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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tommy Hall & Roky Erickson Prints Offered by Clementine Hall


Dear fans of the 13th Floor Elevators - Founding member of the 13th Floor Elevators, Ms. Clementine Hall, is offering individually signed prints of drawings that she did of founding members of the 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson & Tommy Hall. These are a strictly limited edition and will be artist quality copies produced on archival quality stock and individually signed by Ms. Hall. If you ever wanted to own something to remind you of the mighty 'Elevators NOW is your chance.


The price of the print will be $35.00 (postage anywhere in the world included) for one print (Tommy or Roky) and $60.00 for two (Tommy or Roky) and $100.00 for two sets (four).

All proceeds go to Ms. Hall's ongoing financial needs.

Mail checks here:

Clementine Hall

6537 Madrone Drive
Kelseyville, CA 95451

Paypal here: clementinehall13@aol.com 




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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

13th Floor Elevators Reunion - Levitation 5/10/15

13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
As my friend Sheldon said on the 13th Floor Elevators / Roky Erickson Facebook Group: "I went to the reunion with low expectations, I didn't know if Roky would be able to get it together but they honestly blew me away. It was everything I thought it could be and then some."


13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
That pretty much sums it up for me too for the 13th Floor Elevators Reunion. I flew into Austin in the 8th amid dire weather predictions of "100%" chance of rain and was worried that the 13th Floor Elevators' big moment would be washed out. There's something about torrential downpours that puts a damper on any concert. If it had rained and hailed at the Beatles' Shea Stadium show, or Jimi's Monterey Pop debut, we would probably be telling a different story about those events today. Throw in the fact that the 13th Floor Elevators, along with Moby Grape, have to be one of THE unluckiest bands on the planet (if you believe in luck) and the weather reports had many fans, including myself, apprehensive. Me? I was going to the dollar store and investing in a poncho.


13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
We had the Fan Meet-Up, at Matt's El Rancho in South Austin, the day before on the 9th and the weather held out. There were just a few sprinkles while we set up and then it was smooth sailing after 1:00 pm when the folks arrived. We had about 30 people show up including
John Ike Walton, Drummer for the 'Elevators. I have known John Ike for fifteen years but this was the first time that I met him in the flesh and, I must say, what a nice man. He smiled the whole time, posed for pictures, and was very nice and charming. Jack Ortman showed up and ran the exhibits which included a 1966 "Spaceman" poster signed by the band
AND Chet Helms, a copy of the first edition of Openers, a Rusk master tape on reel to reel, more posters, more books, more vinyl, more... Mal Thursday showed up and announced that he has struck a cool distribution deal for his syndicated radio show. Mikel Erickson was there. The event went on for approximately two hours and was very enjoyable.



The day of the show I hung out with friends and decided to go to the event later. I was strictly there to see the 'Elevators. Besides, I'm getting too old to walk around a concert site all day, carrying a chair, and eating turkey asshole & guts hotdogs or eating scrub burgers for $12.00. No, I was much better off hanging with my, like-minded, friends at their homes.


Going into the show, I got separated from my friends and had to make the home-stretch of the drive myself. I stopped at the Austin Airport Parking Area and a kind Attendant called Carson Creek Ranch up on his phone/map and gave me very specific directions. I drove in, parked, and walked right into the event. Nobody asked me for a ticket or nothing! I just strolled right in.
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators Reunion

I got there right as the Black Angels were about to come on and I walked up to the Main Stage and set up my chair. They, the Black Angels, were really good. Their sound lends itself to festivals and huge sound systems. The sound system was wailing out this weird music where the two Guitarists had the echo turned UP and were flanging it apart into many different levels and abstractions. They really got that Syd Barrett vibe going. Some of the people I came with said that the Black Angels didn't play songs but drones and it all sounded the same. Some of it sounded similar but I say that was a good thing. It was just trippy music blaring out of the huge stacks and it was cool to watch all of the kids on their various drugs and mushrooms twitch and sway about. Plus, they had a huge screen behind them showing trippy patterns and videos.



