follow me on facebook follow me on Twitter follow me on YouTube  Concert Reviews - Photo Spreads - Tour News - Breaking News - Photo Gallery - Videos - Podcast Interviews - My Account
Band Encyclopedia - Live Music Venues - Press Releases - Music Blog Aggregator - Media Store - Staff & Contributors - Contact Us


Search

From The Artists Catalog

Band-opedia

[ Back | Home | Login ]

"13th Floor Elevators"   Bookmark and Share

13th Floor Elevators. (2009, January 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:54, January 20, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=13th_Floor_Elevators&oldid=261651712

The 13th Floor Elevators were an American rock band from Austin which existed 1965-1969[1]. During their career, the band released four LPs and seven 45s for the International Artists record label[2].

The 13th Floor Elevators found some commercial and artistic success in 1966-67, before dissolving amid legal troubles and drug use in late 1968. As one of the first psychedelic bands, their contemporary influence has been acknowledged by 1960s musicians such as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Peter Albin of Big Brother And The Holding Company, and Chris Gerniottis of Zakary Thaks. Their debut 45 "You're Gonna Miss Me", a national Billboard #55 hit in 1966, was featured on the 1972 compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, which is considered vital in the history of garage rock and the development of punk rock. Seminal punk band Television played their "Fire Engine" live in the mid-1970s. In the 1980s-90s, the 13th Floor Elevators influenced important bands such as Primal Scream and Spacemen 3, both of whom covered their songs. Noted Hollywood actor Johnny Depp praised the Elevators in a 2005 interview[3].

In Spring of 2009 the International Artists label will release a ten CD box set entitled Sign Of The 3 Eyed Men, which includes mono and stereo mixes of the original albums together with two albums of previously unreleased material and a number of rare live recordings.

The classic 13th Floor Elevators line-up was built around singer/guitarist Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, and guitarist Stacy Sutherland. The rhythm section went through several changes, with drummer John Ike Walton and bass player Ronnie Leatherman being the longest permanent members. Sutherland and Erickson were the band's primary writers of music, while most of the lyrics were written by Hall. Along with Erickson's powerful vocals, Hall's "electric jug" sound would become the band's signature in the early days. In July 1967, Walton and Leatherman left the band and were replaced by Danny Thomas (drums) and Dan Galindo (bass guitar). Ronnie Leatherman later returned for the fourth and final album, Bull Of The Woods.

The band's name has been given numerous explanations by various members of the band and its entourage, including being a play on the superstitions that lead to many tall buildings not having a 13th floor, and the fact that the letter "M" (for marijuana) is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet.[4] According to Walton, he suggested the name "Elevators" and Clementine Hall came back with the group's full name the next morning.[5]

The 13th Floor Elevators emerged on the local Austin music scene in December 1965, where they were contemporary to bands such as The Wig and The Babycakes, and later followed by Shiva's Headband and The Conqueroo. The band was formed when Roky Erickson left his group The Spades, and joined up with Stacy Sutherland, Benny Thurman, and John Ike Walton who had been playing Texas coastal towns as The Lingsmen.[4] Tommy Hall was instrumental in bringing the band members together, and joined the group as lyricist and electric jug player.

In early January 1966, the band was brought to Houston by producer Gordon Bynum to record two songs to be released as a 45 on his newly formed Contact label. The songs were Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me", and Hall-Sutherland's "Tried To Hide". The 45 was a major success in Austin, and made an impression in other Texas cities. Some months later, the International Artists label picked it up and re-released it.

Throughout the Spring of 1966, the group toured extensively in Texas, playing clubs in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. They also played on live teen dance shows on TV, such as Sumpin Else, in Dallas, and The Larry Kane Show in Houston. During the Summer, the IA re-release of "You're Gonna Miss Me" became popular outside Texas, especially in Miami, Detroit, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In October 1966, it peaked on the national Billboard chart at the #55 position. Prompted by the success of the 45 the Elevators toured the west coast, made two nationally televised appearances for Dick Clark, and played several dates at the San Francisco ballrooms The Fillmore and The Avalon.

The International Artists record label in Houston, also home to contemporary Texas underground groups such as Red Krayola and Bubble Puppy, signed the Elevators to a record contract and released the album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators in November 1966, which became popular among the burgeoning counterculture.[4] Tommy Hall's sleeve-notes for the album, which advocated chemical agents (such as LSD) as a gateway to a higher, 'non-Aristotelian' state of consciousness, has also contributed to the album's legendary status.

During their California tour the band shared bills with Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Great Society with Grace Slick, and Moby Grape. Upon returning to Texas in early 1967, they released a 45 "Levitation" and continued to play live in Austin, Houston and other Texan cities. Following a line-up change and many months of composition and rehearsal, November 1967 saw the release of a concept album, Easter Everywhere. Highlighted by the opening psychedelic epic "Slip Inside This House", the album is rated as their best by many. This record also featured a version of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", a version Dylan is rumored to have called his favorite.[4] Shortly before work began on Easter Everywhere, Leatherman and Walton left the band because of managerial disagreements with the band's label, as well as non-payment of royalties.[5] As a result of this, Walton was not credited in the Easter Everywhere sleevenotes, despite appearing on "Levitation" and "She Lives".

