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Owsley “Bear” Stanley January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011
March 15, 2011, 9:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

NATIONAL POST: LOS ANGELES – Owsley “Bear” Stanley, a 1960s counterculture figure who flooded the flower power scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Grateful Dead, died in a car crash in his adopted home country of Australia on Sunday, his family said. He was believed to be 76.

The renegade grandson of a former governor of Kentucky, Stanley helped lay the foundation for the psychedelic era by producing more than a million doses of LSD at his labs in San Francisco’s Bay Area.

“He made acid so pure and wonderful that people like Jimi Hendrix wrote hit songs about it and others named their band in its honor,” former rock ‘n’ roll tour manager Sam Cutler wrote in his 2008 memoirs “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Hendrix’s song “Purple Haze” was reputedly inspired by a batch of Stanley’s product, though the guitarist denied any drug link. The ear-splitting blues-psychedelic combo Blue Cheer took its named from another batch.

Stanley briefly managed the Grateful Dead, and oversaw every aspect of their live sound at a time when little thought was given to amplification in public venues. His tape recordings of Dead concerts were turned into live albums.

The Dead wrote about him in their song “Alice D. Millionaire” after a 1967 arrest prompted a newspaper to describe Stanley as an “LSD millionaire.” Steely Dan’s 1976 single “Kid Charlemagne” was loosely inspired by Stanley’s exploits.

According to a 2007 profile in the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanley started cooking LSD after discovering the recipe in a chemistry journal at the University of California, Berkeley.

The police raided his first lab in 1966, but Stanley successfully sued for the return of his equipment. After a marijuana bust in 1970, he went to prison for two years.

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Slowly the Heroes fade!
I once had the fortune to ingest some white lightning, window pane, orange sunshine and purple double dome all designed by Bear. In the 1980s I was Kesey’s next door neighbor and met Mountain girl and a few other Pranksters. Leary and Ken both entertained some of us with interesting stories about the origin of some drugs and it was generally agreed Owsley was not even close to being the main man. Who knows?

For those who were not there, it was kinda fun being the explorer and yeah I have still fond memories of some trips while others were an ad to stay away.(I am an artist and musician.)


Comment by psiklon

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