Thursday, 20 October 2016

The ABC of The Cramps. A new Cramps tome (Book).

Will be translated on this blog.
It was a busy summer to say the least, lots of very cool stuff happening and many fine releases (including a couple worthy of note on our very own Trash Wax label....Shameless plug).

There was also the release of  THIS book, The ABC of The Cramps (Which I'll translate on this blog for you as it's in French). It's an absolute must have.....

Here's the idea of the book in Patrick B's own words :

After reading his fabulous book '100 Contes Rock', I became friendly with Patrick Cazengler.
He quickly told me that it’s cool to contribute to (TIN, LAIF, books, Howie Pyro’s exhibition, a clothes brand that asked me to help them develop a clothes collection inspired by The Cramps...) but that I gotta do my own stuff one day.

And after persisting, he came back with an idea and an editor.

This ABC book is our way to celebrate The Cramps genius.

Patrick interviewed me about people supposed to feature in this ABC book. We chose 13 (at one point I even invented a 27th letter!) names and invented stories for the other half of the alphabet.

So the book is composed of13 interviews (not exactly the 13 we chose at the beginning) and 13 stories. I had the idea to ask Tav Falco to write a preface and my wife wrote a postface. And Patrick C wrote the introduction, explaining the genesis of his idea.

A. for A-Bones – Miriam Linna
B. for Ben from Chicago, maybe the guy who got the largest collection of Cramps live recordings (well I know a certain C in LA too ...)
C. for Isabelle Chelley, who interviewed the Cramps for Rock’n’Folk magazine (Mianstream French music mag).
D. for Slim Gil Deluxe, wonderful artist – watch out his forthcoming book about “The Creatures FromThe Black Lagoon”.
E. for El Cramped: the story about the Cramps cover band we created recently.
F. for Alain Feydri,famous author (Cramps, Groovies, Kinks).
G. for Bryan Gregory: we went to unbury him for an interview...
H. for Lindsay Hutton. I’m proud to have this legend and wonderful human being in a Cramps book at last.
I. for I‘m Customized – Lux creating a girlfriend for his Chopper – Frankie Stine (hey Darren, ahahah).
J. for Michael Joswig, Cramps fan from: Germany who created one of the coolest site. Lux and Ivy liked him.
K. for Kogar the Swinging Ape: all you always wanna know about Lux & Ivy’s faves and more
L. for Jerry Lott aka The Phantom.
M. for Mike McEchron, interview based on his fantastic tourography.
N. for Napa Hospital: what were those special spectators thinking? when they saw this crazy show from 1978
O. like Roy Orbison. An adventure with The Big O & Lux.
P. like Howie Pyro, this guy befriended The Cramps since the beginning and organized an exhib in Los Angeles a couple of years ago.
Q. like Queen of Pain: both Patricks dressing in a drag to meet Lux.
R. like Dirk Roeyen from the Netherlands. His book “Subwire Desire” is one of the best source references.
S. as Sean, the guy behind “Trash Is Neat” (and one of my best friends).
T. as The World’s Greatest Sinner, Lux fave movie.
U. as Ubangi: Lux in zulu land.
V. as VipVop: VV was Lux nickname in the 70’s (the police would dress a fine only for reading this name!), a well known serie of tapes made by Lux and also a little fanzine of mine...
W. for Link Wray. Lux & Ivy meeting their hero.
X. as X-Ray Eyes: The Cramps did but never recorded a song about this Roger Corman movie.
Y. as Yseult La Pieuvre (octopus): a sea food party with Lux & Ivy in my living room.
Z. as Marc Zermati, of Skydogs records fame.This guy organized the Cramps 1st tour in France. (1980). He was in the car with Bryan. He also release a (fake) radio show hosted by Lux.

This was announced by the French music/media chain, The FNAC to have come out in September but has in fact only been available in the last couple of weeks (October, 2016)...It's well worth tracking down for the unique content & photos as well as the fact that it's just a brilliant perspective !

Here's a bit of taster in the form of anused interview with Miriam Linna by Dick Porter....

1 - My understanding is that you came to New York looking to establish yourself in journalism and had already had a number of pieces published in Creem when you were asked to join the Cramps for a second time (which I have as Sept 1976, the first time being a year prior). Is this so? How were these invitations to join put to you and what made you accept the second time and not the first?

