Thursday, February 5, 2009

A new reason to hate the human heart.

Today is, for me, one of the saddest imaginable days in music news - Lux Interior, front man of absolutely brilliant psychobilly band the Cramps, passed away yesterday of a heart condition not yet named in print.

Ron Asheton's death might have been bigger news due to status, and certainly was as premature, but Lux's death (erm - Erick Lee Purkhiser's, rather) is a shame for me on a personal level because the Cramps have been one of my very favorite bands since early childhood. Having been raised primarily by a mother with a great collection of punk records, my first music memory is actually of the Cramps; I recall being five years old, sitting in the car with my mom and her best friend on the way home from the Hollywood Bowl sometime in 1990. It had been a classical concert of some sort, and surely I wouldn't remember it now any more than I cared for it then, but what I do remember is listening to "Everything Goes" off of a used cassette copy of Stay Sick (which said awesome mother still owns) on the car ride home from that dreadfully crowded parking lot and giggling along.

My taste has changed in the last 20 years, but my appreciation for the Cramps hasn't in that time, and they were, really, my gateway to punk rock. Not only that, but to me they offered exactly what's missing from most forms of punk right now - a sense of humor. Who else can throw out all sorts of animal calls, or sing a line like, "Life is short/filled with stuff," and still sound badass? They're just a little bit intimidating, a little bit corny, but forever cool. A real shame that they'll never get to perform again, even in their 60s. I'm devastated.

The Cramps - What's Behind the Mask
The Cramps - Tear it Up
The Cramps - Mystery Plane (original mix)
The Cramps - I'm Cramped (original mix)

And my very favorite of all:
The Cramps - Love Me

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