Live from Lux Interior’s Funeral: The Cramps’ Dubious Hitchhiking Origins Confirmed


In this much celebrated encomium of the Cramps’ Lux Interior, I mentioned the apocryphal story of how Lux had met his wife/bandmate Poison Ivy: the guy born Erick Lee Purkhiser supposedly picked up his life partner as a hitchhiker. The Cramps’ legacy was as much based on their success as characters as musicians, so naturally, this biographical detail seemed fictitious. But LA Weekly contributor Jonny Whiteside recently attended Lux’s private funeral service and actually met someone who verified the story. He writes:

    I met the guy who was driving the day he and Lux famously pulled over to pick up a hitchhiker, who turned out to be Poison Ivy. “I only knew Lux for about three years, but I knew Erick very well,” he said. “Back then, I was his psychedelic partner, you might say, and a few years ago I got an e-mail from him saying “you don’t know who this is” — of course I did — “but do you remember when we picked up that really pretty girl hitchhiker and your dog Wheezer jumped all over her? Well I’ve been jumping all over her for the past 35 years and we have a band called the Cramps.

Also recounted from the memorial service, which took place in one of Elvis’s favorite retreat spots: the attendance of Spongebob’s voice, stories of Lux’s affinity for strange headwear (restaurant napkins, panties), and Ivy’s widow garb, which was, of course, form-fitting leopard print.

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