Most Deserving to Be Made Austin Music Monuments

Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston

Roky Erickson lived in Barton Hills – where his mother Evelyn also resided. Lupine howler out front of the 13th Floor Elevators, 1965-1969 – very possibly the first psychedelic act – he ate at Threadgill’s, Hut's, Amy’s. Throughout the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, and Aughts, he performed in Austin’s halls of fame: Vulcan Gas Company, Soap Creek Saloon, Ritz Theatre, Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin Music Hall, Paramount Theatre. In that same span, he collaborated with Austin music greats of every generation: Doug Sahm, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, Black Angels, Okkervil River. And when he died on May 31 here in Austin, any local who ever had a strand of Erickson’s otherworldly audio vision twist up to their DNA thought the same thing: statue.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Chronicle broke the news of Daniel Johnston’s death at 58. Tolling the bell for any fallen member of a community remains the least favorite aspect of watchdog media – and especially in this case, since we had as much to do with breaking DJ to the world outside these city limits as MTV, Kurt Cobain, or Kathy McCarty. A back slap for astuteness, right? Hardly. He showed up on the paper’s back stoop with a cassette for us. We’d have had to be stoops not to recognize his talent. He was us, after all – all of us: lonely, insecure, childlike. Daniel Johnston represented Austin to the world and mankind to Austin. The least he deserves is a likeness outside of his favorite local haunt, Austin Comics, to which he contributed no small amount of superhero-obsessed DIY art.

Daniel Johnston

Roky Erickson

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