As the core member of the 13th Floor Elevators and an undisputed pioneer of psychedelic rock, the ’60s were thrilling times for Erickson. His band was riding high in their native Texas and beyond and the howling single ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was his calling card, but Erickson’s ‘60s ended in the stuff of nightmares. Under sharp scrutiny by the authorities due to the band’s well-expounded fondness for psychedelic drugs, Erickson was found with a single joint on his person. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to avoid prison, he was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane, where he was ‘treated’ with electroconvulsive therapy and Thorazine treatment. Erickson pulled through his three and a half years at Rusk, and even put together a band while incarcerated. That band, The Missing Links, contained Roky plus two murderers and a rapist.
Released from the institution in 1974, Roky found his legend had grown while he’d been away – not least because ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ was included on 1972’s Nuggets compilation. Erickson’s experiences in the hospital proved to be fertile inspiration for his music – on leaving, he formed the group Roky Erickson And The Aliens and began penning songs about zombies, demons, vampires, and – to counter the B-movie monsters, the real-life monsters of social injustice. Erickson and the Aliens set out honing a hard rock sound that placed the psychedelic garage blues of the Elevators firmly in the last decade…. READ MORE >
Listen & Buy
Mine Mine Mind b/w Bloody Hammer
Record Store Day is big news at LITA HQ, and not least because this year it marks the start of another brilliant, major reissue campaign. To celebrate the forthcoming release of the first three solo albums by 13th Floor Elevators man Roky Erickson, there’s a faithful reissue of the snarling Mine Mine Mind 7", remastered from the original tapes.
The Evil One
Produced over a period of two years by Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival), The Evil One was released in 1981 and is a masterful collection of songs about zombies, demons, vampires and, yes, even the ‘Creature With The Atom Brain’. These tracks, inspired by schlock sci-fi and horror movies and colored by Roky’s distinctive, high-pitched vocal and squealing guitar, are among the maverick performer’s best.
Don't Slander Me
If The Evil One was the album that broke Erickson out of the indie ghetto and brought him to a worldwide audience, the follow-up, 1986’s Don’t Slander Me was the one that showcased his rock and roll sensibilities like no recording before. Recorded with a rolling cast of musicians following the dissolution of The Aliens, the birth of The Explosives and a recording band featuring members of both, the album was recorded against a backdrop of the emerging punk scene, which arrived late to Erickson’s native Texas. Losing the more out-there and exotic elements of earlier and future albums, it presents us with Erickson the rocker, playing punk, rockabilly, blues and – in ‘Burn The Flames’, later found on the Return Of The Living Dead soundtrack –even power ballads.
Gremlins Have Pictures
Collected here, the odds and ends of Erickson’s post-incarceration work tell a story of a man finding his musical feet, ranging from Dylan-like folk strumming to the big, Neil Young-like rock of the unparalleled ‘Anthem (I Promise)’. Gremlins Have Pictures is an anthology of Erickson’s solo work following his extended incarceration at the Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane, beginning with his first live performance (opening for a screening of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Austin) all the way to Don’t Slander Me (LITA 098).