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Roky Erickson (1947–2019), pioneering psychedelic rocker

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Founding member of the 13th Floor Elevators

Roky Erickson was a pioneering psychedelic rocker who founded the Texas band the 13th Floor Elevators as a teenager. The band had a regional hit song in the Southwest in 1966, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which made the lower levels of the national charts. Their debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, is a highly influential psychedelic garage rock masterpiece featuring Erickson’s vocal wailing. Erickson struggled with mental illness and spent some time in a mental hospital after an arrest for marijuana possession. He recovered enough later in life to release a couple of albums and perform live with various backing bands, reuniting for a show with the 13th Floor Elevators in 2015.

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Died: Friday, May 31, 2019 (Who else died on May 31?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 71.


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What they said about him: “Roky came to mean many things to many admirers and will continue to resonate with a legacy of remarkable style, talent, and poetic and artistic tales from beyond,” “It’s almost unfathomable to contemplate a world without Roky Erickson. He created his own musical galaxy and early on was an true inspiration.” —Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top

“Devastated to hear of Roky Erickson's passing. One of the reasons I began singing. A huge inspiration and giant in the history of rock. I used to call him every day in the 80's, he would actually pick up once every couple months and talk horror films with me. Such a loss. RIP.” —Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees

“Ahh Roky Erickson. So many beautiful songs. Love forever. R.I.P.” —Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers

Full obituary: Dallas News

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