Rock Erickson © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Roky Erickson

PHOTOS

Roky Erickson is a near-mythical figure in Texas music history. From his pioneering 1960s band the 13th Floor Elevators to his solo work over the last few decades to the 2005 documentary about his life, Erickson’s songwriting has influenced musicians from all genres.

His1960s band the 13th Floor Elevators was the first act to use the term “psychedelic” in relation to music with its 1966 album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, featuring “Fire Engine” and the hit single “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” His work was influential enough on punk rockers and garage revivalists that he was able to resurrect his career in the ’70s with horror-themed rock and jangly pop. During the ’90s, his music was honored with a tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, featuring famous fans like R.E.M. and ZZ Top and a box set I Have Always Been Here Before: The Roky Erickson Anthology.

His well-publicized personal turmoil sometimes overshadows his contribution to rock ‘n’ roll. Rolling Stone wrote his legendary music is “deeply intertwined with a history of drugs, schizophrenia and institutionalization” and “in all his music of the past 30 years, Roky Erickson dances with the terrors of the abyss and leads the whole night through.”

Having re-entered the public eye thanks to the acclaimed documentary “You’re Gonna Miss Me: A Film About Roky Erickson,” the reinvigorated singer/songwriter has returned to the stage. Erickson’s performance at the 2005 AUSTIN CITY LIMITS Festival marked his first full concert appearance in almost two decades. He has spent the last few years making music festival appearances around the globe.

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