Regarding Roky by Jay Allen Sanford 01.26.07
Bruce "Doc" Natkin spent the late sixties as a roadie for the 13th Floor Elevators, whose singer Roky Erickson is legendary for epically unstable behavior. "One gig, he put a band-aid on his forehead and said it was covering his third eye, and then he sang all night with his back to the audience, facing the amplifier. That was not uncommon, everyone knew he was in such a, uh, altered condition. He was a space cowboy long before Steve Miller sang 'Space Cowboy,' if you know what I mean.t here were times he wouldn't even show up for gigs. His excuse would be, like, [he was] abducted by aliens or something. There were several times that someone had to check him out of a mental institution or detox to play.A fter awhile, those of us who were close to him started to feel guilty in one way or another. You could tell he really needed help and wasn't getting it."
Now retired near Encinitas, Natkin lost touch with Erickson after the singer was arrested for pot possession in 1969 and sent to the Rusk State Hospital For The Criminally Insane, where he was treated with Thorazine and electroshock therapy. "I ran into him playing in Austin around '91 or '92, and he looked pretty good, all things considered. The only things that were ever cohesive about the man are his music and his persona. And, that stuff, he's got down pat. It's everything else that keeps falling apart on him."
Erickson is currently being taken care of by his younger brother and legal guardian Sumner, who has sorted tangled royalty disputes and encouraged his cult-figure brother to return to performing. A documentary film "You're Gonna Miss Me" was released last year and, according to the Austin Chronicle, Roky Erickson has obtained his first drivers license, bought a car, and he recently voted for the first time.
Roky Erickson is playing April 28th at Coachella