Austin, ever a hotbed of un-Texas-like craziness, has yet another damaged songwriter to claim as a forgotten son. His name is Roky Erickson, former yowler for psychedelia blip the 13th Floor Elevators, whose revered status as late-’60s innovators stands in roughly inverse proportion to the number of people who have actually heard of them. After discovering scary drugs, Erickson fell into a brain-damaging spiral that derailed his career; shock treatments at a facility called Rusk certainly didn’t help. At the moment we check in with him, he’s living in a squalid apartment, tended to by his mother and siblings. (Lately, Erickson has made great strides, even performing live again.)
Following so closely on last year’s exquisitely sad The Devil and Daniel Johnston would be tough for any well-intentioned doc with similar subject matter. As it happens, You’re Gonna Miss Me also suffers from a more run-of-the-mill visual treatment (although Billy Gibbons’s beard remains ZZ-tops). Moreover, Erickson’s condition—he blares several TVs at once; he plays idly with a Mr. Potato Head—is more pitiable and not as dramatically compelling as Johnston’s overall dementia and creative paranoia, which almost seem like an outgrowth of his music. Comparisons aside, one senses that this profile has been made by a fan who assumes we’ll supply the pathos ourselves. And drug casualties are surely upsetting. But how can we miss someone we never really get to know?