josh slater

Download: Roky Erickson Wish List Set List

(from Roky Erickson Wish List Set List)

My actual real-live interview with Roky Erickson up at L.A. RECORD. He sounded better on the phone and ever. (And did a pretty great show last night, even without “Starry Eyes” or “The Interpreter.”) I talked to him last year for this S.F. WEEKLY piece and although he was very enthusiastic, he was also very succinct—a lot of “I lahk it!” answers. This time he was happy and chatty—the Q&A is pretty much how it went. Nice to find out about new album, new songs and his early visits to musicals like South Pacific. All roads lead to Roky. Full interview here. Also note Roky’s democratic voting record. There is no endorsement that speaks more to me. Obama/Bleib ’08—apparently it’s alright to do it!

Do you still play piano?
I do! I played the other day over at these peoples’ house—they had me over for dinner—fish and chicken-fried steak and everything—and we sat there at the table, like the knights of the round table, and he asked me if I’d play one of those loony tunes, and I said sure. Boy, that was just a gas, you know what I mean? An after-dinner thing.
Who are you gonna vote for this time?
Well, I don’t know. I voted two times previously and both times I voted for the Democratic Party. And then people helped me do it.
What’s the nicest present one of your fans ever gave you?
They give me bats and no tellin’ what! Little tapes and things. Napkins that said ‘Suzy Creamcheese’ on it. I try to keep ‘em—we have a storage house we keep ‘em all in. I don’t know how we get ‘em in there but we do!
What’s in there?
Just all sorts of stuff, man. Cages and everything. Couches. Apparently it’s alright to do it!

Complete new L.A. RECORD Roky here. Excerpt of S.F. WEEKLY Roky below. Oh and re: the fan bats… I did get a present of a rubber snake while leaving the show yesterday. So don’t doubt.

It’s been 40 years since Erickson and his most noted band, the 13th Floor Elevators, recorded their last fully realized album, Easter Everywhere, and about 39 years since things really began to get difficult for the singer. In 1968 a confused situation involving drugs and police and a rattled Erickson resulted in a minor marijuana bust, which he snuffed with an insanity plea. But that collapsed into Erickson’s sentence to three years in maximum-security Rusk State Hospital in 1969.

While locked up, Erickson’s mother brought him a tape deck and he recorded songs like “Save Me.” When he got out, as the folklore goes, he was a supposed psychedelic casualty, said to be staring at the same glass of iced tea forever. There was a comeback string of horror-rock songs in the late ’70s — by Roky and the Aliens, his San Francisco band — and then a slow dissolve into one of his very last shows in Austin in 1993, where they pushed Erickson on stage with a guitar and he just stood there, eyes wide and smile wider, but not singing along to his signature song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” He’d written that track when he was 17, and by this time he was 47, and after that performance he was gone for a while — no more music from Roky Erickson. “Just kind of taking a vacation,” he says now. Did you miss it?

“Yeah,” he says, “I missed it.”

Full piece here.


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