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Cramps Singer Lux Interior Dies

By Wyatt Earp | February 5, 2009


And I am completely dismayed that 99% of my audience has no idea who he (or his band) was.

Lux Interior, lead singer of influential garage-punk act the Cramps, died Wednesday morning (February 4) due to an existing heart condition, according to a statement from the band’s publicist. He was 62.

Born Erick Lee Purkhiser, Interior started the Cramps in 1972 with guitarist Poison Ivy (born Kristy Wallace, later his wife) — whom, as legend has it, he picked up as a hitchhiker in California. By 1975, they had moved to New York, where they became an integral part of the burgeoning punk scene surrounding CBGBs.

Their music differed from most of the scene’s other acts in that it was heavily steeped in camp, with Interior’s lyrics frequently drawing from schlocky B-movies, sexual kink and deceptively clever puns. (J.H. Sasfy’s liner notes to their debut EP memorably noted: “The Cramps don’t pummel and you won’t pogo. They ooze; you’ll throb.”) Sonically, the band drew from blues and rockabilly, and a key element of their sound was the trashy, dueling guitars of Poison Ivy and Bryan Gregory (and later Kid Congo Powers), played with maximal scuzz and minimal drumming.

Because of that — not to mention Interior’s deranged, Iggy Pop-inspired onstage antics and deep, sexualized singing voice (which one reviewer described as “the psychosexual werewolf/ Elvis hybrid from hell”) — the Cramps are often cited as pioneers of “psychobilly” and “horror rock,” and can count bands like the Black Lips, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Reverend Horton Heat, the Horrors and even the White Stripes as their musical progeny. (H/T - MTV)

For a terrific idea of Interior’s full-out rockin’, check out “.” However, I had to post this video, aptly entitled, “Bikini Girls with Machine Guns.”

Godspeed, Lux. I am comforted by the fact that Heaven is in full punk rock mode now.

Topics: All About Wyatt |

7 Responses to “Cramps Singer Lux Interior Dies”

  1. 400lb Gorilla Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Saw the Cramps numerous time since thier inception.
    Great Band a BIG LOSS for music.

  2. kaveman Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    The dude looks a bit like David Bowie.

  3. Sully Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Already knew, thanks for the post Wyatt. Good taste man…

  4. Diller Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    The Cramps version of “Mule Skinner Blues” and “Shortnin Bread”really did kick ass.Sorry to hear about Lux.

  5. Woody Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Kind of has a My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult-ish flavor, or vice versa I suppose.

  6. Doghouse Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    You can’t help but like “I Was A Teenage Werewolf”.

  7. Wyatt Earp Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    400lb Gorilla - I never had the pleasure, but am a big fan of their music.

    Kaveman - Lux has more talent, in my opinion.

    Sully - Thanks, much. The Cramps and The Ramones revitalized the punk scene.

    Diller - Agreed on both. They also do a great version of Surfin’ Bird.

    Woody - Agreed. Good call.

    Doghouse - Or “Can Your P*ssy Do The Dog.” That’s on my mp3 player.