Friday, March 18, 2005

The Cramps



Lux Interior was quite simply the most riveting performer I had ever seen when I took this picture. I was convinced that The Cramps live show was going to change everything about live music.

One day, out of the blue, Pleasant called to say that Lux had called her. He introduced himself and said that Kristian Hoffman of the Mumps had given him some phone numbers of "cool people in LA," and presto! We were hanging out with The Cramps. Most of them were from Ohio (in fact, I saw original drummer Nick Knox the other night at the Beachland Ballroom at the Alex Chilton show), but they had made a name for themselves after relocating to New York.

We loved The Cramps. They had a B-movie aesthetic and played some mean punk rockabilly. They loved having their picture taken too.

One night, I booked a photo session with the Cramps, taking a bunch of pix in their hotel rooms at the now long gone Tropicana. For a session out by the pool, which was painted black, Jenny Lens joined me and we have shots in stereo. Her poolside shots are in color, mine are in BW. My session with the Cramps in their rooms involved a strategically placed single spot light which burned really hot. I brought along an oven mitt to handle it. At one point, I put it down on the bed to throw beam of light towards the band, and the heat of the lamp burned a hole in the bedspread. Oops.

Anyway, The Cramps are still working, all these years later. Ivy can wield a guitar like no other - she's so slim and delicate, but can pull more noise out of that giant hollow body guitar of hers than men four times her size. Lux is still a rubber band man and has so much energy - just like the younger man he was 28 years ago. I saw them close to Halloween in Cleveland last year. They had a whole new crop of goth-punk and rockabilly fans who most likely weren't even born yet when this photo was taken!

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