On this day in 1946, from the wilds of Cleveland rose a midwest monster, a creature raised in a simmering cauldron of Ghoulardi, Pete “Mad Daddy” Meyers, black-and-white horror flicks and wild garage rock and rockabilly. With the body of a boy, the mind of a monster and the soul of an unearthly thing! From thence he traveled west to California, bent his brain on the drug train’s chemical kicks, picked up the love of his life on the side of the road and headed back east to start up a crazed rock ‘n’ roll band with her and call it the Cramps. I’m talking about the only rock star named after top-of-the-line automobile upholstery. I’m talking about the voodoo idol of shark reef. I’m talking about the fiend of Dope Island. I’m talking about thee most exalted potentate of love. The creature from the black leather lagoon. The teenage werewolf. The human fly. The garbageman. The crusher. The goo goo muck. I’m talking about Lux Interior, boys and girls.
I first saw Lux Interior in the movie URGH! A Music War, and it warped my fevered brain forever.
From there on, all bets were off. You try coming out of your formative years after watching the steady rocking of Nick Knox, the unfathomable cool of Poison Ivy Rorschach, the “I’m only in this lineup of the band for a few months” of Julien Grindsnatch and the microphone-assaulting, pants-defying caveman gusto of Lux Fucking Interior. Do that and remain normal. I dare you.
It was a few years after that (I was but a mere tyke living on a farm in Alabama) that I finally got on the right track and went full-bore into Crampsaholic fandom. They opened my eyes to a wider world of exploitation movies, exotica, risque photography (Bettie Page, Irving Klaw, Bunny Yeager, Russ Meyer) and illustration (John Willie, Eric Stanton), psychotronic rock ‘n’ roll (Hasil Adkins, the Wavy Gravy compilations) and trash culture in general that I probably would have never explored if it weren’t for them.
I only had the chance to see them live twice. The first time was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I was right in front, singing along to every song when almost everyone else in the place only knew them for “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns,” and Lux came down between the stage and the barrier, put his arm around me, and we sang “The Crusher.”
Lux entered the void on the day before my birthday in 2009. The world ain’t the same without him.