The cramps written in a jagged font.

The Cramps: A Phoner With Poison Ivy


This conversation with Poison Ivy of The Cramps contains numerous references to rockabilly music. If you hate rockabilly music, simply skip over the article.

In the interview you did for Incredibly Strange Music you said that when you started collecting records back in the early ’70s not many people knew what rockabilly music was, and now with all the reissues they do. Do you actually believe that is true? 

A lot of people don’t, but more people do than used to. Obviously a lot of people don’t and for whatever reason, more people in Europe know about rockabilly and American culture than Americans now. I don’t know why that is.

Four people posing for a photo together.
The Cramps Issue 71 November 1994

The Cramps press kit contains an article from Billboard magazine on the signing of The Cramps to Warner Bros., The Reverend Horton Heat to Interscope Records and David Geffen pursuing Southern Culture on the Skids. 

Do you think all this label attention might offer some hope to the more traditional rockabilly bands like High Noon, The Frantic Flattops, The Dave and Deke Combo and Russell Scott and His Red Hots. 

Yea, I hope so. I think that makes a better chance for it. Those are really good bands and it should open the door for that because the climate just changed at radio and record companies. We haven’t modified what we do and Reverend Horton Heat hasn’t tamed down at all. It’s like more people are coming around. More people who are actually music industry types are warming up to it. I don’t know why it’s taken them forever. So, that might open the door for more bands. People are just sick of moody depressing music. We sure don’t need a ’70s revival—it was bad enough in the ’70s.

I can’t remember who originally did ”How Come You Do Me?,” which is one of the songs you cover on Flame Job. 

Junior Thompson on Teen Records. Junior Thompson is more well known for what he did on Meteor Records. He got a raw deal or something at the Meteor label. That’s a record we’ve had for a long time. We got it off of Phil Alvin actually. We had a blues 78 that he liked and we swapped records with him when we first moved to LA. 

Songs about cars and girls don’t have any relevance in the ’90s. Any comment?

I think our music shows what we think about that. We live in our own world. Maybe we have our own parallel little universe. I guess we haven’t figured it out yet.

I told Ivy about the Marilyn Manson ban and ask the following question. 

Is there anything during your live stage show that might be considered morally offensive or that will make people physically uncomfortable if they view it? 

I’m not sure; I’m kind of concerned. Why were they banned? 

Because four people viewed the show in Las Vegas and it made them feel physically uncomfortable, so they banned Marilyn Manson from performing in Salt Lake. 

So, they flew down to check them out first? 


What was it that they did do you think? 

From what I understood, they used a large penis as a part of the stage act. 

We don’t have any theatrical props, so I guess we’ll be ok. We just have flesh.

Do you have a set list already prepared for your tour? 

We will have one by the time we get there. We are going to play a lot from the new album because we’ve never played it live. It’s always fun playing live—it’s a whole other way of playing the songs. It’s a lot wilder, so we are looking forward to playing the songs. 

How about covers; maybe “She Said?”

It’s interesting; they put that song in a car commercial in Europe for Peugeot cars, our version of “She Said.” So it’s like The Cramps plus Hasil Adkins being heard by millions of people in Europe. It’s pretty funny. It helped sell his publishing rights. I guess I made Hasil Adkins money from the sale of the rights. 

That’s it, we said goodbye. Poison Ivy and Lux Interior bring the band to town on November 4 at DV8

Read more from the November 1994 issue here.