Lux Lives East Coast is a celebration of the life of Lux Interior, lead singer and co-founder of the genre-defining band The Cramps (1976-2009). February 4, 2015 marks the 6th anniversary of Lux Interior’s passing. Lux Lives events are an opportunity to celebrate everything “The Cramps.” Fans gather to hear the music that inspired The Cramps and to see bands that were inspired by and are covering Cramps songs. DJ Kogar the Swinging Ape will be spinning some of Lux and Ivy’s favorite records before, between and after live performances of two of Philly’s own bands, DIXY BLOOD and THE SCOVILLES. New Jersey’s garage devils THE BRIMSTONES will also perform.
The first Lux Lives event was held in the UK in 2009 shortly after Lux passed away. Lux Lives has developed into annual events in the US and in locations across the globe. In 2014 there were 5 Lux Lives East Coast events in the US; NYC, Boston, Providence, Portland Maine and Philadelphia. Bands, DJ’s and fans came together to celebrate the life of Lux Interior. Lux Lives East Coast raised almost $4,000.00 for Best Friends Animal Society, the favorite charity of The Cramps.
Dixy Blood, fresh off the release of their new CD “Songs of Love Lust and Loss” have been playing to Philadelphia crowds for almost 6 years after its predecessor The Sickidz called it quits. Before that The Sickidz held a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia’s punks. Starting in the latter part of the 70’s, the Sickidz played with The Cramps countless times throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Sickidz 1984 album, “I Could Go to Hell For You” was produced by Lux and Ivy for Big Beat Records. For this show, Dixy Blood will be playing a tribute to The Cramps in a very decidedly “Sickid” kind of way.
This year, Lux Lives East Coast hopes to reach more people and raise more money for the Best Friends Animal Society. A new addition to the Lux Lives East Coast line-up for 2015 is the opportunity for fans to view “The Human Fly,” a very rare film featuring The Cramps made in 1979. The film, made by Alex de Laslo, was played for audiences before The Cramps live shows in 1979 but has been almost impossible to see since then. It is NOT available on YouTube and is considered to be the Holy Grail amongst Cramps fans. Proceeds from the sale of Lux Lives East Coast merchandise such as t-shirts, posters and pins as well as a fee for viewing the Human Fly video will go directly to Best Friends Animal Society. More info HERE.
PREVIOUSLY: Lux Interior, the singer, songwriter and founding member of the pioneering New York City horror-punk band the Cramps, died [February 4, 2009]. He was 60. Interior, whose real name was Erick Lee Purkhiser, died at Glendale Memorial Hospital of a previously-existing heart condition, according to a statement from his publicist. With his wife, guitarist “Poison” Ivy Rorschach, Interior formed the Cramps in 1976, pairing lyrics that expressed their love of B-movie camp with ferocious rockabilly and surf-inspired instrumentation. The band became a staple of the late ’70s Manhattan punk scene emerging from clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB and was one of the first acts to realize the potential of punk rock as theater and spectacle. Often dressed in macabre, gender-bending costumes onstage, Interior evoked a lanky, proto-goth Elvis Presley, and his band quickly became notorious for volatile and decadent live performances. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: It would be almost impossible to have never heard of The CRAMPS. Their career has been the stuff of legend. Dangerously bizarre but most of all cool, The CRAMPS represent everything that is truly reprehensible about rock ’n’ roll. Founding members Lux Interior (the psycho-sexual Elvis/Werewolf hybrid from hell) and guitar-slinging soul-mate Poison Ivy (the ultimate bad girl vixen) are the architects of a wicked sound that distills a cross of swamp water, moonshine and nitro down to a dangerous and unstable musical substance. In the spring of 1976, The CRAMPS began to fester in a NYC apartment. Without fresh air or natural light, the group developed its uniquely mutant strain of rock’n’roll aided only by the sickly blue rays of late night TV. While the jackhammer rhythms of punk were proliferating in NYC, The CRAMPS dove into the deepest recesses of the rock’n’roll psyche for the most primal of all rhythmic impulses — rockabilly — the sound of southern culture falling apart in a blaze of shudders and hiccups. As late night sci-fi reruns colored the room, The CRAMPS also picked and chose amongst the psychotic debris of previous rock eras – instrumental rock, surf, psychedelia, and sixties punk. And