Tommy Hall (musician)

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Tommy Hall
Born (1943-09-21) September 21, 1943 (age 77)
Memphis, Tennessee
Instruments Jug
Associated acts The 13th Floor Elevators

Tommy Hall (born September 21, 1943) is an electric jug player from Texas. He was a founding member of the American psychedelic rock band The 13th Floor Elevators. [1] [2]


Early life

Hall was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Dr. Thomas James Hall and Margaret "Perky" Perkins, a nurse. Starting in 1961, he studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and also discovered psychedelic drugs such as LSD, which would form a major part of his philosophy. In Austin, he also met his future wife and occasional Elevators songwriter Clementine Hall (nee Tausch), who he married in 1964. They divorced in 1973. [2]

Musical career

A special aspect of The Elevators' sound came from Tommy Hall's innovative electric jug. The jug, a crock-jug with a microphone held up to it while it was being blown, sounded somewhat like a cross between a Minimoog and cuica drum. In contrast to traditional musical jug technique, Hall did not blow into the jug to produce a tuba-like sound. Instead, he vocalized musical runs into the mouth of the jug, using the jug to create echo and distortion of his voice. When playing live, he held the microphone up to the mouth of the jug, but when recording the Easter Everywhere album, the recording engineer placed a microphone inside the jug to enhance the sound.

Personal life

Hall currently lives in downtown San Francisco. [3] [4] In the 1980s, he was rumored to be the true identity of Texas outsider musician Jandek, [5] but this has since been disproved.[ citation needed ] He became a devout follower of Scientology in the 1970s. [6] He is a lifelong Republican. [2] He has told interviewers that he is no longer interested in music or thinks of himself as a musician, and that "I lost my jug a long time ago." [7]

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Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centred on perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.

Jug band

A jug band is a band employing a jug player and a mix of conventional and homemade instruments. These homemade instruments are ordinary objects adapted to or modified for making sound, like the washtub bass, washboard, spoons, bones, stovepipe, jew's harp, and comb and tissue paper. The term jug band is loosely used in referring to ensembles that also incorporate homemade instruments but that are more accurately called skiffle bands, spasm bands, or juke bands because they do not include a jug player.

Washboard (musical instrument)

The washboard and frottoir are used as a percussion instrument, employing the ribbed metal surface of the cleaning device as a rhythm instrument. As traditionally used in jazz, zydeco, skiffle, jug band, and old-time music, the washboard remained in its wooden frame and is played primarily by tapping, but also scraping the washboard with thimbles. Often the washboard has additional traps, such as a wood block, a cowbell, and even small cymbals. Conversely, the frottoir dispenses with the frame and consists simply of the metal ribbing hung around the neck. It is played primarily with spoon handles or bottle openers in a combination of strumming, scratching, tapping and rolling. The frottoir or vest frottoir is played as a stroked percussion instrument, often in a band with a drummer, while the washboard generally is a replacement for drums. In Zydeco bands, the frottoir is usually played with bottle openers, to make a louder sound. It tends to play counter-rhythms to the drummer. In a jug band, the washboard can also be stroked with a single whisk broom and functions as the drums for the band, playing only on the back-beat for most songs, a substitute for a snare drum. In a four-beat measure, the washboard will stroke on the 2-beat and the 4-beat. Its best sound is achieved using a single steel-wire snare-brush or whisk broom. However, in a jazz setting, the washboard can also be played with thimbles on all fingers, tapping out much more complex rhythms, as in The Washboard Rhythm Kings, a full-sized band, and Newman Taylor Baker.

The 13th Floor Elevators

The 13th Floor Elevators were an American rock band from Austin, Texas, United States, formed by guitarist and vocalist Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, and guitarist Stacy Sutherland. The band was together from 1965 to 1969, and during that period released four albums and seven singles for the International Artists record label.

<i>Easter Everywhere</i> 1967 album by the 13th Floor Elevators

Easter Everywhere is the second studio album by the American psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. It was released in 25 October 1967, through record label International Artists. It is regarded by many to be one of the finest psychedelic albums ever released.