Then the 'Angels were over and it was time for the 13th Floor Elevators. I moved my seat up to ten feet across from the soundboard tent. People began texting me asking if the band was playing yet...


After a bit the 13th Floor Elevators ambled out onto the stage and launched into She Lives. My thirty year wait was over. The sound on She Lives was a little light, like the band was feeling the vibe and equipment out. Additionally, Tommy was pretty high up in the mix and making his vocalizations. I say "vocalizations" because, for me, the mystery of *how* does he make that sound with the jug has been solved. The jug is merely a prop and Tommy is making those sounds with his mouth. Maybe the jug provides a bit of an echo to the vocalizations but that's it. The sound was crystal clear and, obviously, Tommy was making the sounds by mouth. The band got some good three part harmonies going during this song. Roky sounded good and strong.



Fire Engine was up next and Tommy did a fair approximation of a Fire Engine and then went back into his vocalizations. Thankfully, this was the last song that Tommy was "up" in the mix for. After Fire Engine, his contributions were muted more by the Sound People. To me, Tommy's contributions are a distraction and have almost nothing to do with the song except for the stray vocalization for Fire Engine. I was glad when his jug was turned down a bit in the mix.




Next up came Earthquake and it was a real stomper. The two Guitarists had their echo units on "high" and everything was really psychedelic sounding. After Earthquake came Tried to Hide and I mistook it for Levitation at the beginning. Both songs sound a bit similar at the beginning.



Up next was their Magnum Opus - Slip Inside This House! Roky remembered all the words and didn't drop the beat! It was perfect! And face it, this is a difficult song. At the very end the band did a "jam" that was really tasty. I can die now.





13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
Then came Splash 1, followed by Kingdom of Heaven, these songs go very well together and both speak of spirituality and a religious experience. It was very cool to perform these songs together.

Up next was the curveball, Nobody to Love, Stacy's song off of Easter Everywhere. Roky did a fantastic job and this was a true Stacy Sutherland tribute.
13th Floor Elevators Reunion
13th Floor Elevators reunion

Then came the two "trip" songs: Reverberation and Roller Coaster. Reverberation is about throwing caution and doubt into the wind and going for it, with a strong dose, while tripping. Roller Coaster is probably the most accurate and harrowing description of the LSD experience ever put to lyric and music. All of the guitars' effects were on "high" and it was bliss; the perfect mix of garage and psych. After it was over the 'Elevators left the stage.
br />br />br />
After a bit they returned for what could only be You're Gonna Miss Me. Roky had some mike issues in the beginning that had to be sorted through but he emerged from that strong. The band ripped through a quick version of YGMM and it was over. The whole experience lasted about sixty minutes. Everything was taken off of the first two albums with nothing coming from Bull of the Woods or the fake live album.




It was great! They totally pulled it off!

SETLIST:

She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)

Fire Engine
Earthquake
Tried to Hide
Slip Inside This House
(I’ve Got) Levitation
Splash 1
Kingdom of Heaven
Nobody to Love
Reverberation (Doubt)
Roller Coaster
enc. You’re Gonna Miss Me.


Some photographs courtesy of Michael Passman. Website:
http://modrockerphotography.blogspot.com

Some photographs courtesy of Lincoln Morrison. Website:
http://www.lincolnmorrison.com


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Monday, April 13, 2015

13th Floor Elevators Reunion Gathering of Fans

13th Floor Elevators Reunion
On Saturday, May 9th, 2015 @ 1:00 pm, the day before the historic 13th Floor Elevators reunion at the Levitation Festival, fans of the band will be meeting at Matt's El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in South Austin. Matt's has been in business since 1952 and its almost certain that the 13th Floor Elevators themselves ate there.

