Recently, Facebook 13th Floor Elevators group member, Tom Vetrano, got with us to answer a few questions about his time in Houston and knowing Stacy Sutherland. BTW, join the 13th Floor Elevators Facebook group.
1) Can you tell us a little about who you are and where you're from?
I was born and raised in Houston and the 60’s was a fantastic time for musical we all know. I loved the early rock groups and got into the Elevators at the Bellaire gym back then and Love Street downtown as well. They used to play at a small community meeting building off of W. Alabama or Richmond Ave near Kirby too, can’t remember the name but can vividly remember the place.
I saw all the greats… Janis, Jimi, Cream, the Allman Bros, Santana the Dead, the Airplane and so on and on as we all did. But it was the Elevators that got me started playing guitar.
2) You mentioned seeing the 13th Floor Elevators at places like the Jade Room and Love Street. What was that like? How had the band's sound changed from the Jade Room days to playing Love Street?
While attending UT I saw them every Wednesday and Thursday night at the Jade and Club New Orleans... small venues, very personal they always had trouble starting. They always turned Roky's amp way down because he was out of tune or playing too sloppy and Stacy could carry it all so well, he wrote most of it.
Their music was always the same to me no matter where they played. They went nationwide with the Dick Clark Show as you know and hit the SF scene at its peak. Sadly Stacy died Tommy drifted out to the west coast and Roky got put away but their music lived on.
3) Did you ever see the Stacy Sutherland led version of the 13th Floor Elevators? The one without Roky. If so, what was that like?
BTW, I never saw Stacy's band without Roky and did not record any. I knew Roky's brother Mike very well he was always around and easy going. I had a good friend, Stevie Webb a drummer. He played with them at times. Stevie was a very good drummer, singer and an excellent songwriter. Stevie and I were very close. He knew Roky better than Jerry (Lightfoot) and I wasn’t hanging with Jerry much back then,
3) When and where did you become acquainted with Stacy?
He lived at Bunni's and my friend sister did as well. we would always just get together and smoke a bit and shoot the shit. Living is easy back then. Worrying about rent and food was not really wasn’t that big of a deal. And I guess after the band broke up Stacy's girlfriend was supporting him and he had a little money coming in from international artist I would think. Stacy was quiet and his girlfriend I think was working so which time during the day. He he played an acoustic guitar at times and we would just shoot the shit.
4) Looking back now, do you think that he suffered from undiagnosed depression?
Didn’t really think of depression and things like that back then…