"I never set out to change the world," he rasps in recalling his early manufacture of LSD. "I only set out to make sure I was taking something (that) I knew what it was. And it's hard to make a little. And my friends all wanted to know what they were taking, too. Of course, my friends expanded very rapidly."So some library nerd started it all!
By conservative estimates, Bear Research Group made more than 1.25 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967, essentially seeding the entire modern psychedelic movement....
He found the recipe for making LSD in the Journal of Organic Chemistry at the UC Berkeley library.
Bear [AKA Augustus Owsley Stanley III] has always lived in a quite particular world. "He can be very anal retentive, on a certain level, on a genius level," says Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane. "I've seen him send his eggs back three times at Howard Johnson's."He's meticulous about what he ingests. On a genius level.
His all-meat diet is a well-known example. When he was younger, Bear read about the Eskimos eating only fish and meat and became convinced that humans are meant to be exclusively carnivorous. The members of the Grateful Dead remember living with Bear for several months in 1966 in Los Angeles, where the refrigerator contained only bottles of milk and a slab of steak, meat they fried and ate straight out of the pan. His heart attack several years ago had nothing to do with his strict regimen, according to Bear, but more likely the result of some poisonous broccoli his mother made him eat as a youth.
As a sound mixer, Bear holds equally strict viewpoints, insisting that the most effective rock concert systems should have only a single source of sound, his argument quickly veering into the realm of psycho-acoustics.I love reason. Especially, on the genius level. I may not understand it, but I like the way it emanates from a single point. Helps me keep my bearings. It's just one guy saying things like that.
"The PA can only be in one spot," he says. "All the sounds have to come from a single place because the human brain is carrying around the most sophisticated sound processing of any computer or living creature. It equals the bats that fly by echo. It equals the dolphins. It equals the owls that hunt at night without any daylight at all. It is a superb system for locating and separating one sound from everything else."
Bear left Northern California in the early '80s, convinced that a natural disaster was imminent.
He predicted at the time that global warming would lead to a six-week-long ultra-cyclone that could cover the Northern Hemisphere with a new ice age. Determining that the tropical northern side of Australia would be the most likely region to survive, Bear made a beeline for Queensland and says he felt at home the moment he set foot on the new continent.He might be wrong.
"I might be right about the ice age thing," he allows. "I might be wrong."