Erick Lee Purkhiser, famously known as Lux Interior, was famously the founder and lead singer of the American punk band The Cramps. The group, which was formed in 1976 and active until 2009, was only ever consistently made up of Interior and his wife, Poison Ivy (Kristy Wallace), with other members of the band changing over time.
Lux Interior grew up listening to and being inspired by rockabilly music and, when the Cramps rose to success, Poison Ivy often termed their music style as ‘Psychobilly’ even though Interior denied the label on a number of occasions. Their music, lyric, melody et al., were certainly offbeat, if not anything else.
Speaking of offbeat, The Cramps put up a one-of-a-kind concert for the patients at the Nappa Valley State Mental Institution. Some of their notable albums included their first official EP, Gravest Hits (1979), their studio album, Stay Sick! (1990), and a compilation album, How to Make a Monster (2004). While their music often did the talking, Lux Interior was famous for his sexually suggestive movements on stage. He often showed up in near-nude attires and was infamous for his provocative and frenzied stage presence as The Cramps caused a splash within the music industry.
While the critical acclaim and cult following has solidified their presence in the annals of rock music history, a lesser-known fact about Lux Interior lingers like a bizarre and unfathomable smell. The fact? Well, it is that he once did a voiceover for the character of the lead singer of the band The Bird Brains on the American animated TV show SpongeBob SquarePants. The Bird Brains were a group of puppets who were hired by Potty the Parrot, in the 51st episode of the 3rd season of the show, ‘Party Pooper Pants’, which was aired on 17th May 2002 in the US.
The Bird Brains were portrayed by The Cramps, with the lead singer resembling his voice actor, Lux Interior. The Bird Brains performed at Patchy the Pirate’s house party and were shown during the Patchy-centric segments of the episode. The fictional group were a punk-rock band, and they performed the song ‘Underwater Sun’ in the episode. Not to go into too much detail, but they were Potty the Parrot’s favourite band, and everybody loved them, but Patchy hated them because their music was too loud and it blasted him out of his house. ‘Underwater Sun’ featured towards the end of the episode. The song was written and composed by Stephen Hillenburg and Peter Strauss. It was performed by Lux Interior himself.
When Interior died in 2009 of aortic dissection, Tom Kenny, who voiced SpongeBob SquarePants’ character, attended his memorial ceremony at the Windmill Chapel of the Self-Realisation Fellowship Lake Shrine as his impact ranged far and wide.
Listen to ‘Underwater Sun’, below.