HOW JEFFREY HOAD GOT ME LISTENING TO LUX & IVY’s WEIRDEST FAVORITES!
By Shane Pinnegar
Back in the olden days, when holidays and socialising were a thing (2015, kids), I interviewed ex-Kings Of The Sun frontman Jeffrey Hoad, and struck up a fine friendship with the man and his lovely wife Melanie. In the process, Jeffrey led me to discover some of the finest and weirdest music ever recorded.
Now, on the face of it, you wouldn’t automatically connect Kings Of The Sun’s driving, groin thrusting hard rock with The Cramps’ psychogothbilly punk mayhem. You might also not expect Jeffrey to wax lyrical about the brilliance of Nina Simone either, yet he does, and with palpable awe. When it comes to Lux & Ivy’s Favorites, which are full to overflowing with cult ‘50s and ‘60s novelty one-offs alongside cult classics and a myriad of music which is simply strangely wonderful, this is the strangely wonderful story of how I unlocked a treasure trove of cool, awesome and sometimes so-terrible-they’re-great tunes – thanks to Mr Hoad.
You may remember Kings Of The Sun for their biggest hits Black Leather, Serpentine or Drop The Gun. Formed by the brothers Hoad, Jeffrey and Clifford, they hailed from Queensland in Australia, and took their exuberant and powerful rock n’ roll to the U.S., where they scored a slew of high profile tour supports but never quite managed to crack the big time before the bottom fell out of the long-haired rock n’ roll business.
A name change to The Rich & Famous didn’t help matters, and eventually the brothers fell out and went their separate ways. My interview about Jeff’s return to playing his KOTS tunes live went very well – https://100percentrock.com/interviews/201508/133635 – and afterwards we stayed in touch and got to chatting off the record. By chance we discovered by pure coincidence that both of our families would be in Bali shortly after the interview, and would be staying quite close to each other. Needless to say, plans were hatched to enjoy a few Bintangs and Vodkas while our kids played in the pool.
Jeffrey and Melanie proved wonderful and stimulating company, and as drinks flowed conversations came and went with ease – the glory days of KOTS, our respective tastes in music, family life, careers, and much more. At times as mad as a box of cut fish, Jeffrey is a born entertainer and has a wealth of hilarious stories from his touring days. I strongly advise, should the opportunity arise, that you get Jeffrey to re-enact the time he did his best Mick Jagger impersonation… for Jagger himself.
But just about the most valuable story Jeffrey told me was this: Some guy had made a series of compilations of the weirdest and wonderfullest tracks ever, songs hailed as influential by Lux & Ivy of The Cramps – and that these compilations were easy to find on the internet.
Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were, of course, the creative heart and mainstays of The Cramps, as legendary and influential a band as any who have come and gone through the rock n’ roll battlefields. Lux & Ivy’s Favorites was assembled by a chap called Kogar The Swinging Ape (possibly not his given name) with songs cited by the punkabilly couple in interviews or in The Incredibly Strange Music book by V Vale & Andrea Juno.
What Lux & Ivy loved most of all was weird music: Moog-dripping instrumentals, gonzo garage classics, voodoo rock n’ raves, rockabilly and surf rollers, swingin’ girl groups, cheesy tunes of ill-fated love and death by misadventure, novelty singles by an assortment of bizarrely named combos. And on the epic Lux & Ivy’s Favorites series of seventeen compilations we can hear all of that and far, far more.
Take Volume 8 as an example (purely because I listened to it again this morning): There are classics such as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You and Love’s My Flash On You, next to cult rockers The American Teens, The Dirtbombs, Rudy Thacker & The Stringbusters and Mad Mike & the Maniacs. There is gold and kitsch and shock and awe in abundance. There’s even a politically incorrect gasper in The Pygmy Song (Tikky Tikky Boom Boom) by Chaino.
Every volume in the series is similarly chock full of fascinating material. Where else are you going to find Vern Pullen’s Bop Crazy Baby, The Blenders’ Don’t Fuck Around With Love, June Wilkinson & sexploitation movie star/model Marnie Van Doren’s (with Billy Strange & the Senators) Bikini With No Top On The Top, Anton LaVey (founder of the Church Of Satan)’s instrumental Satan Takes A Holiday, Mr Ghost Goes To Town by The Five Jones Boys, Zulu King by Cannibal & The Headhunters, Portuguese Joe’s Teenage Riot, Everybody Out’ta The Pool by The Lifeguards, Vito & the Salutations’ Unchained Melodies, Slide Her Under The Door by Moses Longpiece, (She Got A) Nose Job and When My Pimples Turned To Dimples from Mad Magazine, Here Lies Love by Mr Undertaker and many, many more besides? Not on the radio, that’s for certain! It’s the aural equivalent of the 1950s schlock horror drive-in movie craze.
Some of the multiple covers for the LUX & IVY’S FAVORITES compilations
I mean – this stuff is GOLD. These compilations are a veritable treasure chest. They are historical and important, even at their worst. I’m sharing them as a public service, as well as an antidote to the horrendous pop music of today. Most of all, as a FAVOUR TO YOU, goddamit, just as Jeffey Hoad did for me. This stuff is REAL.
At roughly 70 minutes per compilation, the complete set is somewhere around nineteen hours or more of listening, and an absolute essential for anyone interested in the history of rock ‘n roll.
These albums have given me many, many hours of enjoyable listening and for that I must thank Lux (may he Rock In Peace) and Ivy, all the interviewers who discussed their influences with them, Kogar for assembling these collections, and of course old mate Jeffrey Hoad.
As Keith Richards once famously said, “everyone talks about rock these days, the problem is they forget about the roll.” Lux & Ivy’s Favorites are chock-a-block with the roll. It’s what makes them so irresistible, fun and essential.
You can find links to download Lux & Ivy’s Favorites here:
You can find more about Jeffrey Hoad’s The Rich & Famous here:
Jeff’s most recent single, the cracking Take Us To Your Leader