I moved to in Austin 2009 but I’ve been regular a visitor off and on since the early 90s when I was invited to participate on a SXSW panel. I love the place. But despite all the talk of Austin being one of the music capitols of the world, there’s only a handful of rock musicians to come out of Austin that deserve to be called “legendary.” Roky Erickson is one of them and his influence (both as a solo artist and member of the incredible 13th Floor Elevators) infuses the Austin music scene like a magical elixir. A modern day rock and roll Paracelsus, Erickson alchemised Austin to such a degree that even today his influence has given birth to a vibrant psychedelic/garage revival embodied by, amongst many, The Black Angels, Amplified Heat, Shapes Have Fangs and White Denim.
Roky Erickson was by no means the only lysergically-inspired musician to have emerged from Austin in the mid-sixties. The list is long and includes mindblowers like Shiva’s Headband, Bubble Puppy, the Golden Dawn and Conqueroo. Bands who, at the dawn of Texas psychedelia, energized the epically historic acid shrine the Vulcan Gas Company. But decades after that incredible wave of musical and psychotropic experimentation, Roky is the musician that has garnered the most devoted and nurturing audience. In recent years, he’s made a comeback that is one of the most emotionally resonant and wrenching of any artist in the history of rock and roll - a real Phoenix from the ashes kind of resurrection. And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving and beloved human being.
This footage shot in Oslo in 2007 shows Roky and his terrific band The Explosives at a high point in Roky’s resurgence as they tear into “Cold Night For Alligators.”