Tim Hardin Woodstock

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Tim Hardin was one of the names unintentionally left off the Woodstock monument that Wayne Saward created.

The others are Keef Hartley, Quill, and Bert Sommer. John Sebastian’s last name is spelled “Sabastian.” And though not a “performer” as such, Sri Swami Satchidananda is missing as well.

Hardin had already had an insult added to that later unintended injury by being left out of both the movie and the album.

Recent releases have remedied that mistake, but too late for Tim to know.

His band that Friday 15 August evening were:

His setlist was:

  • (How Can We) Hang on to a Dream
  • Once-Touched By a Flame
  • If I Were a Carpenter
  • Reason to Believe
  • You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie
  • Speak Like a Child
  • Snow White Lady
  • Blue on My Ceiling
  • Simple Song of Freedom
  • Misty Roses
Tim Hardin Woodstock

Matches in the Rain

Melanie will follow Ravi Shankar’s Woodstock performance. Shankar follow Hardin. As part of his Hardin introduction, MC John Morris asked the crowd to do something he’d seen on July 4, 1968 with a Tiny Tim performance. He asked the crowd to light matches. The story most heard is that Woodstock Ventures handed out candles and that their lighting inspired Melanie to write the song Candles in the Wind. Perhaps that remembrance is partially Woostock Haze.

Hardin’s and the band’s performance lasts about an hour and five minutes.

Tim Hardin Woodstock

(How Can We) Hang On To a Dream

Hardin’s songs are known for their simple beauty and short arrangements, so it is a bit surprising to see so many other musicians with him at Woodstock, but he is still up front and often solo nonetheless.

With (How Can We) Hang On To a Dream we hear Bill Chelf’s piano intro, but then I only hear Hardin’s voice.

What can I say, she’s walking away
From what we’ve seen
What can I do, still loving you
It’s all a dream

How can we hang on to a dream
How can it, will it be, the way it seems

What can I do, she’s saying we’re through
With how it was
What will I try, I still don’t see why
She says what she does

How can we hang on to a dream
How can it, will it be, the way it seems

What can I say, she’s walking away
From what we’ve seen
What can I do, still loving you
It’s all a dream

How can we hang on to a dream
How can it, will it be, the way it seems
How can we hang on to a dream

What can I say, she’s walking away
From what we’ve seen
What can I do, still loving you
It’s all a dream

How can we hang on to a dream
How can it, will it be, the way it seems
How can we hang on to a dream

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Once-Touched By Flame

Before the song begins, apparently someone calls out that they can’t hear him. He replies, “Your mics aren’t picking up either.”

Again, this simple arrangement is Chelf on piano and Hardin singing. The lyrics on line do not accurately reflect the lyrics Hardin actually sings at Woodstock. Here are what apparently are the original lyrics, not Woodstock’s.

Daily does the light grows stronger
Do the young done, leaving one
Now that I live, need to live much longer
Gonna pain by growing dim
She said she love you
And they are face to face in love
Now my past and last week dreams are true
So real I feel like I’m indeed
Take my place
Once touched by a flame
A name into love
The family’s got me satisfied
To live with only me inside
A woman that gave me back my pride
And now my heart and mind are worm
With Suzanne and Damian
Tim Hardin Woodstock

If I Were a Carpenter

We don’t often see the subjunctive case in English, but in what is perhaps Hardin’s best known song (because of Bobby Darin’s popular cover), such is the case.

At the song’s start, some in the crowd recognize it and applaud. This song is simply Hardin and his guitar

[Chorus]
If I were a carpenter and you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby? (Would you have my baby)

If I were a miller and the mill should grind me
Would you miss your lover man?
Your soft shoe shiner (Soft shoe shiner)
Yeah, yeah
Oh baby

If a tinker were my trade would you still find me?
Absolutely, yes I would
Come give me your tomorrow

[Chorus]

See my love through loneliness
See my love through sorrows
I’m giving you my in this
Come give me your tomorrow
Please baby
Pretty, pretty, pretty please, baby
Oh yeah yeah
Sweet baby, baby, baby…

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Reason To Believe

Hardin segues right into Reason To Believe and again he simply accompanies himself on acoustic guitar.

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Someone like you makes it hard to live
Without somebody else
Someone like you makes it easy to give
Never thinking of myself

If I gave you time to change my mind
I’d find a way to leave the past behind
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

On his Tim Hardin 1 album, this song is a mere 2 minutes. Here he stretches it out (thankfully) to 4:43.

Tim Hardin Woodstock

You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie

Again someone calls out a request and he responds that maybe he’ll do it. This song again is just himself on acoustic guitar.

