Psychedelic Rocker Roky Erickson Dies at 71

June 1, 2019 Updated: June 1, 2019

NEW YORK—Roky Erickson, the blue-eyed, dark-haired Texan who headed the Austin-based 13th Floor Elevators, a psychedelic rock band in the 1960s, has died. He was 71.

Erickson’s twisted lead guitar and wailing vocals didn’t turn him into a chart-topper.

Roky Erickson performs at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin
Roky Erickson performs at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Erickson’s death on Friday was announced by his brother, Mikel Erickson, on Facebook and confirmed by his agent, Dave Kaplan. The cause and location of death were not revealed.

After the 13th Floor Elevators dissolved in the face of drug arrests and instability, Erickson in the early 70s entered an insanity plea to a marijuana possession charge and ended up spending some time in an institution.

Roky Erickson performs at the South by Southwest Music Festival
Roky Erickson performs at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

By Mark Kennedy

RECOMMENDED