I absolutely love this. What a great song, what a treat to hear it so professionally done, and that the money is FINALLY going to the person that deserves it… Just amazing.
Roky Erickson was the lead singer/rhythm guitarist for the ill-fated 1960’s band, ‘The Thirteenth Floor Elevators‘. Follow the links if you’re interested in the band’s history, and Roky’s story, parts of it are certainly interesting, suffice to say that the Elevators (and the Svengali-like influence of Tommy Hall) were a hell of a place to start for a kid (think he was all of 16 at the time) with a knack for songwriting, a great voice, and a vocal style that was blatantly ripped off by Janis Joplin, Robert Plant, and not so obviously (but still a mugging) by Michael Stipe of REM fame.
I first started listening to his music, their music actually, in the early 1990’s. Being at the time, a very drunk and drug-addled tween (not the common usage of the word tween I understand — I’m referring here to a twentysomething that acts like a teenager, as opposed to a 10-12 year old, which should really just be called a pre-teen — we should actually take back the word tween from those who would use it to describe someone who likely still wets the bed from time to time, and has no problem getting up at 5AM to watch cartoons, and from now on use it only to refer to twentysomethings that act like teenagers) I was a sucker for a band that the underground press was selling as incredibly drug-addled, and having been screwed out of the millions they were owed by ‘The Man’. Hard stuff for a kid who is still trying to sort out who he is to resist for sure.
Luckily for me I got through that phase of my life, and what a pleasant surprise to find that those old Elevators still sound pretty damn good to my present day 99.9% drug-free ears. Oh yeah, a quick fact about Roky I nearly forgot, he is actually an alien, and apparently has legal documents proving it.
Another thing, I guess it wouldn’t be right to not mention ‘Okkervil River‘, as they obviously played a huge part in the creation and release of this latest Roky Erickson album. I’d be blowing smoke up your ass if I were to start saying how great a band they are though, and that I love them, love them, love them. Truth be told I watched them on Austin City Limits sometime last year and just couldn’t get over a feeling that they were very talented, but not in the slightest bit sincere, performers. This album (the proceeds from which benefit Mr. Erickson? I think I read that somewhere), while being very professionally done, leaves me with the exact same feeling, that the band is once again merely going through the motions. Therefore, while ‘True Love Cast Out All Evil‘ is certainly a tale of redemption for a man whose life has seemingly been one tragedy after another, the feeling of emptiness imparted by it for me though comes in part from, once again, Okkervil River simply not having their hearts in what they’re doing. Thanks though, Roky sounds like he was enjoying himself.