Listen to your heart for my reflection
Do your eyes stay with me when I say goodbye?
Listen to my changes in direction
Follow me to feel the same as I
I hope you feel the way I do
I hope you feel my love of you
Don’t believe me if you’re not convinced of me
Please come back along the changing sky
Every time you give yourself not loving me
You upset the grace of living when you lie
I hope you feel the way I do
I hope you feel my love of you
Tim Hardin Woodstock

Speak Like A Child

At this point Tim introduces the band. Although they must all be on the stage, only Richard Bock accompanies Hardin with a cello.

I speak like a child
I look like a child
Through dancing eyes
I wish more for you
I give more to you
Than jealous replies

There’s nothing to say
That children don’t say
Through lips that smile
I wish more for you
I give more to you
Than jealous replies

I look at you
And what i saw
Was far removed
And what i saw
Was never there

I speak like a child
I look like a child
Through dancing eyes
I give more to you
I wish more for you
Than jealous replies

I look at you
And what I saw was far removed
And what i saw
Was never there

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Snow White Lady

As well-known as Hardin is for his pithy songs, Snow White Lady departs from that. There is a jazzy blues feel here with the full band backing him for nearly 16 minutes! Although, at its close Hardin says, “We’ll get warmed up here in a minute and stop making mistakes.”

Blues On My Ceiling

This song is nearly as long clocking in at ten minutes. At the end the crowd is calling out indistinguishable requests.

Blues on the ceiling over my head
Running down the walls across the floor and over my bed
Blue lights across the street blinkin’ off and on
It’s so lonely now she’s gone
I’ll never get out of these blues alive
I’ll never get out of this crazy blues alive

Love had been a dirty five letter word to me
I was into the blues over my head blue was all that I could see
Up to my neck in misery
I’ll never get out of these blues alive
I’ll never get out of this crazy blues alive

Blues keep on fooling with my weary head
Cocaine couldn’t numb the pain I’d be better off dead
Blue lights gone out at last I sleep
The bitter the blues the better they keep
I’ll never get out of these blues alive
I’ll never get out of this crazy blues alive

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Simple Song of Freedom

As has often been pointed out, it is a bit of Woodstock Haze to say that the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was a protest. While there were a few booths and speakers promoting a particular view of current events, it was not common. Having said that, Hardin’s Simple Song of Freedom is topical.

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war

Hey, there, Mister Black Man can you hear me
I don’t want your diamonds or your game
I just want to be someone who knows to you as me
And I will bet my life you want the same

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war

Seven hundred million are you listening
Most of what you read
Most of what you read is made of lies
But speaking one to one, ain’t it everybody’s sun
To wake to in the morning when we rise

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war

No doubt some folks enjoy doing battle
Like presidents, Prime ministers and kings
So let’s all build them shelves
So they can fight among themselves
And leave the people be who love to sing

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Speaking one to one, ain’t it everybody’s
Ain’t it everybody’s sun
To wake to in the morning when we rise
When we rise.

Tim Hardin Woodstock

Misty Roses

For an encore he responds to those requesting songs that he just can’t do that, but decides to do another of his more popular songs and one that had been covered by others: Misty Roses. It is a beautiful song and he provided more than four minutes of it.

You look to me
Like misty rose
Too soft to touch
But too lovely to leave alone.
If I could be
Like misty roses
I’d love you much
You’re too lovely to leave alone.
Flowers often cry
But too late to find
That their beauty has been lost
With their peace of mind.
You look to me
Like love forever
Too good to last
But too lovely not to try.
If I believed
In love forever
I’d forget the past
You’re just too lovely not to try.
Tim Hardin Woodstock

 

Bert Sommer Woodstock

Bert Sommer Woodstock

John Morris intro…notice his asking people to “take a seat.” Funny!

You hear John Morris adding an “s” to the end of Bert’s not s-ending last name. I guess from that point, we should have known that things were not going to go well for Bert.  He is another of the missing musicians from the the album, the movie, as well as the Monument!

The other missing from the Monument are Keef Hartley, Quill,  and Tim Hardin. John Sebastian’s last name is spelled “Sabastian” and though not a “performer” as such, Sri Swami Satchidananda is missing as well.

And as long as we’re pointing out monument (yet not monumental) errors, of course the name of the event was the “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” (not “Arts”).

Definitely playing with Bert were:

The  setlist of his approximately 40 minute stage appearance was:

  • Jennifer
  • The Road To Travel
  • I Wondered Where You’d Be
  • She’s Gone
  • Things Are Going My Way
  • And When It’s Over
  • Jeanette
  • America (Paul Simon)
  • A Note That Read
  • Smile
Bert Sommer Woodstock

Jennifer

Bert Sommer had appeared in the popular play Hair, and according to the Many Fantastic Colors site,  fellow Hair performer Jennifer Warnes inspired him to write his opening song which had also appeared on his first album the Road to Travel (1968) which was produced by Woodstock Ventures’ Artie Kornfeld.

