The Cramps '80

Here’s my memory of the first Cramps show. I was in high school at the time, and after interning at WRUR during the school year, I had my own show in the summer. Now, I don’t remember every detail, but somehow I got assigned to escort the Cramps from Scorgies to WRUR so Rock ‘n’ Roll Joel could interview them on his popular “New Wave” show on Sunday night. I showed up at the club, and went to the back alley way and found the tour manager to help him find his way to the radio station. After the sound check, we loaded up the van and headed first to their motel, and then to the station.

The first stop was the motel, the Travelodge on South Avenue. No one in the band was very talkative, except for Lux, who seemed pretty nice. I’m sure they wanted nothing to do with me, them being the dressed-in-black, pre-goth rockers, and me being a pretty nerdy looking teenager. They pulled up to the motel, and Lux and the tour manager got out to check in. The rest of the band stayed in the van with me, and after a long period of uncomfortable silence, Lux returned with keys. He was eager to retell his exchange with the desk clerk, trying bargain for rooms. “We just want something nice,” Lux said. The clerk shot back: “Well, they’re ALL nice!” I laughed, but the band just sat there stoically. Then, Lux and the manager and I motored on toward the U of R to the station.

Roll Joel at the Record Archive with Dick Storms - photo by Paul Dodd

Rock 'n Roll Joel at the Record Archive with Dick Storms - photo by Paul Dodd

Joel Rosenthal was waiting for us at the station. While there were those who were still stuck in the Grateful Dead/Traffic/album rock thing, Joel was our punk rock ring leader. He knew the path to glory… and we followed him gladly. The interview was conducted in the news studio,and I was in the booth with another dj who was manning the board. Joel asked him about their recent experiences in London, and Lux replied: “London is shit. Can I say that, shit?” Joel seemed unfazed. “You can say it,” he said, “but I can’t.” “Oh no he can’t!” screamed back the engineer.

On the way back downtown, the manager dropped Lux at the hotel, then went back to the club. I told him that I was underage, but he gave me a wristband, and let me back in the club later. I tried to stay out the way, not wanting to get caught. I was only 17 at the time(the legal age at the time was 18), but I looked about 12. I stayed safely on the side of the stage for the whole show, then trouble: Lux started punching the ceiling tiles. I was right in back of Don. I could see him fuming from behind. Finally, he threw his beer bottle against the wall and went up on stage and grabbed Lux by the neck. Terrified, I backed away from my safe area, and fled the scene. That was the end of the show anyway.

  1. Peggi’s avatar

    It’s funny how so many people have their own story about that classic Scorgies night. Good to hear your’s.


  2. ds’s avatar

    Rochester’s version of Roshomon.


  3. StanTheMan’s avatar

    Great picture! For those who need to know, Steve Bartlett is on the left, Joel Roesnthal is in the middle and Richard Storms is on the right. Nuff Said. I did track down Joel, hopefully he will chime in at some point.


  4. Mitchell Levine’s avatar

    Sadly, I have no stories about that classic Scorgies night – I was underage in ’80 – but I do have stories about the classic Mirage night they played that forgotten club in ’87 or ’88.

    (I was given the thankless task of escorting the band to the Cathay Pagoda, a restaurant they, quite reasonably, found to be sub-par.)


  5. Travelling Slim’s avatar

    Hi Mike,

    Good to see you’re still out there.

    Michael Peter
    Director of Fur Placement
    Home Grocers, 1983-1987



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