The most improbable of rock comebacks began on the night of March 19, 2005 at an Austin, Texas restaurant called Threadgill's. Every year, the eatery hosts the Roky Erickson Psychedelic Ice Cream Social, in aid of the city's most troubled musical icon. That year, though, the line up included the man himself, something even his closest friends imagined they would never see.
It had been a decade since Erickson's last public performance, a ramshackle set at the 1993 Austin Music awards that led even admirers to conclude that he was better off away from the spotlight. Two years later, a reporter from Rolling Stone discovered a man falling apart at the seams, his teeth rotted to stumps, his hair wild and matted, and his house blaring with multiple TVs, radios and police scanners, apparently a strategy to block out the voices in his head.
Erickson's 1960s band, the 13th Floor Elevators, have been called the originators of psychedelic music. They were certainly the first to apply the word to disorientating, acid-warped rock, influencing the likes of Janis Joplin (who almost joined) and the Grateful Dead, and later covered by REM, Primal Scream, the Jesus and Mary Chain and even ZZ Top (whose roots also lie in Texas psychedelia). You might recognise the Elevators' incendiary first single, You're Gonna Miss Me, from the opening scene of High Fidelity.