Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Miserable Day of Death...

(Amended 6 February 09)

This day, eternity desired a rarefied cadre: Hank Crawford, whose alternately gruff and silken alto helped shape the contours of Ray Charles' early sides; Lukas Foss, the mercurial composer, whose extraordinary Baroque Variations frequently scrambled your humble scribe's younger mind; the great Ray Dennis Steckler, and may his detractors be forever damned (I saw Eegah! at the decades-dead Cook Theatre in Adel, Georgia on its release - at six years of age! - and was scared out of the precious few wits I'd managed to collect as a perpetually freaked tyke); and LUX INTERIOR! No!!!



(Left to right: Interior, Steckler, Foss, and Crawford, behind Mr. Charles. Click above for a larger version of the image.)

I dropped out of college and moved to New York in late 1976, in time to prowl the corrosive East Village in search of a band, an idea, a girl, something. I failed to ignite (and in retrospect, that failure was of course the ultimate spark), but in my five months of intolerable hunger, poverty, and utter fucking joy I saw a handful of amazing gigs, both at Max's and CBGB. I saw Blondie open for Suicide at the latter fuckhole (Vega wore a length of high-tensile chain around his scrawny stem of a neck, and swung it, meekly, but with sufficient attitude to frighten the Bergen County attendees), and missed a Cramps performance at the former, wholly tubercular boîte by minutes. Nevertheless, I paid the $2 (or $2.50, or whatever the Hell it was) admission and soon found myself sitting less than the length of beheaded Fijian pornographer's gravure cylinder from a glowering Poison Ivy, who'd clearly just had some sort of row with either Miriam Linna or King Lux. Heaven, droogs, sheer heaven. I marveled at their downtrodden style and cursed my luck for missing the opportunity to be smashed over the head with "Human Fly." Cut to Athens, January 1, 1979. The Cramps are scheduled to perform at the dire Georgia Theatre, but the gig is canceled at the last second, to the understandable chagrin of the quartet, which by this date comprised Nick Knox, ex-Electric Eel, the late, motherfucking cool-ass Bryan Gregory, and the aforementioned Rorschach and Purkhiser. I was at last at the right place at the right time, as the owner of Wuxtry Records (if fading memory serves) invited the combo to tear it up in the attic of his shop. They did, and I was standing at the immediate fucking front, inches from Ivy and an occasional recipient of Lux's Bryllcreme'd saliva, which doubtless seethed with pathogenic amoebae. The usually dour Gregory grinned like a drooling fool and Pylon fans finally had their chance to witness true, relentless cool in palpitating black.

For Psychedelic Jungle, for the monumental Live at Napa State Mental Hospital video, Lux, we salute you!

Ivy, a legion of fans share your loss, and wish you well...

TS