13th Floor Elevators Reunion
Matt's has the room and the, all important, outdoor patio. The food and drinks are excellent I am told. Their address is: 2613 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704, URL: www.mattselrancho.com, phone: (512) 462-9333.

13th Floor Elevators Reunion
It will be so good to put some faces with names and group nom-de-plumes. Of course, this gathering is put on by the original Texas-Psych-13th-Floor-Elevators-Anything group on the Internet, the ORIGINAL "Roky" Yahoogroup; now thriving on Facebook all these years. We have split into two groups on Facebook: a Texas Psych group and the 13th Floor Elevators group.

So... see ya at Matt's El Rancho, on South Lamar, the day before the gig! Look for some "special guests" too! Over and out!

13th Floor Elevators Reunion


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

13th Floor Elevators - Such a Short Time: James Wilson

13th Floor Elevators
13th Floor Elevators
The summer of 1966, the music scene in Houston, the country actually, began to change. The counter culture, the underground, the hippies, whatever they were called, had begun attracting widespread attention and momentum. Some of the attention was good, an infatuation, a desire to join in. Young people were intrigued by the idea of personal freedom and expression. However, a lot of the attention was unwanted. More new people started coming around, people that had heard of what was going on and wanted to check it out. Many wanted to be a part of the new thing that was going on, but brought the old attitudes with them.

13th Floor Elevators
However, as the underground became trendy, it also brought with it new places to see bands. The area by Buffalo Bayou was being redeveloped into Allen’s Landing. It became a hippie entertainment district with Love Street and other clubs, head shops and clothing boutiques, and large crowds of people. Other places, their names are lost to me, opened closer to downtown.
13th Floor Elevators
One name that I do remember is The Cellar. I kept hearing about a band playing there called American Blues. They were supposed to be really good and the guys had blue hair. I finally got to see them a couple of times. Their music was good but not memorable. Plus, I was really disappointed that they no longer had blue hair. I really wanted to see the guys with blue hair. Someone told that they quit dyeing their hair because it was too hard on it.
13th Floor Elevators

Another band that played there was Red Crayola. They were a hardcore hippie band with a style that was the future of the movement. Their clothing wasn’t the flamboyant mod/victorian style that was popular, but more down to earth, simpler really. Mayo Thompson, with super long hair and a big full beard, wore bib overalls while leading a pack of hippies making cerebral, visionary music. Their music was freestyle and adventurous while making a statement, much like Zappa. It was all part of the movement gaining popularity.
  
As I look back now, I can’t remember a particular timeline to 1966. Much is a jumble of memories that I am unable to untangle. I went to so many different places and met a lot of people. There was no need to plan. Every night was a new adventure. I could go anywhere and run into someone to hang out with.
13th Floor Elevators

Houston was a great place to be, with something to do every night. Sometimes, it would be a gathering out in the woods near southwest Houston. People would park by the bayou and then just wander through the trees. One never knew just what adventure could be found. Sometimes you would find a group sharing a bottle or a bowl. Sometimes a group would be playing a silly made-up game. Always kind and generous, at least, until the parties became well known.

13th Floor Elevators
That summer, a number of big music acts came to Houston. The highlights were probably the Beatles and, the following week, the Stones. My problem was that I could only afford one show. I thought the Beatles were kinda lame and I knew that the Stones were really good, so I picked The Stones.
13th Floor Elevators

Little did I know that I would get to see the Stones several more times, while 1966 was the Beatles last tour. It really doesn’t bother me much, I still think the Beatles are kinda lame, and I got to see the Stones with Brian Jones. I can still visualize him sitting cross-legged playing the sitar, while the band did “Paint It Black”. It is still my favorite Stones song.
13th Floor Elevators

The audience at both shows was mainly young girls, whose constant screaming drowned out any hope of appreciating the music. Thankfully, as the music business became bigger, shows became more about the music and the screaming went away. Sadly, as the music scene grew, it brought with it the excesses and egos of the seventies that have carried on to this day.

