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John Battles
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Nick Knox . "When The Drumbeat Starts , It's Time To Go.".
Most of you know that Nick Knox , exalted purveyor of the big beat that makes you want to get into the back seat , most notably with The Cramps (1977 - 91.) and Cleveland Proto Punks , The Electric Eels (Roughly 72 - 75.) , died thoroughly unexpectedly , having made made no public disclosure of any recent health issues.

Knox had only recently come out of near - exile . He preferred life out of the spotlight , spent with his family. About the only "comeback" attempt he'd make in nearly 30 years was guesting on Cheez Borger and The Cleveland Steamers' LP of about 5 years ago ( John Morton , Knox's former bandmate in The Electric Eels and the late Mike Hudson of The Pagans appear on the album , as well. It's worth seeking out.) . He's also been working with the two - piece Brother band , Archie and The Bunkers , as a Mentor. He does'nt appear to have produced or guested on their records in any capacity , but , he was very enthusiastic about the group.

He appeared at a well - publicized promo party for the New Wavish sibling Garage duo , now on Norton Records , doing DJ sets opposite Miriam Linna , Norton co - founder and his predecessor in The Cramps. Nick had reached out to Miriam after Billy Miller , her partner in Norton Records , The Zantees , The A-Bones , Kicks Magazine , and life , lost his life after a prolonged battle with Cancer , Diabetes and other forms of body , not soul , destroying torture. Knox and Linna , good friends even before The Cramps had formed , hadn't spoken in 40 years , found out it was not too late.....but , they couldn't have known , yet , how little time there was.

Nick was returning to the public eye , but , on his own terms. He's already beaten out Bryan Gregory's record as the most elusive Ex - Cramp in history. It was generally known he was back in Cleveland , but , little else was made public. I respected his privacy , and I'm sure most other fans did , too.

Nick Knox proved to be one of the truly great REAL Rock ' n' Roll Drummers. His drumming sounded like it was taken from stolen transcripts of ancient Haitian Voodoo rites , with just enough modern flourishes , possibly inspired by the late , great Mel Taylor from The Ventures and the late , great High Priest of the Crash - Boom - Bang in Elvis Presley's Super - Power Trio , DJ Fontana ....In a tragic , ironic twist , Fontana left his body within 24 hours of Knox doing the same.

Women found him handsome and intriguing , and men could'nt help but be enthralled by his git down COOL. If Roy Orbison had adopted his badass Black pomp, threads and shades while still at Sun Records , with a hint of DJ Fontana's Hitman personna ( Tho' , in reality , DJ was a sweetheart.) and machine gun drum attack , you would have had had a soon to be born Nicholas George Stephanoff , realized as a grown - ass man. I always felt that Roy's Sun classic , "Domino", a longtime staple in The Cramps' live set , could have just as readily been about Nick Knox , before his time.

John Battles.
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Like some of you , I've heard many versions of the Yardbirds' social consciousness and scorch guitar - heavy classic that fell WAY short of the mark. I'd even forgotten how great The New Colony Six's version was , until I listened to it again , today. I'd often thought , why try to touch Jeff Beck's inspired guitar work , but , surprisingly the fuzzed out frenzy of the extended soloing , here , destroys everything in it's path. Listen to the spoken part toward the end. It goes from Keith Relf to Arthur Brown to Hawkwind !
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RICK VEGA (LEFT) BIKER , ROCKER , CHICAGO FIRE FIGHTER, AND HE DOES'NT WANT ME TO SAY THIS , BUT , A GODDAMNED HERO , TOO. HE WAS INJURED IN THE LINE OF DUTY, RECENTLY. ALL RESPECT TO A GREAT MAN AND A SUPER NICE GUY , BESIDES....ON THE RIGHT , WE HAVE MICK LEVIN...He's another story. No , seriously , Mick , former owner of the 99th Floor Boutique , is a Chicago legend. He's , like , THE SAM PHILLIPS OF THE GARMENT TRADE.
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So Far out til the sides of my eyeballs are hurtin' ! I'm hung up ! Too much ! In the groove ! Doug Sahm's legendary cameo in "Cisco Pike".
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Another live Gang War set , from a few months later. SINCE THESE ARE FAN TAPES , AND DON'T APPEAR TO BE SOUNDBOARD , IT MAY LACK THAT inoffensive POP - PUNK ANAL RETENTIVE, GRIT - FREE PRECISION SOUND , But the performances (and sound) are better than some gigs that have been released commercially. EVEN LEGALLY.
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Gang War , The Band that Would Be King. Johnny Thunders relocated to Detroit for a short time in the Late 70's. He met up with one of his few acknowledged inspirations on Guitar , Wayne Kramer. They put the band , Gang War , together with Bassist , Ron Cooke ( Of the insanely underrated Detroit with Mitch Ryder.) and John Morgan ( Brother of Scott Morgan of The Rationals , Sonics Rendezvous Band and Powertrane.).Eventually , they relocated to New York , toured the states , and stuck it out for about a year , to limited success and no record deal . Their very first gig was at Huey's in Chicago , only about three blocks from where I live , today.
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