July 7th – August 3rd 2016

Day 9

July 15th 1947
Roky Erickson’s Birthday

How moved you are by Roky Erickson depends how far up or down you are on the evolutionary tree. Tears can fall in the most unlikely moments, and for any number of reasons. His caterwauling 4-octave Texan shriek made teen dramas out of the 13th Floor Elevators’ extravagant cosmic notions. Roky was the mouthpiece of those psychedelic pioneers, with all the implications of what a mouthpiece is – as in Tommy Hall’s putting words into his mouth, being fed too much acid, biting off more than you can chew. But Roky was the local teen heartthrob boy wonder, and at 18 already in possession of a successful career. He’d written ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ (“at 13 or sumthin like that”) and taken the vocal style of local hero Buddy Holly, turning it into an even more caffeinated helium mission. What this son of an arty musical family was not to know was that his poetry – later to be shown in print as a veritable cosmic stew of near-religious declarations – would be, throughout the Elevators’ songs, mostly overwritten by a Gurdjieffian hyperventilator almost a decade his senior. That Roky was struggling, by the recording of the first Elevators’ album, even to score a day-pass out of Rusk mental institution is just about the most unrighteous metaphor for a mostly righteous career.

For someone who was mentally fragile in any case, what Roky has endured makes him saintly. Not a martyr, but passion bearer. He did not gorge himself, he was fed – put through these things – a victim of his birthplace, of his family, and of the lofty nature of his band leader. What a role to undertake, what a cross to bear. Who of us upon trying such things would not themselves have turned into a headcase? The story of the Elevators is as on the edge as rock’n’roll stories can get. Up against it in a way no one else was, they virtually erase every other rock’n’roll tale.

Today let’s holler along with ‘(I’ve Got) Levitation’ – the Elevators’ urging, beseeching war-cry of astral projection.


Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Day 1: Thursday Jul :7th
Death of Syd Barrett
Day 2: Friday Jul :8th
Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Day 3: Saturday Jul :9th
Day 4: Sunday Jul :10th
Day 5: Monday Jul :11th
Day 6: Tuesday Jul :12th
Henry David Thoreau’s Birthday
Day 7: Wednesday Jul :13th
Day 8: Thursday Jul :14th
The Storming of the Bastille
Day 9: Friday Jul :15th
Roky Erickson’s Birthday
Day 10: Saturday Jul :16th
Day 11: Sunday Jul :17th
Day 12: Monday Jul :18th
Death of Nico
Day 13: Tuesday Jul :19th
Full Moon
Day 14: Wednesday Jul :20th
Death of Dieter Moebius
Day 15: Thursday Jul :21st
Day 16: Friday Jul :22nd
George Clinton’s Birthday
Day 17: Saturday Jul :23rd
Day 18: Sunday Jul :24th
Robert Graves’ Birthday
Day 19: Monday Jul :25th
Day 21: Wednesday Jul :27th
Day 22: Thursday Jul :28th
Day 23: Friday Jul :29th
Suicide of Vincent Van Gogh
Day 24: Saturday Jul :30th
Day 25: Sunday Jul :31st
Day 27: Tuesday Aug :2nd
Death of William S. Burroughs
Day 28: Wednesday Aug :3rd
Death of Arthur Lee