Unlike many "rockabilly" thug poseurs (hello, Mike Ness), the Cramps are the real deal - the Ohio-bred band is worlds apart from the everyday sounds of neo-folk and the canned beats of hip-hop. They have truly lived hard, real lives and although the band has been rocking in the free world since 1976, they're just now savoring the sweet nectar of success. Lux has done real jail time for selling "dangerous drugs" and Ivy has actually made a living as a dominatrix in New York City. It's no wonder why these two lovebirds have been together for over 30 years.
In a recent interview, Lux and Ivy talked about old times, what's happening now and why they always seem to show up around Halloween.
There are times where fans wondered what have happened to The Cramps, especially in the early 90's. Why were there such long gaps between albums?
Lux: I guess it comes down to things going in cycles. When [1991's] Look Ma No Head! was released, grunge hit big and we were ignored and I thought, 'Jeez, is this the end of the Cramps?' All anyone wanted to know about was grunge this and grunge that. People were saying stuff like, 'What are you guys still doing around? We were called retro, and grunge bands were just a re-hash of the worst rock ever got - - the early '70s. That was the reason punk rock happened in the first place. But all that never seems to really affect us, anyway. Now, were gaining popularity again, actually not popularity, I just think the general masses are discovering us again.
How did you two meet?
Ivy: When I met Lux, we were living in Sacramento. The radio up there played Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boz Scaggs like there was nothing else at all happening on the planet. Other places were playing things like David Bowie, Lou Reed and t-Rex, but you'd never hear any of that on Sacramento radio. All you heard was 100% natural, granola rock. We were looking for something more exciting. It was like we were the only people in that town that have ever heard of that music so I guess it was only natural that we gravitated to each other.
And then the two of you moved to New York to start up The Cramps. Did you ever think you'd still be in The Cramps making music well into the 2000s?
Lux: Well the first time we stepped onstage at CBGBs we thought we were gonna do it once. We never thought about a second time, we were just thinking, 'Let's see if we get beat up or what happens.' And ever since that night it's been a million laughs. We still get up there and we get to play really loud, there's all these people screaming at you, there's flashing lights in your face...I can't think of any other way to make a living. It's all we know now.
Why do you think there's a sudden resurgence in The Cramps' popularity all of a sudden?
Ivy: Who knows? We've never felt like our music's for everybody. It's for those who can identify with being a hoodlum, a misfit. No one else should be expected to like it but maybe it's a sign of the times (laughs devilishly).
It seems like The Cramps always coincide Halloween with a big gig. Any interesting connections with Halloween?
Lux: We were just talking about that the other day (laughing). It's scary, isn't it? Maybe the devil is makin' us do it.