Jennifer’s something you handle with care
Fragile as crystals of glass
Jennifer’s lips are as soft as the air
Kissing her here in the grass

Whoa, I’m lost in a maze
Counting the ways that she smiles
Time is slipping away
Lost in the arms of her love
So gentle and wild

Bert Sommer Woodstock

The Road to Travel

Bert Sommer Woodstock

The name of Sommer’s first album was The Road to Travel. It was his second song at Woodstock.

Here it is, it’s summertime
Still I haven’t felt my sigh
And the years are over too, since I’m gone
And my daddy wonders why
How I look and make him proud
But I’ll carry on his name when he dies

Though the years of headache pain
I’ll continue on the game
To the further road that I can travel tonight
Find my peace, of mine

Papa says it’s straightened out
Look in what my life’s about
Try to use the head that god once gave you

Bert Sommer Woodstock

I Wondered Where You’d Be

If you wonder how to play the song, you can follow this link to the song’s chords.

Seems like I’ve been here forever
Hoping you’d jangle your keys
Hours went by
As I started to cry out and show you
All of me
And as I’m laying here awake
Lost in the cost of a dream
Thinking of someone
I felt was the loved one
I wondered where you’d be
Bert Sommer Woodstock

She’s Gone

As somber and beautiful as Sommer’s songs are, before he begins his next song, he calls out in a friendly way, “Anybody from Forest Hills?” referring to an area of Queens, NY where he grew up. He then asks for a bit more volume in his acoustic guitar. He begins the song and then quickly says, “Too loud.” The song was also on his first album.

Nights by the fire when she was there
Now all I see is an empty chair
She’s gone and this man is dying

There was a time when I’d laugh and sing
All I have left is a dusty reign
She’s gone, there’s no purpose in trying

The door stays open in the day
The lock still broken
And the way I feel without her here
Is very strange and won’t change.

Bert Sommer Woodstock

Things Are Goin’ My Way

He says he want to speed things up and sings Things Are Goin’ My Way. The song gives electric guitarist the chance to do a bit more.

When I was a young man I never had a penny
My pockets always empty couldn’t turn to anyone
But then I met you one happy Sunday
It seems the things are goin’ my way
Now I see that where love is there in your life
You will find that everything’s right
‘Cause it’s so easy a-to find someone
Just try harder and you’ll find that it’s done
When I was a school boy I never was a scholar
I never earned a dollar, didn’t have a place to go
But then I met you and now I must say

It’s seems the things are goin’ my way

Bert Sommer Woodstock

And When It’s Over

Before Sommer can continue, we hear an audience chant, “Come on down” referring to those who have climbed onto the sound towers to view but in doing so threaten to destabilize the towers themselves as well as block the view of those sitting behind it.

MC John Morris 

follows up on the chant with, “Like they say, come on down man. You’re gonna’ make us sit here and wait so we can’t hear the man sing until you come on down. Let’s go. Everybody. On the top, too. Let’s go. Man, you are not bigger or big enough to insult an artist who’s sitting on this stage who’s here to play for you. So get down off that tower!”

Cheering follows.

“Come on, creep, come on down.”

The crowd chants, “Down! Down! Down!

Morris apologizes to Sommer (again adding an s to his name). Sommer chuckles and asks the crowd if they know the band the Vagrants, a group he had been in and a group that changed its name to Mountain and would appear the next day.

And when it’s over
And as you like your cigarette
Feelin’ much older
Knowin’ that ill was no regret
Touchin’ your shoulder
Feelin’ the joy in what we’ve done
As we’ve sailed it to the sun
With our hearts and souls as one
Feelin’ free as the sea
And when it’s over
Gazin’ into your gentle light
Pullin’ you closer
Knowin’ what experience said alright
Both of us powdered
Now that is nothin’ left to hide
As we reach to touch the sky
On the love we play so high
Feelin’ free as the sea
Oh, as we sailed it to the sun
With our hearts and souls as one
Feelin’ free as the sea

Bert Sommer Woodstock

Jeanette

He asks Joanie (?) to stand up for a second, says to the band “Let’s do Jeanette next. Someone to shout out something. Bert responds “Fuck you, man”  and receives cheers.

Chords anyone?

Jennifer’s heaven, for Jenny I’d stay
Skin shining white as a dove
Lying beside her I melted away
Into her river of love

Whoa, I’m lost in a maze
Counting the ways that she smiles
Time is slipping away
Lost in the arms of her love
So gentle and wild

Jennifer’s something you handle with care
Fragile as crystals of glass
Jennifer’s lips are as soft as the air
Kissing her here in the grass

Whoa, I’m lost in a maze
Counting the ways that she smiles
Time is slipping away
Lost in the arms of her love
So gentle and wild

Jennifer’s heaven, for Jenny I’d stay
Skin shining white as a dove
Lying beside her I melted away
Into her river of love

Into her river of love
Into her river of love

Bert Sommer Woodstock

America

For the only time in his set, singer-songwriter Sommer did a cover.  Tradition has it the the first standing ovation for any artist was for his version of Paul Simon’s America. It’s interesting how he feels it necessary to tell the audience that it’s a Simon and Garfunkel song. His version really did resonate with the crowd.

