Owsley Stanley (born Augustus Owsley Stanley III, January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011) also known as Bear, was an important person in the rise of the San Francisco Bay counter-culture. During the Beat-era years of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters scenes, he was also important in the explosion of 1960's psychedelia culture.
The set up for a Grateful Dead concert
Augustus Owsley Stanley III
January 19, 1935
|Died||March 13, 2011 (aged 76)|
|Cause of death||Automobile accident|
|Known for||LSD, Wall of sound|
|Relatives||Augustus O. Stanley|
A brilliant and eclectic crafts-person he was best known under the name of "Owsley" - a magician like figure who "cooked" LSD. Under the professional name of Bear he is known around the world as the music producer, engineer and artist to psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead.
Bear was the road manager for The Grateful Dead. He met the band when Kesey had them come to an Owsley Acid test party to try a new batch of LSD. Bear's technical interests helped the band's interest in electronic, acoustic and mystical properties of sound. He became their sound engineer. He was one of the first to mix sound live, and in stereo, and achieved a high sound quality. He often recorded live tapes behind his mixing board. They developed their own high-fidelity audio components and sound-systems for their performances. The bands tours evolved around a gigantic "Wall of Sound", with stacks of Stanley-designed equipment. His expert changes meant fans of the Grateful Dead could enjoy the full sonic range of the concert even in the outdoors.
His abilities helped The Dead to experiment further afield, playing in dramatic and remote places. Their need for support to tour with big shows, and their need for special equipment, meant that companies formed to supply them. These needs were the starting point for both Marin County's high-end music-instrument makers Alembic Inc and concert-sound manufacturer Meyer Sound.[source?] And his drug making helped to get the band started.
Stanley was one of the first people to manufacture mass quantities of LSD. His LSD is still known for its quality and purity. Between 1965 and 1967, Stanley produced more than 1.25 million doses of LSD. This amount of quality LSD was responsible for the wide popularity of the drug, and the development of an anti-authoritarian, anti-war counter-culture. From the 'Sunset Strip Riots' in Los Angeles, to the Summer of Love in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury was described as "the biggest LSD party in history.". The name "Owsley" was linked to cheap LSD of good quality.
- Walker, Michael (18 March 2011). "Electric Kool-Aid Marketing Trip". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Greenfield, Robert. "Owsley Stanley: The King of LSD", Rolling Stone, July 12–27, 2007
- Fox, Margalit. "Owsley Stanley, Artisan of Acid, Is Dead at 76". The New York Times. March 14, 2011.
- Perry, Charles, The Haight-Ashbury: A History, p. 149
- "Psychedelic Icon Owsley Stanley Dies in Australia", Reuters, March 13, 2011
- "Owsley 'Bear' Stanley Dies in Car Accident", jambands.com, March 13, 2011
- Miller, Stephen. "LSD Supplier to Sixties Generation Dies at 76 - WSJ.com". The Wall Street Journal. New York City: Dow Jones & Company. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 14 March 2011.