You're Gonna Miss Me

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Palm Pictures

NEW YORK -- The latest in what apparently has become a minitrend of documentaries about musicians suffering from mental illness (Brian Wilson, Daniel Johnston), "You're Gonna Miss Me" chronicles the troubled life and career of Roky Erickson. The frontman for the highly influential psychedelic rock group the 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson has spent the past few decades in a downward spiral of drug addiction, incarceration and mental illness, including a long stint at an institution in which he was subjected to crippling electric-shock treatments.

Filmmaker Keven McAlester chronicles the story in reasonably effective fashion, even if there's an occasional slapdash quality to this effort that reduces its overall impact. It doesn't help matters that its subject, who has recently resumed performing, is not quite a singular musical genius on the order of Johnston.

This story, however, does boast a galvanizing familial drama, pitting Erickson's mother -- who for years refused him medical treatment (not, as the film makes clear, without some good reasons) in favor of a religious approach -- against his younger brother, who gained custody over him a few years ago.

There's an undeniable fascination to watching the extensive footage of Erickson, whose yowling, manic vocals on display in the extensive archival performance footage contrasts dramatically with scenes of him in more recent times, ambling about in a bathrobe while clutching a Mr. Potato Head.
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