"In Jerry Garcia’s words, ' We'd met Owsley at the Acid Test and he got fixated on us,'" he writes."' We had enough acid to blow the world apart… That got good and weird.'"Owsley left behind an extensive Grateful Dead material – still used to this day – and died as a singular counterculture figure.The result, Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III, goes deep inside the chaotic and bizarre life of Owsley, who provided a generation of West-Coast hippies with mind-altering acid, using the profits of his illegitimate business to finance the Grateful Dead into the spotlight.
"Impossible to tame.") He also had the bright idea to plug a recorder directly into the soundboard during concerts and rehearsals, thus providing the world with tapes of the Dead during their heyday, which would otherwise never have existed.
But beyond his interaction with the band, exploring Stanley's life also brought Greenfield deep within the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, from the Monterey Pop Festival to Altamont to the streets of the Haight.
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Owsley died in 2011 in a car accident at 76 years old, but he left behind a lifetime's worth of strange stories and unique anecdotes that sometimes seem too outlandish to be true. He was intelligent and cunning, and to this day, no one can say for certain where he kept all of the money he made from his empire.
The book describes an eccentric genius and master manipulator, and an integral piece of the Grateful Dead's success.
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By 1962, Garcia was playing banjo in a variety of local folk and bluegrass outfits, two years later forming Mother Mc Cree's Uptown Jug Champions with guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" Mc Kernan; in 1965, the group was renamed the Warlocks, their lineup by then including Lesh on bass as well as Bill Kreutzmann on drums.
The Warlocks made their electric debut that July; Ken Kesey soon tapped them to become the house band at his notorious Acid Tests, a series of now-legendary public LSD parties and multimedia "happenings" mounted prior to the drug's criminalization.
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