The Cramps "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" Psychobilly T-Shirt
So you never heard of "The Cramps", huh?
Well, back in 1976 you really didn't hear many bands described as; rockabilly at varying tempos, minimal drums, dual guitars, no bassist, and lyrics focused on retro horror and sci-fi b-movie iconography... you just didn't hear gothic theatrical horror blues bands in the burgeoning punk rock days of old '76... except The Cramps.
Lead singer "Lux Interior", whose stage name was copped from an "old car commercial", was an eternal showman... wild creativity coupled with relentless sleaze-and-grime, put The Cramps into a new musical class of their own... and the term "Psychobilly" was born, in the backseat of a 1969 Lincoln Continental with Suicide Doors (with a Lux Interior).
Actually, the real story is that Mr. Interior coined the genre Psychobilly as a "carny term to drum up business"... but in retrospect decided that TheCramps didn't actually embody the true meaning of the word... an honest salesman, whaddya know!
Another little known fact about our man Lux... he was a voice actor on SpongeBob SquarePants... he played the voice of the lead singer in an all bird rock bad, called, um... The Bird Brains (Bad Brains anyone???)... when he died, the voice of SpongeBob attended his funeral... very apropos, me thinks.
And yes, you heard me... Lux is Dead.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche really intended to write that statement back in 1883 (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)... but it seems God died first... Lux wept (Erick Lee Purkhiser 6:66)!
The Cramps had some incredible moments in their 30 year career, making them one of the great early punk bands to grace the stage at the infamous New York dive CBGB's... they were also perhaps the only band to play live (and release a video) at the Napa State Mental Hospital... The Cramps playing to the criminally insane is a brilliant moment in rock music history!!
Speaking of Rock history... there's a busted drum head on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that Lux smashed his head through during a performance. That's just nifty man, something special when the pinnacle of mainstream music is forced to recognize the likes of a band called TheCramps!!
During their years of dope-fiending madness, they also managed to play live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (remember that show?)... and they even made it onto an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, which could be considered their 2nd show at a mental hospital... har!
Besides my dead humor... The Cramps were lucky enough to have recorded a song called "Surfin' Dead", specifically for one of our favorite zombie movies of all time "The Return of The Living Dead" (made loooong zombies were real)... and that's just f*cking classy, IMHO!
So yeah people, that's The Cramps... a band likely named after female trouble (and I ain't talking about John Waters and Divine here, if you know what I'm saying... elbow/wink/slime)... Glarg!
But wait... we've done a shameful disservice to Lux, by overlooking his incredible life partner of 37 years... his amazing wife "Poison Ivy" played a mean guitar throughout their epic 30 years on stage... she also played the "echo-theremin" (you heard me!).
So yeah, I'm jealous... I'd pick a killer/cool betty wearing flaming hot pants and silver boots, playing a Moog, between guitar sessions... over Bikini Girls with Machine Guns... any night of the weekend!!