro from the INTOXICA podcast, Paul from the UK who was partly responsible for the wavy gravy/mello jello compilations. Dan from the slickee boys, Ben from Chicago Dirk ungawa, you, Rich and Mic from the Sickidz, and many more i can’t remember off the top of my head !

P : Do all the records from this list exist on vinyl ?

K :Pretty much, 45 ‘s 33’s and 78’s. But i’m guessing Lux and Ivy’s preffered format is the 45 rpm record. (NDA : in fact in Rock'n'Folk interview 2003, Ivy said that for her the best are 78 RPM 'cause the sound is rich, warm and alive).

P : Some must be very pricey …

K : That ‘s the thing ; some are, and some aren't. You could spend a few thousand dollars on some of these records, or you could find some of them in the dollar bin. Some are priceless, like "Stormy Weather" (NDA : by the Five Sharps – read the story about this record here :, i think there’s only like 2 known copies or something…

P : 13 volumes of LAIF so far gives a total of almost 400 songs. About 80 % are from the 50-60’s, 10 % from an early era, and 10 % more recent (Gories, Guitar Wolf …). Most of the songs can be classified in the rock’n’roll, blues or garage category. But there’s also novelty tunes, exotica stuff … What else ?

K : One of my favorite catagories is vocal group or doo wop tunes. Some of the songs on the series really blew me away like "FLAMINGO" by the charades. I think people tend to think lux and ivy only listen to crazy rockabilly, but it’s much more than that, and i’m glad the series can show the wide range of music they dig.

P : What’s the craziest song from those LAIF ?

K : Well, crazy is in the ear of the beholder.

P : Considering your top ten, your tastes go for the 50’s / early 60’s period, right ?

K : Yes, i love 50’s and 60’s music, 70’s and early 80’s punk and the glorious times of the early to mid 90’ s garage scene…

P : Do you like all of the songs on LAIF ? Or are there some you don’t like that much, or even not at all ?

K : Yeah, there are a few that really aren’t up my alley. Like some of the "drop in" type novelty records.

P : Did you already skip songs that Lux & Ivy mentioned. I mean, I read once (Rock’n’Folk, 2003) that they were found of Michael Jackson’s "Thriller".

K : Well there is a difference between songs they’ve mentioned and songs they loved. I vaguely remember the "Thriller" reference. Did they mention a particular song ?

P : No, so let’s forget MJ.
To me all those "semi instrumentals" like "T-Bone" by Larry Collins, "Red Headed Flea" by the Caps or "Tarzan’s Monkey" by the Apes (a guy saying "me Jane, you Tarzan", and a girl answering "hihihi, no, you Tarzan, me Jane" for all lyrics) are timeless, you never get rid of that kind of stuff. Do you agree ?

K : Yeah, those are great timeless songs…

P : Also, I guess that it must be a real pleasure to find out that one of your personal long time fave is among Lux & Ivy’s ones too. Does it happen a lot ?

K : It does happen every once in a while. One of my favorite songs of all time is "WATUSI ZOMBIE" by Jan Davis. It popped up on one of the vip vop tapes and i was thrilled that lux had included that one because to me it’s on of the most perfect records of all time ! And being a fan of mad mike too, i was happy to find that Lux liked songs like CAMEL WALK etc.

P : Can you name a few songs that MUST be among Lux & Ivy’s faves but that you never saw mentioned anywhere ?

K : I really don’t like to guess at what their favorite songs might be. This is all about them, not me….

P : What would you think of a volume called "Songs Lux & Ivy Should have liked" or else.

K : I really don’t like that idea, because it’s every tom dick and harry could "come out" with something like that. To try and guess at a song that they might like is a futile exercise.

P : Do you see LAIF as a compliment of more or less official releases like (explain the comparison or differences, please) Born Bad (the only one issued before LAIF); Forbidden City Dog Food; Purple Knif Show; Songs The Cramps Taught Us …

K : I guess i would look at my series as a compliment to those mentioned above. Born Bad an d STCTU as mainly songs the cramps borrowed bits from to create their own songs. Over the years, i have included songs from the purple knif and FCDF because the quality on those bootlegs are not that great. As better quality versions are found, i throw them on the LAIF series. Especially if i’m trying to "fill" the edition and "release" it.

And let’s not forget none of those are official releases. They are outright bootlegs that people put together or make money off of the Cramps name. That’s why, i try to go out of my way to make these free for fans of the cramps or just fans of good music in general.

P : A lot of the songs on LAIF aren’t available on the ones mentioned above, or even on any other compilations. Do you know how many songs from original singles are ONLY available on LAIF ?

K : Not really sure. There are many songs that i’ve had to rip from 45’s because they aren’t available on any other compilations.

