Roky Erickson, Psychedelic Rock Visionary, Dies at 71
Psychedelic rock pioneer and founder of the influential 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson, has died at the age of 71.
No cause of death has been made public at press time. A statement in remembrance of Erickson was posted on his Facebook page, alongside a tribute from ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, who counted Erickson as a massive influence.
The statement reads,
Roky Erickson, an heroic icon of modern rock & roll and one of the best friends the music ever had, died in Austin, Texas today. Born there on July 15, 1947, Erickson had a visionary zeal rarely seen in 1965 when he co-founded the 13th Floor Elevators. The band's original songs, many written with lyricist Tommy Hall, coupled with Erickson's super-charged vocals and guitar sparked the psychedelic music revolution in the mid-1960s, and led to a new role of what rock could be. Erickson never wavered from that path, and while he faced incredible challenges at different points in his life, his courage always led him on to new musical adventures, one he continued without compromise his entire life. The family asks for privacy while they deal with the loss of a son, brother, husband and father.
Furthermore, Gibbons offered some touching words in Erickson's memory:
Roky Erickson has moved on. Roky came to mean many things to many admirers and will continue to resonate with a legacy of remarkable style, talent, and poetic and artistic tales from beyond. As a long standing friend and follower of Roky’s amazing performing abilities and aa a guitarist and singer, I can only relate the far reaching impact he and his mates in The Thirteenth Floor Elevators brought to the fore with their eerily magnetic psychedelic sounds. It’s almost unfathomable to contemplate a world without Roky Erickson. He created his own musical galaxy and early on was an true inspiration. Even now, Roky is a source of creative energy of the first order. It’s really a circumstance where he continues to provide the requisite "Reverberation." Something he predicted when he sang "You're Gonna Miss Me"…We certainly do know now that he’s at one with the universe. - - - Billy F Gibbons
Like many other bands of the mid-to-late '60s, 13th Floor Elevator's tenure was short but prolific as the group authored four full length albums between their 1965 formation and 1969 dissolution. They were among the very first psychedelic rock bands.
Following the band's breakup, Erickson continued making music, first under the banner Roky Erickson and the Aliens and the moved on as a solo artist, splitting off as Roky Erickson and the Resurrectionists for a 1993 record.
The musician's name became a little more prominent in hard rock and metal circles in 2013 when Ghost elected to cover "If You Have Ghosts," an Erickson classic, on the If You Have Ghost EP.
Our condolences to the Erickson family and all who knew Erickson.
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