Roky Erickson 1947-2019

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Roky Erickson passed away today, and most people will never understand his influence over popular culture nor will they recognize his name.

He suffered almost endlessly through one of the most tumultuous lives any musician has ever lived. There were times in the 1960s and onwards when he simply should not have been able to survive the troubles that he faced, whether we’re talking about health matters, psychiatric episodes, and battles with his own demons. The man’s teeth rotted out of his head, and he had to undergo weeks of therapy just to overcome the damage that it could have done to the rest of his body.

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Erickson had become emancipated (for decades, he was in the care of his mother or his brother) and was living in Austin when he passed away. There is so much sadness to consider, so much joy in his music and so much creativity went to waste. When he should have been making albums and reaping the benefits of a creative life, he was sedated and mistreated by the legal system and ripped off, like so many others, by his management and his record label.

You can read this and this, and still not come away with any answers, just more questions. Why do we always fail the people who need the most help?