Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, the Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound, by Paul Drummond

This book tells the story—or saga, as the subtitle refers to it—of the legendary 13th Floor Elevators, from their origins, to Roky Erickson's struggles with mental illness, to Tommy Hall's steering the band towards hallucinogenic substances (ostensibly to lead the world to higher levels of consciousness), to the band's legal troubles and battles with record labels, and their legacy. And quite a bit more—at 414 pages it may be a little too detailed, though it's still a pretty interesting read.

There's a color insert with some gorgeous spreads of photographs and psychedelic posters,

as well as great black and white photos throughout.

It's ultimately a pretty tragic story, particularly when you look at how Roky looked at 19, when the Elevators first started playing,

and what happened to him later on. Granted, he seems to be doing a lot better now that he's actually been on psychiatric medication (for more on that part of the story see the documentary You're Gonna Miss Me). But there were a lot of lost years before then (though he did produce some pretty weird and great music through some of them).

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