Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Paradise Lost

Good buddy and pal Darren Hill passed along a DVD screener of Keven McAlester’s You’re Gonna Miss Me , which will most likely get classified as part of that seemingly endless contempo stream of rockumentaries, although it amounts to much, much, more than that. Darren, ex-rocker turned management guy has recently taken on the career of one Roky Erikson, (songwriter and singer for legendary Texas psychedelic wonders The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, the man behind the unforgettable garage rock nugget “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, a diagnosed schizophrenic and suspected acid casualty, a self-declared alien (outer space type), and a cult figure generally posited as the American answer to Syd Barrett),and the film is ostensibly the woebegone tale of Roky's travials, it's also a riveting companion to Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb(1994), and a doc as difficult, but much sadder to view. Roky’s mother emerges as a genuinely disturbing and pathetic combination of protector and foil, and the movie essentially treats Erikson’s talents and music peripherally, laying itself out as a dystopian tale of familial dysfunction, a sad and mournful lament for the elusive promise of talent, and yet another version of the Age of Aquarius as paradise lost, dissolute, and rotting. The movie initially gets close-up with the Roky of the present—bloated, intermittently lucid, in full decline, and then allows us to see the Roky of the past—a beautiful, Byronic rock and roll cowboy-poet, thus causing the viewer to contemplate all that came between, however sorry and maddening. A touching and skillful work, and a nightmare bookend to Jeff Feuerzeig’s 2005 The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Watch them both some weekend and then be sure to stay away from sharp objects and half-full pill bottles.

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