WOUB Music Blog

2012 NMF Artist Spotlight: Roky Erickson

By
Elliot Nicolson

Dateline
Updated Thu, May 17, 2012 11:21 am

Throughout the days and weeks to come, we'll be spotlighting some of the artists who will be performing at this year's Nelsonville Music Festival. Today, Elliot Nicolson profiles Roky Erickson.

Roky Erickson is often cited as one of the most influential, and most forgotten, pioneers of the 1960s psychedelic-rock movement.

Together with his band The 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson would write music that would influence generations of musicians to come. The Austin, Texas, band's signature song, "You're Gonna Miss Me," charted in 1966 and became a garage-rock classic after its inclusion on the legendary Nuggets compilation in 1972.

Although Erickson is best known for his music made in the '60s, he was also prolific throughout the 1980s, releasing seven solo albums and two fan club LPs. However, he spent the early part of the '70s in a maximum-security mental hospital, after being arrested for possession of a single marijuana cigarette (facing 10 years in prison, Erickson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity).

After his release in 1972, and after numerous sessions of electroshock therapy while in custody, most who knew Erickson agreed he was no longer the same. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and would struggle with the condition for decades to come, leaving him impoverished and seemingly forgotten by the public. These years were captured in the 2005 documentary You're Gonna Miss Me.

Today, Erickson is playing shows around the world and releasing original material. With his health steadily increasing over the past decade, he has performed and collaborated with such notable acts as the Scottish post-rock group Mogwai, and fellow Austin-based groups The Black Angels and Okkervil River.

2012 Nelsonville Music Festival attendees can expect Erickson to perform favorites from the 13th Floor Elevators catalogue, as well as his solo material spanning the past 30 years.

For more information about the Nelsonville Music Festival, visit www.nelsonvillefest.org.

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