Ivy was born in San Bernardino, California and raised near Sacramento. In 1972, while attending Sacramento State College, Wallace met future Cramps singer Lux Interior. Two years later they moved to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and then to New York City. In 1976, as part of the emerging punk rock scene, they began performing as the Cramps. They quickly gained a reputation for their unusual, rockabilly-inspired music and wild live performances. The Cramps, with Ivy, Lux, and various other guitarists, drummers, and bassists, continued to release records and perform live until the fall of 2006, enjoying some commercial success (mainly in Europe) and acquiring a strong cult following worldwide. Songs written by Poison Ivy/Lux Interior and performed by other artists include "Human Fly" (Crestfallen, The Dead Brothers, Nouvelle Vague, Supernaut, Hanni El Khatib); "New Kind of Kick" (The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Drones); and "Thee Most Exalted Potentate of Love" (Queens of the Stone Age).