Singer Janis Joplin was a close associate of the band. She sang with the band at a few shows, and considered joining the group in Austin,[6] before she headed to San Francisco and joined Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her style of singing has been described as influenced by Roky Erickson's trademark screaming and yelping, as in "You're Gonna Miss Me".

Drug and legal problems resulted in turmoil for the band. In 1969, facing a marijuana possession charge, Erickson chose to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital rather than serve a prison term, signalling the end of the band's career.[4]

During the initial months of their existence as a band, the electric guitars used both by Roky Erickson and Stacy Sutherland were Gibson ES-335s. Sutherland's pioneering use of reverb and echo, and bluesy, acid-drenched guitar predates such bands as The Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Top. According to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top in an article that originally appeared in Vintage Guitar magazine, the guitars were run through "Black-Face" Twin Reverbs with both guitarists using external Fender "tank" reverb units and Gibson "Maestro" Fuzz-tones as distortion devices.[citation needed]

A special aspect of The Elevators' sound came from Tommy Hall's innovative electric jug. The jug, a crock-jug with a microphone held up to it while it was being blown, sounded somewhat like a cross between a minimoog and cuica drum.

The band was unique, even in the 1960s, in that they (at Tommy Hall's urging) played most of their live shows and recorded their albums while under the influence of LSD, and built their lifestyle and music around the psychedelic experience. Intellectual and esoteric influences helped shape their work, which shows traces of Gurdjieff, the General Semantics of Alfred Korzybski, the psychedelic philosophy of Timothy Leary, and Tantric meditation.

After Erickson pleaded insanity in response to drugs charges, he was committed to a mental hospital[citation needed] in 1969. At that point the Elevators had already dissolved, although local promotors, and International Artists, had made some attempts to keep the band's name alive.

Stacy Sutherland formed his own band, Ice, which performed only in Houston and never released any material. In 1969, after a battle with heroin addiction, he was imprisoned in Texas on drug charges, the culmination of several years of drug related trouble with the law. After his release Sutherland began to drink heavily. He continued to sporadically play music throughout the 1970s, occasionally with former members of the Elevators. Tragically, Stacy was accidentally shot and killed by his wife Bunny on August 26, 1978 during a domestic dispute, and is buried in Center Point, Texas[7].

Danny Galindo played bass with Jimmie Vaughan's (Stevie Ray's older brother) band Storm in Austin, Texas during the 1970s. He died in 2001 from complications of hepatitis C.

Danny Thomas left the 13th Floor Elevators in 1968 and was hired to perform with Delta blues guitarist Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins. After leaving Texas and returning to North Carolina he played from 1970-1997 with: Lou Curry Band, Dogmeat, and Bessie Mae's Dream. During this time, he owned his own delivery company called Gophers Inc. Prior to that he worked in accounting at Carolinas Medical Center (formerly Charlotte Memorial Hospital). He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Juanette, and they have two grown daughters, Christina Mason and Tiffany Johnson, and a son, Jason Brock.[citation needed]

Benny Thurman joined a string of other bands, most notably Mother Earth, with Powell St. John, and played with Plum Nelly in the 1970s.

Roky Erickson was released from hospital in 1973 and embarked upon a successful solo career that resulted in a CBS album produced by Stu Cook from Creedence Clearwater Revival. During the 1980s he struggled with mental illness and withdrew from public life for many years. However, in the 2000s he has re-emerged with one of his late 70s/early 80s backing bands, The Explosives, playing regular gigs including the Austin City Limits festival in September 2005, as well as Coachella in California, the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden and Montreal World Film festival in Canada.

Tommy Hall currently lives in downtown San Francisco. His crowded room is decorated with cobwebs and Sixties posters and is stacked to the ceiling with cassettes and videotapes, without a CD in sight. His ex-wife Clementine keeps in contact and visits him regularly.[8] In the 1980s he was rumored to be the true identity of Texas outsider musician Jandek, but this has since been disproven. He became a devout follower of Scientology in the '70s.

Various Elevators tribute bands exist, such as Tantric Sons, featuring John Walton and Ronnie Leatherman, The Tommy Hall Schedule, and Acid Tomb. Erickson's youngest brother Sumner Erickson covers many Elevators songs with his band The Texcentrics.

Today, the 13th Floor Elevators continues to influence new generations of musicians. In 1990, 21 contemporary bands "" including R.E.M., ZZ Top, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Primal Scream "" recorded covers of Elevators songs on Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, one of the first tribute albums, in what would become a fad. In 2005, a panel at the SXSW music festival discussed the music of the Elevators and Powell St. John, one of the Elevators' songwriters.

The song "You're Gonna Miss Me" was covered by influential Australian group Radio Birdman on their 1977 album Radios Appear.

