Girl Drummer Bares Some but Not All
Erick Purkhiser, better known as Cramps leader Lux Interior, died on 4 February 2009. Long ago, and for one year, he was my friend. I was the drummer in the first Cramps line-up which played forty-odd dates over an eight-month period from the first show on All Saints Night 1976 until 13 July 1977, the date of the NYC blackout. With his passing came a mess of calls asking about the early days. After years of avoiding a backward glance, I was suddenly dropped headlong into the well. A mouldering box of old stuff materialised from deep in the closet, and old friends began sending in decades-old snapshots, clippings, bits of correspondence. That first year in New York was my coming of age, at least in calendar years. It was also my first year behind the traps, on the flipside of fandom. It provided a hazing that alternately galvanised and confused my head. I hope this helps clear the cobwebs for those who care. Walking through my dreams, like the Pretty Things would say. RIP, Lux.
Stuff started seeping out of the woodwork before the paint was dry. Phone calls, remember-whens, faded pictures, a couple of grainy super-8s, old letters, a stop-by. ‘Lux is dead,’ they’d say. ‘He’s gone.’ So I get a call from my first big-town room-mate, Pam, sister of the great and also late Bryan Gregory, and we ruminate, a shot of white light into one hell of a mouldy basement, and it’s with that conversation that I begin this slow descent into a year that time forgot. Round one is shot out of the cannon, a random blast. It was a lifetime ago – everything’s changed, and nothing’s changed. Like when you spin around real fast and stop, and you’re digging your heels in, and everything around you is a whirling blur.