By Chris Junior
G.G. Allin, Wendy O. Williams of the Plastmatics, Milo from The Descendents: Very few fans would dispute their classification and standing as punk rock musicians.
Roky Erickson, though, isn’t an artist who is traditionally recognized as punk. And this was something that really mattered to Clint Weiler of Aggronautix. Weiler’s Pennsylvania-based company specializes in making limited-edition Throbblehead statues of punk icons, but he really wasn’t sure a 7-inch Erickson figure would fit his product line. Erickson is best known as the leader of The 13th Floor Elevators, a Texas band credited with pioneering the psychedelic rock movement of the late 1960s, and for his science fiction- and horror-themed solo albums that followed.
“But if you think about it,” Weiler says, “he’s pretty punk in many ways — his daring desire to push the envelope when making music and his long history of recording for indie labels.”
Weiler presented his idea for an Erickson figure to the artist’s manager, who almost immediately suggested it should depict the way Erickson looked around the time of “The Evil One,” his 1981 album.
“We had to make sure to get his beard as unkempt as possible working with a polyresin mold,” Weiler says. “But it came out really good, and Roky likes it.”
Weiler knows this firsthand: During this year’s South by Southwest music conference/festival in Austin, Texas, he met Erickson and presented him with a prototype of his Throbblehead figure.
“It was during his event called the Roky Erickson Psychedelic Ice Cream Social,” Weiler recalls. “It was the highlight of my whole time there. It was right before he was about to play, and he was on a tour bus that was being used for the performers. I got on the bus and presented it to Roky. He was very happy with it. He likes collectibles, and he thanked me for doing it.”
Backed by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, Erickson hit the stage and played a bunch of songs from “The Evil One,” which made the whole experience even more special, Weiler says.
Just like many of the other Aggronautix Throbblehead collectibles, the Roky Erickson figure is priced at $19.95 — and for good reason, according to Weiler.
“Punks aren’t traditionally wealthy, so to have something like this for about $20 seems fair,” he explains. “And I guess just the ideology behind it is you shouldn’t have to pay more than 20 bucks for one of these, so let’s just keep it at that.”
The Roky Erickson Throbblehead figure is limited to 1,000 numbered pieces. For more information about this Aggronautix collectible and the company’s other products, visit www.aggronautix.com.
Bend an elbow with Robert Johnson’s scary brew
Last year it was the creation of a limited-edition beer marking the 40th anniversary of jazz great Miles Davis’ revered “Bitches Brew” album.
This year, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware has done the same to commemorate the 100th birthday of blues legend Robert Johnson.
Introduced by Dogfish in May, the super-hoppy Hellhound on My Ale is available in Washington, D.C., and in more than 20 states, including New York, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado and California.
According to Dogfish founder/president Sam Calagione, the Johnson ale was created as a way to “celebrate his artistry and his centennial simultaneously. Johnson’s playing was so complex and full that his one guitar sounded like two. His voice and lyrics were as distinct as his guitar playing and stood out as distinct beyond the other blues musicians of the day.”
Calagione adds, “Beyond that, you have the legend of Johnson selling his soul to the devil in return for mastery of the guitar. We wanted to make an ale that paid tribute to all that.”
Dogfish’s Hellhound on My Ale is part of a partnership with Legacy Recordings, which is honoring Johnson with the multifaceted Columbia/Legacy boxed set “Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters — Centennial Edition.” Priced at $349, this boxed set (encompassing stand-alone vinyl, CD and DVD components) is available exclusively at www.thecompleterobertjohnson.com.
To learn more about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Hellhound on My Ale, visit www.robertjohnsonhellhoundale.com.