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Roky Erikson@ Meltdown

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:16 pm
by garth cartwright
ROKY ERIKSON @ ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

For a musician whose creative peak was almost forty years ago there’s definitely a sense of both déjà vu and divine justice when they get to play for the first time ever to a UK audience. And thus the loud reception greeting a small, portly American with long, receding hair as he walks on the RFH’s stage at 8.50pm.

Roky Erikson is, in many ways, the American Syd Barrett: in his late-teens he created a proto-psychedelic hybrid that achieved instant initial success before serious psychedelic drug abuse curtailed a rock’n’roll career that promised much. Yet Roky’s story is a much rougher, tougher one than that of Syd (who essentially went back to live with him mum in the early 70s and never reemerged). Arrested by Texas’s brutal law enforcement agents for possession of hash he was given the choice of jail or a mental institution: choosing the latter he was subject to electric shock treatment thus emerged some years later in a rather damaged state. His deterioration over the following decades could be compared with Barrett’s (or Brian Wilson’s) – tho he did issue some decent sides in the late 70s – so it is amazing to see him on stage acting so cheery.

Older contributors to this forum than me may remember hearing the 13th Floor Elevators back in the 60s – I’m guessing that they had quite a rep’ and their first single You’re Gonna Miss Me (yes, the unforeseen irony has been milked by many a rock mag’ - just as the "Meltdown" tags for a man whose mind melted must be oft used) was a US Top 60 hit – but I first heard Roky on the Auckland late-night Radio Hauraki show where all things punk and post got played: the DJ had a Roky solo single Bermuda and I just loved its layers of fuzz guitar and the bit where Roky goes “so high its undergroundâ€