May 042011

Man, this was tough for me to sit through, simply because it was so boring. I confess: at the 1:18 mark I had to skip forward a bit. How long can you last? 

Roky Erickson couldn’t seem less committed to his own bullshit. Around the 2:20 mark he’s asked if he’s ever met Bob Dylan. You don’t need to be a poker player to get a read on the veracity of his answer, do you?


  9 Responses to “How Long…Can You Listen to Roky Erickson Ramble?”

  1. You know that Roky has suffered from schizophrenia for years, right? (I’m completely serious about this.)

  2. Roky is one of Mr. Mod’s favorite bugaboos, Bobby. He swears up and down that we people who like him only like him because of his mental problems. Which is absolute bullshit, but he refuses to be swayed.

  3. Hey, in complete fairness to Roky’s music, which I’ve realized over the years – in large part to a Texas psych comp you burned me years ago, Great One – could actually be very good, I left his music AND his psychoses out of the discussion. My main bugaboo regarding Erickson concerns people like the interviewer, or at least what I suspect motivates people like the interviewer. I’m more than willing to be wrong about that stuff. It won’t be the first time I’ve been a horse’s ass.

    What this particular thread asks, however, is How long you can sit through the interview?

    Bullshit’s bullshit, I thought to myself, as I tried to make sense of what could possibly be going through the interviewer’s or cameraperson’s mind while this took place. And what could possibly be going through my mind, I thought to myself, beside wondering all this stuff.

    If you’re entertained by this for its own sake, more power to you, but I actually tried to leave out my long-held beefs over Erickson Worship and my suspicions that it’s driven by people seeking a freak show. I’m done worrying about motivation; I want to gauge endurance.

  4. That’s not very reasonable. A friend of mine knew Roky fairly well when he lived in Pittsburgh in the 90’s, where his bother, Sumner, a classical musician in a symphony orchestra (I forget what brass instrument he plays – tuba, maybe?) lives. Anyway, the guy has a very real mental illness, though he has been doing better in recent years. But his affect in this clip is textbook schizophrenic, something I see and interact with close up, with some of the people at the clinic I go to for my own problems. Nevertheless, I never liked him just because he’s sick – he has a load of great songs that came through despite his mental problems. It’s not as though he’s Wild Man Fischer, or something!

  5. I lasted through it, but I wasn’t entertained by it. He really wasn’t doing well at that point, so, if anything, I find it a little sad. I do have a little more patience for “bullshit” coming from someone who really isn’t experiencing the world in same way “normal” people do. I think at the time he really believed everything he was saying was the truth.

  6. Yes, I found it sad too, Bobby. Like the inevitable published photos of Osama Bin Laden with a bullet through his skull, there are some things I don’t need to see.

    I really don’t want to beat up on Roky but rather investigate whether there’s anything to such a filmed interview to justify people going through the trouble to film it and release it. Instead of being subjected to backstory on Erickson’s mental illnesses and legal issues when he became an underground cause in the early ’80s I wish I’d simply known The Great 48 and been given a cassette tape of those 28 or so Texas psych records I missed out on (not all Erickson related). I may have then been better able to judge the guy on his musical merits without getting caught up in my bugaboos, which admittedly are half bullshit and my own problem as much as anything.

  7. I got to the 2:00 minute mark.

    Slightly off topic – Who has the better tribute album? . . .

    or Daniel Johnston?

    Pretty impressive lineups on both.

  8. See the bio film on Erickson–named what, now?–for a closer look at the history of his illness and the difficultly some members of his family had in getting treatment for him, since he was not the only generation of his family to suffer from mental problems.

    As for his music, I find it consistently fantastic, and I don’t think he’s ever made a bad album.

    The Pyramid tribute has a number of really great tunes on it, though none of the tunes there are better than Roky’s own versions.

  9. 2000 Man

    Wow, I watched the whole thing. I don’t think Roky would ever tell you the same thing twice. Not because he’s being funny like Dylan or Jagger, but because he’s that different from one day to the next.

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