Erick Lee Purkhiser (October 21, 1946 – February 4, 2009), better known as Lux Interior, was an American singer and a founding member of the garage punk band The Cramps from 1976 until his sudden death in February 2009 aged 62.
Born in Akron, Ohio, he grew up in its nearby suburb of Stow and graduated from Stow High School. 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. The couple founded the band and moved from California to Ohio in 1973 and then to New York in 1975 where they became part of the flourishing punk scene.
Lux Interior's name came "from an old car commercial", having previously flirted with the names Vip Vop and Raven Beauty, while his wife's name change was inspired by "a vision she received in a dream". The couple called their musical style psychobilly, originally claiming it to have been inspired by a Johnny Cash song, "One Piece at a Time", and later saying that they were just using the phrase 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. The Cramps gave their last show in November 2006. When asked why he continued to play live well into his 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."
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. SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny attended his memorial ceremony.
Interior was also a visual artist: in particular he was a 3D camera collector and enthusiast with which he created artworks and collages.
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 is survived by his wife Ivy and two brothers, Michael Purkhiser and Ronald "Skip" Purkhiser. The memorial service for Lux was held on February 21 at the Windmill Chapel of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Lux's brother Mike also provided insight into his relationship with Lux in a newspaper article.
Lux Interior live, 18 October 2004
|Birth name||Erick Lee Purkhiser|
|Also known as||Lux Interior, Raven Beauty, Vip Vop|
|Born||October 21, 1946|
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
|Origin||Sacramento, California, U.S.|
|Died||February 4, 2009 (aged 62)|
Glendale, California, U.S.
|Genres||Garage punk, psychobilly, rock & roll, punk blues, horror punk|
|Associated acts||The Cramps|