Über Roky Erickson
Regardless of his abilities as a songwriter, Roky Erickson will forever be more famous for the details of his turbulent life. With legendary drug use, prison incarceration, and frequent stays in the nut house to his credit, his musical talents have often been obscured by a near-perfect record as a rock 'n' roll casualty/genius. After the 13th Floor Elevators were decimated by internal drug abuse and Texas-brand police harassment in the late 1960s, Erickson embarked on a convoluted, tragic solo career, rarely making it into the studio. Even when that feat was accomplished, he was often swindled out of the money owed him and his records sold poorly. Understandably, his music is not for the mainstream. With constant references to Satan, murderous, bloody imagery, and strands of creepy gibberish peppering his songs about how tough it is to be from the planet Mars, Erickson's work is tailor-made for that narrow section of society to which he appeals. While some of Erickson's material is for acolytes only (of which there are many), Roky Erickson & the Aliens (1980) features the same sort of demented Garage riffs and rock 'n' roll fervor that made songs such as "Roller Coaster" and "Fire Engine" so great. His latest efforts, acclaimed as a critical return to form, are of the acoustic variety and cover classics while also offering new, slightly more sedate material.