Lux Interior: A Remembrance from Jonny Whiteside

Cramps singer Lux Interior, 62, died at 4:30 am yesterday at Glendale Memorial Hospital. Lux was a giant -- thee key voice in the 1977 post-rock & roll meltdown, a psychedelic-rockabilly avatar whose bizarro vision dynamically placed the music itself in a bold new context -- one where Charlie Feathers and Arthur Lee were natural-fact bedfellows, and one whose pristine grasp of both its evolutionary flow and exotic permutations seemed borne of a sixth sense he been blessed with at birth. Sound like a stretch? When was the last time you heard Psychedelic Jungle?

Everyone knew Lux Interior, the mad dog big beat showman, renowned for his acrobatic presentation, crazed mike-stand warping capers and irresistible destructive impulses. Simply put, he was one of the greatest, show-stopping-est rockers ever, equal parts living, wine-guzzling, PA scaling myth and indefinable, almost other-worldly mystic force.

But Lux, off stage, was about 50,000 times more charming, more amusing, more intelligent, discerning, involved and informed than his bandstand persona would lead you to believe. His sheer sense of wonder, a relish for the experiential surprises which life thrusts upon us all, far surpassed his incomparable gifts as a performer, and that enthusiasm, and his illimitable drive to taste more (if not all) seemed almost rejuvenating, not just for his part, but for anyone fortunate enough to orbit within his out-of-this-world sphere. His loss is a damnable, shocking shame -- leaving us adrift in this filthy, fucking, irredeemably square, stupid world -- we assumed he would let us all of rats leave the sinking vessel , and he'd go down with the ship, crowing a final, defiant "Papa Ooo Mow Mow, Papa Ooo Mow Mow." (For more on Lux Interior and the Cramps, read this.)

--Jonny Whiteside


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