CRAMPS DRUMMER NICK KNOX Passes Away Aged 60 Years of Age

Posted: June 17, 2018 in MUSIC
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The Craps 1989

Drummer Nick Knox, of the legendary psychobilly band the Cramps, passed away today (June 15th). He was 60 years of age. From the period of 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ most crucial recordings.

Nick Knox, drummer with the Cramps from 1977 until 1991. He was the band’s longest-serving drummer and appeared on their first four albums including 1986’s A Date With Elvis.

Knox played in the proto-punk band the Electric Eels before joining Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach in the Cramps. They were mainstays of New York’s CBGB scene alongside the Ramones, Television and others. A Date With Elvis ,the title a play on Elvis Presley’s 1959 album of the same name – was the band’s most commercially successful album. It followed 1980’s Songs the Lord Taught Us and 1981 follow-upPsychedelic Jungle. Knox appeared on their fourth release, 1990’s Stay Sick! before his departure.

Knox (whose real name was Nicholas Stephanoff) joined the NYC-via Akron, Ohio, outfit in 1977 alongside larger-than-life frontman Lux Interior, tough-chick guitarist Poison Ivy and spooky guitarist Bryan Gregory. Anybody who saw this era of the band knew that Knox’s jet-black hair and the sunglasses (at dark) framing his stoic face was another key of cool in the pioneering psycho/goth/rockabilly outfit’s chain.

In 1991, Knox left the Cramps and the music scene, returning to Garfield Heights, Ohio, and keeping an extremely low profile. In 2013, Knox appeared on Terminal, an album by Cheese Borger And The Cleveland Steamers, playing drums on three tracks. His last live performance was in 2003 with another notorious Cle-punk ensemble, the Pagans, at an event called “Ohio’s Punk Past,” curated and promoted by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (Pagans’ guitarist Mike Metoff is Knox’s cousin. Metoff also had a brief stint in the Cramps under the name Ike Knox.) Recently, Knox returned to the Cleveland music scene as a “senior adviser” to Archie And The Bunkers, the self-proclaimed “hi-fi organ punk” garage-rock duo. Knox would occasionally DJ at Bunkers shows alongside Miriam Linna, whom he replaced in the Cramps.

Listeners unfamiliar with the Cramps’ classic work should start with the crucial compilations Off The BoneandBad Music For Bad People. But if you want to see the real punks, you punk, here’s the band in one of their finest hours, from the 1980 movie URGH!, A Music War, throwing down “Tear It Up.” (Watch your face on the flying cymbal.)

Among those paying tribute was Miriam Linna, the Cramps’ previous drummer. In a long Facebook post during which she recalled moments from their four-decade friendship, she said she’d recently visited Knox in an intensive care unit in Cleveland. She reported that they’d reconnected in 2017, during her own illness, and made a point of speaking on the phone every day, noting, “I looked forward to the daily check up calls, and I soon realized that he needed the pep talks as well.” She added, “I thank God that Nicky was a friend of mine. He was one of the kindest, funniest, most amazing human beings ever and I was very lucky to have been in his orbit.”

Former guitarist Kid Congo Powers tweeted, “Nick Knox Coolest of the cool. R.I.P. Glad to have played to your boss Beat. Meet you on the mystery plane.”

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