Roky Erickson – pioneer of the psychedelic rock genre with 13th Floor Elevators – dies at 71

Roky Erickson, the lead singer and songwriter for the psychedelic band 13th Floor Elevators, has died.

The Austin, Texas native was 71-years old.

Erickson, whose battles with drugs and mental health issues were well-chronicled, was considered a pioneer in the psych-rock genre beginning in the mid 1960s.

RIP: Psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson passed away in Austin, Texas on Friday at 71

RIP: Psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson passed away in Austin, Texas on Friday at 71

RIP: Psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson passed away in Austin, Texas on Friday at 71

Erickson’s brother, Mikel Erickson confirmed his passing on his Facebook page.

‘My brother Roky passed away peaceably today,’ he began in a caption of a photo of the two brothers laughing together.

‘Please allow us time. Music and laughter forever.’ 

Heavy heart: The musician's brother (center) confirmed his passing on Facebook

Heavy heart: The musician's brother (center) confirmed his passing on Facebook

Heavy heart: The musician’s brother (center) confirmed his passing on Facebook

Producer Bill Bentley also shared the sad news. He produced Roky‘s tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, which included performances by the likes of ZZ Top, R.E.M. Doug Sahm, among others. 

‘Roky lived in so many worlds, you couldn’t keep up with him. He lived so much, and not always on this planet,’ Bently told Variety.  

13th Floor Elevators released four albums of otherworldly psychedelia for independent label International Artists between 1966 and 1969.

The first two releases – The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators and Easter Everywhere – are considered classics in the psych-rock genre by fans and journalists alike.

Personal struggles: Erickson had well-chronicled battles with drugs and mental illness

Personal struggles: Erickson had well-chronicled battles with drugs and mental illness

Personal struggles: Erickson had well-chronicled battles with drugs and mental illness

The band would eventually fall apart and split due, in part, to Erickson’s drug use and mental health issues, which included being committed to psychiatric hospitals in Austin and Houston.  

Erickson’s battle with mental illness was covered in the 2007 documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me.

He would eventually return to music in the 1970s both as a live performer and recording artist.

In later years, he toured regularly, backed by such acts as the Black Angels, and could often be found performing on his favorite holiday, Halloween. 

A cause of death has not yet been determined.      

Link hienalouca.com

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