Texas Music Legend Roky Erickson Passes Away
A legendary musician from Texas has passed away. Influential pioneer of psychedelic rock, Roky Erickson, has died at the age of 71.
Erickson's passing was confirmed by his brother Mikel Erickson on Facebook.
Born in Dallas in 1947 as Roger Kynard Erickson, his family made Austin their home. From an early age, Erickson started playing multiple instruments, and even performed at a high school talent show at Travis High School.
In the 1960s, Erickson and his band The 13th Floor Elevators helped to jump start the American psychedelic rock revolution. His frantic, yet smooth, guitar playing, matched with his forceful soaring vocals laid the groundwork for the future of American rock. When you listen back to his music in the 60s and 70s, you can hear early seeds of punk, grunge, and even some precursors to nu-metal.
If you just look at the musicians who reference Erickson as an influence, you will see how much of an impact his contributions to music were, even if you've never heard of him. Here are some of the bands who have covered Erickson's music:
Queens of the Stone Age
Erickson will also be remembered for his struggles with mental illness. According to a recent article by Andrea Ball for the American-Statesman, Erickson suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
After forming The 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. Instead of taking jail time, Erickson entered an insanity plea. He then spent years in Rusk State Hospital in East Texas. While there, he underwent drug treatments and electroshock "therapy".
When Erickson was released, he suffered from massive bouts of hallucinations and paranoia. Potentially magnified by the treatments he received at Rusk State Hospital.
More can be found about how Erickson became penniless, and his more recent rebounds, here: https://www.austin360.com/news/20190531/from-archives-friends-and-family-are-rediscovering-happy-and-healthy-roky-erickson