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Cramps founder Lux Interior dies at 60

Lux Interior, the singer, songwriter and founding member of the pioneering New York City horror-punk band the Cramps, died Wednesday. He was 60.

Interior, whose real name was Erick Lee Purkhiser, died at Glendale Memorial Hospital of a previously-existing heart condition, according to a statement from his publicist.

With his wife, guitarist "Poison" Ivy Rorschach, Interior formed the Cramps in 1976, pairing lyrics that expressed their love of B-movie camp with ferocious rockabilly and surf-inspired instrumentation.

The band became a staple of the late '70s Manhattan punk scene emerging from clubs like Max's Kansas City and CBGB and was one of the first acts to realize the potential of punk rock as theater and spectacle.

Often dressed in macabre, gender-bending costumes onstage, Interior evoked a lanky, proto-goth Elvis Presley, and his band quickly became notorious for volatile and decadent live performances.

Read more Cramps founder Lux Interior dies at 60

UPDATE: The original version of this post misstated the date of Lux Interior's death. He died Wednesday morning, not Tuesday. Also, the band hasn't toured since 2006; the current tour dates on their official website have not been updated since then.

Comments () | Archives (22)

96 tears for 96 eyes!!!!!!

Terrible news, I'm feeling very old tonight. My heart goes out to the much loved Poison Ivy.

The Cramps were, in all sincerity, one of the truly great American rock and roll bands, totally original, fantastically clever lyrics, and a genuine rockabilly sensibility. They had chops, they could swing, they had great drive, and they were tighter than a drum head.

Brushed off as just another punk band by many, the Cramps were heads above their contemporaries. They could outrage the straights but with great humor, and no one who saw them live has ever forgotten the experience.

I must have seen them a dozen times over the past three decades, presented them in concert twice myself, and I never saw them give less than 100%, never saw them fail to completely blow the audience away. Up and coming bands take note.

"Stay Sick" is a classic album, forever in my top ten. A tip of the hat and many thanks to you, Lux, for all the good times. You were the real thing, indeed.


I am so sorry to hear that Lux has passed. I loved the band and the music. The last time I saw them was in Philly and they were great as always. Lux, You will be missed....

Great eulogy for him here (www.thedumbingofamerica.wordpress.com) and videos of when The Cramps played a mental institution and when they appeared on Beverly Hills 90210 (?!)

Lux I hope your buried with your sunglasses... You died on my birthday. I will always propose a toast in your memory. I saw you not to long ago at a show in Santa Cruz.. It was one of the most epic shows I've ever been to and it made me start trying out surf tones with my getsch.. you will truly be missed...Thank you. R.I.P. Lux

Lux Lived, Lux Lives

One of the few true originals. I never missed seeing the Cramps when I had a chance. It sounds like cliche and hyperbole but the Cramps were a seminal inspiration to many. I've never seen a harder playing, decadent and excessive presence on a stage.

Halloween will never be the same without a good Cramps show.

Condolences to Poison Ivy.

R.I.P. Lux

Lux and I shared the same birthday - he had me by a decade, however.

I saw the very first Cramps show in LA, back in June of 1978.

(Well - technically, The Cramps played a single show down in Costa Mesa at The Cuckoo's Nest in April of 1977, but that's an hour's drive from LA/Hollywood.)

They opened for The Runaways during their 3-night stint at The Whisky-A-Go-Go.

Being a Runaways fanatic at the time, my best friend and I went to all 3 shows.

We weren't quite prepared for this Cramps phenomenon, so on the 2nd night, we did what any self-respecting Runaways fans would do to the (unwanted) opening act:

We threw rotten vegetables at them. :)

Needless to say, in years hence I got over my initial aversion and came to love The Cramps. Their performance at Urgh! A Music War almost 2 years later was fantastic.

R.I.P. Lux.

true rock n legend. im so saddened by this, a true hero of mine, you wont be forgotten.

Shame! I remember seeing them for the firstime on the 1980'S U.K. music show The Tube. Me and my brother AL were amazed at the spectacle that was The Cramps. I'm going to vomit in his honor!

hey kids! lookie over yonder! there's lux doin' the zombie dance!!

"at the zombie dance
they tap their toes
but they don't get sweaty
they don't give a damn
they're done dead already"

he's been dead for years....

God Bless Lux Interior.

Now he truly hass him A Date With Elvis.

Gravest Hits and Songs The Lord Taught Us indeed.

I first saw The Cramps at The Nashville Rooms in London on June 22nd 1979. I know the date because they gave me a signed copy - dated - of their brilliant Alex Chilton-produced psychobilly 12" EP Gravest Hits [Illegal Records] which I'm looking at now. Lux wrote "If I ever said Beep I'd be banned". The sleevenotes, listing drummer Nick Knox and guitarists Ivy Rorschach - ie Poison Ivy - and Bryan Gregory, say "And Lux Interior, the band's frontal lobe, wherein Elvis gets crossed with Vincent Price and decent folk ask 'What hath God wrought?'"

Good question.

My heart goes out to Lux' wife Poison Ivy.

Saw the Cramps several times over the years in the UK - top band, with a top frontman.

RIP Lux - you were the only man I ever fancied in 10" heels and leopardskin lycra leggings!

When people asked what I did, I'd always lie and say I was the bass player for the Cramps. I'll miss you Lux. Best to you, Ivy.

Lux Interior: The way he walked was just the way he walked. RIP.

Thanks for great music Lux. I did see you once in New York 1983, and once in Stockholm, Sweden 1986, 2 very great shows, and The Cramps was truly 100% rock and roll, as well as New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, The Ramones, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 1988 I met your producer of your first record (12" EP), Alex Chilton, i.e. "Gravest Hits", with its classic songs:

Human Fly, The Way I Walk, Domino, Surfin´Bird, and Lonesome Town.

Lux, RIP, and keep your Sunglasses After Dark.

A life well-lived.

He'll be missed, as will the Cramps, but it seems unanimous that he really gave us his all and we have a lot to remember him by. Lux and Ivy left an indelible mark on music and culture -- their mere existence was art in itself.

My thoughts are with Ivy and his family -- but it's important for the rest of us to celebrate the music. I'll be playing STLTU at full volume until further notice.

A life well-lived indeed.

He was 62 - and those last two years of life would have been filled with more than most of us find in a life time so you shouldn't leave them out for nothing


i wouldnt have known about lux's death at all if i hadnt of signed into a tg/ts/cd (trannie site to the ignorant) and checked through my friends list, and noticed a change to one of thier profiles, and the change stated about lux's death, i am stull rather stunned, yeh fair enough it turns out there had been a heart history there, but he always looked healthy.
well life can really through it at us huh?
first saw them in hammersmith odeon london! and lux couldnt stand still, and musta went throught at least a bottle of whatever that spirit was he was drinking.
he ended up all over the lighting rig! as i say he couldnt stand still and was all out to make sure folk got their tickets worth, never a man to let you donw
farewell big buddy! xx, paul, gnowave

Only just heard the sad news. Whatever god you prayed to Lux may he bless your black, plastic heart.

The Garbageman will never die


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