R.I.P. Roky Erickson, psych rock pioneer and founding member of The 13th Ground Elevators, has died at 71

Roky Erickson, founding member of The 13th Ground Elevators and a pioneer of the psychedelic rock style, has died. He was 71.

“The world misplaced an enormous mild and an unimaginable soul,” Sumner Erickson, Roky’s brother, confirmed to Austin 360 on Friday. “It wasn’t the simplest life, however he’s freed from all that now.”

Born Roger Kynard “Roky” Erickson on July 15th, 1947, Erickson grew up in Austin, Texas with a starvation for music. He started taking part in the piano at age 5 and took up the guitar 5 years later. He dropped out of Travis Excessive College in 1965, solely a month earlier than commencement, after the varsity’s gown code required him to chop his trademark lengthy hair.

As an alternative, Erickson went on to discovered The 13th Ground Elevators alongside bandmate Tommy Corridor. Inside a yr, they launched their debut album, 1966’s The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Ground Elevators, which spawned their iconic hit, “You’re Gonna Miss Me”.

In 1968, Erickson was recognized with paranoid schizophrenia, prompting a go to to a Houston psychiatric hospital, the place he involuntarily acquired electroconvulsive remedy. Given the band’s vocal assist for psychedelics, they typically drew warmth from legislation enforcement companies, and in 1969, Erickson was arrested for possession of a single marijuana joint.

To keep away from a possible (and preposterous) 10-year incarceration, Erickson pleaded not responsible to the fees by cause of madness. He was then despatched to the Austin State Hospital, and later despatched to Rusk State Hospital following a number of escapes. At Threat, he was subjected to torturous electroconvulsive remedy and Thorazine remedy till launched in 1972.

Upon his launch, Erickson would swap the psychedelics for the onerous rock horror sounds of the Aliens, who would go on to file two albums that might later be launched within the ’80s. Throughout this time, he would additionally carry out with the Reversible Cords, the Nervebreakers, and the Explosives. For sure, his work was fairly prolific, and he amassed a number of singles, albums, and stay efforts.

The ’80s had been a reclusive time for Erickson. In 1982, he insisted a Martian inhabited his physique, a declare he walked again on when his pal enlisted a Notary Public to notarize his assertion. He additionally turned obsessive about the mail, writing letters to solicitors and taping his neighbors’ letters to his partitions, a pastime that got here to an finish in 1989 when he was arrested for mail theft. The fees had been dropped.

Curiosity in Erickson started to extend, nevertheless, when Sire and Warner Bros. launched their 1990 tribute album, The place the Pyramid Meets the Eye. The gathering featured a bounty of covers by The Jesus and Mary Chain, R.E.M., ZZ Prime, Poi Canine Pondering, Julian Cope, Butthole Surfers, Primal Scream, and different important artists of the period.

5 years later, Erickson returned to the fold with All That Could Do My Rhyme, which was launched via Butthole Surfers drummer King Cofffey’s personal label, Trance Syndicate Information. The discharge was paired with the publication of Openers II, a set of his lyrics that Henry Rollins issued via his personal 2.13.61Publications with assist from Erickson’s youngest brother, Sumner.

In 2001, Erickson established a authorized belief to his brother, Sumner, who was granted authorized custody of his older sibling and ensured he acquired affective medical help. Along with controlling his schizophrenia with the appropriate medicine, Erickson additionally noticed his funds and contracts sorted out. It was the start of what would result in a really fruitful period for Erickson.

One that really started in 2005 with the discharge of Keven McAlester’s documentary, You’re Gonna Miss Me. That very same yr, Erickson would return to the stage at Austin Metropolis Limits with The Explosives, the place he carried out his first full-length live performance in 20 years. He adopted the efficiency up with 11 extra gigs in Austin that yr and even obtained a driver’s license for his newly bought Volvo.

From there, Erickson loved an unimaginable resurgence, performing his first-ever gigs in New York Metropolis, a slot at Coachella, and a European tour that kicked off with a sold-out efficiency abroad at London’s Royal Pageant Corridor. He additionally started working with youthful expertise, from Mogwai to Okkervil River to fellow Austinites The Black Angels who would go on and function his backing band.

In 2010, Erickson launched what’s presently his final album, True Love Forged Out All Evil, which he recorded alongside Okkervil River. He would proceed to tour, even making his approach to Down Below for the primary time, earlier than finally reuniting with The 13th Ground Elevators at 2015’s Levitation Pageant. The lineup included Corridor, John Ike Walton, and Ronnie Leatherman.

Erickson is survived by his brother Sumner … and an archive of fabric that feels actually infinite.

We’re shocked and saddened to listen to in regards to the passing of Roky Erickson. Actually one in every of a sort. Thanks for the music and reminiscences. Our deepest condolences to his household and buddies, and everybody on the market who was touched by his music. pic.twitter.com/eLQjU0hoo7


these first two 13th Ground Elevators albums actually shook up my concepts round the way in which sound/voice/lyric can collide, however particularly aspect two of Easter In every single place. Postures is among the greatest closing tracks any album has ever had, in my view.

— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) Could 31, 2019

Inarguably one of many progenitors of making the psychedelic rock music style, Roky Erickson’s spirit now flies free… ⁣

Texan. Father. Brother. Husband. Poet. Guitarist. Legend. ⁣
⁣#RIPRokyErickson pic.twitter.com/EX5fFVTkoC

— Texas Music Workplace (@txmusicoffice) Could 31, 2019

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