Have I mentioned Scott McLemee?
Of course I have. You know, over at Quick Study? Well, he and I have been corresponding about the great, lost Texas pscychedelic guitarist, Roky Erickson, ever since Scott posted a tremendous, re-worked clip of Roky and the 13th Floor Elevators playing "You're Going to Miss Me". If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to play that clip. The guy could sing like Mitch Ryder and play like Jeff Beck on fire.
But Roky became one of the great, brain-fried rockers, the American Syd Barrett: the heroin and LSD binges, the trips in and out of an asylum. I saw him play in Houston in the early '80s, and he was a fragile figure. He still could play, but there was little of the hellbent energy that made him special. He seemed frightened just to be onstage.
But I told Scott the good news: There's a group biogaphy of Roky coming out in October: Eye Mind: The Saga of The 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound. I saw a promo for it at BookExpo, and the press rep told me Roky was out, taking his meds, might even tour.
When I saw Roky in the '80s, I basically worked for the pop music critic at the Houston Post, a sardonic, Falstaffian figure named Bob Claypool who'd been there forever and had interviewed everybody (Jerry Lee Lewis once pulled a gun on him, cocked it and threatened to shoot him -- which, come to think of it, probably has happened to thousands of people, maybe everybody but me).
Bob told me of the time he interviewed Roky in his heyday. Roky showed up with a rubber band around his head, right across his forehead (when I told this to the press rep in New York, he said, "Hey, we've all been there, right?"). During the entire interview, Roky kept fiddling with it, pulling it, snapping it back. Claypool finally couldn't take it anymore and asked him, what's the deal with the rubber band?
Roky: "People keep trying to poke me in my third eye."
But hey, we've all been there, right?
Well, no, we haven't. Because now comes word from Scott about this: a heartbreaking film documentary about Roky, opening in Chicago in late July. Take a look.
If you go to www.rokymovie.com, you'll find background on Roky, info on the film and even Roky's current American and European tour.
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