A lot of rockers have played crazy to create commercial mythologies and tabloid drama, but Roky Erickson was and is certifiably messed up in the head, having spent time at the Rusk, Texas Hospital for the Criminally Insane. But what a beautiful mess. Fueled by whatever demons where pinging around his brain—as well as ingesting Syd Barrett-levels of drugs—Erickson’s primal wails with his first band, the 13th Floor Elevators, propelled the group’s psychedelic rock to the dark side of hippie culture. This was a very good thing, because the combination of ragged guitars, a ferocious vocalist, and mind-altered soundscapes transformed Erickson’s basic garage rock into a cinematic collage of horror films, sci-fi, and film noir—a stylistic gumbo that was further explored with his next band, the Aliens. This two-disc set includes 45 jewels from Erickson’s career, spanning the years 1965-1995, and it’s a scary silly punky fuzzy euphoric brilliant dumb life-changing trip that you won’t want to miss. Shout! Factory.
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