13th Floor Elevators

One of highlights of that summer, La Maison reopened in the old church. The church was a small, white, slightly rectangular building. The only floor was ground level. The side walls had a series of evenly spaced windows. It was just like many other small churches across the country. One entered through the front door into a small foyer, then into a large open room where the pews had been removed. On the far side was where the altar and choir had been, about four feet higher than the floor. This was where the bands set up. On weekends the place would be packed, the streets were jammed with parked cars for blocks around. On the radio, “Summer in the City” was the song of the summer and described the summer perfectly.

13th Floor Elevators

I was pretty lucky. Through the week, I would get off work and blast down to La Maison to catch the bands. The huge crowds were missing and the music fans could appreciate the show. I seem to remember The Misfits played there regularly. They carried the Texas psychedelic flag proudly, and improved every time that I saw them. However, Euphoria was the band that made the summer. They were a hard rockin’ three piece from SoCal. They were loud, tight, and fast, hammering out the songs. They were the first band that I remember doing “Hey Joe”. It wasn’t done slow like Hendrix but fast and hard with screaming vocals and a thundering, driving, bass. It vibrated the whole place. They are probably the best band that no one has ever heard.

13th Floor Elevators

Of all the distant memories of people, bands, and places, my memories of the Elevators stand out. In my foggy memory, it seems that the Elevators made two trips to California. The first lasted a short time, the second, seemed like forever. We were all thrilled when the Elevators returned. They were still playing the teen clubs. I saw them numerous times at The Living Eye. I can’t remember the time line, or, much about the club except that there was seating in front of a low stage. I sat in the middle, right up front.


13th Floor Elevators

The Elevators were even better than when they had left. They had gotten a new sound system with reverb that added tremendously to their psychedelic sound. They also lengthened the instrumental breaks with more improvisation, an even more spacy feeling, without being excessive. I went to see them every chance I got, mesmerized by the experience. The place would be packed and everyone would be focused on the performance, tapping our feet and nodding our heads in time to the gift of music that captured our complete attention. The gift the Elevators provided. Their performances were magic. It seemed as though they were sharing a vision, a higher inspiration and focus of thought that transferred to the audience. It was an experience that I’ve never seen with another band.


13th Floor Elevators

An unusual gig for The Elevators was a show at a community center in Bellaire. The center was much like a high school gymnasium, wooden floor basketball court with bleachers, well-lit. I got there early to get a good spot. When I arrived, there was already a bunch of younger kids there, junior high probably. They were dressed all preppy-like and it was obvious that they were regulars and we were on their turf. I knew one of the guys running the lightshow, and talked with them and watched them setup, while waiting for the show. The lightshow was a new development and was very primitive by today’s standards. There was a strobe light or two, and an overhead projector, like used for presentations. On the bed of the projector was two pieces of glass. In between the glass was a mixture of oil and water. The operator would manually manipulate the glass to project dancing amoeba-like shapes on the wall behind the band.


13th Floor Elevators
As the show grew closer, more and more followers of the band started showing up. People with long hair, beads, granny glasses, sandals or boots, bell bottoms, and loose, flowing shirts with puffy sleeves. They were people with a cheerful, gracious attitude. I could feel the excitement grow as the younger kids saw these strange looking people invade” their” space.
13th Floor Elevators

The lights were dimmed, then the Elevators took the stage and it was electric. These strange and scruffy guys ripped through some songs from “Psychedelic Sounds” and the young kids were blown away, just like I had been at my first trip to La Maison. Then, Tommy stepped up to the microphone and said “This is a song we just wrote”. They tore into “Levitation” and it soared up a notch. It shook the place, it was incredible. Roky wailed, “Heading for the Ceiling, High up off the floor”. Man, I can’t think of the words to adequately describe it, they were on fire and soaring higher. They were speeding to new heights. With that song, the Elevators showed what they were becoming, and the young kids understood what it was all about. I’m sure that many became hippies that night.


