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Helmets of blood: The Lost Gospels of Al Jourgensen
11:03 am


industrial music

First of all, let’s face it, there is no way to overestimate Ministry’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll. For one brief moment in time (let’s say 1988), they were the heaviest band on the planet, and they are clearly the greatest industrial-rock band of all time (unless you include fire tricks, then obviously Rammstein). And probably the best part about it is that they’ve been shepherded for the past thirty-something years by a complete maniac.

“God, I hate that guy. And he owes me an ass-fuck.”
- Al Jourgensen on Robert Plant

Frontman/chief-strategist/visionary Al Jourgensen started Ministry in Chicago in 1981. Originally they were a soppy synth-pop band (see 1983’s With Sympathy album, still a dancefloor fave among less sociopathic new-wavers), but as the 80s wore on, the drugs and the guitars and the psychiatric disorders took hold and by 1987’s Land of Rape and Honey album, the sound and vision had evolved into an ear-bleeding digital acid-metal nightmare. Shows became war zones. The band ushered in the 90s with hardcore sex and violence and enough Marshall stacks to topple the New World Order. Throughout it all, Jourgensen crawled through the muck of his own tortured psyche, drowning his psychosis with more psychosis in an endless orgy of sex, drugs and debauchery. And in 2013, he spilled the beans in a tell-all autobio, The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen,  that would swear even the most hardened drug enthusiast into a life of quiet sobriety. I mean, this is how the goddamn book starts:

“All that came out of me was blood, and there was so much pouring out of my dick and asshole that I started to panic. I didn’t want the toilet to overflow, so I took off the helmet, held it to my ass, and let the blood pour in there. I fell off the toilet and I tried to put the helmet back on, and about twelve ounces of blood matted down my hair and ran down my face, pooling with the blood that was dribbling out of my face and nose.”


A Young Al Jourgensen (with Stephen “Stevo” George) in his pre-pissing blood pretty boy days
Given that audacious opener, you may be expecting a redemption story. Well, he eventually gets his teeth fixed, but that’s about it. Mostly it’s just full-tilt gonzo, all the time. Just ask Butthole Surfers’ megaphone abuser Gibby Haynes, who is no stranger to bad craziness himself. Touring with Ministry was heavy even for him.

“I had never really done that, where it was girls, hotel rooms, girls, blowjobs. There were so many girls and so many drugs, so much nudity. I was lying on the floor, and Al glanced over at me and went, ‘Nice cock, Haynes.’ I was like, ‘Aw man, no one’s ever told me that before.’ That’s so sweet. It might not be true, but it’s nice to hear.”

Hayne is not exaggerating, either. There’s an incredible amount of really weird, gross group sex on display in this book, most of it involving Jourgensen, it being his autobiography and all.

“One night I fucked a paraplegic chick in a wheelchair. I think she had Parkinson’s. So she’s blowing a guy in our crew and I’m fucking her. She’s wearing a colostomy bag, and I was naturally curious. I stopped fucking her for a second and I started squeezing the bag back into her.”

And as soon as the fucking is over, the drugs, booze, paranoia and craziness starts back up. And it’s not just Jourgensen. Most of his cohorts are just as nuts. Here’s a snapshot from the book of life with Pigface/Ministry singer Chris Connolly:

“One day Chris comes running over, sweating and all freaked out, saying skinheads attacked him. I grabbed some pepper spray and a baseball bat; I didn’t have a gun back then. I go running outside to confront these skinheads who harassed my new vocalist. It was two ten-year-olds on their bikes. I asked him, ‘is that what harassed you?’ And he said yeah. I was like, “They’re ten-year-olds with tennis rackets. I don’t waste pepper spray on ten-year-olds.”


El Duce, only just slightly more epically fucked than the guy from Ministry
He also spent more time with Mentors’ frontman El Duce than anybody in their right mind would.

“A couple of times he passed out in the aisle of the drugstore after stealing mouthwash. They’d arrest him and then we’d have to bail him out for being drunk in Walgreens. You can’t tell me that’s not cool, man.”

S’pose not!

What does this man have in common with Al Jourgensen? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind…

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
The Needle and the Damage Done: The art of old-school patch embroidery gets born again
02:17 pm


