My poster is in a frame on the wall and the
glass is reflecting so I pinched this one
from the web.
Where to begin with Roky?
The first time I heard The 13th Floor Elevators “You’re Gonna Miss Me" on Nuggets was the introduction and I’m fairly sure my reaction was much akin to your, the first time you heard that voice, that otherworldly purr. This would have been 1972 when the import of the Elektra comp appeared at the record store I worked in.
I became an instant fan but those records weren’t easy to access. It would really be the advent of his 70s resurgence that would make them available. When he played shows and got in tow with The Aliens was when it really hit warp speed.
As incredible as those early recordings were, he really hit his stride when the songs that would make up the CBS album in 1980 were taking form. When that record came out, it caused a ripple that should have been a tsunami. Whatever his mental state, he was crafting beautiful ballads worthy of Buddy Holly and epic, ripping rock n’ roll songs. He was a devil angel from an alternate universe or plane or wherever the heck such rarefied creatures dwell.
As time went on, more and more material became available. Often the same songs with different arrangements and takes but we hoovered it all up There was a documentary that I know some people rate but that I found very disrespectful. You get one chance to do something like that and this was not celebrating the subject to my mind. It merely gave precedence to the man being a weirdo. But not in a good way.
Thankfully, somehow it became possible for the demons to be reigned in and Roky was able to perform across the world. Those first few outings were particularly transcendent. I regret to this day not seeing them play with The Nomads but those that did make it were treated to something akin to what a religious experience might be like.
The only time I saw him was at the Royal Festival Hall in 2007 where I got something in my eye several times. I met him too thanks to Bill Allerton lending me his pass. My friends Bigor and Viva were there from Ljubljana and I managed to get them a ticket autographed during that brief encounter.
It was great that he got to roll in the thunder these past years to catch a glimpse of how important he was. That he was able to function at all to the degree that he did was nothing short of something that could rightly be called a miracle. Particularly following how he was depicted in the film. The recent clip of him performing “Night Of The Vampire” with an orchestra and choir was a hell of a testament to that song and I bet I wasn’t the only one that hoped we might hear more of his songbook tackled in the same manner. Does anyone know if anything else was recorded?
It’s another sad reminder that our heroes are disappearing and they really are not being replaced by individuals with anything like the chops. His music will live on far beyond all of us provided that there’s still a planet to hear it on.