So long, Lux Interior…

It’s a little after 2:00 AM in Chicago on the morning of 2-5-09, and I just heard the news that Lux Interior, vocalist and frontman of The Cramps transitioned into spirit. I remember him fondly when my band performed with The Cramps for two nights at CBGB’s in early December of 1977. For his performance, Lux was reading out of the TV guide, and made the funny wise crack of “Skafish, are you a boy or are you a girl?” At those shows, there was this fanatical female Cramps fan who screamed her guts out nonstop at the front of the stage during their entire set. In fact, she was so ear shattering that I could hear her above the PA system in the dressing room behind the stage. A few years later, both The Cramps and Skafish were in the first group of artists ever signed to the then new and fledgling, now legendary IRS Records. (FYI: Those very early records all said “Illegal Records” on them, off to one of the sides.)

Then in 1981, both of our groups appeared in the now legendary concert film “Urgh! A Music War!” The Cramps were filmed in LA, and Skafish was filmed in Frejus, France. Both his performance and mine were considered among the most controversial in the film, as proven when both of our numbers were banned by VH1 when “Urgh!” was shown on the channel in 2006. After all, his pants were barely above his pubic hair, and he was sucking a microphone like it was a big phallus. For me, I was mocking the Catholic church, organized religion and all of the hypocrisy and viciousness it has represented for centuries. So much for VH1 pretending to be a cutting edge rock n roll channel…

Great rock ‘n’ roll is often about great audacity, and finding your own singular unique voice. Lux Interior found his voice, was a true original, and was the most fantastic “teenage werewolf” I’d ever known. It holds up such a stark contrast to the pre-fab performers of today, who are as safe, calculated and homogenized as all politicians and corporate America. The danger, humor, cleverness, and charisma are what I remember about Lux and The Cramps, and maybe now, VH1 can put The Cramp’s number (“Tear It Up,” where his performance is riveting from beginning to end) back in if they air “Urgh!” again. For all of us who remember a real rock ‘n’ roll original, let Lux’s voice, attitude and style rock into endless eternity…

6 Replies to “So long, Lux Interior…”

  1. You’re right. We didn’t have enough trashy babes in bikinis with their boobs hanging out to enlighten the audience, lol! Jim Skafish

  2. I have always enjoyed The Cramps’ music.
    A great band.
    Lux can never be replaced.
    Sadly missed.

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