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Albums Of The Week: 3-D | 3-D

Lux Interior's little brother unearths a long-lost batch of surf-twang instrumentals.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Respected guitarist and rock ’n’ roll survivor Michael Purkhiser (The Action, The Walking Clampetts) has unveiled a collection of surftrack songs from his studio project 3-D in tribute to his big brother Erick Lee Purkhiser (aka Lux Interior of legendary horror-punk band The Cramps). “He was the one that introduced me to music,” Purkhiser says.

These instrumentals were inspired by British recordings used in the ’60s as background music for movies and TV shows. This style of music married with the classic ’60s surf sound is what 3-D calls surftrack music. “Lux and I were having a conversation one night about 3-D photography and his passion for shooting it,” recalls Michael Purkhiser. “A few nights later I was in the studio cutting tracks.”

The album was recorded at Big Adventure Sound in Akron on a Warner Bros. Harrison console which was used by Van Halen and avant garde underground artist Tin Huey. 3-D’s studio lineup consisted of Purkhiser (guitar), guitarist Marky Ray (Jim Rose Circus, New Salem Witch Hunters, Death of Samantha), drummer John Koury (The Dead Beat Poets, Infidels), and Dave “Tate” Stephenson on bass, keys, and assisting with musical production.

From Michael’s musical beginnings in the early 1960s, he’s had a colorful journey. It started back in 1964, when he was introduced to The Beatles by big brother Rick (Lux). He would wander upstairs to Rick’s bedroom to find what seemed like a thousand record albums scattered about everywhere. It was here he became educated in rock ’n’ roll from its earliest beginnings in the 1950s to the then current British invasion of the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who, among the multitude of British bands jamming the airwaves. It was at this time he developed a passion for guitar and knew he had to play.

Photo by Paulina Draculina.

By 1969 he was playing in local bands. Fast forward to 1977 when he put his first original band The Action, not to be confused with the British band of the same name. He started writing and recording music on a parallel course with his brother’s new band, The Cramps. Interestingly, Michael recorded The Cramps Ohio Demos in 1978 in their parents’ basement. It was recorded on a stop in Akron while The Cramps were making their way from New York City to California to play their legendary Live at Napa State Mental Hospital show.

Michael decided on taking a different path from them, playing in a power pop trio. He was hooked on that sound after seeing local favorites The James Gang with Joe Walsh and Raspberries with Eric Carmen. The Action released three singles on their own label, which are now sought after world wide by die-hard power pop fans. The group opened shows for The Cramps at CBGB as well as shows for Marshall Crenshaw, Todd Rundgren, Robert Gordon, Joan Jett, and close friends The Smithereens. The band received rave reviews, but could never land that elusive major-label record contract.

The Action disbanded in 1984. In 1985 Michael joined up with local northeast Ohio favorites The Walking Clampetts, who combined rockabilly with roots rock ’n’ roll. They became one of northeast Ohio’s most noted dance bands. In 1990, The Clampetts had split and Michael made the decision to go solo. He continued to write and record original music that was pop based but not forgetting his rock roots. He worked with producer Don Dixon (Smithereens, R.E.M.) mixing a solo demo, but still without a record contract.

In 1997 he formed a studio project called 3-D, the name being inspired by Lux’s passion for 3-D photography. The 3-D project recorded around 30 songs, four of which were instrumentals. The plan was to release the recordings as an album. While the album never came to fruition, at Michael’s request, Lux contributed original album artwork, which to this day has never been seen. Some 25 years later, the four instrumentals and Lux’s artwork are finally seeing the light of day.”


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