13th Floor Elevators
Early in 1967, all of the heads in Houston were excited about a huge show that was coming up. The Elevators would be playing The Music Theatre. It was going to be big. Conqueroo, the Elevators, and a Psychedelic Light Show. It was incredible. We all thought that The Elevators would finally take their place alongside the other big music acts of the time. They would show the world that they were every bit as good as The Stones or The Beatles.



Sadly, the big show was a big letdown, a disappointment. The sound that was so loud and driving in a small venue was overwhelmed by the size of the auditorium. In all fairness, the Beatles and the Stones had the same problem. When the band came out, they seemed bewildered. When they started to play, the sharpness, the drive, was off. When the lightshow started, they were distracted, and stopped, before beginning the disjointed music again. They continued for a while but were never able to actually get a groove going. They stumbled through a number of songs, stopped, and it looked like nobody knew what to do next. Tommy stepped up to the microphone, said “So Long”, and that was it. We were as confused as the band. It seemed that nobody knew what had happened.


Love-in in Hermann Park
Another huge new event was at a Love-in in Hermann Park. There had been a number of love-ins in California, and Texas was going to put their spin on it. It was warm and sunny. A beautiful, spring day in Houston, and Hermann Park was full of hippies. It was a huge turnout of people, like I had never seen before. It was a happy day. It was thrilling to see so many people who were turned on to the scene. It looked to be a start to a bright new future, and it was. The new scene was blossoming. The Summer of Love was coming and it seemed as though the whole world was joining in. There was no stopping it. The music, fashion and attitude of the counterculture would grow, evolve, and, in many ways, change the world.



The Elevators were giving a free show as a gift to the new society that had gathered there, the society that they had helped create. After the Elevators set, I stopped Tommy and spoke with him about philosophy for a while before leaving. Shortly after leaving, a guy with us began complaining about his heart racing. It turned out that he had been popping uppers all day. We rushed him to a hospital where they pumped his stomach. That was a first for me, an overdose. It was also a last for me. It was the last time that I saw The Elevators perform with Roky. Shortly after that, I had to leave Texas.


13th Floor Elevators
I wound up in Kansas City, where the scene was a lot different from Texas. I would tell people about the Elevators and play their records, but they were unable to grasp the magic. I told them that in Texas, the Elevators were as popular as the Beatles and the Stones. I tried to describe the live music scene. They thought that I was crazy. They couldn’t get past what they were accustomed to. Fortunately, I managed to keep in touch with a couple of friends who would write and tell me what was going on in Texas. One sent me a copy of “Easter Everywhere” when it came out. I was impressed how their music had evolved and matured. I wore it out missing everything that I was missing. In 1969, one of my friends came to Kansas City and told me sad news. He was devastated, and I remember his words. “They took Roky away. It was bad. He couldn’t talk, he wouldn’t eat. I don’t know what is going to happen to him”. I later heard that Roky had been committed, but it was years before I knew just how bad it had been.

13th Floor Elevators
I went back to Texas to visit a couple of times. On one of my visits to Houston, I learned the Elevators would be playing Love Street. They were trying to go on without Roky. I asked a friend about it, expecting him to be as excited as I but he only said, “Well, it’s The Elevators”. He was right. It was The Elevators, but without Roky, the magic just wasn’t there. It was disappointing. The performance was good enough, but not special. It was not The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Things change and people move on. The Elevators became a legend, and, I came to realize that my place was no longer Texas.

