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Roky Erickson & The Aliens - Roky Erickson & The Aliens - Mojo Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 02 February 2017
Music review of Roky Erickson & The Aliens from Cherry Red Records and Mojo on Severed Cinema

Band: Roky Erickson & The Aliens
Album: Roky Erickson & The Aliens
Members: Roky Erickson (vocals) Bill Miller (Autoharp) Duane Aslaksen (Guitar) Stu Cook & Steve Burgess (Bass) Fuzzy Furioso (Drums) Andre Lewis (Keyboards and synths)
Year: 1980 (re-released 2012)
Country: USA
Produced by: Stu Cook
Cover Art: Captain Colourz
Mastering: Bill Steele
Runtime: 40min 97sec

Label: Cherry Red Records/ Mojo
Official Website:

Track Listing:
1/ Two Headed Dog
2/ I Think of Demons
3/ I Walked with a Zombie
4/ Don't Shake me Lucifer
5/ Night of the Vampire
6/ White Faces
7/ Cold Night for Alligators
8/ Creature with the Atom Brain
9/ Mine Mine Mind
10/ Stand for the Fire Demon
11/ The Wind and More
12/ Bloody Hammer

Who's that bloke on the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack who has the high pitched voice? You know, in the movie he can be heard as Frank heaves himself into the incinerator? “Burn.... Burn the flames! Higher... and higher!” His lyrics sound like a classic cheese filled crusty B-Movie horror with a layer of Universal.

Well, that was my introduction to the random and very different world of the legendary Roky Erickson. His original band, The 13th Floor Elevators, were said to be one of the originators of psychedelic late ‘60s grooves (Dust is simply one of the most gorgeous songs of that era!) Roky was soon afterwards diagnosed with schizophrenia after breaking down on stage. This began a long dragging time in care under barbaric therapy conditions. Upon release in the early ‘70s, by 1974, he had formed a new group and the sound had changed for a more rock ‘n roll psychobilly feel. By 1980, a new album had emerged and it was the lyrics, however, which were the head turner. Like an early Rob Zombie, Roky Erickson was the audio answer to every low budget exploitation film at a drive by in the ‘60s.

For instance, Bloody Hammer with its sweeping guitars, tells a story of a man going insane. They call him a special one. He is his own doctor -- or is he the doctor in a ward facing the patients? What is clear is that the story has so many twists involving a demon in the attic, a baby ghost, and all in all his plea: “I never have their bloody hammer!”

I compared him to Rob Zombie, but I personally think King Diamond can link to the storytelling imagination. Creature with the Atom Brain, takes a cool title and deals with the film itself, whilst Two Headed Dog is sheer insanity personified in a song. I Think of Demons is a Satanic cult worshipper straight out of a bad movie. These and I Walked with a Zombie lay bare the mind of Roky. It was inevitable that, by the late ‘80s, his mind crumbled again.

Okay, so what can be said of the music? Well there is the sheer atmospheric lolling in Night of the Vampire with a gravelly guitar and slowed drums. Then there's the up-tempo rocking out Don't Shake me Lucifer. The use of an electric harp, keyboards and synths fuses with Duane Aslaksen's waving guitar sounds on each tune. It's weird that the album carries an ‘80s electronic humming with a downright dirty backroads hillbilly chugging noise, or at least a pure late ‘60s feel for a majority of the record.

There's a marvellous documentary out about Roky, (You're Gonna Miss Me) and he still tours. Now and then his music will pop up in films and TV series like True Blood and Scary Movie. He drops into two Texas Chain Saw Massacre flicks as well. However, Rob Zombie surely needs to use some of his catalogue, or if Quentin ever makes a backwoods killing spree epic, perfection would be found as a new generation discovers Roky.

Over the decades there's been a few variations of the album Roky Erickson & The Aliens put out. The version I own (having had a well-used cassette over the years) is a 2012 re-issue via Mojo's Buried Treasures series and has a neat little booklet.




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