Lux Interior, frontman for the seminal punk band The Cramps, died today at 62 of a preexisting heart condition. Sean at the LA Metblog covered this as well, noting how important The Cramps were to the punk scene. They were an integral part of the growing punk scene in NYC at the now-defunct CBGBs in the mid-70s and are counted as influences for a number of bands with diverse styles.
I saw them live in Southern California in the late 90s, and they kicked ass in their own inimitable way. Lux was amazing, as always.
From LA Metblog:
Lux died this morning from a pre-existing heart condition, he was 62. I met him a few times through friends and he was incredibly cool, and there’s no arguing how important The Cramps are. He’ll very truly be missed.
Born Erick Lee Purkhiser, Interior started the Cramps in 1972 with guitarist Poison Ivy (born Kristy Wallace, later his wife) — whom, as legend has it, he picked up as a hitchhiker in California. By 1975, they had moved to New York, where they became an integral part of the burgeoning punk scene surrounding CBGBs.
Their music differed from most of the scene’s other acts in that it was heavily steeped in camp, with Interior’s lyrics frequently drawing from schlocky B-movies, sexual kink and deceptively clever puns. (J.H. Sasfy’s liner notes to their debut EP memorably noted: “The Cramps don’t pummel and you won’t pogo. They ooze; you’ll throb.”) Sonically, the band drew from blues and rockabilly, and a key element of their sound was the trashy, dueling guitars of Poison Ivy and Bryan Gregory (and later Kid Congo Powers), played with maximal scuzz and minimal drumming.
Because of that — not to mention Interior’s deranged, Iggy Pop-inspired onstage antics and deep, sexualized singing voice (which one reviewer described as “the psychosexual werewolf/ Elvis hybrid from hell”) — the Cramps are often cited as pioneers of “psychobilly” and “horror rock,” and can count bands like the Black Lips, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Reverend Horton Heat, the Horrors and even the White Stripes as their musical progeny.