I was 19 in the summer of 1975. For the exact date, you'd have to check that book called SHOTS FROM THE HIP- I don't own a copy, but I'm told that it has a reprint of an article where Charles Shaar Murray and Joe Stevens are at CBGB's and run into two girls from Cleveland- myself and sister Helen, and we gab about how Cleveland is the center of the universe. It was on that very weekend bus trip that Lux and Ivy came up to me and Helen at a Japanese fooderie on 6th Avenue called Chicken and Burger World in NYC to ask if we were from Ohio, that they recognized us from being at R&R shows there.
A few months ago, an old pen pal from those days came here to visit with a fist full of letters from those days, which she had stashed at her mom's house in Detroit. One of the letters was written right after that NYC visit, and in it, I wrote about meeting my heroes from NME and also a drummer-seeking couple from CALIFORNIA (this cracks me up): "Got asked to be a drummer in an AVANT GARD (sic) band, they want someone who's never touched a drum kit. These people say they're better than anyone, truly bizarre. Tux (sic) is 29 and Ivy like 26, both beautiful young college graduate Californians who finally want to get a band together in the big apple!" I go on to write that Stiv Bators and Gene have put together a band called Frankenstein that hasn't played out yet. Hope this helps with the date.

 2 - Your drumming is always cited as being influenced by Maureen Tucker – is this fair?
 I was/am a VU fan, sure, over the top. But I never tried to be Moe- to me, she was the ultimate- it would be ridiculous for me to think I could touch the hem of her garment. I had one so-called lesson, and that was from Tommy Ramone, who looked at my bloody blistered hands and said to keep doing what I'm doing and don't worry what people say. It was thrilling, years later, playing on the same bill (in the A-Bones) with Moe, and Sterling Morrison. Moe asked me to come to Georgia and play on her solo album DOGS UNDER STRESS. That was a high point in my eternally fledgling career.
3 - What are your memories of those early gigs - particularly the first show at CBGBs (which I have as supporting the Dead Boys - whereas this is usually cited as Suicide - which I have as the first Max's support), early gigs supporting the Ramones and your final headlining gig with the band at the same venue?
I have a letter from Stiv dated Oct 26, 1976 that says: "Guess who's playing with the Cramps Nov. 1? You got it! We play Max's the 31 and CBGB on the 1 & 2. Can't wait to hear you guys. It's gonna be great playing together. You know I always wanted to play with you." If you show Nov. 1 as the first show, then it was the Dead Boys on the bill. If you show something prior to that, then it may have been Suicide.
I moved to New York on July 4, 1976, in the midst of the bicentennial celebration. Fireworks and tall ships, the whole shebang. I stayed with Lux and Ivy first at their apartment at 322 East 73rd Street, and then found a place at 406 East 9th Street with Pam (Bryan's sister) and James Sliman, a great guy and good friend from Cleveland who also was at all the shows there- I hear he became a top publicist later on, with clients like Liv Tyler and Dodi Fayed. He took the very first Cramps photos (I have the proof sheet if you need pix).
Living in NYC was a challenge. That first year, I missed Ohio like crazy. I felt like a fish out of water, and I missed my friends there a lot. Then suddenly, they all started coming to New York to visit, and some to stay. I moved out the the 9th Street apartment when the Dead Boys moved in and it got way too crowded. I ended up on 12th Street with Lydia Lunch, who was a ton of fun and a wonderful girl. (I will stick with your questions, I'd have a massive segue right about here!!).
 4 - Why did you leave? What was your view of the band dynamic and how was your relationships with Ivy, Lux and Bryan?
The best of my Ohio friends died suddenly and things began to change. It was a very difficult summer in many, many respects. There was a lot going on otherwise that didn't involve me. I was blindsided when my friend Nick, who I respected hugely, was brought in as a replacement from Cleveland. I had received a letter from him a few weeks earlier, a really kind, friendly letter, and again I missed the friendship of the Ohio pals, who were all about rock n' roll records and shows and having a blast. I knew Nick was a terrific drummer from his days in Cleveland. He would have been the first person I would have recommended had they asked about a real drummer in the beginning.
I saw Lux and Bryan once before they all moved to California. The guys came to see the Zantees when we were first playing, and hung out to say goodbye and  good luck.
Someone once accused me of playing thuggishly. That is the nicest compliment I've ever received. Finesse is overrated.
Loved having the opportunity to bash things out on the traps with nobody telling me what to do or how to play.

I will be posting part of the book (In English) every couple of weeks so check back occasionally for a fine read !

Stay Sick Weirdos !

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