Monday, 1 June 2015

The Vip Vop Tapes....Lux's lost mixtapes ?

Ippity, Vippity, Bippity Bop !
There is a lot of mystique surrounding the oft cited 'Vip Vop Tapes' ! Like some holy grail, shrouded in myth, hearsay and mystery. They are treasured by those who have (some) of them and guarded jealously.....only to be shared among the initiated and those worthy torchbearers of all things Crampsical ! ! ......well, that's the bolloxology out of the way ! In actual fact a lot, if not all of them are out there in the ether that is the wonderful wide web or actually on vinyl....The first to actually make it's appearance being 'Forbidden City Dogfood' sometime in the late 80's (89 or so) on....wait for it !....Vip Vop records, no doubt from Kookaburra, Australia where the Born Bad series also appeared from (Yeah, Right!). 
It should be noted that since then (2013) , a new British label calling itself Vip Vop Records has released a couple of Rockabilly compilations which shouldn't be confused with what we're talking about.

Fake Radio Show but rather cool !
Popping up on my radar (at least) in 1995 was 'The Purple Knif Show' put out on CD by French label Skydog, although according to Discogs, it had come out a couple of years earlier as a Japanese CD release first. The first time it came out on vinyl, repackaged with a new title and artwork...'natch, was in 95 also, well worth picking up at the time but pales in comparison to the later release by Munster Records...a truly beautiful package with (again) new artwork (by Lindsay Hutton & Inigo Munster) on a gatefold sleeve and super 220gramme vinyl....also says licensed from Skydog, although unless they actually put the compilation together before the Japanese release ? I don't see how that could be....regardless, the Munster edition is by far the superior edition.

The Skydog edition.
The notion of Lux sitting at home with his space cadet helmet on, doing his very best Mad Daddy impressions, holds a very special appeal and the choice of tracks is remarkable, as to if the recording made by Lux was ever broadcast (in Hollywood, Ca) I really can't say, my guess it's simply Lux having a good time knocking together another Vip Vop mixtape....anyone have a station and broadcast date ? please feel free to say !
In the summer of 2009 an American DJ aired some cassette recordings on Intoxica Radio (probably a college station or early podcast type thing) claiming they were given to him by the man himself, Lux Interior back in the late 70's and what you get is a mind blowing comp of some 35 tracks called 'Watusi Zombie' (a lot of the songs have been comped since the original cassettes were put together and nearly all of them are available on the Lux and Ivy Favourites downloadable comps from ultra dedicated Cramps nut 'Kogar').

Waviest Gravy !
A second cassette 'Opium Man' was broadcast a week (or so) after, with an equally impressive track listing, although there is a disclaimer saying that this particular recording could have been done by a friend for Lux rather than directly by Lux himself, either way it still flips my lid and is in all likelyhood the original inspiration behind the 'Chop Suey Rock' comps which came out later. One of the great things which came about from the Vip Vop Tapes existence was the inspiration given to the likes of the folk behind the 'Beware' label...Regardless to the facts or if they'd ever admit to it or not, Wavy Gravy, Four Hairy Policemen, Psycho Serenade and Cough Syrup for Elvis Impersonators, all owe a massive debt if not directly to the Vip Vop Tapes, then assuredly to the general concept of them.

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Waiting for The Cramps to take to the stage was almost equal to the pleasure of them actually starting to play, I can recall a good few occasions standing there in anticipation, listening to one of Lux's comps which he always had played prior to kicking off the gig, thinking to myself, what the f..k is that ? it's brilliant ! and then the annoyance of not knowing the song title and artist as well as getting the non-plussed looks from my mates ! So, how many Vip Vop tapes are there ? 8 ? 9 ? 10 ?  Did Lux do them all ?.....who knows ? and I for one certainly don't care, great music is just that, great music ! Another facet to the influence that The Cramps had on the music I listen to and equally important, how I listen to it and I'm far from being alone in that regard, you can take any number of groups who've taken the idea of slipping in excerpts from horror movies, inappropriate soundbites and ad hoc talkovers between the tracks on their albums.

From Russia With Love.
And I'm betting that a certain Herr Beatman Zeller had been listening to a lot of these prior to The Monsters fantastic 1991 LP release of 'The Hunch' too. So if you think that the 'Vip Vop Tapes are a myth, they're not, if you think they're impossible to find, they're may take you a few hours on the web but they are there to be found,the individual tracks at least !  Would make a killer boxset of albums though.......... 

Bit of a shameless plug now, The website and Shop is now under construction and soon you'll be able get a shedload of stuff that you thought you'd never get !   In the meantime we've some very nice vinyl up on the Discogs site including the LP from Charm Bag with their great version of 'New Kind Of Kick', The ltd red vinyl edition of Thee Gravemen LP, a couple of copies of Trash Is Neat 6 LP, loads of rarities and the ltd edition Green vinyl LP of our first release on TRASH WAX from The need this and it going very quick !

Here 'T is :

Buy loads so as I can....well, buy more records myself !

Cheers and Stay Sick !


  1. Purple Knif show is "only" Lux & Marc Zermati (who confirmed that to me) - no airplay.
    "Watuzi Zombie" was aired by Howie P on July 21, 2009 and "Opium man" on July 28.

    1. Sorry to pop in after so long, but who named the two tapes with those titles? And which is which? Is "Watusi Zombies" the tape on which "Watusi Zombie" plays, as well as "Chickie Run" and others? Hugs from Brazil.

  2. Thanks for the precisions Pat, always appreciated.

  3. Yr welcome, Darren, thanx to you for your great blog.
    Forgot to mention that "Forbidden City" LP is half the size of the original tape.
    Also, what is this cool cover for "Holly Strangler ...é.

    1. Release from Eastern Europe Pat, I'm guessing Czech Rep or Russia, should have more info later.

    2. Does anyone have tracklists for any of the tapes mentioned above?

  4. The tracklistings for the versions which have come out on vinyl/CD are readily available on sites such as Discogs, otherwise checkout 'Ichiban' or Kogar the Swinging Ape's'll probably find the individual track among the LAIF comps.......Happy Hunting.

  5. The tapes I have are mine, and are NOT to be taken/borrowed/used/sold in any way...just saying...

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  7. Hey Darren,

    I Just posted the entire Forbidden City Dog Food compilation (with 8 extra tracks & Trailers) to my Youtube channel.