True Love Cast Out All Evil: Roky Erickson’s Songwriting Legacy
True Love Cast Out All Evil: Roky Erickson’s Songwriting Legacy will be released on November 15, 2021 via Texas A&M University Press. “Roky was one of the most original and unique singer-songwriters in Texas,” says songwriter Brian T. Atkinson. “His short time at the helm of psychedelic rock pioneers, the 13th Floor Elevators in the 1960s, made him a cult legend, but his ensuing 50-year solo career was barely noticed. Hopefully this book will shed light on this important and influential period in Texan music. This is Atkinson’s fifth book with TAMU Press after the volumes on the other icons of Erickson, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Mickey Newbury.
In True Love Cast Out All Evil, over 70 friends including Henry Rollins, Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival and King Coffey of Butthole Surfers, as well as followers such as Cris Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets, Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai, Alex of the Black Angels Maas and Will Sheff of Okkervil River testify. “Roky’s voice was unmistakable,” Coffey says. “He screamed and screamed like great Texas blues singers – weird, rock, weird. Roky was a visionary singer and songwriter. “Roky Erickson opened the door,” echoes legendary country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard. “He showed the way. Today, the groups are still striving to achieve what he brought.
Erickson just sang as snakes shadowed his shadows. After all, the mystical and mythical Austin-based singer-songwriter and psychedelic drug enthusiast has delivered the deepest depths. However, its “transcendence comes at a price,” Atkinson writes in the book’s introduction. Through interviews with those who were there and the presentation of Erickson’s own words, Atkinson recounts how Erickson has been haunted for most of his life by a mental illness, possibly made worse by his liberal use of hallucinogens. His influence on Texan musicians across multiple genres with high quality albums such as The Evil One and Don’t Slander Me nonetheless remains vast. “Roky is alone as of this day,” ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons said in his foreword. “He was one of the craziest rock singers. Roky is revered.