KID SHIRT

Saturday, February 07, 2009

CRAMPS: REWIND

I was gonna say last night - but I was tired and went to bed - that I thought pretty much everything by The Cramps after "Human Fly"/"Gravest Hits" was superfluous.

Jeez, I know how inflammatory and annoying that probably sounds, but just me finish..."Human Fly" (etc) is such a fabulous mission-statment and it's so pretty much pitch-perfect that maybe it accidentally set the bar, well, almost too high to follow. That low-slung schlockabilly gravel n grind that they invoke on their opening salvo of songs fell out from it's trailer-trash stripper-mom's hips almost fully formed.

As great as The Cramps were, I always felt kinda semi-disappointed by most of the stuff that followed, but only because those early records were so great. I think they had problems with Miles Copeland and his lawyers, as well as a fast turn-round of band-members, so maybe they lost their momentum a bit, and as they hit the early/mid-80s the production values went up a bit and the energy-levels on record didn't quite match the stage-shows. I'm sure that, uh, 'proper' fans like John Eden'll shoot me down on all of this and I'm happy to be told that I'm wrong and that Record-X is a stone-classic that I really should check out. Opinions: everyone's got one.

I remember a piece on Lux and Ivy in one of the Incredibly Strange Music books a few years back that I found really touching - it was about their collection/collecting of rare/obscure Rockabilly and Garage Rock records, horror movie memorabilia, burlesque, etc. What was great about it was that it was obvious that the pair of them lived in their own little quasi-obsessive bubble-universe to one side of consensual reality. Between them, they had settled on a Way of Being that fitted them as snuggly as a vinyl cat-suit - and I just found that whole piece just wonderful to read and kinda quietly inspiring. It was pretty much inevitable that their intense fascination w/ Garage-Schlock Obscurabillia would've eventually found an expression in the physical world as a band (or something) and a great one, at that. And they were both clearly devoted to each other.

My heart really goes out to Ivy. Lux was her soul-mate, that once-in-a-lifetime buzzom-buddy that most people just dream of finding. I can only imagine what her loss must be like - but I'm thankful that they both found time to share themselves - along with all of their wonderful innerworld obsessions - with the rest of us.

God bless ya.