Bobby Gillespie on Lux Interior who passed away this week;
Long live The Garbage Man.
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Sydney, Australia writing this. I heard the news that Lux Interior has died and i feel weird & sad & numb & i don’t know what to say ‘cept that when i told my band members one by one the reaction was the same……no one can believe it & all are sad. For Lux was loved by rock & rollers all the world over ‘cos him & his band The Cramps meant so much to us all. Lux was a living testament to the power of rock & roll music, it flamed thru him, his whole life was taken up by playing it, living it, turning other people onto it. He was a preacher in the best sense of the word.
Lux was one of the great rock & roll showmen/shamen, right up there with Iggy, Jerry Lee Lewis & Jim Morrison.
Like them he seemed to want to burst free from his body & explode outta this world & transport himself to other planes, taking his audience with him.
The Cramps along side The Birthday Party, Gun Club & Jesus & Mary Chain kept the beautiful, feral,ecstatic,raging,diseased spirit of rock & roll alive at the end of the 70’s/thru the early 80’s…..a time of nothingness……….when punk had prostituted itself & turned into new wave, which then begat Duran Duran, Dire Straits & the legions of Reagan/Thatcher pleasing cocksuckers who shared the stage at Live Aid.
I first saw the Cramps live as support for The Police at The Glasgow Apollo in the summer of 1979 & it was truly insane.
There was Bryan Gregory lying on his back for the whole show with a white Flying V guitar covered in black polka dots, wearing a rubber frog-man’s diving suit. shuddering spasmodically like some weird insect.
The high quiffed, dressed head to toe in in jet black, drummer Nick Knox pounding out the holy back beat just endlessly staring into the void. Unrelenting, eternal.
There was the impossibly beautiful Poison Ivy Rorshach firing out wave after wave of demented wipe-out rockabilly/surf fuzz-tone guitar death. Ivy was scary & sexy, not moving, just cool as ice, always. She’s still one of my favourite guitar players alongside Johnny Thunders & Link Wray. Ivy is a Godess.
Then there was Lux, a truly wild & free rock & roll madman jumping off the 15 foot high stage into the front stalls to terrorise the new wave Glasgow teens who had come to hear “Roxanne”.
I went straight out & bought the Gravest Hits E.P. with “Human Fly” “The Way I Walk” “Domino” “Surfin’ Bird” & “Lonesome Town”……that was it, i was infected by The Cramps & their rockabilly voodoo music. I caught the virus & i’m still sick.
They then released their debut album “Songs The Lord Taught Us” produced by Big Star/Box Tops genius Alex Chilton at Sam Philip’s legendary Sun Studios in Memphis Tennesse where Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash & Roy Orbison created the rock & roll monster that was to change the world forever. “Songs The Lord”…..sure lived up to that incredible legacy & more, it’s outer limits rock & roll that shakes, aches, astounds, & mystifies to this day with songs like “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” “Garbage Man” What’s Behind The Mask” “Strychnine” “Sunglasses After Dark” & the truly demented “Drug Train” where Lux promises us “you’ll see Elvis with your Mother” if we all just step aboard. “Songs The Lord….” was an instant classic, The Cramps had made an album as deranged & wild & sexy & beautiful as any of their heroes.
The genius of The Cramps is that they knew that the true essence of rock & roll is to be found in records like “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James & The Shondells or “Love Me” by The Phantom. Records discarded, derided, as sweet sick bubblegum for hormone raveged teens or retardo trash for backwoods hillbilly psychotics.
The Cramps saw the beauty in the unwanted, the losers, the outcasts, the misfits, the freaks, the true visionaries deemed ridiculous & beneath contampt by the mainstream, uptight, straight, bourgeouis “culture” creeps who run the media show in the U.S.A. & the rest of the world.
By being a Cramps fan you could learn about Charlie Feathers, The Legandary Stardust Cowboy, The Count Five, The 13th Floor Elevators ,Hasil Adkins, The Seeds,The Sonics, the list goes on & on….they gave you an education in arcane americana. For this alone i am forever grateful. My friends & me have been turned on to so much fantastic music just by being fans of Lux & Ivy & The Cramps.
The sad thing is, when guys like Lux & Ron Ashton go, there’s a little less rock & roll in the world.
It really is a dying art.
When you went to a Cramps concert you knew you were seeing the real thing. They meant every single note they played. People used terms like “Trash Aesthetic” & “Horror B-Movie cartoon” to describe The Cramps., well there’s nothing trashy about them.
Lux Interior & The Cramps were possessed by the wild, free, spirit of rock & roll music & that is a truly beautiful & wonderful thing.
It’s not somrthing that can be bought or aquired or learned in college. It’s something that some people are born with & feel & need to do for all of their life.
Lux Interior was one of those people & the world is a sadder place without him.
Thanks for the music Lux. We’re gonna miss you.
Bobby Gillespie/Primal Scream 07/02/09