We lost a good one last week. On Friday, Roky Erickson died of undisclosed causes at the age of 71. Within certain circles, Erickson was a towering figure. The former frontman of Texan garage-rock monsters 13th Floor Elevators spent decades dealing with forced institutionalizations and mental health issues, and he made intense, singular alternate-reality classic rock songs that sounded like absolutely nobody else. In the process, he inspired a few different generations of musicians. One of them was Chelsea Wolfe, who shared an Erickson tribute when she learned the news of his passing.
Wolfe, the intense and atmospheric singer-songwriter has posted her cover of Erickson’s song “Night Of The Vampire,” as Brooklyn Vegan points out. The original “Night Of The Vampire” was a foreboding howl from Erickson’s 1981 solo album The Evil One. In her video, Wolfe does a solo-acoustic version of the song, capturing it in stark and unlit black-and-white. Her take on the song is haunted and lovely. Below, watch Wolfe’s cover, listen to Erickson’s original, and read what Wolfe has to say about her version.
On Facebook, Wolfe writes:
I’ve been stuck in a bit of a personal cage lately, feeling like I couldn’t share things that didn’t feel highly polished.. it was starting to become a source of anxiety for me, as I have a new album I’m announcing soon, and wanted to be able to share intimate moments from the creation of the record in my home, as well as stripped down versions of the songs, but haven’t felt like any of it was “good enough.”
today I got home from a long drive after hanging out with good friends until 4 in the morning, and learned that Roky had passed. he’s always been one of my favorites, and this song has been on my mind to cover for a while now, so it just seemed right: record it, share it. don’t overthink it, don’t worry about it being perfect. yea, I could do a more polished version, but this is the way it came out naturally, and I was shaking afterward, always a sign that I’ve opened myself up to something beyond myself. thank you Roky, for setting me free. ❤️CW