It's certainly more about Roky than it is about the Elevators, but there is a lot of juicy stuff about the band nonetheless. As is so often the case, one comes away wondering "what could have been"? What could have been if they had better production, better management, better decisions in terms of drug use? But more than that cast of woulda, shoulda, coulda usual suspects, you wonder what could have been if Roky had better legal counsel, a better mother (the home film footage of mom's self-made Beast King movie is very, very odd), a better father, and of course, a better sense of what is real and what is not real. What could have been? As with Syd Barrett, one gets the sense that Roky was a brilliant musical mind that heard things that others didn't. But you also get the sense, as with Barett, that things were terribly wrong inside the head. Add an alleged 300 drops of LSD, and suddenly the cracks in the House of Usher become unfixable fissures.
Needless to say, I turned to their records not long after watching the doc. More and more these days I turn to their second album, Easter Everywhere. While it is not as "cool" as Psychedelic Sounds of..., EE has better production values and represents some of the bands' best songwriting.
The standout from the album, in my opinion, is the sublime "I Had To Tell You." I can't get enough of it. It's filled with warbly out of tune guitar, funky Rick Danko-like (of The Band) harmonies, a twittering straight tuned harmonica that hits the highest registers, and some of the best lyrics you can get outside of Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry.
The line from the song that always tugs at my ears is a quixotic line that plays up the contradiction between control and chaos. A line that raises hope in the same instance that it dashes it. A vulnerable Erickson pleades, "If you fear I'll lose my spirit, like a drunkards wasted wine, don't you even think about it, I'm feeling fine."
It never fails to get me.
Just click on the post title to listen to it. I hope you enjoy it half as much as I do.