P : Is the name LAIF inspired by that video tape made by the Cramps in 1984ish ?

K : Nope, just came up with the name because it was the best way to describe the series.

P :Do you ever think of compiling Lux & Ivy favorites movies ?

K : I have thought of that, i just haven’t really been able to seriously take a look at it. I have started incorporating songs from the movies they like, like « the green slime » etc. On the upcoming LAIF 14, i will be including 5 minutes to live by Johnny Cash because that was listed somewhere as one of their favorite movies.

P : Do you feel those LAIF help to keep the flame of the Cramps alive ?
(I mean – there won’t be any new Cramps album - maybe "Gravest Gravy" DVD one day)

K : I don’t think anything I could do would keep their memory alive, Lux may be gone, but the Cramps music and legacy will live on forever.

I’ve always looked at the series as a companion piece to be enjoyed by cramps fans who wish to delve deeper into their mythos. Like if you like the cramps, you might really get even « more » out of them if you check out some of the things that influenced them.

P: Tell us about some of the songs on LAIF, anecdotes about the songs, or the bands, or … whatever you’d like to say

K : yeah, I could really think about something to say here, its all in the other parts of the interview

P : Some of the early volumes features downloaded / MP3 songs. Do you plan a "remixed" version of some of LAIF based on originals records that you found lately.

K : I have been making a concerted effort to find better quality versions of some of the songs, especially from the earlier volumes. Some of the early songs had the ends chopped off, because they were the only mp3 i could find. Plus those early volumes were only really meant to be heard by a few people. Quality wasn’t really high on my list. Just hearing these songs at all was pretty cool, who cares if they were in less than steller quality ? but over the years, its really started bugging me.

P : Have you heard about Lux and / or Ivy being aware of LAIF
They used to say that good music is for share, that people shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of $ to hear such or such great song, only available on 7’’.
So I think they took LAIF as a celebration of their (good) taste

K : I get the feeling that if they knew about them, they probably wouldn’t be too happy about them. But i would hope they would understand that its just a labor of love by a fan, and that originally, they were really only meant for me and my friends. Then, all of a sudden i’d run into people at parties and they’d mention the series (not knowing that I had made them) and say how cool they were. I usually would pretend i didn’t know about them and say i’d check them out !

What i didn’t know was that people had started making copies for other people and that they grew from there. Then i put them all up on soulseek for anyone to get…THEN after that, WFMU found out about them and with my consent put them up on their BEWARE OF THE BLOG page.

P: Apart from soulseek, where are those LAIF "available"?

K : All the remastered volumes will be available on my blog, all the existing volumes as they are available thru the WFMU BEWARE OF THE BLOG page.

P : Some volumes can be found on your blog (

K: This is where all the remixed volumes with covers will appear.

P : Do have an idea of how many people downloaded LAIF, or how they will sell if they were available in shops / the Net ?

K : I really have no idea. I do know that they have sort of a life of their own now. And again, i have no desire to have these available for purchase, etc. They are meant to be free and to be enjoyed by people who have the desire to find them on the ‘net.

P: Would you like to see some volumes issued on vinyl ?

K : Absolutely not. If they were to appear, you could well be sure i had nothing to do with it, and further more, you would probably never see another volume from me, or if you did, it would be in a way to dissuade bootleggers (like i would keep the titles off the mp3’s, etc)

P : As each volume of LAIF is a full CD, it’ll have be a concept, like an exotica one ?
Or a special compilation like "LAIF tearjerkers: sad songs for sad people", this one will be based on songs like "The Bells" by Billy Ward & the Dominos ?
I think someone has to issue that before other people rip off your concept, as it already happened recently.

K : Yes, someone issued a cd in the uk (NDA: it's called "Bad Music For Bad People, Songs The Cramps Taught Us"). If this keeps happening, get ready for a radically different edition of LAIF. Like each volume not having the tracks identified. Anyone paying for that cd is just being ripped off. Like why would someone buy something that is obviously a bootleg, when you can download the cd’s for free on the internet. It’s not like anyone is supporting the artists by buying that UK cd. I assume it has been put out by people that copied my compilations. To me that’s just incredibly opportunistic.

P :About LAIF covers : Joaquim Costa, the early Portuguese rocker who died a couple of years ago and with whom you were in contact, thought LAIF were so great that he planned to design covers. Can you tell us the story about this ?

K : I had been in contact with one of the guys who put together the PORTUGUESE NUGGETS lp’s and had heard these incredible recordings by Joaquim Costa that really blew me away. Afonso sent me the Joaquim 45 and was pretty close with Joaquim and he told Joaquim how much i loved the 45. He had also given Joaquim copies of the LAIF series and he flipped for them. Joaquim was the first rock and roller in Portugal (and i highly recommend his 45, though I can’t recall the label its on- NDA : it's on Groovie Records), and one of the things he liked to do was design record covers for records that he had. So say he bought a record and he didn’t like the cover. He would throw the offending artwork away and MAKE HIS OWN COVER !