Bert Sommer Woodstock

A Note That Read

Sommer introduces the two band members before his penultimate song.

You could hear him screaming
As he looked beyond the door
His only son was lying in a heap upon the floor
And from his wrists that opened wide
His life had flown from deep inside
And in his hand a note that read
It’s better if I’m dead
‘Cause this whole life was bad,
All the times we never had
I can’t say it’s been nice because it wasn’t
And, mama, please forgive me if I’ve messed the rug
But you can have it cleaned tomorrow
Oh, and you’ll find some excuse to tell your garden club
I’m sure they’ll all express their sorrow
You could see them running
As they tried to get some help
Yeah, the neighbors all were pourin’ in
To say how bad they felt
How could this happen in our town
I hope it doesn’t get around
And in his hand a note that read
It’s better if I’m dead
‘Cause this whole life was bad,
All the times we never had
I can’t say it’s been nice because it wasn’t
And, daddy, even this can have a good side
‘Cause here’s your chance for cutting all my hair off
Oh, and from today I’ll never let you down again
‘Cause now your biggest problem is taken care of
Bert Sommer Woodstock

Smile

Before his last song hee says “If you just smile, everything will be alright.” Words true then and true now.

Why should you be angry?
Why should you be sad?
Don’t be disappointed
Just smile
Just smile
Smile and the world smiles with you
Smile, all the love is in your hands
Smile ’cause we all need one another
It only takes a song to understand
I know that we’ve got to get together
A-doin’ all we can
It will start to make it better
It only takes a song to understand
Why should you be angry?
Why should you be sad?
Don’t be disappointed
Just smile
Mmh smile
Smile and the world smiles with you
Smile, all the love is in your hands
Smile ’cause we all need one another
It only takes a song to understand yeah
I know there are so many different people
A-doin’ what they can
And they all would a-love to reach you
It only takes a song to understand
Come on, smile and the world smiles with you
Smile, all the love is in your hands
Whoa you’ve got to smile, ’cause we all need one another
It only takes a song to understand. Alright!
Whoa smile and the world smiles with you
Smile, all the love is in your hands
Whoa we’ve got to smile, ’cause we all need one another
It only takes a song to understand. Yeah!
And it only takes a song to understand
Smile!

John Morris says, “The rather magnificent Bert Sommers.” 

True.

Bert Sommer Woodstock

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

What a long strange trip it was

January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley
The cover of Greenfield’s book.

In Robert Greenfield’s The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III,” an epigraph quotes Stanley:

I am not interested in having a biography of any kind published about me or any mention of my childhood. anything written about me should be abut the things I’ve done and the skills and talents I have and not, “He grew up here, he went to this school, he was in trouble there” and all that bullshit. Because that the way you create celebrityhood and I’m not into being  celebrity. I don’t give a shit.” January 31, 2007

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Blue-blood Bluegrass Heritage

August Owsley Stanley III had deep roots in Kentucky.  William Stanley, his great grandfather, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War and became governor of Kentucky.

His grandfather, the first Augustus Owsley Stanley, had a long successful political career as a Democratic Congressman, a US Senator, and the governor of Kentucky. His defeat in a Senate re-election campaign was due mainly to his being against prohibition.

His father, A O Stanley, Jr, worked for President Franklin Roosevelt in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He joined the Navy during World War II and was aboard the USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea the day the Japanese successfully sank the ship.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Peripatetic Student

Some young people do not fit easily into the typical American educational system’s structure. A O Stanley, III was one of them. He was bright, inquisitive, intuitive, impatient, and did not understand the constraints school rules placed upon students.

After his parents divorced, he moved with his mother to Los Angeles only to move back to Virginia to live with his father who had remarried. He entered the Charlotte Hall Military Academy.  He became part of its boxing team there and its coach encouraged an all-protein diet, something that became permanent part of Stanley’s life. It was while at Charlotte Hall that students nicknamed him “Bear” because of his hairy chest.  The school expelled him after an alcohol-related incident that he had spearheaded.

He then entered the Washington-Lee High School  (now Washington-Liberty) in Arlington, VA, but left there to voluntarily enter St Elizabeth’s Hospital for where he was a patient for 15 months.

He returned to Washington-Lee, but due to a lack of credits, he was kept a Junior. Owsley stayed that year and quit.

Despite not having a high school diploma, he was able to enter  the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering. He didn’t like it much and left after a year.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Peripatetic Young Adult

He didn’t stay home for long before moving to Washington, DC to live with his paternal grandmother and he didn’t stay there long before moving to Los Angeles and getting a job at Rocketdyne where he stayed for about a year before joining the Air Force in June 1956. The Air Force assigned him to the Rocket Engine Test Facility’s salvage yard in the Mohave Desert.

