a blog about odd German 45s by Andreas Michalke, a cartoonist from Berlin, Germany
February 12, 2009
While I was writing my last post at the Jungle World headquarters, I got the news that Lux Interior had died. Now, I`ve never been a big fan of the Cramps, but I`m not a big fan of anybody really. I`m pretty fanatical about Rock`n`Roll, but not about any artist or group in particular. I know that`s a contradiction, because I should acknowledge the people that are making the stuff that I love so much. And I do. I just don`t like to call myself a fan.
That show in 2003 at the SO36 in Berlin, Kreuzberg was side-lined by a group-exhibition of Cramps-inspired artwork curated by the Knoth & Krüger gallery: “Things The Cramps Taught Us”. I took part in that exhibition but two days from the show I had still not finished my last painting. Like most participants I had done portraits of Ivy and Lux and I had four more detailed paintings but one piece was still not finished. The characters I had painted on that canvas were boring and clichè and not worth to be hanging in a exhibition dedicated to the Cramps! But then it hit me: I took a copy of the German pressing of the Trashmen`s “Surfin` Bird” 45 that I had and nailed it onto the canvas! That looked better.
The next day after we had set up the show Ivy and Lux arrived and took a quick look around. They were dressed very casually and inspected the artwork closely. Lux even took some photos with his 3-D camera. They seemed very humble and honored by the pieces that were dedicated to them. I asked to have a photo taken with them but they declined, because they were worn-out from the long trip and didn`t think they looked presentable. Then they went off, but returned shortly after with the rest of the group for a autograph-signing . This time dressed in their stage outfits. They all sat at a table and a line built outside the gallery. Meanwhile I was spinning records but when fellow Berlin cartoonist Reinhart Kleist stood in line to have his painting signed, I followed suit.When it was my turn Lux looked at the piece and seemed appalled. As a record collector he must`ve thought it was a shame to destroy that beautiful old record. But then he got in the mood and signed it and even wrote Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa , the chorus of “Surfin`Bird”, all around the record. All of the band members signed it and I was happy, because with all the magic-marker on the painting the piece was now finally finished. The most personal Cramps souvenir I could wish for.