Nick Knox, Drummer in the Cramps, Dies at 60

Peter Noble/Redferns

Posed group portrait of the Cramps at the Anndore Hotel on Dec. 30, 1977. L-R: Bryan Gregory, Nick Knox, Lux Interior and Posion Ivy.

Former Cramps drummer Nick Knox has died, according to friends and musicians he's played with, including John D Morton, Miriam Linna and Kid Congo Powers.

Knox, born Nicholas Stephanoff, was a longtime member of the Cramps from 1977 to 1991 and contributed to the band's first four studio albums: Songs the Lord Taught Us, Psychedelic Jungle, A Date With Elvis and Stay Sick. Prior to his run in the Cramps, he was a member of the Electric Eels.

"My friend Nick Knox shuffled off the mortal coil last night," Morton, of the Electric Eels, wrote on Twitter Friday (June 15). He went on to explain the photo he chose to post: "I saw a self portrait of the artist Tseng Kwong Chi in front of the Eiffel Tower except his figure had been cut out. It was explained to me as a custom of remembering the dead by removing them from photos.

Linna, who was the Cramps' drummer before Knox took over, wrote on Friday that she had a friendship with Knox that pre-dated the group's history. 

"GOODBYE DEAR NICKY," Linna began. "I’m writing this now before I have time to think logically. I feel so regally let down by time and fate, that it’s difficult to do much more than marvel at the preposterous puppetmasters that act on whims and fancy to mess with our visions of perfection. That’s me-me-me/ it’s all about me railing the fates. It helps a lot to blast the Kinks and write down some thoughts, so bear with me please."

"I last saw Nicky – Nick Knox- - who most you know as the drummer of note for 70’s bands the electric eels and the Cramps, last weekend, in intensive care at the Cleveland Clinic," Linna said.

In a tribute posted on Facebook, which can be read in full below, Linna shared many special memories of her time with Knox, from when they knew each other before being in bands to when they rekindled their old friendship after 40 years. She wrote of how his phone call out of the blue saved her "from falling into a well," their Cleveland music history and their deep, shared love of the Kinks, and how her return to "speaking with Nicky every day reminded me of the really fantastic days of fandom and record hoarding."

Powers, another former Cramps member, paid tribute to Knox on Twitter: "Nick Knox Coolest of the cool. R.I.P. Glad to have played to your boss Beat. Meet you on the mystery plane .Nick said on his last email to me a few months ago 'don't take any wooden nickles or $20 bills with Reggie Jackson on 'em. Your friend and mine.' Already missed."

Knox's cause of death has not been reported.