The Navy discharged him after 18 months and he moved back to Los  Angeles and worked in TV and radio.

He also began to take classes at Los Angeles City College.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Russian Ballet Roulette

Around this time, Stanley saw Vladimir Vasiliev perform in the Bolshoi Ballet. He fell in love with both the language and the art. He took Russian classes as well as ballet. As much as he loved the training, he realized that he had started far too late to ever achieve the goal of becoming a company dancer. Keeping himself in top physical condition became a priority.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Marriage Divorce x 2

He married in 1961. Had a son Peter. Divorced and remarried. Had a daughter Nina. He divorced again and moved to Florida.

In January 1964 he moved back to California and entered University of California, Berkeley campus.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Emergence

He moved into an apartment called the Brown Shoe with a group of Berkeley students. They were grass smokers and a Charles Perry lived there.  Perry would later write for Rolling Stone magazine under the pseudonym of Smokestack El Ropo.

Cannabis was OK for Stanley, but he preferred speed and sold morning glory seeds (for their hallucinogenic use) to purchase methamphetamine.

He dropped out of Berkeley and got a tech job with KGO-TV. His Brown Shoe roomies threw  out the manic Bear. Constant middle of the night roaring motorcycle rev ups were the final straws.

While looking for some accurate scales at Berkeley to weigh some speed, he met Mellisa Cargill, a chemistry grad student. They befriended, he enticed her away from her boyfriend, and she moved in with him.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

LSD

This Melissa Cargill picture is from a tweet. Follow the link above to read more.

Someone gave LSD to him. He liked it and wanted more, but could not find what he wanted. He decided, with the help of Cargill, he could make some.

He formed Bear Research Group, which enabled him to purchase the necessary chemicals under its business aegis. Stanley’s intensity, enthusiasm, and money combined with Cargill’s knowledge of chemistry, would trial and error them to an unequaled expertise.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

He Fought the Law

On February 21, 1965 police raided their lab under the assumption that Stanley was making speed, which was illegal. He was, but he’d hidden most of that evidence and the only thing the police took as evidence were some chemicals for LSD, which was not illegal.

After an expensive trial Stanley (financed from his speed sales) that “showed” what the police had seized was not speed, the court dismissed the case.

On March 30, 1965, 100 grams of lysergic monohydrate, one of the necessary ingredients for LSD,  arrived. By May, the first LSD went on sale.

Despite his canonized reputation as a chemist, Stanley never considered himself to be one. My father once observed, “If you can read, you can cook.” Stanley described himself as a great chef.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

The Kybalion 

Always attracted to esoteric knowledge, Stanley found The Kybalion, a book published in 1908. Among its many tenets was that all is mind and nothing can exist unless it is first thought. Physicality comes from a mental manifestation of that thing.

For someone who had discovered LSD, such an idea influenced him immensely.

Stanley also thought of alchemy. For most of us, when we hear alchemy we think of early scientists’ attempt to turn lead into gold, but the idea behind that latter description was the search for insight: the road from lead (ignorance) to gold (enlightenment).

Again, Stanley’s use of LSD fit hand in glove with such a perspective.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Merry Pranksters/Muir Beach

In October 1965, Owsley met Ken Kesey (both 30) and his Merry Pranksters. Neither was particularly impressed  with the other. Kesey already had a source for LSD, but Kesey and the Pranksters gradually found Owsley’s product superior and a relationship developed which meant that acid tests became part of Stanley’s life.

December 10, 1965: Stanley attended the Mime Troupe Benefit organized by Bill Graham at the Fillmore Auditorium. The Jefferson Airplane, the Great Society, John Handy Quintet, the Mystery Trend, the Gentlemen’s Band, the VIP’s and the Grateful Dead performed. It was the first time Stanley had heard the Dead,

Robert Greenfield quotes Stanley’s response to the Dead in the book Dark Star “In December ’65, I really heard the Grateful Dead for the first time. …I was standing in the hall and they were playing and they scared me to death. Jerry’s guitar terrified me. I had never before heard that much power. That much thought. That much emotion. I thought to myself, “These guys could be bigger than the Beatles.”

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

The next night, December 11, 1965 was the Muir Beach Lodge acid test, the third acid test, and the first for Stanley.  The combination of the Dead and taking his own acid abundantly lead to an historic relationship, but after Stanley had a trip that for many would have been their last.

Though he did not meet Stanley in person until January 8, 1966, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, in his Searching for the Sound, described Stanley’s experience that night: He first showed up on our screens pushing a chair around the floor, in love with the screeching sound of plastic on linoleum, reminding me how I had once felt that the sound of an unlubricated truck transmission was singing to me. I didn’t meet him that night; after the Test was over, he crashed his car on the way home up Mt. Tam. As he related it to us later, he’d spun off the road and seen his whole life — all the incidents of a crowded lifetime in seconds — as a tape loop. Where the splice is, “That’s birth and death”, he swore.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Soundman/Financier/Trips Festival

On that January 8 Lesh mentioned to Owsley that the band needed a soundman. A door opened and Owsley rushed in to forge an historic relationship with the band that resulted not only his becoming their soundman, but their financial backer as well.

