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Saturday, March 6, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Roky Erickson

Posted By on Sat, Mar 6, 2010 at 8:26 AM

As lead singer and guitarist for the 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson helped pioneer psych-rock in the ’60s. The Elevators scored a minor hit with “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and released four albums before breaking up in 1969. After that, drug problems, mental-health issues and run-ins with the law took their toll on Erickson, who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenia and spent four years in a mental institution. When Erickson resurfaced in the ’70s, he left psychedelic rock behind in favor of a mix of horror-themed hard-rockers and heartfelt ballads on albums like 1981’s The Evil One and 1986’s Don’t Slander Me. Unfortunately, schizophrenia once again derailed his career, although he did manage to release one more album (1995’s All Who May Do My Rhyme) and play the occasional show in his native Texas. But there’s a happy ending: In 2001, Erickson’s brother was granted legal custody of the singer and got him the care he long needed. Erickson has a new album due out on next month, with Austin’s Okkervil River backing him. Erickson says the record is “mostly a bunch of slow songs” that he’d written a while ago but never recorded. “I’ve been thinking about [more new material] a lot,” he says. “I’ve been relaxing a lot, you know, and thinking a lot. Thinking lots of good thoughts, you know.” Erickson is playing more concerts these days, but who knows how long the good times will last? Go see him while you still have the chance, when he plays the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, at 9 p.m. The Alarm Clocks and Living Stereo open. Tickets: $30. — Robert Ignizio

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