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You're Gonna Miss Me : A Film About Roky Erickson

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Fascinating Story of Rock `n Roll Pioneer Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson And His Struggles With Drug Addiction and Mental Illness.
Outside Austin, Texas, a 53-year-old man sits in an apartment with four radios, three televisions, two amps, a radio scanner, and a Casio electric piano playing all at the same time. Loudly. He has three teeth, his hair is matted into one huge dreadlock, and he has a notarized document on his wall declaring himself an alien, "so whoever's putting shocks to my head will stop."

Special Features: 90+ Minutes of Rare & Exlusive Bonus Footage including:
* Historic, Uncut Live Performances: "COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATROS" & Intimate Acoustic Performances of "BLOODY HAMMER," STARRY EYES," "RIGHT TRACK RIGHT NOW," "DON'T SLANDER ME," and many more
* The Complete "I KNOW THE HOLE IN BABY'S HEAD" and other readings by Roky
* The Collected Works of EVELYN ERICKSON
* POSTSCRIPT: Austin City Limits Festival Documentary (2005)
* POSTSCRIPT: Roky's Emancipation Hearing (2007)


In the annals of spooked rock, Roky Erickson is a legend. When you hear his wobbling, impassioned, vocal yowl, you have to admit: He could've been a sort of psychedelic, proto-punk, American Van Morrison. Alas, history has been less kind to Roky. Kevin McAlester's documentary discloses precisely why (and how) Roky's early status as an icon--a maverick rock genius as demonstrated by his band, the 13th Floor Elevators--went sadly awry. At the center of You're Gonna Miss Me are some crucial dramatic tropes: a terribly broken family; a pressing, age-old "Am I my brother's keeper" predicament; and a relatively simple case of schizophrenia. The film opens in a courtroom, Erickson's aging and awkward mother, Evelyn, and his youngest brother, Sumner, locked in a battle for guardianship over the then-53-year-old, mentally imbalanced singer. The film captures Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Patti Smith, and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), among others, testifying to Roky's non-pareil genius. Also present, however, are tales of Roky's singular madness--extended acid and heroin binges and, alas, his then-present-day condition, living in cramped, decrepit quarters with an array of transistor radios, stereos, TVs, and keyboards, all cranked fully as he placidly reclines or wanders aimlessly.

The film painstakingly shows the Erickson family's longstanding fissures, contextualizing Roky's schizophrenia and, disarmingly, putting his mother's own awkward idiosyncratic behavior on display. Lee Daniel's cinematography brilliantly captures the desolation and desperation of Roky's life, camera shaking and panning and finding hidden angles to show the strange, seemingly endless schizophrenic signs around the singer--dozens of antennae, stacks and stacks of mail strewn throughout his apartment, and Evelyn's complicated obsession with Roky's history--from his highpoints as a rocker to his tragic three-year stay at the Rusk State Hospital for marijuana possession (where, for example, he played in an ad hoc band with a couple of murderers, a rapist, and, improbably, a hospital counselor) to her own, eerie film project where she casts Roky as "the king of the beasts" in a home-movie she undertakes as a "legacy" for the family. The film is all about otherworldly dimensions, centering in large part on youngest brother, Sumner--himself an accomplished musician playing tuba with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra--and his legal battle to become Roky's guardian and get Roky "simple medical care" and medication for his schizophrenia. This is an important chapter in the history of rock, without the underlying humor that made Dig! an indie film hit in 2005 but with a much larger historical purview. --Andrew Bartlett

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Byron Coley, 13th Floor Elevators, Evelyn Erickson, Roky Erickson, Sumner Erickson
  • Directors: Keven McAlester
  • Producers: Keven McAlester, Adrienne Gruben, Amanda Micheli, Dante Harper, Kate Roughan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P0J060
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,008 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "You're Gonna Miss Me : A Film About Roky Erickson" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ji Young Hwang on June 28, 2007
Format: DVD
"I, Roger (Roky) Erickson, do hereby declare that I am not a member of the human race (not an earthling) and am in fact an alien from a planet other than earth." His quote intrigued me to watch this movie. Even though I was a novice in psychedelic music and I didn't know who Roky was, the movie was fascinating enough to intrigue me; "how is he doing right now?"

