The Perfect Album For Your Halloween Playlist (And The Man Behind It)

The Perfect Album For Your Halloween Playlist (And The Man Behind It)

Meet Roky Erickson, one of rock music's most underrated talents.
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I have an annual tradition of dusting off my Halloween playlist every October 1st. I figure if we have to be subjected to Christmas music from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it’s only fair if Halloween music gets a month to itself. Every year, I find new songs to expand the playlist. Last year, this led to the discovery of ‘The Evil One,’ by Roky Erickson.

‘The Evil One’ is a garage rock album from 1981, mostly made up of songs inspired by horror movies. Roky (pronounced as ‘Rocky’) Erickson’s playful take on these dark themes makes for an off-beat, amusing, and thoroughly unique album. Particularly notable are ‘I Walked With a Zombie,’ ‘Two-Headed Dog,’ ‘Night of the Vampire,’ and ‘Bloody Hammer.’ But really, if you like rock music or horror, you should probably just listen to the whole album. Obviously a Halloween playlist needs classic picks like ‘Monster Mash,’ but if you’re looking for something a little more unexpected to up your playlist game this Halloween, make it ‘The Evil One.’

As great as the album is on its own, it becomes more interesting when you know a little about Roky Erickson. His musical career stretches back to the 1960s, when he was a member of The 13th Floor Elevators, one of the first early psychedelic rock bands. Erickson wrote “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which became the band’s biggest hit. The members of The 13th Floor Elevators were notorious for their drug use, which led to a persistent rivalry with the local authorities.

Eventually, police arrested Erickson for drug possession (he was found with a single joint), and he only avoided a prison sentence by pleading insanity. He was sent to a maximum security hospital for the mentally insane, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and given heavy medication and shock therapy. His heavy LSD usage hadn’t helped his mental health, and the treatment he received seems to have only made it worse. He did continue playing music in the hospital, forming a band with several convicted murderers.

After his release, he began recording music with a band called The Aliens, during which time he released ‘The Evil One.’ However, his managers capitalized on his mental state, pushing him into unfair contracts and cheating him out of his earnings. He was left to scrape by on Social Security checks, and his health, both mentally and physically, worsened over the next decade. At the time, he claimed to be an alien. He had also begun taking his neighbors’ mail and keeping it unopened in his home, apparently in an attempt to keep it safe for them. This led to his arrest for mail theft, and he was institutionalized again.

As hard as it is to believe, this story has a happy ending. After Erickson was released and continued to worsen in his mother’s care, his brother was granted custody over him in 2001. With his brother’s help, he’s made an amazing recovery, and even staged something of a musical comeback with live shows and new releases. After all these years, his talent is finally getting more exposure, and he’s doing better than ever. So this Halloween, check out Roky Erickson’s music. No Halloween playlist is complete without it.
Cover Image Credit: ^^RaviN^^

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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