Roky Erickson

Published on February 20th, 2014

Roky-Erickson-2012-AIn 1966, the 13th Floor Elevators released “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” a rollicking, acidic two-and-a-half minute scorcher that has since become a touchstone of the psychedelic rock movement—arguably the largest stone in the legendary “Nuggets” compilation of psychedelic ditties. Instantly identifiable from its first few staggered notes, the song is such an abrasive countercultural benchmark that it’s hard to imagine it once graced mainstream music charts, peaking at No. 55 on the Billboard Pop Charts. On YouTube, you can find a video of the 13th Floor Elevators performing it, poolside, on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, as preppy students with conservative haircuts dangle their feet in the water.
The song is still a staple on the set lists of its writer, the 66-year-old Roky Erickson, but much has changed since those halcyon days. Arrested for drug use and diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at the height of the Elevators’ rise, he suffered involuntary electroconvulsive therapy from numerous psychiatric hospitals. His songwriting, along with his personality, grew weirder and darker; he borrowed the burly look of a reclusive logger while intermittently releasing records, most of them compilations or live albums.

The Black Angels Photo 1These days, Erickson is psych-rock’s version of Daniel Johnston, a tragically brilliant cult troubadour who continues to inspire younger songwriters. Okkervil River assisted him on his last studio recording, 2010’s True Love Cast Out All Evil, and in 2008, he performed 13th Floor Elevators songs with a relatively unknown backing band called The Black Angels, from his hometown of Austin.

Now, with The Black Angels touring behind their celebrated fourth LP, Indigo Meadow, they will once again share a stage with Erickson. This time, the Black Angels are the headlining act, playing a full set of their ominous, propulsive, politically charged psych trips straight from the Nuggets playbook. Erickson, meanwhile, will be playing his first shows with his new backing band, the Hounds of Baskerville. See one psych legend pass the torch to the next at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., at 8pm. Feb. 25. Tickets cost $22. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com
~ John Thomason

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