Featuring the yelping vocals and visionary, occasionally demented lyrics of Roky Erickson, the 13th Floor Elevators were one of the original acid rock bands. Formed in Texas in the mid-’60s, the Elevators started as a garage rock outfit, scoring their one and only modest national hit with “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” While Erickson’s loopy persona and Tommy Hall’s odd “jug” percussion were the band’s most distinguishing features, several members of the group’s original lineup contributed strong material to their albums. Trips to San Francisco established the group as an up-and-coming underground favorite, but Erickson’s problems with drugs and the police led to the singer’s commission to a state mental hospital in the late ‘60s, an ordeal from which he has never fully recovered.
It’s said that the 13th Floor Elevators were the first band to call themselves “Psychedelic”. Nowadays, calling something ‘psychedelic’ is the same as calling something ‘retro’, it’s a catch-all that usually refers more to fashion than anything else. Not so with the 13th Floor Elevators. For them, ‘psychedelic’ referred specifically to their lifestyle. The 15 songs on this collection represent the best performances from the existing 1966 and 1967 live tapes. The energy is pure electricity, and if you play it loud enough, you’ll almost certainly get a contact high.
Click here for the lead-off track, the outrageous ROLLER COASTER