Seminal 1980s drone/space-rock band Spacemen 3 were hugely influenced by the 13th Floor Elevators, covering Roller Coaster twice, for debut album Sound of Confusion and as a 17 minute version for debut EP "Walkin' With Jesus". Vocalist/guitarist Pete Kember also covered "Thru The Rhythm" with his post-Spacemen 3 project Spectrum.

Le Bonne Route, a 1996 album by Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman features a song titled 'Lunatics at the Edge of the World', which Tek described as "An ode to Syd Barrett and Roky Erickson."

In the 2000 movie High Fidelity, "You're Gonna Miss Me" was used in the opening scene and is the first song on the movie soundtrack.

In 2006, Dell Computers used "You're Gonna Miss Me" in one of their ads for their XPS laptop.

On April 24, 2007 during a radio promotion/interview before a concert, Jesse Lacey of Brand new credited the inspiration and a few lyrics for the song Degausser to Roky Erickson.

The band have also been an influence on the "stoner rock" scene the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Nebula and Names and Faces have regarded them as a big influence.

Noted Hollywood actor Johnny Depp praised the Elevators in a 2005 interview with Esquire Magazine: "Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, a band out of Texas. They were basically the first psychedelic-rock band. 1965. And if you listen to old 13th Floor Elevators stuff""Roky Erickson especially, his voice""and then go back and listen to early Led Zeppelin, you know that Robert Plant absolutely copped everything from Roky Erickson. And it's amazing. And Roky Erickson is sitting in Austin, Texas; he's just there. And Robert Plant had a huge hit. It always goes back to those guys, you know? I love those fucking guys."

4. Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators by Paul Drummond, foreword by Julian Cope (Process Media, December 2007)

13th Floor Elevators. (2009, January 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:54, January 20, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=13th_Floor_Elevators&oldid=261651712

This article has been read 930 times.

[ Back | Top | Home | Login ]

Search

Video Gallery
Interview with Paul Collins and The Beat


Photo Gallery
Click Here to Post!!!


Goodyear Pimps; Heartbreakers Gentl...


Concert Reviews

  - Concert Review Primus at...
  - Slayer thrashes Austins ...
  - Hanging out with Slayer ...
  - Austin City Limits Live ...
  - Weezers Two Night Stand ...
  - Primus at Stubbs BarBQ A...
  - Sanctum Sully at Pisgah ...
  - The Moody Blues at ACL L...
  - Interpol at the Austin M...
  - Rise Against at Stubbs B...
  - Gogol Bordello at Stubbs...
  - Coheed and Cambria at St...
  - Guster at Stubbs BarBQ A...
  - Scissor Sisters at Stubb...
  - Cold War Kids at Stubbs ...
  - Styx at ACL Live at the ...
  - Tokyo Police Club at La ...
  - Suicidal Tendencies at W...
  - Black Crowes Massey Hal...
  - Freak Show Festival with...
  - American Carnage tears t...
  - More...


Photo Spreads

  - Suicidal Tendencies at A...
  - Exodus at ACL Live
  - Slayer at Auditorium Sho...
  - They Might Be Giants at ...
  - Counting Crows at Stubbs...
  - Steel Panther Sound Aca...
  - Buffy Sainte Marie Toro...
  - James Durbin at Stubbs B...
  - Evanescense at Stubbs Ba...
  - Sleigh Bells Phoenix Co...
  - Todd Rundgren at La Zona...
  - Arctic Monkeys Air Cana...
  - Lacuna Coil at ACL Live ...
  - Megadeth at ACL Live at ...
  - Gladys Knight at ACL Liv...
  - Earth Wind and Fire at A...
  - Polyphonic Spree at La Z...
  - The Fray The Opera Hous...
  - Willie Nelsons New Years...
  - Better Than Ezra at ACL ...
  - Nick Lowe at ACL Live at...
  - More...


Tour News

  - The Sword Announces New ...
  - As I Lay Dying Celebrate...
  - Shonen Knife launches No...
  - Pianos Become Teeth Tour...
  - Testament Tours In Suppo...
  - Thrust Management Tour S...
  - Five Finger Death Punch ...
  - Seahaven Tour Dates for ...
  - Fearless Friends Tours i...
  - Textures and The Contort...
  - Pentimento Kicks Off Pen...
  - Plug In Stereo Announces...
  - Moving Mountains Announc...
  - Star City Meltdown Annou...
  - Miss May Is No Guts No G...
  - Hawthorne Heights Announ...
  - Drive A Plays In Rock Al...
  - MADBALL tours next week
  - Five Finger Death Punch ...
  - Hostage Calm Tours with ...
  - Pentimento Starts Northe...
  - More...


Podcasts

  - Podcast Slayers Kerry Ki...
  - Podcast Interview with J...
  - Podcast Interview with J...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast Interview with A...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast Interview with V...
  - Videocast The Undergrou...
  - Podcast Interview with L...
  - Podcast NXNE Artist Spot...
  - Podcast NXNE Artist Spot...
  - Podcast NXNE Artist Spot...
  - Podcast Interview with C...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - Podcast SXSW Artist Spot...
  - More...


Sponsors