Dick Porter: Journey To The Centre Of The Cramps

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When Lux Interior died unexpectedly in 2009, the story of The Cramps, a singular band who seemingly fell through the cracks in rock’n’roll’s space-time continuum, came to an abrupt close.

Their tale is a thrilling and traumatic ride during which drugs, personality bust-ups and legal battles exact their toll. Porter’s detailed account (an updated version of his 2007 Cramps bio A Short History of Rock’n’Roll Psychosis) digs deep to uncover their roots and inspirations in the Cleveland rubber belt of Lux’s childhood.

Prime influences such as Ernie Anderson, aka Shock Theater presenter Ghoulardi, indelibly mark Lux’s credo “to start trouble and make people ask questions about what’s going on”. Fitting in was never The Cramps’ style, the most unlikely support act to The Police and pen friends to child killer Wayne Gacy.

So it’s apt that, despite interviews from all major players including Lux, ‘Poison’ Ivy and Kid Congo Powers, a central mystique remains even as the band’s unique history comes vividly to life./o:p

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.