20TH CENTURY: 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS

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       Easily one of the most important bands of the era that truly serves as some mysterious sun-drenched missing link between 50's rock n'roll and 60's psychedelic is Texas', The 13th Floor Elevators. Arriving in the Austin music scene in December of 1965, they quickly developed a noticeably darker and more garage rock approach to the psychedelia sound synonymous with the San Francisco scene of the time. Utilizing hypnotic melodies that tend to lean more towards bluesy and menacing rather than spaced-out, peace and love.

       Forming when Rocky Erickson left his group The Spades, he teamed up with Stacy Sutherland's band The Lingsmen thanks in part to Tommy Hall, who would become the band's jug player. After their debut single "You're Gonna Miss Me" was released on the label Contact, they were quickly signed to International Artists which not only released the first single but eventually all 4 of their albums alongside all seven of the band's singles.

        While touring California the band would end up touring with acts the likes of The Great Society with Grace Slick and Moby Grape, however their releases continued to suffer from dwindling sales. The combination of Roky Erickson's fragile mental state paired with the erratic nature of Tommy Hall due to his drug habits not only reduced the overall quality of the band's music but also fueled conflicts and line-up changes in the group.

       By 1969 the band faced a number of problems including drug abuse and legal disputes, in order to avoid a prison sentence for a marijuana possession charge Roky chose to be admitted into a psychiatric facility promptly ending the band. Though the band never reformed after his release he managed to release a number of incredible solo albums as Roky Erickson and the Aliens. Their unmistakable influence continues to carry on their legacy and can be heard everywhere from The White Stripes, ZZ Top The Jesus and Mary Chain and even Janis Joplin's singing style.

CHRIS KENNEALLY