The Cramps celebrate all that is dirty and gaudy with a perverse joy that draws in listeners with its fleshy decadence, primal rockabilly, grease-stained '60s garage rock, vintage monster movies, perverse and glistening sex. They have influenced countless subsequent bands in the garage, punk and rockabilly revival subgenres, and helped create the psychobilly genre, a term coined by The Cramps, although Lux Interior maintained that the term did not describe their own style.
Lux Interior (Erick Lee Purkhiser) and Poison Ivy (hitchiking Kristy Marlana Wallace) met in Sacramento, California in 1972. Shared common artistic interests and devotion to record collecting, had them pair up and decide to form The Cramps. Lux took his stage name from a car ad, and Ivy claimed to have received hers in a dream (initially Poison Ivy Rorschach). In 1973, they moved to Akron, Ohio, and then to New York in 1975, soon entering into CBGB's early punk scene. The lineup in 1976 was Poison Ivy Rorschach, Lux Interior, Bryan Gregory (guitar), and his sister Pam "Ballam" Gregory (drums). In a short period of time, the Cramps changed drummers twice, something that would follow the bands path..the rhythm section (bass,drums) changed ever so often 7 times each in fact over their 33 years as a band.
In June 1978 they gave a landmark free concert for patients at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa, recorded on a Sony Portapak video camera by the San Francisco collective Target Video and later released as Live at Napa State Mental Hospital. They released the two singles again on their 1979 Gravest Hits EP, before Chilton brought them back that year to Memphis to record their first full length album, Songs The Lord Taught Us.
The Cramps relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 and hired guitarist Kid Congo Powers of The Gun Club. While recording their second LP, Psychedelic Jungle, the band and Miles Copeland began to dispute royalties and creative rights. The ensuing court case prevented them from releasing anything until 1983, when they recorded Smell of Female live at New York's Peppermint Lounge; Kid Congo Powers subsequently departed. Their first European tour, after having veen cancelled twice, was a success.
With the release of 1986's A Date With Elvis, the Cramps permanently added a bass guitar to the mix, but had trouble finding a suitable player, so Ivy temporarily filled in as the band's bassist. Fur joined them on the world tour to promote the album. Their popularity in the UK was at its peak (many sell out dates throughout the UK) . It was not until late 86 that the Cramps found a suitable permanent bass player: Candy del Mar, who made her recorded debut on the raw live album "RockinnReelininAucklandNewZealandxxx", which was followed by the studio album Stay Sick in 1990.
The Cramps hit the top 40 singles chart in the UK for the first and only time with "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns"; Ivy posed as such both on the cover of the single and in the promotional video for the song. The Cramps went on to record more albums and singles through the 1990s Look Mom, No Head! (91), Flame Job (94), Big Beat From Badsville (97) for various labels.
In honor of the excess of The Cramps, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has on display a shattered bass drum head that Lux's head went through during a live show. On January 10, 2001, Bryan Gregory died at of complications following a heart attack. He was 47. In 2002, The Cramps released their final studio album, "Fiends of Dope Island" on their own label, Vengeance Records. Two years later followed by a compilation, How to Make a Monster.
On February 4, 2009 at 4:40 AM PST, Lux Interior died at the Glendale Memorial Hospital after suffering an aortic dissection (rupture) which, contrary to initial reports about a pre-existing condition, was "sudden, shocking and unexpected, leaving his partner of 37 years (Poison Ivy) behind.
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Although the bulk of the material consists of covers, you can hardly tell (barring an intimacy with any of the originals). Once the Cramps get hold of a song, they always make it their own -- even the more recognizable numbers like "Surfin' Bird," "Lonesome Town," and "Fever." All benefit from Lux Interior's vocal prowess. He's a proto-punk screamer like Screamin' Jay Hawkins or the Sonics' Gerry Roslie on the rockin' numbers, but can caress a ballad like mid-period Elvis when the need arises. None of the songs sound as if they could possibly have been written anytime after the '60s. Alex Chilton produced the first ten tracks, the Cramps the remaining seven.
Off The Bone (83 ^ 123mb)
01 Human Fly (2:12)
02 The Way I Walk (2:38)
03 Domino (3:05)
04 Surfin' Bird (5:03)
05 Lonesome Town (2:55)
06 Garbageman (3:28)
07 Fever (4:17)
08 Drug Train (2:33)
09 Love Me (1:57)
10 I Can't Hardly Stand It (2:39)
11 Goo Goo Muck (3:02)
12 She Said (3:11)
13 The Crusher (1:46)
14 Save It (3:01)
15 New Kind Of Kick (3:28)
16 Uranium Rock (2:26)
17 Good Taste (Live) (3:28)
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Most of the songs here are in various rockabilly-derived styles featuring either garage rock fuzz or Duane Eddy twanging guitar from Poison Ivy. Vocalist Lux Interior is in excellent form here, exhibiting a fair bit of variety within his usual 1950s-derived approach. "Kizmiaz" is unique in the band's oeuvre, being a smarmy parody of 1960s hippie feel-good music. This rollicking and energetic platter in particular is the equal of any in their canon.
A Date With Elvis (86 82mb)
01 How Far Can Too Far Go? (4:10)
02 The Hot Pearl Snatch (3:17)
03 People Ain't No Good (3:46)
04 What's Inside A Girl? (3:22)
05 Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? (3:22)
06 Kizmiaz (3:01)
07 Cornfed Dames (5:26)
08 Chicken (1:40)
09 (Hot Pool Of) Womanneed (3:09)
10 Aloha From Hell (2:35)
11 It's Just That Song (2:35)
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