The Cramps -- A Short History of Rock n
By Dick Porter
Plexus Publishing, London
Release Date: April, 2007
144 pages, 75 b/w photos
biography of the phenomenom that is the Cramps features interviews
with its two spearheads, Lux Interior, and Poison Ivy, interspersed
with cultural commentary and recent expository history.
The book traces the origins
of the band from northeast Ohio and Sacramento, to New York, where
their introduction to the punk scene at CBGBs and Max's Kansas City
in NYC eventually led to their ensuing cult status--and to
international fame of sorts.
As Porter shows, their
influence on contemporary music everywhere has been substantial, and
their ambition is mighty.
Not far into this lively
read, we learn of Erick Lee Purkihiser's first encounter with Kristy
Wallace (later to be known as Poison Ivy) while she was hitchhiking.
Since Purkhiser's full birth name sounds like a serial killer's, it
is not surprising that he minted an alternative persona as Lux
Interior. Eventually we learn that Lux and Poison Ivy are happily
wed, and could serve as a poster couple for marital devotion. Take
that, right wing cultural devils.
Porter is glib and entertaining. It's a fast read and a
basic primer for the times that modern music took along a
less journeyed road during the last thirty years. But hey, that was
the band's original intention, and they made something very grand of
The book is also packed with rare photos of the band
and its fellow travelers. Highly recommended.