Roky Erickson American musician and singer-songwriter, 1947-2019

Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson was an American musician and singer-songwriter. He was a founding member and the leader of the 13th Floor Elevators and a pioneer of the psychedelic rock genre.


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Recording studio

A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.

Music of Texas

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Austin's official motto is the "Live Music Capital of the World" due to the high volume of venues hosting live music performances in the city, sometimes over 100 on the same night. Austin is known internationally for the South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festivals which feature eclectic international line-ups. The greatest concentrations of music venues in Austin are around 6th Street, the Warehouse District, Downtown, Central East Austin, South Congress, the Red River District, the University of Texas, South Lamar, and South Austin.

Powell St. John born September 18, 1940, is an American singer and songwriter. He was a well-known figure on the mid-1960s Austin, Texas campus folk/bohemian music scene. He was an occasional member of various Austin rock groups, including The Conqueroo, and he wrote some songs for The 13th Floor Elevators, including "You Don't Know ," which was on their 1966 debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.

<i>Bull of the Woods</i> 1969 album by the 13th Floor Elevators

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The Red Krayola is an American underground rock band from Houston, Texas, formed in 1966 by the original trio of singer/guitarist Mayo Thompson, drummer Frederick Barthelme, and bassist Steve Cunningham.

Jug (instrument)

The jug used as a musical instrument is an empty jug played with buzzed lips to produce a trombone-like tone. The characteristic sound of the jug is low and hoarse, below the higher pitch of the fiddle, harmonica, and the other instruments in the band.

<i>The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators</i> 1966 album by the 13th Floor Elevators

The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators is the debut studio album by the 13th Floor Elevators. The album's sound, featuring elements of psychedelia, garage rock, folk, and blues, is notable for its use of the electric jug, as featured on the band's only hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me", which reached number 55 on the Billboard Charts with "Tried to Hide" as a B-side. Another single from the album, "Reverberation (Doubt)", reached number 129 on the Billboard's Bubbling Under Chart.

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"Slip Inside this House" is a song originally released by psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators as the first track on their 1967 album Easter Everywhere. At eight minutes, it is the longest track the band released on a studio album. A single version edited to just under four minutes was released by International Artists.

Youre Gonna Miss Me (song) 1966 song by the 13th Floor Elevators

"You're Gonna Miss Me" is a song by the American psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators, written by Roky Erickson, and released as the group's debut single on Contact Records, on January 17, 1966. It was reissued nationally on International Artists, in May 1966. Musically inspired by traditional jug band and R&B music, combined with the group's own experimentation, "You're Gonna Miss Me", along with its Stacy Sutherland and Tommy Hall-penned B-side, "Tried to Hide", was influential in developing psychedelic rock and garage rock, and was one of the earliest rock compositions to utilize the electric jug. Accordingly, critics often cite "You're Gonna Miss Me" as a bona fide garage rock song, as well as a classic of the counterculture era.

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"Splash 1 " is a 1966 single from the band 13th Floor Elevators from their album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. It was a minor regional hit in Texas but became a bigger regional hit a year later when covered by the Clique. It has also been covered by Bongwater and The Mighty Lemon Drops.


  1. Trybyszewski, Joe (August 13, 2004). "Where the Pyramid Meets the High". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Maerz, Jennifer (March 4, 2009). "Ex-13th Floor Elevator Tommy Hall Is Still Psychedelic". Houston Press . Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  3. Uhelszki, Jaan (June 3, 2019). "The 13th Floor Elevators: "We're raising hell now!"". Uncut . Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  4. Trybyszewski, Joe (August 13, 2004). "Where the Pyramid Meets the High". The Austin Chronicle . Retrieved July 30, 2007.
  5. "The 10 Most Interesting Musicians of the Last 5 Years: Jandek". Spin . April 1990. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  6. David McGowan (March 19, 2014). Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart Of The Hippie Dream. SCB Distributors. pp. 43–. ISBN   978-1-909394-13-1.
  7. Mark Brend (2005). Strange Sounds: Offbeat Instruments and Sonic Experiments in Pop. Backbeat. pp. 113–. ISBN   978-0-87930-855-1.