Rock Moment: Roky’s Return

 

Roky Erickson is one of the true pioneers of American music.  As lead singer and songwriter for the Texas-based 13th Floor Elevators, Roky helped create psychedelic rock way back in 1966 with “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”   

Along the way, Erickson’s use of drugs caught up with him two years later when he started behaving erratically.  He did a stint in the Austin State Hospital then was confined in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane until 1972.  When he was released, Erickson was a fried human being who was convinced that he was born on another planet. 

He had an erratic, on-and-off recording career over the ensuing years and in 2001 Roky’s younger brother Sumner was granted legal custody of his older brother and his business affairs.  That began a late renaissance for this rock master – he formed a new band, The Explosives, and began playing regular gigs. 

Roky Erickson is now a familiar presence in the Austin area.  He has played multiple shows at the past few South by Southwest music conferences and was the subject of a classic “Austin City Limits” episode in 2007 where he performed with admirer Billy Gibbons.

If you’re in Austin and you’re lucky, you might see Roky Erickson at the ice cream shop behind Waterloo Records.  If you’re really lucky you can catch him in concert. 

MP3: “Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)”

MP3: “Starry Eyes”

MP3: “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (live)

Video: “You’re Gonna Miss Me” w/Billy Gibbons from “Austin City Limits” (scroll down)

Roky Erickson official website

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