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Saturday, February 14, 2009


Poison Ivy and the late, great Lux Interior: a meeting of hearts and minds that resurrected the arcane songs of our rock 'n' roll forebears, infused it with a unique voodoo miasma and inspired a generation.

It's just over a week since the unfair and untimely demise of Lux Interior, the irreplaceable frontman of The Cramps, and I find my period of mourning continuing as I play at least two hours of the band's catalog each day at work. Sharing in my sorrow is the lovely Xtina, and when I asked her for her thoughts on all of this she sent in the following heartfelt reminiscence. Xtina and I have a common taste in music that I've never been able to revel in with another woman (not even the mighty Jewish warrior Princess, sadly) and, if situations were a bit different, might have led me to ask for her hand (and the rest of her's pretty damned nice, too!), so I totally get her point of view. Guest writers on the Vault are rare, and those who appear here have been asked to do so with good reason, so Xtina has my complete and utter respect, to say nothing of appreciation for lending her words to my morass of pop culture musings. Anyway, here's what she had to say:

The year was 1987. Back then I was listening to a lot of Goth, such as The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure and Bauhaus, in other words, music to slit your wrists by, although I found it uplifting and expressive. I discovered The Cramps when I was 15 years old while on a shopping spree in the East Village with my mother when I went into Trash & Vaudeville, a store on St. Mark's Place that sells punk and Goth wear, as well as cool band t-shirts, and The Cramps' album cover tee of BAD MUSIC FOR BAD PEOPLE caught my eye.

BAD MUSIC FOR BAD PEOPLE: the album that changed a young Xtina's life.

The album art featured a ghoulish zombielike figure that, to date, I still find appealing. Immediately curious, I bought the vinyl. I got 20 seconds into “Garbageman” and I was in love. The music was fun, strange, and sexy. I loved that twangy guitar sound and Lux's voice. I must have worn out that record in its first day.

Next purchase was SONGS THE LORD TAUGHT US, which gave me a high without the actually smoking a joint. This band introduced me to rockabilly, which became a huge part of my life; I researched the original songs and discovered a bunch of underground rockabilly artists like Little Willie and Robert Gordon that I would never have known if I had never heard of The Cramps and I am eternally grateful to them for that. But of course, The Cramps' versions of those songs were fucking awesome, too. They put fun and sex into music like no other.

Sadly, I did not see The Cramps in concert until their LOOK MOM NO HEAD! tour which was at the now-defunct Ritz. I did not know what to expect, but when they hit the stage I knew my life was better for knowing of their very existence. Lux trotting up there in his high heels and fishnet stockings was like my Easter — my god had resurrected. They are downright fun and I get a buzz just by listening to them. Their music still makes me feel so alive and more importantly, happy to be alive. A DATE WITH ELVIS is one of my favorite albums. How can you not love "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog"? The band is brilliant. One of my purest joys in life was being at a Cramps show. I will always have the memories and records/CDs to bring me to that level of euphoria. Not to mention several friends who I now know because of them. Cha cha cha!

-Xtina, February 2009

Xtina, at what turned out to be our final Cramps show in September of 2006.


Satyrblade said...

*laughs* Again with the "Good Music for Bad People" shirt! Mine used to creep out my main college squeeze (aka first wife), who eventually induced me to throw it out after I literally wore the shirt to pieces. Glad to know that SOME women found the creepy dude appealing!

As for my partner now, she was listening to "Can your Pussy Do The Dog" for the first time the other day (courtesy of a Bunche-induced Cramps music marathon), and remarked, "That's a very strange song." "Yes," I replied, "it was a very strange band, and thank all the gods for that!"

oldrocker99 said...

I shed a tear indeed hearing of Lux's untimely demise. I had to wait until 2/16 to do my tribute to one of the MOST influential music lovers ever on my college radio show. Lux certainly changed and improved my own tastes.

Some years back, my wife and I were in the car when "Bend Over, I'll Drive" came on. She said, and I agreed, "Thank god for the Cramps!"