Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Owsley Stanley

The rabbit is supposed to be having a brief sabbatical but finds himself with a few free moments to record the death of Owsley 'Bear' Stanley (left in pic - well obviously) in a car crash in Australia aged 76. Owsley was mostly noted for manufacturing LSD but also was the Grateful Dead - a popular beat combo's -sound engineer.

Eccentric doesn't do justice to the guy. Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze is a reference to his acid. Owsley's acid was mostly called - erm - Owsley's acid and figures in the rabbit's first (unpublished) novel White Rabbit - sorry had to slip that one in! He started manufacturing LSD when it was legal but carried on after it became illegal. In the end he was inevitably busted and ran the highly amusing (or at least the rabbit is amused) defence that 350,000 tabs of acid were for - erm - personal use. Result: 3 years inside.

Stanley's eccentricities did not end there - he believed that carbohydrates poisoned the body and vegetables interfered with nutrition. In 2005 he contracted throat cancer, attributing his survival to starving the tumour of glucose through diet. Well - erm - apparently it worked. As a sound engineer, the fact that the Dead's archive is hugely with us is down to his diligence but as an obsessive, his sound systems were often less than practical and took forever to put up and take down.

His final eccentric project was - believing that global warming was part of a natural cycle and not man made and anticipating a new ice age as presumably the next stage in the cycle - moving to the Australian outback as the safest place to be in for that sort of event. He had four children including a son called Starfinder and a daughter called Redbird. Let Garcia have the final word: 'there's nothing wrong with Bear that a few billion less brain cells wouldn't cure'.

Oh and he also created this...




10 comments:

Pearl said...

Fitting tribute. Thank you -- and thank you, Owsley.

Pearl

JoJo said...

Great tribute to Bear. Can't believe he died so tragically.

sybil law said...

Eccentric but fascinating guy, indeed. RIP, Bear.

Petit fleur said...

Well done rabbit.

I wish I had some of that Owsley Purple Haze Acid...

Peace,
pf

tony said...

& it was a rather cool way to go.......Although,he would have made a great companion to be sat next too in some future Old Folks Home!
RIP The Bear.......I wonder if he took his chemistry set with him to Heaven?

Badger said...

With that sort of attitude on global warming he would have been a natural for leader of the opposition in Australia - and the LSD would have useful in getting to grips with some of their other policies. An untimely death.

Jon said...

The passing of a legend.

GT said...

Nice tribute. Sad ending to an interesting and important fellow. It should be noted that Purple Haze was not Owsley's. From the NY Times: "He did not, contrary to popular lore, release a product called Purple Haze; in interviews, he sounded quite miffed that anything emerging from his laboratory could be thought to cause haziness rather than the crystalline clarity for which he personally vouched."

Rest easy, Bear.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Sorry to hear this. First, Liz. Now this. Damn.

Fittingly, my word verification is: mental.

Love,

SB

rose said...

The Stanley family has started a nonprofit foundation to preserve his tapes...
owsleystanlyfoundation.org