Mainly organized by Stewart Brand. the Trips Festival on January 21, 22, & 23 at the Longshoremen’s Hall at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco followed.

The advertisement for the festival said that it would be “…the FIRST gathering of its kind anywhere. the TRIP –or electronic performance –is a new medium of communication & entertainment. Stanley provided the LSD and the what became the biggest Acid Test of all.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

LA Tests

By February 1966, Stanley was part of the Dead and flew them to LA to participate in the continuing series of acid tests and to play other gigs as well.

When he was 18, Stanley had permanently injured his right ear while swimming, which lessened his ability to hear high-pitched sounds in that ear. He compensated for the loss by learning more about sound and learning electronics to do that.

His idea was record the Dead so they could self-evaluate their shows came out of that recording ability and many of Stanley’s recordings are outstanding ones even though recorded live–and often while very high.

While in LA the band did four acid tests:

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Olompali

Their time together in LA was difficult for the Dead living with Stanley. Among the issues faced was his all-protein diet (Bob Weir reportedly became a vegetarian in reaction) and need to be in control.

Leaving LA, the Dead rented a mansion in Olompali State Historic Park, about 45 miles north of San Francisco while Stanley stayed mainly in Berkeley.

The Dead also broke with Stanley regarding his insistence on certain sound equipment that was so heavy to set up, break down, and transport, that it took hours to do. He exchanged the old equipment he’d paid for for a still high quality lighter sound system that he also paid for. Stanley’s insistence on quality sound permanently stuck with the Dead.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Media Fear and Loathing

By the spring of 1966, the media had discovered LSD and wrote stories that emphasized its danger to youth who the media already considered dangerous.

Life Magazine’s March 25 issue had an article: “The Exploding Threat of the Mind-Drug That Got Out of Hand.”

On May 31, 1966, California and Nevada passed legislation making illegal the manufacture, sale, and possession of LSD.

On October 6, 1966, the LA Times did a full-length feature on Stanley, referring to him as Mr LSD. Two days later, the San Francisco Chronicle reprinted the article.

The Dead got such a kick out of Stanley’s exposure (completely unwanted by Stanley himself) that they wrote the song Alice B Millionare.

Your yesterday’s are all left behind
There’s a brand new light in your mind
You don’t need a key to define
What’s written on the magic sign
There’s no time to cry

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

1967

Gathering of the Tribes

On January 14, 1967, Owsley supplied LSD for an even larger festival, The Gathering of the Tribes, a Human Be-In, held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

In April, Owsley visited Timothy Leary, the east coast figurehead of LSD, at the Hitchcock Estate in  Millbrook, NY. Stanley and Leary had met in LA in the spring of 1966, but Stanley wasn’t impressed. He left Millbrook in 1967 equally unimpressed after the lukewarm reception he received there.

On his way back to New York City, a State Police Officer, who had earlier given directions to Stanley, pulled over the car, searched it, “found” incriminating evidence, and arrested Stanley.

Thousands of dollars later, the case was tossed and the judge reprimanded the officer.

Monterey Pop Festival

June 16 – 18 was the Monterey Pop Festival. Though the Fantasy Fair the week before was the first rock festival, Monterey is far better known because of D.A. Pennebaker’s amazing film, its soundtrack, and the revelatory performances of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Made at his new facility in Colorado, Stanley provided his “Monterey Purple” LSD to any who wanted it. Ravi Shankar adamantly refused and was upset with even Stanley’s offer. Lighting person Chip Monck had simply wanted something to keep him awake, but accidentally took some. Brian Jones, instructed by John Lennon, brought back a supply to the UK hidden in a camera lens. That LSD helped fuel the filming of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.

A few days after the festival, Stanley convinced Jimi Hendrix to imbibe and then allow Stanley to record a solo performance. Afterwards, Jimi asked to see the cassette and summarily threw it into a fire. Lost forever. Jimi had a sense of  humor, though, and  he can be heard at the end of his live cover of the Beatles’ “Day-Tripper,” saying “Oh, Owsley, can you hear me now?

Summer of Love Fiasco

With the media’s exaggerated reports of drug use, hippie culture, and free love, San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love became instead a failed haven for runaways and a successful one for those looking to take advantage of them despite the altruistic attempts to help by such groups as the Diggers.

In fact, on October 6, the Diggers organized Death of Hippie, a mock funeral staged meant to signal the end of the Summer of Love.  Leaders carried a coffin down Haight Street and the crowd stopped for a “kneel-in” at the corner of Haight and Ashbury.

Lab Raid

To cap off Stanley’s increasingly tense year,  agents raided his Orinda lab on December 21.

