There is one self-proclaimed werewolf who has embraced that identity and his name is Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps. Their song, “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” pays homage to Interior’s teen years, as well as the Michael Landon movie with the same title. The Cramps song, “I was a Teenage Werewolf” also has top billing as one of the 10 best songs about werewolves. Interior’s persona has an animalistic quality that is intriguing, yet bizarre, and so enduring; you can’t take your eyes off of him in a performance.
In 1976, The Cramps formed from a desire to make the kind of music that “dove into the deepest recesses of the rock-n-roll psyche for the most primal of all rhythmic impulses –rockabilly- the sound of southern culture falling apart in a blaze of shudders and hiccups” (Lux Interior). This is the epitome of a performance by The Cramps. The music has always contained a psycho rockabilly sound that has influenced punk rock. This type of music is often referenced in horror films and has a taboo quality that embraces sexuality. The Cramps is comprised of 4 members. Interior is the lead singer and his wife; Poison Ivy plays a mean guitar. Another guitarist and drummer complete the band.
Like the out of control werewolf Landon played in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf", Interior uses his time on stage to release his inner “werewolf.” His psychedelic performance is extremely unpredictable. Interior’s fondness for dark skintight rubber pants is quite complimentary to Poison Ivy’s dress of pin-up attire or bondage. Sexuality and sleaze is heavy in the atmosphere at The Cramps concerts. Interior’s time on stage is a place where he can release all of his anxieties and be anything he wants to be. It’s onstage where he feels most comfortable and like himself. It is off stage where he feels like he has to put on a performance in order to be presentable within society. This is similar to Landon’s character, Tony. Tony’s aggression is released when he turns into a werewolf and when he comes out of that trance, he can be himself again.
The lyrics of “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” express a young man’s desire to belong during a time of his life where he felt out of place and struggles with the challenges of puberty. The following lyrics state that he wears “braces on my fangs” and “I have puberty rights and I have puberty wrongs.” It is implied that he gets good grades and has possible relationship issues with the girlfriend, “got her lot of scars." The song pleads with “somebody stop this pain…” In the movie, Arlene hears Tony expresses the same issues, “I say things. I do things. I don’t know why. I try to control it and it’s too late and I go too far.”
Why do people feel a deep connection to werewolves? Could it be the animalistic quality of temporarily losing control? Or maybe the perception of having an identity others don’t relate to but are intrigued by. Maybe people resonate with werewolves because they identify with the behaviors or spirit of the animal. Either way, Landon’s performance was entertaining and the musical ability of The Cramps, especially Interior’s performances on stage, is just simply beyond that of any words and leaves me completely speechless.
Abstract Interpretation of Lyrics in a Societal Context Edit
Another parallel that can be drawn between the song “I was a Teenage Werewolf” and the motion picture “I was a Teenage Werewolf”, is the werewolf’s desire to be helped. We can see this when Tony frantically yells at Dr. Brandon, begging him to help him  .The words "Somebody please make me stop”  are uttered in differing ways many times throughout the song. It seems that the werewolf in the song, Lux Interior, is at first accepting of his behavior because “no one made me stop”. He may also be a bit resentful that no one made him stop, as he cannot stop himself. Society should try and save him from himself, and others from him, as though absolving himself from responsibility due to his monster-like state.
As the song continues to the second verse, it evolves into the werewolf coming to terms with his carnal urges and acknowledging that “No one can make me stop”. This lyric seems to speak more to his incapability of controlling himself than the fact that others cannot control him. No one can make him stop, and throughout the song it seems that all the werewolf wants is to belong, it seems like he wants someone to make it stop. The werewolf may be realizing that he needs to seek help from outside sources if he is to be stopped, as he sees the changes in himself that are not in his power to stop.
There is no longer a question when in the next verse, the werewolf is begging for help, pleading for somebody to stop him! “Somebody please make me stop” are the words of a monster who is self-aware, and does not wish to be a monster. It is even emphasized when he sings “Ohhh please”. This could be interpreted as a wolf howling “Ohhhhhh” or a person who is in pain, but either way it is a heavy and somber plea for help. In the fourth verse it seems as though Lux has reverted back to accepting that nobody can help him, and that is the way that it will be.
For the closing verse of the song, however, the werewolf is lamenting over the fact that his horrible transformation pains, and the pain of knowing he is a monster, are just regular teenage growing pains, something that everybody experiences. He knows this is not the case, as the pain is so horrible he can hardly seem to bear it. When he says “It was growing pains oh no no” it seems that he is accepting that he will not be helped, and that people cannot see the true nature of his pain, which may be why they are not helping him, or cannot help him. He cries out once more “somebody stop this pain, ohhh…”. The whole song speaks to the nature of teenage angst and bodily changes. They are at times so painful, whether physical, or mental, that a teen feels as if it is only them, and nobody could possibly help or understand them.
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