Roky Erickson & The Aliens - The Evil One
Well since Light in the Attic is so kind as to reissue two important records from Roky Erickson's catalog and seeing how, Roky himself has not been sung praise in the reissue section, it seems a
fitting time to right that wrong. Already a legend from his tenure in 13th Floor Elevators, in 1969 Roky was arrested for possession of a single joint, being held under high scrutiny from his native Texas authorities, and was convicted to 10 years, a sentence he was only able to lesson by pleading not guilty by insanity owing to his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia a year prior. The sentence he received was shorter but no less harsh, with it being the late 60's and institutions practicing bouts of involuntary electroshock at the time and high doses of Thorazine being routine.

The singer emerged from the institution to a growing legend in 1974 and began forming his band The Aliens. By 1979 the band, with production help from Stu Cook of CCR and a little help from fellow Texan Doug Sahm had recorded material that became The Evil One in the US and I Think of Demons in the UK and Europe. The two albums have differing tracklists but boast mostly overlapping material. Here, Light in the Attic revive the US version that retains the Sahm aided "Two Headed Dog" along with several of Roky's other schlock horror themed gems, many of which add revelation to the reasons that he's been embraced by the horror community over the years, showing up on the soundtrack to Return of the Living Dead and playing the opening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The album jumps off from the Elevators' psych-punk and toughens up the tone into a gritty, yet off-kilter record that feels like a reflection of Roky's oversized personality. Its fodder for the legend that was built around him and that would only grow stranger in the following years. It’s a classic that can still be felt reverberating through bands today, as much on its own merits as on Roky's legend status. Unfortunately at the time it didn't fair so well, with increasingly erratic interviews derailed by Roky's mental state and several fractured press schedules hampering its reception. Thankfully for the uninitiated it’s back in print where it belongs.


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posted by dissensous at 9:31:00 AM


Blogger Jack Tripper said...

Glad to see this finally being reissued. Before I heard this a few years back, I never thought I could get into an album with lyrics concerning monsters and demons, but Roky proved me wrong.

Keep up the great work on the site. One of the best indie music blogs around, imo.

12:36 AM  

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