13th Floor Elevators leader Roky Erickson dies at 71

Singer Roky Erickson, one of the top names in psychedelic rock, died on Saturday (1) in Austin, Texas, at age 71. The American became known as the leader of the 13th Floor Elevators group.

Erickson’s death was confirmed by his brother in a Facebook post. “My brother Roky died in peace today, please give us time, music and laughter forever,” said Mikel Erickson. The cause of death was not revealed.

Erickson was the lead singer of 13th Floor Elevators, a psychedelic rock band from Austin, the singer’s hometown. The group was born in 1965 and their first album, “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators”, is considered the first psychedelic rock record.

In 2015 the band reunited during the Levitation festival in Austin, whose name pays tribute to one of the group’s most famous songs.

The Elevators were the first band to refer to their music as psychedelic rock, with the first-known use of the term appearing on their business card in January 1966. The 2005 documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me specifically credits Tommy Hall with coining the term “psychedelic rock”, although artists such as the Holy Modal Rounders and the Deep had described their music as “psychedelic” earlier.

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.

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Rafael Polcaro: I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG