That time Poison Ivy of the Cramps told me that she liked violent-sounding guitar

By Steve Newton

If you look up “badass female guitarist” in the dictionary, you might see a picture of Poison Ivy from the Cramps.

Way before the “Me Too” movement was a thing, Poison Ivy was bringing female empowerment to rock ‘n’ roll big-time, churning out fierce rockabilly licks on a big orange Gretsch while gyrating in whatever sexy getup barely covered her shapely bod.

Yowza!, you could say.

I interviewed Poison a couple of times, the first time back in 1990 when the band was touring behind its Stay Sick album, which sported such choice ditties as “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns” and “Journey to the Center of a Girl”.

At one point in the interview we started talking guitar influences and fave players, and she said that she wasn’t impressed by speed, but liked guitarists with “a primitive, strong style”. No wonder Link Wray made a big impression.

Have a listen:


To hear my full 1990 interview with Poison Ivy, become a patron of the Newt on Patreon.

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