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.

There’s an epic calm in the tear­ful eye of the 13th Floor Ele­va­tors’ hur­ri­cane that no oth­ers have achieved since. Not near­ly. For the splen­did union of this right­eous quin­tet demand­ed both utter con­vic­tion to the Muse AND total under­stand­ing of the rea­sons behind it all. The mys­te­ri­ous per­fec­tion of ‘She Lives In a Time of Her Own’ lies not in the voodoo of Stacey Sutherland’s cycli­cal post-19th Ner­vous Break­down licks, not in the hoodoo of Tom­my Hall’s absur­dist jug play­ing, not in the tran­scen­den­tal yelp­ing of Roky’s post-B. Hol­ly vocal deliv­ery, but in the total near-US Marine lev­els of phys­i­cal com­mit­ment to which these five young Texas heads ded­i­cat­ed them­selves. You tell me your reli­gion approach­es their truth? Go fuck your­selves!

R

Fri Friday
Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Thu Thursday
Day 1: Friday Jul 7th
Day 2: Saturday Jul 8th
Day 3: Sunday Jul 9th
Day 4: Monday Jul 10th
Day 5: Tuesday Jul 11th
Day 6: Wednesday Jul 12th
Day 7: Thursday Jul 13th
Day 8: Friday Jul 14th
Day 9: Saturday Jul 15th
Day 10: Sunday Jul 16th
Day 11: Monday Jul 17th
Day 12: Tuesday Jul 18th
Day 13: Wednesday Jul 19th
Day 14: Thursday Jul 20th
Day 15: Friday Jul 21st
Day 16: Saturday Jul 22nd
Day 17: Sunday Jul 23rd
Day 18: Monday Jul 24th
Day 19: Tuesday Jul 25th
Day 20: Wednesday Jul 26th
Day 21: Thursday Jul 27th
Day 22: Friday Jul 28th
Day 23: Saturday Jul 29th
Day 24: Sunday Jul 30th
Day 25: Monday Jul 31st
Day 27: Wednesday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Thursday Aug 3rd