Lux Interior, frontman of the Cramps, passed away yesterday.
The Cramps, with their visual mashup of pinup, fetish, and horror, their dirty and incredibly danceable retro/neo/psychobilly music, their unapologetic admiration of perversion and outsiders, and the outrageous stage presences of Lux and his wife, band guitarist Poison Ivy, represent everything that makes burlesque so loveable when it is more than merely glamourous.
They have been a significant influence on and fans of burlesque from way back, and Poison Ivy has always represented the pinup as an active and dangerous force of nature in a way that many burlesque performers have emulated, some without even realizing it.
I actually feel totally inadequate to describe the Cramps and what they have meant to me over the years, but I'd love comments from Cramps fans and friends. I'd especially love to hear from burlesque performers about numbers they do to Cramps music. You tell me yours, I'll tell you mine--I'm not even sure how many times I've used Cramps music for numbers.
My former boyfriend's band, the Toilet Boys, once opened for the Cramps on Halloween, about eight years ago. He and I were backstage just trying not to stare--I've been around famous people all my life, but I was starstruck practically blind. I was wearing a silver latex dress and long silver horns, and Lux came up to me with his 3D camera and asked if he could photograph. I was totally willing to let him steal my soul. I'm sure I wasn't remotely cool. Rocket and I bragged about it all night long.
I've seen the cramps live more times than I can count over the past three decades. When I saw the Cramps live two years ago, they were as fierce as ever.
Goodbye Lux! Sweet madman!
The Velvet Hammer Performs with the Cramps in 1994:
And one ofmy alltime favorite performances, The Cramps play at Napa Mental Hospital: