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
Story of untold rock 'n roll legend Rocky Erikson and his tragic demise into mental illness.
Was really wowed by this film. There are moments of utter brilliance, both comedic and dramatic. I laughed throughout the entire film, but the whole thing was suffused with a tragic tenderness that squeezed my heart. Rocky as a young musician is irresistible--charming, handsome, talented, charismatic. Rocky as an aging, mentally ill, reclusive former rocker is equally irresistible. The film takes us on an incredible journey from one to the other and stands out because in Rocky's world, there doesn't seem to be one bedrock of sanity. The filmmaker creates a world completely oblivious and impervious to the one we live in; one we see but can't really believe exists. The music is phenomenal. Truly one of America's untold rock legends.
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