Lux Interior, 1948-2009

Lux Interior, otherwise known as Erick Lee Purkhiser, died today of a heart condition in Glendale, California. We first saw him with the Cramps at the Palladium on 14th Street, when it was a decaying music palace with a Miss Havisham chandelier and moldy carpeting. He fit the scene perfectly: His hair was an elegant mess and though he was very energetic, doing in-place skips and squats, hip wiggles and Svengali arm gestures, he never became frenetic, even when he dove into the drum kit; it was as if he'd been doing this forever and, though possessed, was not excited. He did say in an interview that the Cramps started 400 years ago, though he actually founded the group with Poison Ivy nee Rorshach in 1976. Over 32 years of records and shows the Cramps seldom deviated from a simple, rockabilly-inflected format, but like their well-chosen thrift-store wardrobe, their songs were rich in spirit. Lux never made much headway with the music industry, but he ruled his shabby-chic domain as a most exalted potentate of love.

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