4/7/10

Cramps line up #2 (1977-1980)

This old print ad of the second line-up just floated up from the sump. Holy cow! The Cramps changed their image with the lineup and the rest is history, their own, very colorful history. Nick Knox (Stephanoff) arrived in NYC in late July of 1977, with his shiny, cool, new drum kit, not that Nick brought any weird ass stage wear with him. He was always the velvet jacket/black slacks Kink type guy back in Cleveland. This ad was the turning point, the start of their psychobilly signature. Had they caved in to the Sex Pistols and Damned and what-all from across the pond and beyond, what with the straps and all? Regardless, their timing was impeccable. Summer vacation, 1977, brought in a new slew of young uns getting their first taste of that crazy little sensation called Punk Rock. Right around this time, the Fleshtones started sharing a rehearsal space with the new Cramps, and the 'Tones were in some kind of talks with a rock entrepreneur who said he could makes them stars if they dressed like vegetables. Did I dream this? Thankfully Zaremba and the lads told the guy to take a hike.

On shtick: If any of you saw the Ig early on, and as a highly impressionable teen, you know nobody would follow that brand of stage antics. I was a latecomer, seeing him in '73, and that was the end-uh, little girl. Bryan says he saw the Stooges a hundred times back in Michigan, including as the Psychedelic Stooges. And Bator's claim to fame was that he was the kid who handed Iggy the peanut butter at the 1970 Cincinnati Pop Festival. Remember, SB kept PB on hand for dermatological purposes. Anyway, the raging popularity of full-on punk rock and psychobilly would flame on for eons. Years later, people would say, "You were in the Cramps? Did you wear a red rubber dress? Did you look like Bettie Page?" And it was like, no, my wildest look was a worn out jacket, sneakers, and eye make up by Sherwin Williams. On my own fan wagon end of things, it was all about the Flamin Groovies, through various incarnations and lineups. And on the band front, well, we'll cover it all, so don't miss one gripping moment (zzzzz) as there may be a pop quiz. So let's slide with this segue into Grooviesdom, not a bad place to be. At all. And not to fret, many more pre-1976 letters and photos and anecdotes to come from the Dark Ages. This stuff should have gone into space in '77 with the Voyager's golden record. But then again it might have scared future civilizations in distant galaxies in deep space, beyond the Milky Way. Again, a pet topic for another post.

21 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the Groovies post(s)

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  2. I did notice the Sherwin Williams eye makeup!

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  3. I dunno, from all the pix I've seen, it doesn't appear to have been till the post-Gregory days that the Crampsters started dressing in more, er, flamboyant attire onstage. Actually, come to think of it, that holds true for a lot of folks I know -- somethin' about the mid-thirties really brings out the freak flags in some folks, just about the same time other ones start to tone it down. Guess it's all part of the cosmic balance.

    Anyway, that aside, great as always to get the scoops & whatnot (though I'm looking forward to the more contemporary jabber ya hinted at -- recalling Ohio or the 70's gets me grey and depressed after awhile, and when ya combine the two... look out!). It always bugged me that Lux & Ivy always tightly controlled the Cramps image & bio, and it's nice to see the humanizing elements underneath...

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  4. Aw, jeez Artie, later for the modern jabber. What could be finer than Ohio in the 70's--home to sopors, sliders, & more bad R&R than you can shake a Pagan at. I'm lovin' it!

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  5. Earth To Mars, Mondello. A) ad above is '77, B) You were four at the time, and C) are we to expect 30-sumpin flamboyance from your, shall we say, Camp? You can stop following this blog (it's lost, too) as there will be little of contemporary value here. Tomorrow, Nortonville blog begins and we can all cheer up with news from the future.

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  6. While the death of Lux Interior has provoked anguish and sympathy in most, it seems rather cowardly of you to wait until after his death to lob mean-spirited personal attacks on Lux, Ivy, Nick and Bryan -- a line-up that many fans consider the finest. Just because you didn't understand the Cramps isn't a reason to attack them out of the blue. Not bitterseet...just bitter. Ghastly and innapropriate when so many are still grieving.

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  7. Love your writing, Miriam. Keeping me on the edge of my seat. Hard for me to believe you "didn't understand" the Cramps and I don't detect a hint of "bitter" in your recollections. We're all privileged to get an insider's view. XOXO from Motown

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  8. I just would like to say Thank You Very Much For Sharing:)
    Looking forward to the Nortonblog:))
    I wouldn't mind to see some Zantees/A-Bones history uphere (prettyplease:)))

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  9. "Ghastly and innapropriate" pretty much defined the Cramps, no? I don't detect a whiff of "bitter" either. Why not share some of your own personal memories of your time playing in the Cramps, Anitaphicks? You seem to be the ultimate arbitor on how they should be written about and remembered.

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  10. "Anita Phix" Please do not flog the blog by impersonating the grieving principle. The real AP had zero objection to anything herein when we spoke for an hour twenty about this blog. Tell me what is "mean spirited" and I'll attempt to "Phix" it for you, kid. Please don't create rancor by impersonating a band member. It's a wrong thing to do. I welcome an explanation and need to delete your entry soon, as the real Anita will probably object, as would anyone, to her pseudonym being used falsely.

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  11. Henk! Thanks- sure, will do!

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  12. Ha! That's tellin' 'im, Mir! I didn't spot anything bitter or mean-spirited, either -- made me wonder if the faux-Phicks was readin' the same scrawl as me...

    And in fact, since you were so sweet as to shave a few years off my age, I'm gonna stop whining about depressing Ohio memories. I just don't want yer promised Lee Harvey lowdown to become the Blog equivalent of the Norton Florian Monday collection! (or the D-A's!).

    Oh, in response to C). -- in hindsight, I think my mid-thirties Freak-On was to gain a hundred pounds. Now, THAT'S punk rock!

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  13. Mondello, you are a star. Why you aren't writing for bumwine.com is beyond me.

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  14. Miriam, I do not know who anitaphix really is, but if is stating your "first person" opinion is wrong, you don't want to be right. I read everything in your blog, and you paid many compliments to Lux, Ivy & Bryan. Keep the history coming Miriam. The missing link is why you left & why Nick replaced you.

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  15. As a huge Cramps fanatic and being a completely possessed Nortonhead/A-Bones sicko/Miriam & Billy fan, I have detected not a single negative comment in any of Miriam's writings about the time she served as the first (real) Cramps basher. I'm surprised by "Anita's" post, pretty bizarre. This isn't even a nostalgic look at Mim's beginnings in NYC -- it's a documentation in first-person (I totally dig that style, btw).

    Keep on a' bloggin', Miriam!

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  16. I second all what you said, Ben
    Patrick

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  17. Ditto to Benjamin. The internet is full of people like "Anitaphicks" with an axe to grind, a chip on their shoulder and I suspect bad breath. See, my one sentence is already meaner than anything you've written! Your blog is entertaining, SO well-written, interesting and anything but mean-spirited. Keep 'em coming and ignore the trolls!

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  18. Agreed. Miriam, from installment #1, I've appreciated how you've told your story, and your history with The Cramps, without trying to tell, or retell, their stories. My compliments for creating something so engaging, while always taking the high road. And you're still quite the aficionado of musical sleaze; fancy that!

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