Roky Erickson, one-time lead singer of psychedelic band 13th Floor Elevators, has died in Austin, Texas at the age of 71.
Roky started 13th Floor Elevators in Austin in 1965. He almost nabbed Janis Joplin into line-up but instead, the Texan singer decided to move to San Francisco instead. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top cites 13th Floor Elevators as a major influence on his career.
13th Floor Elevators broke up in 1969 but had reunions in 1973, 1984 and 2015.
Erickson was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1969 and was treated at various hospitals across Texas until 1974. He withdrew from performing while he dealt with his issues and returned in 1995 with the ‘All That May Do My Rhyme’ album on King Coffey’s Trance Syndicate label.
His brother Sumner was granted legal custody of Roky in 2001 and established a trust to pay for Roky’s medical and legal bills. His story is told in the 2005 movie ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’.
By 2005 Roky was off medication, voted for the first time and bought a Volvo. He played 11 gigs in Austin that year.
In 2007 he played Coachella, performed at Royal Festival Hall in London and toured Europe.
In 2012 he toured Australia for the first time playing at Golden Plains.
Roky’s final album True Love Cast Out All Evil was released in 2015.