Monday, April 18, 2011

Owsley Died, Where was I?

If you have to ask who is Owsley, than you missed the 60's.  Stanley "Bear" Owsley personified the 60's.  Owsley made the best LSD you could find when it was legal in California.  Besides being a badass when it came to acid he was also closely associated with one of my favorite bands, The Grateful Dead.

I just saw an email from the Dead that Owsley died in a crash crash on March 13th in Australia.  He was 76.  I never met the man nor did I ever try his product.  But he is part of the myth that made up the Haight-Asbury experience that was San Francisco in 1966 and 67.

I first heard of Owsley through the Mothers of Invention, his name mentioned in one of the songs on their classic album "We're In It Only for the Money."  But I had no idea what the hell the Mothers were singing about in 1967 when they talked of crashing at Owsley's.  It would take a few years for the drug culture to catch up to me.

He was partly immortalized in Thomas Wolfe's classic, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."  If you haven't read it do so at once.  The book best explains the hippie experience and lends texture to "On the Road" legend Neal Cassady and writing great Ken Kesey.  The antics of Kesey and his Merry Pranksters are the stuff of legend. 

Owsley was much more than a legendary producer of acid.  He also created one of the first modern PA's systems for the Grateful Dead which help make stadium rock concerts possible.  His passing is sad and it certainly brings back some memories about others I've known who used his product.  But that's for another time.

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