Last night was Cramps night at White Noise. In fact, this whole week at the Lewis household has been cramps night, but that’s a long and very sad story. Things are better than they used to be. My last wife was miserable for 15 days before her “visitor” and then for 15 days after it. She was actually pleasant for an hour and a half about once a month, usually on a Tuesday afternoon. Of course, those aren’t the cramps I’m referring to. Last night’s Cramps were the psychobilly/punk band that we enjoyed from the mid-70’s until the sudden death of front man Lux Interior in February 2009. His wife, Poison Ivy Rorschach, was the hottest thing in that mid-70’s CBGB punk revolution. I was lucky to have caught their act on numerous occasions. They always put on a fantastic, theatrical show. Last night, Nick Hinman and DJ Ben Brunnemer started up a night at White Noise, which dips and spins around rock, Psychobilly, Rockabilly, Punk, 50’s/60’s music, and all points in-between. The crowd was rock and roll gorgeous, as is the norm at this seminal rock haunt. I caught up with Nick and Ben, and we got to the bottom of their endeavor.
What is the night called? The party is called Fever
How did the night land at White Noise? Ben Brunnemer and I met when I moved to NY last summer. We both skateboarded and lived in the East Village. He has been a DJ in NY for years, and we realized we had a lot of musical tastes in common. I left in September to finish my last year of college, and during the winter, I had an epiphany about how rad a Cramps-themed party would be. In NY the “theme” party idea seemed to be happening—the Smiths/Morrisey night at Sway. So I thought that a Cramps night had to be done. I called Ben knowing that he would be the dude to DJ the party. We kicked around the idea to a bunch of bars, but then we found White Noise, which had just opened.
Did you ever see the Cramps? No, I never caught them, sadly.
What drew you to them? They had a sort of cultish spin with a strong following. They inspired a lot of other bands who are based in rock and roll and rockabilly. We wanted to do this in a cool place, and White Noise is that place.
The revival of pure punk, rock, and all it’s incarnations and reincarnations continues. Someone wrote that New York City just can’t cut it anymore. They said nightlife all over the world leaves us wanting. I just can’t see it. Maybe among the house heads, where six-figure DJs play joints as big as stadiums, there’s some validity to the statement. An event at Randall’s Island called Electric Zoo featured acts/DJs like The Chemical Brothers, Armin van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, John Digweed, and a ton of others. I heard that tens of thousands showed up. Local house legends often play to hundreds here, but inspire long lines of devotees overseas. The house scene here pales before the spectacles in England, Brazil, Ibiza, Tokyo, and the rest of the world. We have few clubs large enough to support this scene, yet our nightlife seems to me to be more diverse. In any case, with the ethnic diversity and street chops that we enjoy, certain genres of music (hip hop and punk) are more powerful in NY. Sure, England has definitely led the way in certain aspects of rock and roll, but the scene that the Cramps percolated back in the late 70’s through the early 80’s was groundbreaking. It’s wonderful that youngins who never had the opportunity to be there are trying to embrace the meaning of the music, the look, the message, the lifestyle. I’ll be at White Noise every Monday, so if I owe you money, and you need to get it, you might get lucky. I might be there on Wednesdays as well, starting in a couple of weeks. I’ll latch onto a couple of like-minded and completely different pals, and we just might DJ obscurities, and familiar rock tracks. I’ll let you know.