Few musicians have had such a storied life as Austin, Texas’ own Roky Erickson. He first gained notoriety with the 13th Floor Elevators, arguably the first psychedelic rock band. However, being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1968 led to several years’ stay in mental institutions (most as a result of being charged with possession of one joint). His release in 1972, after forced electro-shock treatments and Thorazine administration, left him in worse mental shape than before, but as creative as he’d ever been. He formed Roky Erickson and the Aliens, worked with Texas music legend Doug Sahm and Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook, and released some great albums, with lyrics devoted to sci-fi and horror b-movies: The Evil One and Don’t Slander Me being among the best.
His condition deteriorated in the late 1980s, and he again found himself in legal troubles, but by 2005 had finally (with the help of his family) gotten the treatment he needed and was back doing what he did best. He continues to tour and record to this day.
Here’s one of his best songs, “Night of the Vampire,” set to classic clips of Dracula.