Lux Interior

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Lux Interior
Lux Interior live, 18 October 2004
Lux Interior live, 18 October 2004
Background information
Birth nameErick Lee Purkhiser
Also known asLux Interior, Raven Beauty, Vip Vop
Born(1946-10-21)October 21, 1946
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
DiedFebruary 4, 2009(2009-02-04) (aged 62)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Instrument(s)Vocals, harmonica, percussion
Years active1972–2009
Formerly ofThe Cramps[dead link]

Erick Lee Purkhiser (October 21, 1946 – February 4, 2009), better known by the stage name Lux Interior, was an American singer and a founding member of the American rock band the Cramps from 1972[1] 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.[2]


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.[1][3] The couple founded the band after they moved from California to Ohio in 1973, and then to New York in 1975, where they soon became part of the flourishing punk scene.[1]


Lux Interior's name came "from an old car commercial", after he 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".[1] The couple called their musical style psychobilly, a word that appears in the lyrics of Johnny Cash's song, "One Piece at a Time", and gothabilly.[5][6] The band later said that they were just using the phrases 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.[7] His speciality was the microphone blow job, where he could get the entire head of an SM-58 microphone into his mouth.[8][9] The Cramps gave their last show in November 2006.[10]

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

It's a little bit like asking a junkie how he's been able to keep on dope all these years--it's just so much fun. You pull into one town and people scream, 'I love you, I love you, I love you.' And you go to a bar and have a great rock 'n' roll show and go to the next town and people scream, 'I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.' It's hard to walk away from all that.[10]

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.[11] Tom Kenny, who voices SpongeBob, attended his memorial ceremony in 2009.[3]

Interior was also a painter (mainly in his college years) and visual artist. In particular he was a 3D camera collector and enthusiast who used his collection to create artworks and collages.[12]


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 was survived by his wife Ivy and two brothers, Michael Purkhiser[13] and Ronald "Skip" Purkhiser, as well as a son from a previous marriage named Mischa Shane Graef. The memorial service for Lux was held on February 21 at the Windmill Chapel of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Lux's brother Michael also provided insight into his relationship with Lux in a newspaper article.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b c d Leibrock, Rachel (February 4, 2009). "Cramps singer Lux Interior dies at 60". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009.
  2. ^ Petkovic, John (February 5, 2009). "Appreciation: Akron-born garage rocker Lux Interior was the king of trash-culture". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on September 13, 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.
  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. ^ Breen, Meagan (2009-03-05). "An Introspective into Gothabilly". Auxiliary Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  6. ^ Uutela, Deanna (2007-10-04). "Case of the Zombies". Eugene Weekly. Eugene, Oregon. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  7. ^ Male, Andrew. "Lux Interior: October 21, 1946 - February 4, 2009". Mojo. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011.
  8. ^ "Gorgonetta: B/w photo of Lux Interior on stage, fellating a microphone". July 10, 2012. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  9. ^ "Sexy Microphone Pictures". 2005. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Sisario, Ben (February 5, 2009). "Lux Interior, 62, Singer in the Punk-Rock Era, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  12. ^ Sclavunos, James (December 13, 2009). "Obituaries 2009: Lux Interior". The Guardian. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "1980s: A New Scene Takes Hold - Post-Punk". 2015. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  14. ^ Abram, Malcolm X (February 11, 2009). "Sibling recalls Lux Interior, punk icon". Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "Lux Interior : In Memoriam". Trebuchet. 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2015.

External links[edit]