The Cramps
by George Petros

We want to talk to The Cramps about vice. Of course Lux says, “Oh good, that sounds better than talking about music.” So we ask, how have your vices evolved? And he replies, “There were too many to start with. Just about any drug that came along, sex, and now it’s Italian horror movies by people like Dario Argento. Readers of Propaganda should know about that, because the fashions in the movies are like skin-tight latex, there’s great guitar music, and it’s over-the-top with sex and violence—and they’re really good.” Poison Ivy notes: “Actually, some vices were dropped in the spirit of longevity.” Like what? “Quaaludes.”

Next question: What drugs were around when you started off, in 1977? Lux: “Well, Quaaludes, speed—we went through a period when we did some heroin. Some of us quit—my biggest abuse has always been wine.” True rockabilly roots showin‘ there! “And we did a lot of cocaine,” he continues, “like everyone else back then. When I met Ivy I’d been on mescaline for a month, without being off of it.” Wow. “I took a lot of psychedelics over the years.” What about you, Ivy? Did you do dope? “Not much—very little. The only person who ever shot me up was Nick Knox. He lost his eyesight in one eye from doing dope. That kind of scared everybody. We didn’t do it anymore.”

As fame and fortune amassed, so did the cash to indulge yourselves with even more vices, right, Lux? “That’s when the cocaine came in,” he says with a smile. Ivy says, “Some vices are acquired because of money.” Gotcha.

Let’s move on to the subject of sex. Ever had orgies with your fans? “Not too much, but somewhat,” Lux informs us. What’s the protocol between you and Ivy? Are you the proverbial married guy??? “Yeah, pretty much, but there’ve been times when it hasn’t been that way and times where it has.” Is the same true in reverse? “Yeah,” he answers. “Ivy’s pretty hot. A lot of people you meet on the road—they’re not quite as attractive as you might think.” Interesting! He goes on: “Our drummer—we can only hope he’ll show up in the morning before the bus pulls out.”

Regarding fetishes, Ivy says, “I have an allergy to latex from wearing it too much. I have an amazing collection of latex garments and I wore it to death, and now I’m allergic to it. I started getting really weird hives. And that was a vice that seemed harmless.

“In New York I worked as a dominatrix. The people who came in were very powerful, and for an hour or so they’d want to give up their power. To this day, whenever I see that as someone’s fetish, I can’t imagine somebody doin‘ that without getting paid. But occasionally when I get pissed off I’ll get going—” Hmmm. Was that the extent of your career in the sex industry? “I guess it was. There’s a big market for looking underage. When I worked as a dominatrix it was worth a lot to be of legal age but not look your age.” We ask this goddess who has posed seductively more times than she can remember, Did you ever do porn? “No, I didn’t.”

Ivy, has anyone we know come on to you behind Lux’s back? “I’m sure they’ve seen Lux bend a mic stand in half. He gets sorta inhuman strength, werewolf-like strength, that might give one pause. And I don’t think people get as near to us as they can to other bands. We have a psychic shield around us. It’s kinda like a force-field.” Despite our attempts to extract racy quotes from this pervy princess, she resists; she’s really somewhat of a sweetheart who’d love to go gardening, pulling weeds and diggin‘ the birds and bees. She can’t just talk shit on demand.

Moving right along, we ask Lux, Has Satan been good to you? “Absolutely,” he snaps back. Have you been good to him—or her? “I hope so. Drugs and a crazy way of life is good for some people and bad for others, but there has to be somebody speaking out for that side of things.” Right on! “Satanism is just one more religion—but we do like to have fun.” So do we! “And we like black clothes.” And you’re hedonistic, narcissistic, and egotistical. “That’s right—come to think of it, we really are Satanists!” How big is your ego, Lux? “Bigger than when we started,” he replies. “But there’s so many gigantic egos out there, it kinda makes me think I shouldn’t be that way. We’re not egomaniacs—it doesn’t do any good. We started the band to make friends. We’re homicidal but not angry.”

How did the music remain so consistent throughout it all? Lux: “We don’t really like a lot of people, especially music industry people. We kept them out of our business.” Brilliant!

And there the conversation fades. We tell Ivy we love her; we thank Lux for his time. Like ships in the night we drift apart, our ears still ringing with joy and our guts still wrenched by The Cramps.