The Cramps’ Lux Interior R.I.P
The Official Statement (from Girlie Action, The Cramps’ media representatives):
Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, passed away this morning due to an existing heart condition at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California at 4:30 AM PST today. Lux has been an inspiration and influence to millions of artists and fans around the world. He and wife Poison Ivy’s contributions with The Cramps have had an immeasurable impact on modern music.
The Cramps emerged from the original New York punk scene of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, with a singular sound and iconography. Their distinct take on rockabilly and surf along with their midnight movie imagery reminded us all just how exciting, dangerous, vital and sexy rock and roll should be and has spawned entire subcultures. Lux was a fearless frontman who transformed every stage he stepped on into a place of passion, abandon, and true freedom. He is a rare icon who will be missed dearly.
The family requests that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.
He will be sorely missed. Please share your thoughts and memories of Lux and The Cramps below.
Erick Lee Purkhiser, better known as his stage name Lux Interior was born on October 21st, 1948 in Stow, Ohio. He grew up enamored with the culture of the 1950s. In particular he loved Rockabilly music, EC Horror comic books and B-movies. As a child he was drawn to the antics of the early 60s Cleveland horror host Goulardi, whose rebellious act and off-color jokes would earn him much scorn from the local PTA. Purkhiser later joked that Goulardi was so popular the crime rate went down when he was on because everyone was watching his show. In 1972 in Sacramento he met his soul mate; a fellow fan of Alice Cooper, LSD, record collecting and B-movies known as Kristy Wallace, better known as Poison Ivy. According to legend he picked her up while she was hitch-hiking. After discovering just how similar they were the two moved back to Ohio in 1973 and later to New York City in 1975. Influenced by the burgeoning punk scene in New York with bands like The New York Dolls and The Ramones setting the standard the two decided they would start their own punk rock band, The Cramps.
In contrast to other punk bands at the time however, they also mixed a heavy dose of Rockabilly and B-movie imagery to form their own unique image. It was during this time that Purkhiser took the stage name Lux Interior, taking his name from a car advert. He also created a unique stage personia, one of a complete honky tonky punk wild man, or as one reviewer put it “the psychosexual werewolf/ Elvis hybrid from hell”. The genre they helped create was later known as “Psychobilly” even though Interior denies that that is what their music really is. In 1978 The Cramps showed the world just how deep their love for the weird and the off beat went when they gave a free concert to the patients at the Nappa Valley State Mental Institution. The next year The Cramps released their first official EP, “Gravest Hits”. That same year they released their first LP, “Songs the Lord Taught Us”. In 1985 The Cramps were able to perform one original song for Dan O’Bannon’s classic horror-comedy zombie flick The Return of the Living Dead with the song “Surfin’ Dead”. Although he and Ivy are the only two constant members of The Cramps line up the band still continues to tour to this day, giving fans much joy and fun, reminding them of the power of rock and roll.
February 6, 2009