The Salem Capitol Journal reportedFive persons, including a college dropout known as “king of acid” who allegedly earned a million dollars manufacturing and selling LSD, faced federal arraignment today on conspiracy charges.

Augustus Owsley Stanley III, 32, whose grandfather was a Kentucky governor, congressman and U.S. senator,  was arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Drug Abuse Thursday in a raid on a fashionable two-story home in this residential community 40 miles east of San Francisco. Stanley is known throughout the west as “king of acid.”

Pat Fuller, western director of the bureau, said the home contained “a very sophisticated chemical laboratory” and large quantities of chemicals.

Others seized were William A. Spires, 24, Robert D. Thomas, 29, Melissa Cargill, 25, and Rhona Helen Gissen, 26. They were booked on charges of “conspiracy to illegally manufacture a controlled drug.”

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

1968

Carousel Ballroom

With his LSD operation on hold, Stanley went back to being a soundman, this time at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom, a short-lived rock venue. (In July 1968, Bill Graham would takeover the Carousel and rename it the Fillmore West.)

Back with the Dead

In August 1968, Dan Healy, the Dead’s soundman, left the band and the Dead asked Owsley if he would like to come back. He accepted and also accepted the challenge of trying to dose Bill Graham. Graham was intensely suspicious of the Dead’s LSD pranks and took extreme measures (wrapping and taping tight his food to avoid a trick contact with the chemical, but on August 20 the Dead’s road crew successfully tainted the top of some soda cans that Graham unknowingly used.

Graham jammed with the band on a cowbell drummer Mickey Hart handed him for most of the show. Unfortunately, there is no known recording of Graham’s performance.

His arrest had forced more media exposure upon Stanley and reclusive to begin with, he decided to become Bear again. As a soundman, he also decided to help the band and himself by keeping a “sonic journal” of the shows, that is, recording them so he and the band could listen and learn how to sound better when playing live.

These and subsequent recordings by other sound recorders (notably Betty Cantor) as well as allowing the audience to record their shows have given the band an unequaled recorded canon.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

1969, 1970, 1971

Steal Your Face

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

In June 1969, Stanley also came up with a practical idea: marking the Dead’s equipment with an easily identifiable mark to facilitate work at gigs and make sure the expensive equipment he’d purchased for them stayed with them.

Bob Thomas drew it and the ‘Steal Your Face’ lightning skull was born.

Woodstock

Woodstock happened for the Dead and Bear, but their set is considered by most to be below par. Equipment problems, weather, and other concerns were present for all of the performers, but those issues affected the Dead’s performance more than others.

While the Dead were part of the impetus of December’s Altamont Speedway Free Festival,  they dropped out and only Bear was part of what Bill Graham would later call the “Pearl Harbor of Rock.”

Jailed

On January 30, 1970,  a police raided at their hotel resulted in Bear and most of the Dead band being arrested. Luckily a good lawyer knew an ambitious district attorney and a $50,000 political contribution dropped the flimsy charges.

Unfortunately for Bear, though, on July 31, his bail was revoked and he went to jail. While their, Janis Joplin died on October 4.  She was important to Bear and among the many sonic journals he’d made was live recording of Big Brother at the Carousel in June 1968. The recording, Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968 was not released until 2012.

He felt close to Joplin also because they shared a birthday as well as the birthdays of Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Lester, Robert E Lee, and Paul Cézanne.

Fatherhood in jail

While he was still in jail, girlfriend Rhoney Gussen gave birth to a son (Starfinder) on December 21, 1970. Three months later girlfriend Melissa Cargill gave birth to a daughter. Iridesca, who later changed her name to Redbird.

While imprisoned at the Terminal Island penitentiary in San Pedro, California, Bear was assigned to food services, an ideal placement for him as he could manage to continue his all-protein diet.

Dead in jail

The Dead did a concert in the Terminal Island library on  August 4, 1971.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

1972

Release and back with the Dead (sort of)

After being transferred to a low security facility in Lompoc, CA, Bear was released a year early (of his 3-year sentence) on July 15, 1972.

He returned to the Dead family, but in his absence the crew created their own routine that, not surprisingly, Bear disagreed with.

He tried to contribute in his persnickety manner, but he no longer had the seniority he once had.

He was able to add to his sonic journals from Dead performances as well as other band.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Wall of Sound

He did convince the band that he could create the best sounding PA system that anyone ever had. He did and it became known as the Wall of Sound.

The problem with this amazing sound system was the number of components, its size, and its weight. Assembled, it stood 40 feet high and 70 feet wide. There were 174 12″ and 288 5″ JBL speakers as well as 54 Electro Voice tweeters.

It required 26,000 watts to drive and that meant 55 McIntash MC-3000 amps. There were 9 different channels and 4-way crossover.

It cost $35,000 and weighed 75 tons.

Drummer Bill Kreutzman described the Wall as “Owsley’s brain in material form.

It first appeared on March 23, 1974 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA.

