Roky Erickson is another one of those artists who has flown under the radar while maintaining a very loyal cult following.
Classic rockers like Janis Joplin and ZZ Top consider(ed) themselves fans of Roky and his band The 13th Floor Elevators (one of the first psychedelic rock bands), and it’s even said that Janis based her singing style on Roky’s.
Roky’s is a sad story, which is detailed in the documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me (trailer can be seen below).
He was diagnosed with paranoid shizophrenia and sent to institutions where he received involuntary electroconvulsive therapy, and would also later claim that an alien had inhabited his body.
“I’ve gone through three changes. I thought I was a Christian. Then I thought I was the devil. And the third one, where I know who I am. You know? I feel like I’m an alien”.
Throughout his career, he’s created some truly great rock music. It’s wonderful that his music has had an influence on plenty of great bands; and it’s sad that his music remains largely unheard by the masses.
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You’re Gonna Miss Me documentary trailer