Sunday, March 08, 2009

See the sea of hands at a recent Matt & Kim rally in Austin!
(Photo courtesy of Brother KP)

(Thanks to Deadbolt via Staysick for this link)
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. returns this week to the world famous Rodeo Bar -- where the beer's cold, the Tex-Mex cuisine hot, and the peanuts are in the shell! Shell away, shall we?

375 Third Avenue (at the corner of 27th Street) in Manhattan / Two jumbo-sized sets, from 10pm sharp until 12:30am / No cover!

And, for those with a bent for brunch...

SUNDAY, MARCH 15th / SUNDAY BRUNCH at SUPERFINE! 126 Front Street (between Pearl and Jay Streets) in DUMBO, Brooklyn / Three digestive sets, from noon until 3pm / Free music! Reservations: 718-243-9005

Yours truly, Michael
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"
So the snow squall outside seems to have subsided but that matters little because I'm not venturing over the door again today. I'm listening to Stefan's SBB show from the other night. I missed it but thanks to the wonders of the interweb I can hear my Uncle Eric croon "The Downside of Being a Fuck Up" as I gather my thoughts with regard to what's been happening since Thursday.

Not sure exactly where the last couple or three days have gone but they scooted by alright. National Express even got the train into town five minutes or therabouts early. Kings Cross station is undergoing major renovation and it's a pain the arse. Don't even get me started on the pastie kiosk not being there. Anyway, you have to go out to venture into the tube station so I noticed it was a cracking evening weatherwise. This brought me to the decision that I'd take the train to Hammersmith and walk around the Thames to Chiswick. If you've done that route then you'll know what I'm talking about. It's a very relaxing trek and so far removed from the hububb. Watching the sun go down as I approached my destination was a bit of a metaphor for the trip.

So a quick hit and run and we're headed for the centre of town for a wee aperatif prior to going to Madame JoJo's for The Jim Jones Revue. The spot was The Phoenix Artists Club and it's a nice slice of old London quaffing. Plus you have to get signed in after 8pm. JoJo's itelf is a cracking place too. Mainly a burlesque joint these days, it presents a classy club showcase atmos but the bar has no beer on tap!

I think that JJR album is pretty good but I have to say that I didn't rate the show. The sound was awful. Everywhere in the place. They do look good and make a first rate stab at channelling that 50's glam but I don't actually hear any songs. Making my way to the back I was thinking that this would make an ideal opening band for Primal Scream. By the time I made a quick pitstop in the wee laddies room. I came out and was standing three feet away from Bobby Gillespie. I don't dig those kind of omens. Maybe I'll see the JJR again if they play up north. Maybe I won't. I really do hope that my general verdict of style over substance was a blip but I doubt it. There were a lot of very good looking girls there so they must be doing something right.

So that takes us to Friday and a lunchtime hookup in Camden with Mike "Saucerman" Mastrangelo who has a new gig up that way. Couple of pints and some bangers and mash in The Worlds End really did the trick. After that we took a wee schlepp up to Inverness street to Mega City Comics and the fantastic "Sounds That Swing". I'm really glad those places are still there but really wish that "Rock On" and "Compendium Books" were too. I remember buying Back door man mags and "Home of The Brave" by Bonnie and the Treasures on the same day but don't recall much of what happened just this morning. We travelled to Camden by bus and went through many old haunts such as Praed Street home of Bizarre Records.

Arranging to meet BB, Suzy and Joey Quattro in the fabled Wardour Street watering hole The Ship, where some of had also been the night before. Another great spot that seems to have been untainted over the years. Some of the ROCK they blast is a little unnecessary but they have first rate bar staff. Some of whom wear very sweary t-shirts. Anyway as Dave and Penny headed home for a date with Toody and Muldoon I headed for the DWC with the Quattros. Such a pleasure to see the kids again.

So it's nearly showtime and it was cool to see such a cool coterie of folks come out. I have it on excellent authority that the opening band Vinny Vinny were line Ocean Colour Scene. I realise that perhaps there is a god after hearing this verdict having missed them. The Buckle Ups played a short, sharp punk rock dipped in metal set. Possibly the entire opposite of the opener. Such youthful optimism and an understanding of Ben Weasel's place in the scheme of things is something I wish more bands could appreciate.

And now it's Quattro time and I don't think that I need to take several paragraphs here. This was the best I've seen them. In terms of pace, playing and choice of songs then this was an excellent set. No fannying about or stopping. Just straight down the line first class. The version of "Too Late" was arenarocktastic. I think the crowd thought so too.

My Drug Hell followed them. I don't care for this at all. I'm not even sure why but maybe it's like the sound of this austerity trip that's going on. I want a bit of fun or glamour. And so did Ollekarlsson who made a surprise appearance in beautiful uptown(?) Tufnell Park. A bit of Quattrophenia, not some miserabilist exercise in making me even more forlorn. It's like music for students who oughtta be old enough to know better. Actually, the sounds aren't as bad as the band name. Blimey.

