The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & 10 Early Texas Psych Bands You Should Know
7. Moving Sidewalks
Houston's Moving Sidewalks had a regional hit with their quasi-tribute to the Elevators, "99th Floor," but these days the group is best remembered as that band Billy Gibbons was in before ZZ Top. They were a bit better than that:
Moving Sidewalks was asked to open tours for psychedelic superstars like the Doors and Jimi Hendrix, who would later name Gibbons as one of his favorite guitarists. The music on the Sidewalks' 1968 album Flash is bluesy and appropriately odd, but be warned: It doesn't remotely resemble the chicken-fried boogie that Gibbons would perfect with ZZ. It's very "of the period," let's say.
Those of us who missed that period entirely are in luck. Moving Sidewalks' The Complete Collection box set was just released last month by Rockbeat Records.
6. Golden Dawn
Austin's Golden Dawn wasn't just inspired by the 13th Floor Elevators, it was empowered by them, too. Dawn singer/guitarist George Kinney grew up with Roky Erickson in South Austin, and the lysergic wailer was instrumental in netting the band its International Artists deal after the Elevators broke through.
The influence of the Elevators is clearly evident on the group's sole IA album, 1968's Power Plant. For many psych fans, that's a good thing. The label failed to effectively promote the album on its release, however, and the band split not long after.
5. Shiva's Headband
Not a lot of bands can claim to have had as large a hand in growing the Austin music scene as Shiva's Headband. The group was a regular act at the Vulcan Gas Company, the city's premiere psychedelic club that produced vivid posters and handbills highly sought by collectors today. Then when Vulcan closed down, Shiva's leader/violinist/guitarist/vocalist Spencer Perskin came up with the funds to help open the Armadillo World Headquarters.
As if that weren't enough, the band's Capitol Records debut, Take Me to the Mountain, made Shiva's Headband the first Austin band to release an album on a major label. Not bad, right? Rather than the spacier sounds of their contemporaries, the Headband stuck to a homegrown style of acid-tinged country rock, echoes of which can still be heard in the easy licks of many young Austin pickers to this day.