Trending
MOST READ
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, cheesyjanes.com. If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Music

Trippin’ Out in TX: A journey through Texas’ psychedelic music scene

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

The Black Angels return psych to Texas. Christian Bland is pictured on the far right.


From here, the folkers operating in Austin’s bohemian outskirts went electric, buying the necessary gear to turn on and drop out. “I would defy you to find an open psychedelic band operating as early as the Elevators were,” says Elevators contributor Powell St. John in Scott Conn’s rock-doc Dirt Road to Psychedelia. The Elevators were the centrifugal force for a scene that included bands like The Conqueroo, Shiva’s Headband and the Golden Dawn. To keep it in Texas, Houston’s International Artists records housed the Lone Star psych bands.

 

The Children of Tomorrow Come Together

When Austin’s Vulcan Gas Company opened its doors in the fall of 1967, the San Anto and Austin psych scenes sang in harmony, filling the dive with mind-manifesting rock. “When the Vulcan opened up,” recalls Moser, “I would say that fully half the bands that played there were SA bands. Austin was essentially a political capital and a college town. When a cool club came along like the Vulcan, it couldn’t really pull the stature of bands that were touring to San Antonio.” For instance, when Jimi Hendrix came through Texas in 1968 and 1970, he played San Antonio, oozing psychedelia and shattering minds at the Municipal Auditorium and HemisFair.

One imagines the blues-influenced Hendrix could have dug the South Texas psych sound as it grew up among the regional giants of blues history, from Blind Lemon Jefferson’s tinny 1920s classics to the swingin’ power of Big Mama Thornton.

“One writes what one knows,” says Rod Prince, “so environment plays a part for sure, and flavors any style of music. So I’d say that made the Texas psych offerings different from the city-oriented bands.” Perhaps that explains the squirrely squeal of Tommy Hall’s electric Elevator jug and Roky Erickson’s feral yells, cured from the best of the black blues musicians.

Young music freaks could often see the influencers on the same stage as the influenced. Accidentally ahead of its time, the Vulcan, out of necessity, booked blues greats like Big Mama, Freddy King, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed alongside rock acts. “They were part of that scene and part of that identity,” says Spencer Perskin of Shiva’s Headband.

In 1969, Shiva’s Headband released the definitive tune of this psych-blues nexus, the awesomely titled “Homesick Armadillo Blues.” Perskin trash-talks the Frisco rain and longs for the Texas sun, resolving on the twelfth-bar of the tune, “I don’t hate California, it just ain’t my style.”

The Head Trip Ends

The I-35 psych oasis wasn’t to last into Nixon’s second term. Just as the Manson murders and the Altamont meltdown deadened the good vibrations in California, police crackdowns in Texas put a damper on the music.

“I was living here [in San Antonio] in the early 1970s and there really was a sense of Feds and ‘heads all over again,” says Moser. “We got our one joint and we’re being chased down by a pile of cops … The paranoia was very real.”

Recently in Music
  • The Otherworldly Appeal of Pure X’s ‘Angel’ Before we treat the music of Pure X’s third LP Angel, let’s take a moment to appreciate the airbrushed brilliance of its album art. On a... | 10/22/2014
  • The Infinite Blues of Woodstock Alums Canned Heat Thirty-two bands played the original Woodstock back in 1969. Of those 32, two are still at it today. And if you discount Santana on the grounds that he’s really more a guy than a band at this point, well, that just leaves Canned Heat. Half a century is a | 10/22/2014
  • Step Off: How Kacey Musgraves won Nashville Though she was born in 1988 and released her first recordings at the age of 14, Texas native Kacey Musgraves has always... | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus