Roky Erickson Song of the Day: Bermuda

This is the song that led me to Roky Erickson. There’s a strange cover of this song on the Minutemen’s Three Way Tie For Last album, where Mike Watt is recorded playing a slow, acoustic version of the song over the phone.

Roky’s version, which kicks off 1986’s Don’t Slander Me album (Not an all-time classic like The Evil One, but still a pretty great record), is propulsive and hard-rockin’ and really sells the idea that Bermuda is an evil place with an irresistible allure.

My late wife Kirsten used to get enraged by this song. “Bermuda is a really nice place! Of course you want to stay! It’s beautiful!” But of course this isn’t about the real Bermuda so much as the idea of Bermuda.

Which you need to know a little bit about the 1970’s in order to fully get. The Bermuda Triangle, a particularly hard to navigate area of the Atlantic Ocean, has been the site of numerous airplane and ship disappearances. In the 1970’s, people proposed the idea that aliens were hanging out here and abducting people. Or that there was, like, a dimensional portal here, or whatever.

This idea was HUGE in the 70’s. As a kid, I was almost as scared of the Bermuda Triangle as I was of quicksand. Which is saying something.

So it’s here that Roky sets his song. In the innocent Devil’s Triangle (the more sinister alias of The Bermuda Triangle).

Does it call and haunt you? Make you wonder? Make you want to go?

Roky’s version on Spotify

Minutemen Phone version on Spotify misidentified as “Hittin’ the Bong”