Afonso told me he had wanted to make covers for all the LAIF volumes and had began the process (even going so far as to find the original 45’s and scan the labels), but he passed away before he could finish the project. I have no idea how far he got, or if he finished anything, but it was a real missed opportunity to have this amazing guy contribute to the series. I think Lux and Ivy would have approved. I think its safe to say, this guy was kind of like the Portoguese Hasil Adkins .

P : The two latest Vol - # 12 & 13, have great covers, with a returning frame : this "stay sick, turn blue" logo. Tell us about the origin of this logo.

K : This is called, for the lack of a better term, the memento mori frame. Memento Mori translated from latin means « remember you must die », which i think lux used to translate into « too bad you’re gonna die » which appeared in some old cramps flyers.
The actual skull and bones framework was taken from (i believe) a book that came out that published a list of the dead from the black plague. Somewhere along the line, Lux co-opted the design for their old flyers. So it was a no brainer on my part to incorporate that design into the covers for the LAIF series.

P : Will previous volumes get their own cover too. Who will be the designers ?

K : Yes, they will all have covers. Well, first and foremost the guy who actually puts them together is Adam Fitch, a friend of mine from college. He basically takes my ideas and makes them a reality. He does amazing work and I can’t thank him enough.

Slim Gil DeLuxe has done the art for volume one and two, which are still on the back burner for right now until i can get the mp3’s up to snuff.

Michael Deforge from canada has done a super space alien psychedelic cover from volume 6 that has to be seen to be believed ! It’s really amazing. Do a search for his artwork on the net under KING TRASH.

I’ve got some other stuff in the works, but nothing’s been finalized so i’d rather not talk about it right now….

P : What’s your fave volume of LAIF so far ?

K : Probably volume 12. It’s my aural tribute to Lux and the way it came together was sort of magical in a weird way. Things just seem to come into place.

P : Did you get material for a volume 14. If yes… when will it be issued ?

P : I’m working on it right now, and if certain things that i’ve been sort of waiting for come to pass, it should be a pretty cool volume. There’s no telling when it may be « out , maybe sometime this summer.

P : Do you ever think of someone writing a book based on your Lux & Ivy Favorites ?

K : No.

P : Well, I imagine it could be something like "Vinyl Junkies" with guys speaking of how they based the best part of their record collection with your help (personally, the Cramps made me re-discover the fabulous 50’s music, but without your help, thru your research to complete the LAIF serie, I would never have bought all those incredible original singles).

K : Well that’s nice of you to say. I really look at this stuff as a way to help people deepen their love of the cramps. You can listen to the cramps and totally love them, but to appreciate them on a deeper level, you should check out the people that influenced them. Like hearing a riff in a Link Wray song and making that connection to a cramps song is great. Listening to the cramps opened up this world of fantastic music to me. Now, it might have happened anyway at some point, but they are pretty much the reason i’m the music fanatic i am today.

P : Anyway, I can’t think of a concept being such an endless river of gold. So, go on Jim, we want more LAIF.

K : Thanks…


P : You live near Boston, is it still a good place to find cool records

K : I live about an hour north of boston in New Hampshire (the hometown of Gene Maltais !). Boston still has a few great record haunts ; i highly recommend weirdo records, cheapo records, and In your ear records.

P : Tell us about your others compilations.

K : I’ve been making tape and cd compilations since the late 80’s. There is just something so cool about doing your own compilations. They are great snapshots in time. If you listened to my tapes back in the late 80’s early 90’s you would hear punk bands like FEAR and the DEAD KENNEDYS, but now you would hear rare 60’s instrumentals and crazy rock and roll from the same time period.

I’m also working on a 3rd volume of my vip vop tape tribute series called Kogar’s Big Thrill – 0 – Rama Trash Show that should debut sometime this year either on my blog or over at the WFMU ICHIBAN page. It is a series of compilations in the vein of the vip vop tapes (songs mixed and sequenced with horror movie radio spots in between the songs.

P : Is Kogar the Swinging ape name based on a song out of LAIF ?

K : No, my name was taken from the greatest film ever made !

P : You mean «RATPFINK A BOO BOO». And about your group, thee Monkey Butlers.

K : Not much to say….we played for about 5 or 6 years, played a bunch of shows, opened for Sky Saxon once and now are on a « prolonged » break !

(oh and if you really want to hear our music, you can download an EP we recorded back in 2004 thru the dirty water records link over at E-Music)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You can take your "Twilight" and stick it where the sun don't shine. THIS is my all-time, hands-down favorite cinematic vampire ever.