Thursday, February 05, 2009

Punkobit: Lux Interior

He's been written off by the internet before, but this time, sadly, it's for real: Lux Interior has died.

Born Erick Lee Purkhiser, popular legend has him meeting his wife and longtime collaborator Kirsty Wallace when she was hitchhiking. The pair bonded over mutual loves of art and music, and in 1973 formed The Cramps. Purkhiser's stage name came from a car advert - raising the possibility that he might have wound up being called Cup Holders.

First moving to Akron, the tyre-and-new-wave foundry of Ohio, and then, in 1975, to New York, the band established themselves as part of the engine of American Punk. Their early following was built almost exclusively around live performances - it wasn't until 1979 that they recorded an album, and even then the record didn't find its way into shops which would stock that sort of thing until the following year.

The Cramps experienced a fluid membership over the years, but Interior and Ivy always remained at the heart of their operation, nailing an act that managed to combine attention to the music with a defined aesthetic - something which many of their imitators would attempt, and fail to do. That they managed to keep The Cramps a going concern for the best part of four decades suggests either a bloody generous presiding angel, or a well-planned behind-the-scenes operation. Experience suggests it was the latter.

Interior lived with the effects of a heart condition for many years, and it was this condition which has finally claimed his life at the age of 62. He died early yesterday in New York.

One of the performances which secured their reputation as Punk Superiors was the 1978 gig at Napa State Mental Hospital - punk's Live At San Quentin. Luckily, someone had lugged an early video camera along to record the event:

[Thanks to Peter D for the news]


PeterDee said...

I have the entirety of the Napa State gig on DVD, it is perhaps the oddest gig I have ever seen, The Cramps do what The Cramps do, and they do it very well, and the patients really sway between not being able to comprehend what is going on, having the time of their lives and looking like they they could take down The Cramps at any moment. Lux Interior is such a sad loss.

WE ARE said...

Such a shame- a true original. Well worth checking out is the 'Purple Knif Show' compilation he put out a few years ago.

Olive said...

This is such sad news. I first came across the Cramps in (I think) 1984 on The Tube, performing songs from Smell Of Female. Always thought it was unfair that lazy journalists described them as Psychobilly, since they were plainly smarter and better humoured than the boorish likes of the Meteors or King Kurt.

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