Pioneering psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson dies aged 71
He was a founder member of the 13th Floor Elevators.
Roky Erickson, who fronted the Austin-based 1960s psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators, has died at the age of 71.
The blue-eyed, dark-haired Texan’s sinuous lead guitar and wailing vocals did not turn him into a chart topper, but they cemented his role as a musician’s musician.
The 13th Floor Elevators are perhaps best known for Erickson’s song You’re Gonna Miss Me, which was a hit in the US.
Primal Scream covered the band’s 1967 song Slip Inside This House on their Screamadelica album.
Fans included everyone from Lenny Kaye and the Swedish metal group Ghost, who covered his If You Have Ghosts, to ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
A 1990 tribute album to Erickson, Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye, attracted the likes of REM, T-Bone Burnett, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Julian Cope, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Primal Scream and ZZ Top.
Erickson’s death was announced by his brother Mikel Erickson on Facebook and confirmed by his agent, Dave Kaplan.
The cause and location of death were not revealed.
ZZ Top’s Gibbons said in a statement: “It’s almost unfathomable to contemplate a world without Roky Erickson. He created his own musical galaxy and early on was a true inspiration.”
After the trippy 13th Floor Elevators dissolved in the face of drug arrests and instability, Erickson entered an insanity plea to a marijuana possession charge in the early 1970s and ended up spending some time in an institution.
A short-lived effort to reunite the Elevators followed. Erickson produced a book of poetry – Openers – and continued making music, including the songs Two Headed Dog and the LP The Evil One.
In 1986, he released the album Don’t Slander Me, and a 2005 documentary by Keven McAlester about him was called You’re Gonna Miss Me.
His later albums include the mid-1990s effort, All That May Do My Rhyme, and a 2010 collaboration with Okkervil River, True Love Cast Out All Evil.