Nick Knox, the drummer with the Cramps from 1977 until 1991, died at the age of 60, (born Nicholas George Stephanoff; March 26, 1953).
He was the band’s longest-serving drummer and appeared on their biggest selling albums including 1986’s ‘A Date With Elvis’. Knox died of Cardiogenic shock (which is a condition in which your heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs) on 15th June 2018.
Knox played drums for proto-punks the Electric Eels before joining Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach in the Cramps. He played on ‘A Date With Elvis’ – which was the band’s most commercially successful album. It followed 1980’s ‘Songs the Lord Taught Us’ and 1981 follow-up ‘Psychedelic Jungle’. Knox’s final recording was, 1990’s ‘Stay Sick!’ before his departure. The band extensively toured Europe under Knox’s watch and hes regarded as being the glue that pulled the Cramps sound together.
After retiring from The Band Knox didn’t surface until he appeared on stage with The Pagans in 2003and it wouldn’t be until 2017 when he was credited as “senior advisor” to the Cleveland-based punk band Archie And The Bunkers in 2017.
After his passing Knox had some wonderful testimonials from his peers such as his predecessor Miriam Linna, the Cramps’ drummer Knox replaced, She Said she’d visited Knox in the intensive care unit in Cleveland. 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.”
On his passing 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.”
On a happier note RPM favourite, Noddy Holder was born on this very day in 1946. Noddy went on to front The UK’s most successful singles band of the ’70s scoring 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six No.1’s impressive legacy by anyone’s standards. Neville John Holder was born in Walsall, West Midlands. Sadly Holder isn’t interested in joining his ex-bandmates for any shows and prefers to spend his time hosting radio shows and acting. What would we give to hear him belt out a Slade tune with Jim, Dave, and Don. We can but hope, anyway, Happy Birthday Noddy.
Also sharing his birthday on this day is current Wonder Stuff Bass player Mark Gemini Thwaite (born 1965) ordinarily known as a guitarist of the six-string variety Mark is standing in on Bass for shits and giggles according to Hunt and on the recent tour the band has never sounded so good largly down to the fantastic musicians in the current line up.
The list of artists Thwaite has recorded and toured with is incredible – The Mission, Tricky, Peter Murphy, New Disease, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mob Research (with Paul Raven of Killing Joke), Canadian band National Velvet and he recorded with Gary Numan, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Roger Daltrey of the Who, P.J. Harvey, Alanis Morissette, Primitive Race(with Chuck Mosley of Faith No More), Ricky Warwick of The Almighty, Ginger Wildheart, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, Franz Treichler of The Young Gods, The Wonder Stuff, Ashton Nyte of The Awakening, Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst and Porl Thompson of The Cure and Ville Valo of Finnish band HIM. And breath; Mark has kept himself busy to say the least and landed himself some exceptional jobs with a whole variety of cool bands. Happy Birthday, Mark!
Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!
Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open. But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.
Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there. Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry. May he rest in peace.
Another sad passing was that of DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music. Rest in Peace DJ.
Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us‘, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.
Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing. the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums. The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable, Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young.
Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?
IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.
Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer. Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner. You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin Castle – Dirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!
Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.
Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.
Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.
Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..
Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.
Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’. Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London. It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.
The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album. there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming.
Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.
Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .