On the recording of Roky Erickson’s “True Love Cast Out All Evil” | Will Sheff

For the completists;

A month after his arrest, Roky was brought to trial before Austin judge Mace Thurman. He had no money to hire legal representation, so the court appointed him an attorney who – in a desperate bid to avoid his client being sent to a state prison – advised him to plead insanity. He was sent to the Austin State Hospital and diagnosed with “acute and undifferentiated” schizophrenia.  Upon his diagnosis, Judge Thurman ordered the 22-year-old to be indefinitely incarcerated at the Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane.

At Rusk, intake staff shaved Roky and cropped off his hair and took him to meet his fellow inmates, most of whom had been imprisoned for murder, assault and rape. Over the two years he spent at Rusk, Roky was repeatedly subjected to shock treatment and kept sedated with heavy doses of Thorazine. His days were spent mopping the prison hallways and doing fieldwork supervised by guards on horseback. Before long, he decided to block out all memory of his past career as a musician.

[via Will Sheff]


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