Check out this Roky Erickson and the Aliens 45! It’s signed by Billy Alienate! Look, you can see his scrawl right by my finger. It’s actually TWO copies, both test pressings! The front sleeve of the one is signed by Roky. Billy made sure to get his signature all over the rest. And, I’ll be durned, it’s a test pressing! I wonder what Billy’s signature, on an actual test pressing, is worth?
The Aliens were part of, what became known as, the “California Group”. The original, original Roky Erickson solo band was known as Bleib Alien. They were comprised of Texans and were all friends of Roky. The Great Jerry Lightfoot was on lead guitar. It was Bleib Alien that worked up all of those solo songs that we have come to know and love.
When Bleib Alien approached Doug Sahm about recording he was keen to do this but wanted HIS band to back Roky. This produced the famous Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog) bw Starry Eyes 45.
Somewhere along the line this California Group stepped in and Bleib Alien was no more. The California Group shortened the name to “The Aliens” and then set about looking for a record deal. This yielded the Bermuda bw The Interpreter 45 shown in these pictures.
The California Group went on to do horrible things to Roky. Roky was in a fragile state and his “Manager”, the Leader of the California Group, had Roky sign the Rights over to his whole solo catalog. Yup, that’s true. Billy Alienate is that guy’s best buddy. Ya getting the picture here?
It culminated in the days of the mid-Nineties, when Roky was living in desperate circumstances, and the California Group held ALL of his solo catalog Rights. They weren’t paying out a dime either. These were Roky’s, supposed, “friends”.
It took the creation of the Roky CD Club to begin funneling that, much needed, extra dough to Roky. See… we couldn’t call anything a “payment” or “Royalty” because Roky’s FRIENDS, the California Group, would swoop down and force the money into an escrow account to be determined after the LAWSUIT. See… these were “really good” friends of Roky Erickson and Billy Alienate was a core part of that crowd.
It took awhile, but the Roky CD Club cut the whole, pus-ridden, sac open. Now, the California Group are hiding like the bitches that they are. Roky is flying high and the Roky CD Club is entering a new era of glory.