My memories of my short time in Texas have never left me. I will always have a fondness for the people and places. In the days before the internet, I was elated to see the occasional mention of the Elevators, or anything about Texas, in Rolling Stone. It was there that I learned of Stacy’s death. Sometime in the eighties, I learned of a Roky tribute album and made the effort to order it. I was glad to see Roky finally getting some of the recognition that he deserved.
13th Floor Elevators

One Saturday at Love Garden Records in Lawrence, Kansas, I saw a box set of four Elevators albums in CD form. I was walking past a display case and it just caught my eye. I couldn’t believe it. I had to ask them to let me see it and touch it, just to be sure that I was really seeing what I thought. It was beyond belief that, twenty years later, an English-made box set of the Elevators music showed up at an independent record shop in Lawrence, Kansas. When the Elevators were performing, they were largely unknown outside of Texas and California. This box set and the tribute album introduced my son to The Elevators and I am proud to say that he is a fan. When his friends began talking of discovering Roky and the Elevators, he was able to say “I’ve heard them” and share the gift of the Elevator’s music.
13th Floor Elevators

It has been five decades since a group of young Texans came together with a vision. At the time, they had hopes and dreams for the future and what they wanted to accomplish. Today, their future has arrived and, with the gift of hindsight, we are able to see how much those young people were able to achieve. In their own way, they actually did change the world and, like many great artists, their true impact is only being fully appreciated years later. Soon, the remaining members of the Elevators will once again perform as a group. The world of today should rejoice. The world can once again appreciate a live performance of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators.



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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Roky Erickson - All That May Do My Rhyme (Rough Mix) Playlist!

Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson
Hey everybody, check out this "special project" bootleg that we did about ten years ago. This was dedicated to a special time in Roky Erickson's life. Roky has been called the American Syd Barrett. This album is his "Madcap Laughs".
Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

By 1993, when this album was made, Roky had been suffering from untreated schizophrenia for almost 15 years. This was aggravated by illegal drug abuse; who wouldn't want to drop acid, or snort coke, with the Father of Psychedelic Music. And to be fair to Evelyn, Roky's Mom, the psychotropic drugs back in the late Seventies had horrible side effects. Additionally, when Roky flipped out, or was complaining of swollen feet, was it really the psychotropic drugs or the plethora of illegal drugs he was doing? Evelyn took him off all psychotropic drugs because THOSE were the drugs she could control.
Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

Anyway, Roky slowly and then faster and faster, began descending into untreated madness. For the last six years before the album, he had totally withdrawn, his hair was one, big, dreadlock, he ceased performing and was living in a rented room with a bunch of TV sets, radios, amps, etc... all running in his house and turned to different channels. He was beginning to have health problems from his teeth. It was a mess.
Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

Something had to be done and my friend Casey Monahan decided it was time for Roky to make a new album. He dragged Roky into the studio. Roky didn't want to do it. He found some songs that hadn't been published before and that they could copyright in Roky's name. All of Roky's other songs publishing had been stolen by unscrupulous Managers and Engineers taking advantage of his mental state and trusting nature. He "sold" the Rights to Two Headed Dog for a chocolate milkshake.

Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

Anyway, Casey had Roky go into the studio and bang out his songs on an acoustic and he still had THAT voice and he wrote amazing songs. They then wiped the guitar and isolated his vocal track. Then they had some of Austin's best Musicians, who were lined up to work on this project, come in and put music to his voice. They did the "Syd Barrett Thing." And it worked!
Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

They also took the Clear Night for Love EP and wiped all the music off that and added new music to it. This made the All That May Do My Rhyme album and it is one of Roky's best. On his newer songs, he sounds world-weary and it totally goes with the song! This is because Roky is a great talent. The mental illness cannot snuff that out.
Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson

This Roky CD Club Volume (and YouTube Playlist) is the Clear Night for Love EP taken direct from vinyl; so it's the original mix and takes. Then I got ahold of a bunch of All That May Do My Rhyme tracks that are a bit rougher mix than what ended up on the album. There might be the odd different take too.


We put it all together to make this amazing disc (and YouTube Playlist). Read what Paul, the Uploader, says about this Playlist; he says it's his favorite one so far. In these songs, Roky leaves the demons, bloody hammers, goblins and ghosts at the wayside and most sings love songs.

Enjoy.



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