I was lucky enough to have seen Roky Erickson perform with his last touring band and it was a phenomenal show. Granted, his band was kind of propping him up but it was still a great experience. Had I been born 30 years prior, I definitely would have had the opportunity to see him in his prime. While I wasn’t there the 13th Floor Elevators Visual History provides a good attempt to present a snapshot of this amazing band. Please see press release below for more information.
“Their journey still occasions wonder and awe. For so many years, it was hardly told. Here it is, in pictures and words. This is the way, step inside.” – Jon Savage
13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History, written and curated by Paul Drummond and published by Anthology Editions, will be released April 21st, and is available for preorder now. Direct orders of the book through the Anthology website will be shipped immediately. 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History tells the complete and unvarnished story of a band, which, until now, has been thought of as tragically underdocumented. Drummond has spent years amassing an unprecedented archive of primary materials, including scores of previously-unseen band photographs, rare and iconic psychedelic artworks, and more.
Born out of a union of club bands on the burgeoning Austin bohemian scene and a pronounced taste for hallucinogens, the 13th Floor Elevators formed in late 1965 when lyricist Tommy Hall asked a local singer named Roky Erickson to join up with his new rock outfit. Four years, three official albums, and countless acid trips later, it was over: the Elevators’ pioneering first run ended in a dizzying jumble of professional mismanagement, internal arguments, drug busts, and forced psychiatric imprisonments.
In their short existence, however, the group succeeded in blowing the lid off the budding musical underground, logging early salvos in the countercultural struggle against state authorities, and turning their deeply hallucinatory take on jug-band garage rock into a new American institution called psychedelic music. Before the hippies, before the punks, there were the 13th Floor Elevators: an unlikely crew of outcast weirdo geniuses who changed culture. 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History places the band finally and undeniably in the pantheon of innovators of American rock music to which they have always belonged.
13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History Visual Assets:
● Rare photos, including many newly-discovered color shots
● Family scrapbook photos and clippings
● Photography and ephemera from the band’s friends, a who’s-who of the 1960s Austin arts scene
● Stills from the band’s television appearances
● Contemporary newspaper and underground press clippings covering the band’s rise (and fall)
● Materials from the books that inspired the band’s unique iconography
● Internal documents from the band’s label International Artists documenting the disastrous business side of the Elevators’ career in detail
● Materials relating to the band’s legal troubles, from handwritten drug deal letters to Austin Police Department surveillance photos to mugshots and draft cards
● The most complete collection of show flyers and handbills ever assembled, including many rare alternate printings of iconic psychedelic posters
About the Author:
Paul Drummond is a renowned antiquarian bookseller based in London. He has spent years documenting every aspect of the history of the 13th Floor Elevators, and is the author of Eye Mind (2007), the exhaustive and definitive biography of the band.