Lux Interior, the frontman for horror punk outfit the Cramps, gained a loyal following over the band's decades-long career as much for his gender-bending visual aesthetic and raucous live performances as the group's groundbreaking music. Henry Rollins, vocalist for Black Flag and Rollins Band, spoken-word artist and radio host, spoke Thursday to The Times' August Brown about his memories of the punk rock icon, who died this week of a heart condition.
"I grew up in Washington, D.C., in the '70s, and when punk rock came along, I realized that my ship had come in. The Cramps would come down to D.C. and I would see them play in a space about the size of your living room. It was kind of scary being in the front row. Lux would find something to swing from -- if there were ceiling tiles, they'd all be on the floor by the end of the thing. Lux would somehow find his way out of his pants and be down to a pair of bikini briefs twitching all over the floor. He's a very large man, very tall and very pale and very sweaty. They all looked so amazing. Each one could have been a movie star.
I remember buying their first or second single from a roadie who was selling them for three bucks at the door. It's probably worth its weight in gold now. The first two Cramps 7-inches are some of the first independent singles I ever owned. Once I drove up to New York to see them in my little VW; it was me and most of the Bad Brains all crammed into my little car. It was at Irving Plaza, and H.R. from Bad Brains, he went backstage because he's a big rock star, and he came out with a slick of the album cover and the whole band had signed the back. I still have it to this day."
Photo by Lori Shepler/Los Angeles Times