And that, as they say is that. Martin dropped Qina off then me but it was a grand evening. Train trip back was uneventful but I ran outta credit on my phone and couldn't call a taxi or anybody to come get me so I had to walk 3+ miles home in the pissing rain. Serves me right for having too much fun? Maybe so folks. Maybe so...

The Q's are in Brighton tonight so you really need to get down there if it is in any way possible. They've got the power to alter your worldview through pop music. No artificial stimulus necessary. By this time tomorrow they'll be back in Barcelona and you'll have missed your chance. But they shall return. And yo'll find all the info on that right here when it all goes down.
Mick Cancer remembers Lux. (Thanks to Rich Lustre and Mick for sharing this...)


Years ago, for some inexplicable reason, the late Joey Ramone instigated a “Lux is Dead” rumor, pertaining to Lux Interior, the mercurial singer for the proto-punkabilly band The Cramps. Fortunately, this questionable replication of a “Paul is Dead” type hoax was hastily dismissed as the dark joke it was.

Ironically, that day I placed a call to Lux and Poison Ivy Rorschach, Interior’s lover, alter-ego and the Cramps’ guitarist and musical architect. Lux happened to answer and upon inquiring how he was, he snorted that he was “glad to be alive”. Unaware of the circulating hysteria, I listened incredulously as Lux laughingly related the details of Joey’s goofy prank.

Sadly, the news arriving from Glendale, California on February 4th was no careless hoax. Lux, one of RocknRoll’s iconoclastic and iconic voices, was silenced. This world will never seem the same again.

It was my great fortune and privilege to meet Lux and Ivy in 1977 when Alex Chilton, whom I’d encountered a few months prior, insisted I check out The Cramps. He further suggested I introduce myself, as they were great folks.

The baptism was hair-raising. My girlfriend Alison (The) End and I couldn’t believe what we witnessed. This was primordial pandemonium played by ardent missionaries, zealots recalling the basest instincts of the madmaddaddys who had originally carved out the form. But this was no exercise in mere reverent nostalgia. No, The Cramps dug up the grave of long dormant voodoo RocknRoll, rattled its’ rockin’ bones, dressed it up in horrormovie regalia, and fed it psychedelic mushrooms. Oozing a seething, sleazy sexuality, this was the ungodly white trash progeny of Frankenstein, Barbarella, Elvis Presley and Myra Breckenridge. In doing so, the door to the future blew wide open.

It was an apocalyptic event, the most devastating performance I’d ever experienced, chock full of instantly classic songs, wicked passion, sassy style, garbageman humor, boiling brimstone and, oh yes, imminent danger. It was a definitive, life changing moment.

This was the classic Cramps, swathed in black, so pale they appeared to have never considered sunlight:

Sweet lil innocent Bryan Gregory, as street talkin’ cheetah with a head fulla cigarette smoke and hairspray, a pock-marked sneer and polka dots, crossbones and a godawful racket everywhere….

Stoic, smirking, slickbacked – the mobmod matinee idol Nick Knox sat at the drums, impervious….

Lux, a hiccupping problem child, Ricky Nelson turned leering human fly, conjuring Nervous Norvous and Iggy Stooge in a dance with Dominodomino that made the devil dizzy….

And Ivy, a backstreet bombshell, ice and fire and twang, the decadent daughter of darkness Link Wray could only pray for….

Summoning our courage, Alison and I crept backstage, tepidly announcing ourselves. And we stepped forever into the slipstream of the eternal mystery of RocknRoll. It was like we shot heroin.

And we got hooked. We became fans/friends/acolytes, especially with Lux and Ivy. Removed from stage personas, they were the kindest, hippest, most elegant humans one could hope to meet. Intelligent, creative, witty and mystical, they shared a singular uniqueness.

We went to every Crampshow, we stayed at their Cramped NYC apartment, we haunted flea markets in hope of rare records, exotic clothing and pointed shoes, we listened mesmerized as they played their vast collection of rockabilly obscurities, we watched gorehound films and later at some 4 AM eatery ordered spinach omelets.

When we determined to start our own band, the eventual Sic Kidz, The Cramps offered continual inspiration and support, became mentors, teaching us how to be a band, how to conduct a rehearsal, a sound check, how to behave, how to wear sunglasses after dark. Our odyssey began thirty years ago, opening for The Cramps at The Hot Club in Philadelphia, Lux offering the introductory benediction.

But things change. The Cramps, on the cusp of their legendary stardom, moved west. Bryan, in a fit of wayward witchery, defected in a shroud of paranoia, delusion, and the Bee Gees. Alison (The) End passed away in 1980, buried with the guitar she got from Ivy. Still, a special relationship endured for decades.

Lux rocks now in another dimension, teaching the Lord a new kinda kick. But his spirit persists. He was a natural, a true believer, a pulpit poundin’ preacher whose calling it was to deliver the serum of RocknRoll as a life force, a source of salvation and repair, an alternative to eternal damnation. His like won’t be seen soon again.

This is not Lux Interior’s obituary, nor his eulogy. It is rather a testament to a friend whose rare essence touched so many. We will miss him terribly.

And I will recall, until the day I die, the way he walked.

Michael J. Ferguson
(aka Mick Cancer)
On behalf of The Sickidz