The Cramps, if you havent heard, are superfabulous rock gods incarnate who have wrought unholy havoc among the masses for two decades now. They are: lead screamer-professional maniac Lux Interior, his devastatingly beautiful gal pal Poison Ivy Rohrshach on guitar, and an endlessly rotating rhythm section that kicks out the triedest, truest, butt-shakin blues rock to come out of this cornfield since Jimmy Carter entered the oval office. The Cramps trademark sound pays homage to rock historys greatest heroes such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and every blues bad boy that ever breathed alongside early garage rockers The Sonics, The Wailers, The Count Five, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Luxs infectiously manic stage show and Ivys smoldering demeanor and even sexier riffs (not to mention her footwear!!!) combine for an intoxicating night of real rocknroll bliss. Their 1997 release BIG BEAT FROM BADSVILLE (Epitaph) smokes. Music for gettin it on. And what a picture of Ms. Rohrshach!!
Viva las Vegas, the luckiest girl in town, is a strip-tease artiste in only the seediest sex clubs. At her very best, she can be seen slithering around to classics off of the Cramps BAD MUSIC FOR BAD PEOPLE, hollering the lyrics at mystified customers who really do love her anyway. She moonlights as Portland band The Licks frontwoman/guitarist.
VIVA: Are you guys from Ohio?
IVY: Lux is originally.
LUX: Well, she lived there for a year and a half.
VIVA: Is that where you two met?
LUX: No no no no no.
IVY: We met in Sacramento.
VIVA: What was she wearing?
LUX (eagerly): She was wearing... uh... well.. uh... skintight... uh...
IVY: Cutoffs, Lux! Theyre called cutoffs.
LUX: They had a big hole in the ass and there were red panties showing.
IVY: And I was hitch-hiking. People think we made that up, but people hitchhiked in the 70s.
LUX: It was me and my friend and his dog and we went WHOA!!! Check her out!
IVY: But the dog was quite gentlemanly.
VIVA: So much great rocknroll comes out of Ohio. Why is that, Lux?
LUX: Well, its because its so horrifying there so all the kids have to do something to destroy their parentsthey always have there. Plus there are a couple of really amazing DJs. You can do something completely insane there and become a hero.
VIVA: How have you kept the band and your marriage together all these years?
IVY: Well, were not married! Were just dating... We keep one foot on another world and we didnt get sucked up by all the attention. Its better that were a pair.
VIVA: Does this pay the rent? Has it always?
IVY: Oh yeah. Weve got a house and a car.
VIVA: Its urban legend that youre a dominatrix too, on the side...
IVY: Oh no... not for years.
VIVA: You were?
IVY: Yes, in New York. It pays well. But that was a long time ago.
VIVA: I myself am a stripper to pay the rent and a rocknroller by passion.
IVY: Its great to do it if you can. You are your own boss and you get paid for being extraordinary.
VIVA: What do you think about the direction of rocknroll today? Do you see any trends?
IVY: Well, for years and years there werent any contemporary bands that we liked and theres a lot now. Our bands not retro, but we were influenced by a lot of old records in a very eclectic way and now I hear a lot of bands being influenced in a similar way. The Demolition Doll Rods, Guitar Wolf, the Countdownsany band like that that can play with Andre Williams and it works. To me, all the old blues cats on Fat Possum (record label)R.L. Burnside, T. Model Ford, Hasil AdkinsI think theyre cutting edge. I think theyre way more modern than anything thats going on. So yeah, rocknroll is alive and well, though its mostly underground.
VIVA: Its all about a good DJ. You know, if the kids dont have a good DJ theyre never gonna hear any of this stuff.
IVY: Right. Theres a great DJ in Montreal right now. He plays the Cramps, hes French, and hes totally insane. In L.A. theres good radio, too.
VIVA: What do you think about Women in Rock?
IVY: You know, you pick up a magazine and it says Women in Rock and its all folk singers! Whats changed? When wasnt there that? I mean whats new about that? L7 rocks.Those girls are incredible guitarists. The whole band really rocks.
VIVA: Who is the sexiest rocknroller of all time?
IVY: Elvis. Elvis stood up there and danced like a stripper. Thats sexy! The sexiest to me was that TV special in the sixties where he wore all black leather. I think that was his sexy peak. He blossomed into this tanned man. He just seems like hes seething. Even when he sings a slow ballad hes like twitching and fidgeting. So not even just Elvis, but that Elvis is the sexiest rocknroller.
VIVA: What makes a song sexy?
IVY: Usually a certain kind of rhythm...or a bluesy chord...something slightly haunted. The Stooges you can really move your hips to. Or a sexy singer! There arent many sexy singers out there.
VIVA: Well, have you heard Zen Guerrilla? from San Francisco?
IVY: No...tell me about them!
[At this point, Viva mews on rapturously about ZGs delicious blend of gospel/blues/ punk/soul and their intoxicating stage show and Ivy even seems interested!!!]
IVY: Wow! Ill have to check them out!
VIVA: What do you think is the sexiest Cramps song?
IVY: Probably none of the ones weve written, although I love playing Queen of Pain.
VIVA: Whats the sexiest song released in 1998?
IVY: Mick Collins (ex-Gories, Andre Williams) I Cant Stop Thinking about It. Its the sexiest song cause its all about sex.
LUX: Hes a black guy who takes sixties white kid punk songs and turns them into dirty blues songs.
VIVA: How about the sexiest song of all time?
IVY: Harlem Nocturne by...
LUX: For the best slow song, Harlem Nocturne by the Viscountsor by a lot of peopleand for the best fast song 1970 (I Feel Alright!) by the Stooges. That was back when Iggy screamed everything he sang and was like out of his mind.
IVY: Do you know a song called Swamp Girl? Frank Lane did it, but theres this great album by Kay Martin and Her Bodyguards. She was a stripper and shes in some magazines. This song Swamp Girl is really great.
LUX: That album is just the best album out of anything.
IVY: That might be the sexiest music aside from Elvis. Theres a song called The Heel about her boyfriend...
LUX: Sing it! You know all the words!!
IVY: Shes saying how she knows hes cheating because she can smell perfume and she actually even tries to poison him... The heel! The heel! She poisons his coffee and she watches him pick it up and sings and I reach up and smash the cup... cause it takes two heels to click. Its fuckin sick! Shes incredible. Too much.
[ed. note: out of his mind, like totally insane and fuckin sick are obviously the highest compliments the Cramps bestow.]
LUX: Her bodyguards are protecting her with swords. Thats a serious record!! She has a Christmas album out, too.
VIVA: Whats Christmas like chez Cramps?
LUX: I buy her all these sexy outfits and she wears them.
IVY: I dont know where he finds these things...and he talks me into wearing them! Like what I wore tonight [An insane sheer bodysuit with translucent tattoo type patternsbaring all!!]. He bought me that.
VIVA: What are the sexiest Christmas tunes?
IVY: The Youngsters Christmas in Jail or maybe The Sonics I Dont Believe in Christmas.
VIVA: Do you guys do any Christmas covers?
LUX (lying): We do one called Put the X in X-mas.
VIVA: Mr. Interior, what was the best Christmas present you ever received?
LUX: Im sure that if I could remember it, I couldnt tell you.
IVY: Mine would be shoes. Lux gave me these super high platformsbut that black that looks like an oil slickand eight-inch heels!!! You have to take tiny baby steps.
VIVA: Finally, what color panties are you wearing and how long have you been wearing them?
LUX: Im not wearing any panties.
IVY: Oh, always g-string.