Poison Ivy (musician)

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Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy performing in 2005
Background information
Birth nameKristy Marlana Wallace
Also known asPoison Ivy, Poison Ivy Rorschach
Born (1953-02-20) February 20, 1953 (age 66)
San Bernardino, California, United States
GenresBlues, Punk, psychobilly, rock and roll
InstrumentsElectric guitar, Bass, Theremin
Years active1976–2009
Associated actsThe Cramps

Kristy Marlana Wallace (born February 20, 1953), known as Poison Ivy or Poison Ivy Rorschach, is a guitarist, songwriter, arranger, producer, and occasional vocalist who co-founded the American Blues band The Cramps.

Early Life[edit]

Ivy was born as Kristy Wallace in San Bernardino, California, and raised near Sacramento. In 1972, while attending Sacramento State College, Wallace met future Cramps singer Lux Interior.[1]


In 1974, they moved first to Lux Interior's hometown of Akron, Ohio, and then to New York City.[2] In 1976, as part of the emerging punk rock scene, they began performing as the Cramps.[3] They quickly gained a reputation for their unusual, rockabilly-inspired music and wild live performances. The Cramps, with Ivy, Lux, and various other guitarists, drummers, and bassists, continued to release records and perform live until the fall of 2006, enjoying some commercial success (mainly in Europe) and acquiring a strong cult following worldwide.[4]

Throughout The Cramps' career Ivy co-wrote with Lux Interior all of the group's original songs and provided the arrangements for songs they covered. She produced or co-produced several of their albums and singles, sang on the songs "Kizmiaz" and "Get Off the Road," and played theremin on later records.

Songs written by Ivy and Interior and performed by other artists include "Human Fly" (Crestfallen, The Dead Brothers, Nouvelle Vague, Supernaut, Hanni El Khatib); "New Kind of Kick" (The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Drones, Muse, Tinfed); and "Thee Most Exalted Potentate of Love" (Queens of the Stone Age).


Early on, Ivy used a clear plexiglass Dan Armstrong guitar, then the unusual Canadian-made Bill Lewis guitar heard on the first few Cramps recordings. Since 1985 she has mostly used a 1958 Gretsch 6120 hollow-body. She uses Fender Pro Reverb amplifiers onstage, and smaller Valco and Allen amps in the studio.[5]

Personal life[edit]

The couple were together for 37 years, until his death on February 4, 2009.[6] She lives in Glendale, California.


  1. ^ Pius (23 February 1992). "Poison Ivy 1992 Interview" (Interview). PENETRATING INSIGHTS. Nonozeroblog.blogspot.com. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  2. ^ Jas Obrecht (August 1990). "Oooh! Poison Ivy". Guitar Player Magazine. Phnet.fi. Archived from the original (Article) on 25 December 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  3. ^ J. H. Sasfy (1979). "The Cramps biography" (Extract from early biography). Liner notes of The Cramps 1979 release Gravest Hits. Thecramps.com. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  4. ^ Garry Mulholland (December 2006). "Aloha from hell! The grave tale of a dead serious rock'n'roll band". The Stool Pigeon. Thestoolpigeon.co.uk. Archived from the original (Article) on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Family

External links[edit]