then they added the junkiest element of all — themselves. Their cultural impact has spawned a legion of devil cults and dance-floor catfights, and created in its wake a cavalcade of cave-stomping imitators. As punk rock pioneers in the late seventies, they cut their teeth on the stages of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City and recorded their first record at Sam Phillips legendary Sun Studios, funded mainly by Ivy’s income as a dominatrix in NYC. They coined the now popular term “psychobilly” on their 1976 gig posters. Their hair-raising live performances are still a total, no-holds-barred rock’n’roll assault. After a quarter century of mayhem, they’re too far gone to even consider any other course. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: The evening’s manly-man tone quickly evaporated when Cramps’ frontman Lux Interior took the stage clad in pearls, high-heel pumps and whiteface make-up. (Attention all homophobes: Lux has long been married to the dangerously beautiful Poison Ivy Rorshach, the Cramps’ guitarist and principle songwriter. Rorschach, the Morticia Addams of rock n’ roll, was a smoldering vision of carnality in her velveteen catwoman outfit, candy apple-red wig and pouty lips. Her fishnet-clad thighs quivered as she nursed washes of tremolo-laden distortion from two small Fender amps. Ivy was actually seen reducing males in the crowd to a pile of warm vitals with her piercing, she-devil stare. What a woman! The Cramps are the undisputed champs of the whole psychotronic-hillbilly-white trash-monster movie-garage-punk thing, and Saturday night they tore the roof off the joint. During the strobe-lit psychosis of “Surfin’ Bird,” the set’s finale, Lux destroyed two microphone stands, crushed his mike underfoot, smashed a wine bottle, shredded all his clothes with the jagged bottleneck, tore off what remained of his clothing, covered himself with his pumps, shook hands with the adoring crowd and said good night. It was a Jesse Helms nightmare to be sure, but that night all the punk boys and punk girls went home and no doubt had pleasantly subversive dreams. And in a country founded on revolution, that is a very good thing. MORE
RELATED: During a 1978 tour, psychobilly punk band The Cramps created one of the strangest moments in the history of both rock n’ roll and psychiatry when they played a gig inside Napa State Mental Hospital. It’s hard to believe it actually happened. The story sounds more like an exaggerated rock legend than an account of a real concert, but no suspension of disbelief is needed. Someone filmed the gig. We can only guess how the band got permission to play inside one of California’s biggest mental institutions, but play they did, to a few supporters and a fired-up crowd of psychiatric inpatients. The footage is grainy, black and white, and chaotic; the onlookers look bemused at first, a few start dancing, a few just wander. As the first song fades, the lead singer, Lux Interior, addresses the crowd: “We’re The Cramps, and we’re from New York City and we drove 3,000 miles to play for you people.” “Fuck you!” a patient yells back. He cracks a smile. “And somebody told me you people are crazy! But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me.” The gig ascends into pure punk rock chaos. Patients jump on stage and pogo like they were Saturday night regulars. Lux suddenly duets with a member of the crowd who grabs the mike and adds her own improvised lyrics to the mix. One song finishes with the lead singer sprawled on the floor with two female members of the audience. One of them shouts “I got the Cramps!” MORE
WFMU BLOG: Ok, I got kind of sick of repeating this story 1000 times. So figured I’d include this in the latest volume. I’m the guy who compiles the Lux and Ivy’s Favorites Compilations. It started as a way to keep track of some of the songs Lux, and or Ivy, mentioned in THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE MUSIC BOOK. It was never really intended as anything but a way for a friend of mine and me to have 2 really kick ass compilations. So we went about the arduous process of finding all the songs mentioned in that interview. It took a loooong time. We used the file sharing program, Napster, as well as our own personal collections. So, one thing lead to another and when word got around that these compilations were out there, they started being traded from fan to fan to fan. So, at some point I decided to put them up on Napster and let anyone who wanted them have them. As the years went buy, more interviews with Lux and Ivy kept popping up, and the list of songs they mentioned got longer and longer. This resulted in new volumes. MORE
Produced by Alex Chilton.