Lux Interior

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Lux Interior
Lux Interior live, 18 October 2004
Background information
Birth name Erick Lee Purkhiser
Also known as Lux Interior, Raven Beauty, Vip Vop
Born (1946-10-21)October 21, 1946
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Origin Sacramento, California, U.S.
Died February 4, 2009(2009-02-04) (aged 62)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Genres Punk rock, rock n' roll
Years active 1973–2009
Labels Vengeance
Associated acts The Cramps

Erick Lee Purkhiser (October 21, 1946 – February 4, 2009), better known as Lux Interior, was an American singer and a founding member of the punk band The Cramps from 1976 until his death in 2009 at age 62.

Early life[edit]

Born in Akron, Ohio, he grew up in its nearby suburb of Stow and graduated from Stow High School.[1]


He met his wife Kristy Wallace, better known as Poison Ivy, a.k.a. Ivy Rorschach, in Sacramento in 1972, when he and a friend picked her up when she was hitchhiking.[2][3] The couple founded the band and moved from California to Ohio in 1973 and then to New York in 1975 where they became part of the flourishing punk scene.[2]


Lux Interior's name came "from an old car commercial", having previously flirted with the names Vip Vop and Raven Beauty,[4] while his wife's name change was inspired by "a vision she received in a dream".[2] The couple called their musical style psychobilly, originally claiming it to have been inspired by a Johnny Cash song, "One Piece at a Time", and later saying that they were just using the phrase as "carny terms to drum up business."

Interior was known for a frenetic and provocative stage show that included high heels, near-nudity and sexually suggestive movements.[5] His speciality was the microphone blow job, where he could get the entire head of an SM-58 microphone into his mouth.[6][7] The Cramps gave their last show in November 2006.[8]

When asked why he continued to play live well into middle age, he told the LA Times

In 2002 Lux Interior performed the voice of a character on SpongeBob SquarePants - the lead singer of an all-bird rock band called the Bird Brains.[9] SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny attended his memorial ceremony.[3]

Interior was also a visual artist. In particular he was a 3D camera collector and enthusiast with which he created artworks and collages.[10]


Lux Interior died at 4:30 a.m. on February 4, 2009, at Glendale Memorial Hospital in California. The cause of death was aortic dissection. He is survived by his wife Ivy and two brothers, Michael Purkhiser[11] and Ronald "Skip" Purkhiser. The memorial service for Lux was held on February 21 at the Windmill Chapel of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Tom Kenny, voice actor of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, attended his memorial service. Lux's brother Michael also provided insight into his relationship with Lux in a newspaper article.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Appreciation: Akron-born garage rocker Lux Interior was the king of trash-culture". Cleveland Entertainment and Pop Culture. 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2009. But the Stow High School grad came up with the idea for the band while watching late-night TV in Northeast Ohio. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sacramento Bee obit". [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Whiteside, Jonny (March 12, 2009). "Lux Interior's Astral Ascension". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ Johnston, Ian (1990). The Wild Wild World of The Cramps. Omnibus Press. 
  5. ^ Male, Andrew. "Lux Interior: October 21, 1946 - February 4, 2009". Mojo. 
  6. ^ "Gorgonetta: B/w photo of Lux Interior on stage, fellating a microphone". July 10, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Sexy Microphone Pictures". 2005. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Brown, August (February 4, 2009). "Lux Interior dies at 60; founder, front man of punk band the Cramps". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ Sisario, Ben (February 5, 2009). "Lux Interior, 62, Singer in the Punk-Rock Era, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  10. ^ Sclavunos, James (December 13, 2009). "Obituaries 2009: Lux Interior". The Guardian. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  11. ^ "1980s: A New Scene Takes Hold - Post-Punk". 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  12. ^ Abram, Malcolm X (February 11, 2009). "Sibling recalls Lux Interior, punk icon". Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Lux Interior : In Memoriam". Trebuchet magazine. 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]