Lost & Found: Wanna Pet Roky Erickson’s Two-Headed Dog?
A pattern of young musical geniuses developing, or some might say cultivating, mental troubles seemed to emerge during the ’60s. This pattern overtook many great artists who might have otherwise had much longer, more prosperous musical careers. One of these young geniuses was Roky Erickson.
Erickson — who was in the psychedelic garage band the 13th Floor Elevators — suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was put through a treatment plan of electroconvulsive therapy in the ’60s. While correlation may not always indicate causation, we suspect Erickson’s diagnosis may have been linked in some way to his fondness for hallucinogenic drugs. He later spent time in a Texas mental ward, where he received more electroconvulsive therapy, in order to avoid a 10-year jail sentence for a single joint.
Despite his past troubles, Erickson continued to make music, although his sound and approach to songwriting and performing changed drastically. He switched from the psychedelic sounds of his origins to playing more traditional rock ‘n’ roll. And his lyrical content became, well, strange.
The above video is Erickson and his later band playing one of the first songs he wrote during his new musical chapter. It’s called ‘Two-Headed Dog,’ and it’s about, well, a two-headed dog. Many of the songs from this era include songs about aliens, demons and other strange topics.
Even if you’re not familiar with Erickson, there’s a good chance you’ve heard at least one of his songs. The film ‘High Fidelity’ used a song from the 13th Floor Elevators during the film’s opening credits. The song is a little jug-filled ditty called ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me.’ Check it out below.