You're Gonna Miss Me: A Documentary About Roky Erickson [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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08-25-2007, 05:25 PM
Just caught a screening of the 2005 film You're Gonna Miss Me, which was showing as part of our local annual "Sound Unseen" film fest (all movies about music). The doc tells the story of former 13th Floor Elevators howler Roky Erickson, famous to some as Janis Joplin's self-proclaimed "chief influence" and to others as one of the weirdest, most singular voices and songwriters in rock & roll. The film follows him from his early days in the psychedelic Elevators up through the sad present. He clearly already had some unaddressed mental health issues in the 1960s, but his life took an especially tragic turn when he chose to plead insanity to a charge of marijuana possession rather than face jail time. He ended up being sent to a state mental hospital where he was subjected to electro-shock treatment before eventually being discharged in the mid 70s. He continued to make music after his release (including one of my personal favorite records of all time, The Evil One), but went into a steep mental decline, and stopped writing & performing entirely in the 1980s. At the time that the film began production in 1999, he was in the care of his elderly mother, entirely unmedicated, and basically non-functioning. The filmmakers actually spend much more time in the present day than they do on his music career, chronicling his estranged brother's attempt to get legal custody of Roky in the hopes of addressing his health concerns. It paints a devastating portrait of mental illness, and how a person gifted with almost otherworldly talents was repeatedly neglected or misused by the system, his family, and those around him. I admired it for not seeking easy answers and for including many details that keep the viewer from reaching a pat conclusion. I really think that any serious rock fan or anyone who has an interest in mental illness should check out this film. You should be able to find it online or at your local video store (Netflix it ( I've heard that Roky is now actually performing again and out on tour, although after watching the film, I'd feel real conflicted about whether or not going to see him might constitute exploitation... anyway, check out the movie if nothing else.


08-26-2007, 12:41 PM
I've heard another member of the band was the one who did the actual musical arrangements while everyone focused on Erickson because he was drinking Listerine or whatever else geniuses are supposed to do. But it's like Midnight Oil said, every good band has at least one musician. Anyway you cut it, that debut was ahead of its time and freakier than anything except Zappa's debut. I need to pick that up because I've only got their second one, Easter Everywhere. Thanks for the tip on the flick.