It's with a heavy heart I relay the news: Lux Interior, lead singer of the mighty Cramps, has died. Long one of my most beloved bands, a perennial favorite of punks of all stripes and generations, the Cramps walked it and talked it, performing like '50s rockabilly JD's hopped up on bop pills and strychnine, rioting in the streets after spilling out of a movie house playing all-night monster movies. Over two decades I saw them perform several times, never at anything less than full-tilt boogie and leveling anything in their path. The first time I saw them play I tried to look up Poison Ivy's skirt, then felt bad about it when she caught me, glaring down from on high while playing those bargain-basement swamp-riffs from beyond the grave. Lux put his head through the ceiling tiles of the club (the venerable City Gardens in Trenton, NJ) while I thought he was going to go into full lycanthrope mode.
The Cramps have too many great songs for me to link to all of them, but here's "Garbageman," from their first full album, Songs the Lord Taught Us in 1980, and it has everything that made the Cramps special: it's creepy, fun and sexy, goth without dork, bad-ass without macho, and the above-mentioned lyrics. Plus Lux's wondrous hair. Thanks for everything Lux! You will be missed.