By August, the crew threatened to quit en masse because of the impossibility of setting up and breaking down the massive system.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Weed Farmer: 1974 – 1981

With the Dead taking a hiatus and the chances to manufacture LSD drastically curtailed, Bear turned to weed, though the amount he could grow vs the amount of money he could make by selling it was still not even close to his LSD profit margin.

In fact, he was nearly killed in an attempted robbery his crop.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Soundman/Dreams/Australia

The Dead invited him to do sound for a Seva Foundation benefit concert on April 25, 1981.

He assisted the band awhile, but in 1984 he began to have the same disturbing dream for several weeks. The dream centered around the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and flooding. After researching and speaking with meteorologists, Bear came to the conclusion that there was going to be another Biblical deluge followed by a new ice age.

In 1984, he moved to Atherton, Australia with his family and some acquaintances and squatted on more than 100 acres. He set up buildings, a water collection system, and eventually succeeded in legally occupying the land despite initial resistance by Australian authorities.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Sheilah Manning

Owsley continued to come back to the United States and attend Dead concerts. Sheilah Manning worked for the Dead in their ticket office. As had regularly happened in his live, Owsley fell in love and doggedly pursued Sheilah. He sent her a round trip ticket to Australia. She did go, but it took four years of back and forth before she decided to stay. They would mary in 1995.

In the meantime, Australia told him that his tourist visa had expired and if he wanted to live there he needed to apply for residency. He applied as a “distinguished artist” and got friends to support the claim. Rolling Stones Keith Richards letter may have tipped the scales in Stanley’s favor.

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Health decline/World Tour

In 2000, he had heart issues (blockages), but an operation was able to remedy them. His excellent physical condition aided his recovery.

In 2004 Stanley was diagnosed with cancer in his neck. Intense radiation treatments saved his life, but permanently affected his speech and ability to chew and eat.

In 2007, John Meyer, an old friend and a very successful founder of Meyer Sound, sent Stanley two tickets for a round the world tour. Done in a typical Stanley manner and accompanied by an extremely patient Sheilah, most flights were missed and hotel exits late. Overall, he and Sheilah had a wonderful time though.

On March 11, 2011, he and Sheilah were on their way home after a long trip that had resulted in the good news that Owsley had reached the five-year cancer free goal of all cancer patients.

Owsley was driving, the road was wet, and the car hit an oil patch. The paramedics arrived, but Owsley and Sheilah were trapped in the car.

In the end, an uninjured Sheilah had to hear an insensitive paramedic coldly tell her, “He’s dead.”

A funeral was held on March 22. Among the many tributes was a eulogy by Dead lyricist Robert Hunter:

An Anthem For Bear

Augustus Owsley Stanley III
Being less a name than a designation
The bearer of the appellation
Became, of his own inspiration
The Bear

Thus he became and thus remained
And every old-timer worth his salt
Has a tale or two to tell regarding same
Of the time the Bear did this or that
Incredibly singular, utterly apposite
Action without apology or shame
To his own particular undying fame

Unreachable, unteachable
A flame in the light of his own magnificence
Reflected in deeds dwarfing the achievements
Of the run-of-the-mill creative sort
By a factor of ten or more

King of many things was he
Of mortal physiology, the soul’s chemistry
Geography, geology
Not to mention the applied physics of sound

Regarding which, deaf in one ear
He pronounced stereo to be a distraction
Affording only one perfect seat in the house
Upon which to work its elusive illusions
And setting himself to design
The world’s most powerful hi-fi system to prove it

One suspects that, had he but one leg
He’d have seen the advantage in that
And invented accordingly, ingeniously
And, it goes without saying, successfully

Lovable and loving in the abstract
Effusiveness was not his hole card
His judgement swift, certain and irrevocable
The last word was his personal property
For the few times he was wrong, there is no accounting

Was there ever a man who changed so many
While himself changing so little
A cardinal sign, were there ever one
Fixed like a bright white star in dark blue heaven

Save sentimental eulogies for lesser men
And leave it that he was a king of many things
Of perfected personal taste and detailed opinion
First and last a scientist
And propounder of a brand new species of reason

No bucolic heaven for such as Bear
Rather a Rock of Ages
From where an eagle in full flight might dare
A sudden detour into endless dawn
Sail on, dear brother Bear
Sail on

Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley

Fare Thee Well

 

Grateful Dead/Attics of My Life/July 5, 2015

In 2015, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead played two series of concerts, one in Santa Clara, CA and one in Chicago, IL. Owsley’s son Starfinder brought some of Bear’s ashes to the Chicago concerts on July 3, 4, and 5 and placed the container in the soundboard.

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear

You sang to me.
I have spent my life
Seeking all that’s still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune
And closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play
You played to me

In the book of love’s own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me

You
flew
to me, to me.

In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me

lyrics by Robert Hunter
Augustus Bear Owsley Stanley