February 5 2009

R.I.P. Lux Interior

lux interiorLux Interior (Erick Purkhiser), lead singer of the punk/rockabilly band The Cramps, has passed away.

Born October 21, 1948, Lux went on to form The Cramps with his wife, Poison Ivy (Kristy Wallace), in 1979.  They were part of the whole CBGB scene of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s that also spawned bands such as The Ramones.  While none of those bands really went on to true stardom, they had loyal followings and influenced too many bands to even begin to mention.  The Cramps had an unusual sound as they always mixed in little tastes of 1950’s rockabilly with their punk sound, something I think was distinctly influenced by The Misfits that came around in 1977 and mixed 1950’s horror/sci-fi references into their music.  Some consider them the originators of a whole sub-genre of music known as psychobilly that mixes classic rockabilly sensibilities with darker subject matter for the lyrics, and more of a kitsch feel to their songs.

While their influence on music, and where they took inspiration from can be debated for ages, nothing changes the fact that Lux passed away on February 4th, 2009 at the age of 60 from a pre-existing heart condition.  I imagine 99.9% of the people who read my site will have never heard of the band, or Lux himself, but this is a sad event for those of us who have followed punk and psychobilly for years.  I’ve embedded the video for one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns”, something that I literally hum or sing at least once every single day.  Usually it’s just the chorus, and I won’t even realize I am walking around saying “Bah-ki-ni girls with ma-chine guh-ns… Bah-ki-ni girls with ma-chine guh-ns…”.

Enjoy the song, and you will be missed, Lux.  Rest in peace.

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