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October 18, 1987|PAUL GREIN

ALIVE & KICKING: Lux Interior knows how Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn felt when they sneaked into their own funeral to hear their own eulogies.

There have been widespread rumors in recent weeks that Interior, lead singer of the punkabilly group the Cramps, had died of a heroin overdose. Rodney Bingenheimer even dedicated his KROQ-FM radio show to Interior, whose "death" was also reported on KXLU-FM.

"I really don't know where it started, but there's no truth to it at all," said Interior, unavoidably echoing Mark Twain's famed quip, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

"It kind of turned my life upside down for a while," he added. "Everybody in our band has 'died' at one time or another over the past 10 years, but nothing has ever snowballed like this."

Interior, who lives in Los Angeles with Cramps guitarist Ivy Rorschach, said a half-dozen floral wreaths were sent to Rorschach in his memory.

"At first, I thought it was kind of funny," he continued. "But then it started to give me a creepy feeling. People were calling here all the time. I'd come home and on my answering machine there would be all these people sobbing. It's nice that people care about you, but it feels horrible to hear all these people saying, 'I'm so sorry Ivy, call me when you feel better.' "

What effect has all this had on the veteran rocker?

"I think it's made me feel more serious," Interior replied. "We sell a lot of records, but somehow just hearing that you've sold so many records doesn't hit you quite as much as when a lot of people call you up and are obviously really broken-up because you've died."

About the origins of the rumors, he speculated, "We seem to have started this thing called death-rock and psycho-billy. Also, there are a lot of psychedelic or drug-type references in some of our lyrics. And several people have said that our records sound like we're a bunch of junkies."

Interior--who declined to reveal his age or real name--acknowledged that he has used hard drugs in the past, but added, "I really do very little drugs anymore of any kind."

He added that the Cramps--which also includes drummer Nick Knox and bassist Candy Delmar--are recording a new album, to be released after the holidays.

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