ACL Music Festival Interviews
Roky Erickson & the Explosives
Saturday, 7:45pm, Austin Ventures stage
On the eve of his first full concert in almost two decades and quite likely the largest audience he's ever played to South Austin-raised psychedelic pioneer Roky Erickson is excited to be playing Zilker Park again, this time with the Explosives.
"Zilker used to be right in my back yard," he relates. "We went down to Barton Springs and we went to Barton Creek and saw turtles. I think I played there on that stage where they show the movies [Zilker Hillside Theatre]."
Erickson first hit the local airwaves in 1965 with the Spades' rendition of "You're Gonna Miss Me." Then a UT psychology-student-turned-electric-jug-player named Tommy Hall asked him to join what would become the 13th Floor Elevators.
"He came to a club where I was playing and said he really liked my music and wanted to know if I would leave the band I was with and go play music with him," Erickson says.
Erickson's high-pitched shriek at the beginning of "You're Gonna Miss Me" is a clarion call that heralded the garage punk explosion while also predicting the golden age of psychedelic music. However, Erickson's first musical love while growing up was soul.
"Late at night, I'd listen to this show that would come on with a disc jockey called Lavada Durst [aka Dr. Hepcat]," Erickson says. "He played songs like 'You Better Leave My Kitten Alone' by Little Willie John and James Brown's 'Night Train.' Lots of soul music."
These days, Erickson has parlayed his longtime love of science-fiction and horror movies into Japanese animé franchises like Inu-Yasha and Cowboy Bebop. Given the cinematic nature of solo standouts like "I Walked With a Zombie" and "Stand for the Fire Demon," it's not hard to imagine these animé images prompting new song ideas. When asked if he's writing, Erickson's reply is sly.
"I've been thinking about it."