Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS

Psychedelic/R&B group formed in 1966 in Austin TX. Lineup: Roky Erickson, vocals; Stacy Sutherland, guitar; Tommy Hall, jug; Benny Thurman, bass and violin; John Ike Walton, Ronnie Leatherman, drums. Erickson played guitar in the Austin R&B group the Spades; Sutherland, Thurman and Walton were the Linesmen (with vocalist Max Rainey) and recruited Erickson, who introduced Hall, whose jug-blowing was a bizarre sound complementing psychedelic lyrics often written by Erickson. They changed the name, signed with local International Artists label (Lelan Rogers, related to superstar Kenny Rogers, was an executive). Their lbums included The Psychedelic Sounds Of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators '66, pre-dating the first Grateful Dead LP in the psychedelic stakes, followed by Easter Everywhere (with Erick- son, Sutherland, Hall, Dan Galindo on bass, Danny Thomas on drums) and Thirteenth Floor Elevators Live '68, Bull Of The Woods '69, the first two issued on Radar UK. 'You're Gonna Miss Me' from the first LP was their closest thing to a hit, not quite reaching the top 50: they might have been forgotten had it not been included in the Nuggets compilation of psychedelia on Rhino. The LPs immediately became collectors' items, included in a 13-disc complete edition of International Artists output. (Even more obscure is the Spades' original version of 'You're Gonna Miss Me'.)

They disbanded in 1969; Erickson published Openers, a volume of poetry, and was hospitalized several times, his unique world view diagnosed as a mental problem. He made singles on Mars and Rhino; worked with group called Bleib Alien; in the Explosives with drummer Fred Krc; Elevators reissues led CBS to sign his group the Aliens of the period, whose 1980 LP (the title appeared to be in Arabic) was produced by Stu Cook (ex-Creedence), with Duane Alaksen, guitar; Bill Miller, autoharp; Steve Burgess, bass; Fuzzy Furioso, drums, semi-classic track 'Two Headed Dog'. CBS did not renew their option.