There are a lot of biography movies about the dramatic, somewhat unfortunate life of extraordinary people. You might assume that You're Gonna Miss Me is just one of them. However, the difference between those and `You're Gonna Miss Me' is that this is an on-going story about a sublime musician.

The movie genuinely follows Roky Erickson's prosaic, isolated life. He is a quiet person, walking around his house like a zombie. But once the movie has shown his performance footages that were recorded when he was in the limelight back in 1970s, it definitely gives you nostalgia, but you can't help but wonder if you could ever see him performing like he used to be. And the real world doesn't let you down by making it as just nostalgia because you actually can see him at the concert. Yes, he still rocks.

Thanks to his brother, now he has overcome his inert attitude; he has been performing at many concerts. I was lucky enough to see him singing and playing guitar on the stage the other day; it was such an unforgettable experience especially after watching You're Gonna Miss Me. Can't wait to have its original soundtrack as well! You're Gonna Miss Me
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Roky Erickson and his band, the 13th Floor Elevators were a 60's rock band that seemed on the cusp of great success. They achieved a small amount of fame and this was greatly due to the power of Roky Erickson's voice. (It's very easy to believe that Janis Joplin was greatly influenced by Erickson as the film contends.) As with many other bands of the era, the group experimented heavily with psychedelic drugs. When Roky combined rampant drug use along with a preexisting mental illness he began behaving much more erratically, and slowly began fading away from society.

"You're Gonna Miss Me.." attempts to fill in what has happened to Roky in the twenty or so years since he disappeared from the public eye as well as show his current status. As it turns out, Erickson has been living in Austin under the care of his mother who has made him virtually unavailable to any other members of his family or doctors to help him with his illness. Indeed, one of the first times we see Roky today he is enraptured with a Mr. Potato Head doll. A huge rift has developed within his family, as it appears that Erickson's mother is also in dire need of some psychiatry as well. The creators of "You're Gonna Miss Me" have certainly chosen an interesting subject, and generally present it well. They did a fine job of capturing Roky, his living conditions, and his relationship with his mother. They also managed to locate more than enough footage throughout the years to document Roky's unraveling.

Despite the compelling material, there are a number of problems with the documentary. First, there is only passing attention paid to Erickson's father, brothers, or son. There was obviously much that had happened over the years between the family and Roky's mother that was not discussed during the documentary.
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I saw "You're Gonna Miss Me" last night, along with a live performance by Roky Erickson and the Explosives. This movie documents Roky's mental health decline from illegal drug use as well as his stay at Rusk State Prison (after a regrettable and dubious insanity plea for possession of marijuana) to his youngest brother Sumner's battle to become Roky's guardian.

In the beginning, the movie details the rise of the 13th Floor Elevators as well as several musicians commenting on the influence of Roky and the Elevators on rock and roll. The remainder of the movie vividly shows Roky's mental condition as well as the chaotic living conditions Roky seems content to remain in. More correctly, it's not that he's content to live in these conditions, it's that his mother's complete control over him and her distrust of psychiatry prevents him from getting the treatment that would benefit him.

The Erickson family could be considered the original Osbourne's, one big dysfunctional family. Much of the movie focuses on the daily interactions between Roky and his mother in Austin. There are also brief interviews with three of Roky's four brothers. The fourth brother, Sumner lives in Pittsburgh next door to Roger Erickson, Roky's father. Sumner maintains that through extensive counseling, he has been able to break free from his mother's domination and hold over him. As a result, Sumner becomes determined to wrestle Roky from his mother's guardianship so that he can receive proper treatment and medication.

Although the movie does not outright condemn Evelyn Erickson for her mismanagement of Roky, it does show that Roky improves after living with Sumner for a year, receiving counseling and presumably medication.
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