The Cramps -- A Short History of Rock n Roll Psychosis
By Dick Porter
Plexus Publishing, London
Release Date: April, 2007
144 pages, 75 b/w photos
$19.95
by Carl Macki

 

 This artist-endorsed 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 it

The book is also packed with rare photos of the band and its fellow travelers. Highly recommended.

 

 
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