Documentary about rock pioneer Roky Erickson, detailing his rise as a psychedelic hero, his lengthy institutionalization, his descent into poverty and filth, and his brother's struggle with their religious mother to improve Roky's care.
Outside Austin, Texas, a 53-year-old man sits in an apartment with four radios, three televisions, two amps, a radio scanner, and an electric piano playing. At the same time. Loudly. He has three teeth, his hair is matted into one huge dreadlock, and he has a notarized document on his wall declaring himself an alien, "so whoever's putting shocks to my head will stop." Thirty years earlier, Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson was a rock-and-roll icon: A manic singer who was Janis Joplin's primary influence, he fronted a band called the 13th Floor Elevators, considered by many to be the creators of psychedelic music. After a 1969 marijuana arrest, Erickson entered an insanity plea and was sent to the Rusk State Hospital, a medieval institution deep in the east Texas pineforests. He remained there for three years with the state's most violent mentally ill offenders, then reemerged a changed man: He sang about ghouls, zombies, and Satan, christened himself "the evil one," and declared himself an... Written by
Syd Barrett...Brian Wilson...Daniel Johnston..and Roky Erikson
In late 1965/early 1966,a band from Austin,Texas,named The 13th Floor Elevators exploded out of the garage & made a name for themselves in that era of rock & roll. The Elevators were said to coin the phrase, "Psychedelic Rock". One of the band members was Roger Keynard Erikson,coined "Roky" by his friends & fans. Roky,in the spirit of the times,experimented with various drugs (Marijuana,LSD,Heroin,etc.). After an arrest (that was obviously set up by the Texas feds)for possessing less than an ounce of Marijuana,his lawyer sought out an insanity plea & spent four years in a state psychiatric hospital,where he was diagnosed schizophrenic,emerged four years later & returned to music,but with a much darker edge,until he retired from music in 1987 and became a recluse. This well documented film manages to shed light on a troubled soul that was yanked from the limelight way too soon. Candid interviews with several of those who either knew him closely (his brothers & mother),as well as celebrities,such as fellow Texans, Billy Gibbons (Z.Z.Top),Gibby Haynes (The Butthole Surfers),Byron Coley (former editor of Forced Exposure),and a bevy of others. And then of course,the music (rare early film clips of The 13th Floor Elevators on American Bandstand,playing the film's title song,'You're Gonna Miss Me,as well as other performance footage,including the last time he was seen in public at a concert where he stood there,doing nothing,and if that wasn't enough,some rarely seen home movie footage of Roky,and the rest of his family). A sad,but insightful film. Not rated by the MPAA,this film serves up a few rude words,as well as spoken testimony of the horrors of Roky's four nightmare years in a mental institution,and descriptions of some of the more sordid aspects of the 1960's hippie counter culture (drugs,sexual experimentation,etc.)
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?