Old School

Ninja and Yolandi of Die Antwoord hand made patch
Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord patch
Somewhere in the desert just outside of Reno Nevada lives a man named Cody McElroy. McElroy looks like he set off from LA on a vision quest, made his way to Reno, and never looked back. He looks famous, a little bit like Johnny Thunders. He plays the harmonica and his tattooed arms match each of his hands. Speaking of McElroy’s hands, they spend most of their time breathing life back into the lost art of creating hand-made patches.
Stones tongue hand made patch
Tongue and lip patch
Known as Dirty Needle Embroidery, McElroy’s work possess a distinct vintage vibe, and are made with the same kind of attention to detail as their old school predecessors. According to McElroy, he sews each patch himself using a single-needle sewing machine employing a process that he calls “reverse tattooing.” Or in layman’s terms, coloring in your design first, not starting with the outline as you would with a tattoo. McElroy says each piece he makes can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 20 hours to finish, depending on size or its intricacies.
Noel Fielding as The Mighty Boosh hand made patch
Noel Fielding of “The Might Boosh” as the “The Hitcher” patch
In an interview last year, McElroy spoke about his obsession with vintage patches and clothing, which started back when he was just 16. A few years later one of his friends (a guy friend for that matter) taught him how to tailor his own clothes. It was around then that McElroy started experimenting with patch making. His designs celebrate all things counter-culture and the good old-fashioned pursuit of vice. So understandably, many of McElroy’s admirers reside within the vast motorcycle community, outlaw and otherwise, in Nevada and the Pacific North West. The young artist has become a fixture at motorcycle events around the west coast since starting Dirty Needle in 2013.
Drug researcher hand made patch
Drug researcher patch
I can’t lie. I’ve been pretty obsessed with patches for most of my life. And McElroy’s unique patches bring me right back to the moment I started collecting in my early teens. If you also share my obsession, you can pick up a few of McElroy’s iron-on patches online, or request a custom order. Many images of his one-of-a-kind patches that I suddenly can’t imagine living without, follow.
Only users lose drugs hand made patch
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Smoke weed from the heads of Charles Bukowski, Tom Waits, Hunter S. Thompson & other oddballs

Raul Duke and Dr. Gonzo pipes
Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo pipes

I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits - and millions of Americans agree with me.
—Hunter S Thompson

Millions of Americans: “Yes, we do agree. Except for grapefruit. Fuck grapefruit.”

As the “legalize the good shit” wave continues to sweep across the U.S., so do the seemingly endless varieties of marijuana smoking apparatus. Ever wanted a bong that you could strap to your face that looks like Satan? No problem. Now if you happen to be one of those stoners who is always on the lookout for something unique to pack at your next smoke session, today is your lucky day Spicoli.
Tom Waits pipe
Tom Waits pipe

It just so happens that a Macedonia-based business called WOOFterrapipe makes ceramic pipes in the images of poets, deviants, and folk heroes like Tom Waits, Walter White and Edgar Allan Poe among others. The only pipe in the collection that puts me off a bit is the one of Charles Bukowski. While I understand that pretty much everybody (including me) and potheads love Buk, Bukowski himself LOATHED potheads. So as a huge fan of the man who wrote words like a wild horse runs, it seems a bit rude to want to fire up a bud of Blue Dream in the back of Bukowski’s little ceramic head.

However, given the choice (and it’s a tough one), I’d rather burn Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo with a little grass, a few beers (and maybe seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, two dozen amyls, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers).
Charles Bukowski pipe
Charles Bukowski pipe

More after the jump…

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We got the shit!: 41 movies in which people snort coke, shoot dope and smoke weed
12:11 pm



Here’s a cinematic drug binge consisting of segments from 41 movies in which people snort, shoot and smoke a slew of mind-altering substances. In these druggy scenes from Easy Rider to The Wolf Of Wall Street, there’s enough powder and weed to make your jaws clench, eyes water and nose twitch.

Nicely done by Jorge Luengo Ruiz.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
DRUGS: Trippy photos from a ‘unique’ volume of the ‘LIFE Science Library,’ 1969
02:13 pm



The cover of Life Science Library: Drugs

Back in the 60s LIFE had a series of hardcover books—26 volumes total—called the LIFE Science Library that tackled many subjects like Mathematics, The Mind, Health and Disease, Time, Food and Nutrition and so on. One of the volumes printed in 1967 was simply titled Drugs and it gave the history of medicines and how drugs affect the human body. Now if you were to judge a book by its cover, the LIFE hardback cover on drugs looks pretty boring, right? I woulda walked right past it without a second thought! The thing is, if you’d open it up, it’s chock full of trippy eye-candy delights.

Why such a boring cover with such delicious psychedelic imagery on the inside?




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Hilarious anti-drugging and driving commercial from New Zealand
02:43 pm


New Zealand

I normally can’t stand child actors, but the trio of kiwi kiddies assembled for this anti-drugs and driving PSA are comedic geniuses. They’re like Trailer Park Boys level funny… Perfect timing.

I guarantee these kids are going to get their own TV show.

h/t reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dope tunes: Vintage music mix featuring tales of drugs, sex, liquor and gambling
02:27 pm



The Musical Odyssey on SoundCloud made this dopey mix for your listening pleasure, but warn, “Pace yourself, listen responsibly.”

Seems you can’t listen to music today without hearing some reference or other to sex, drugs and crime. Well, guess what kids, it ain’t nothing new! Join the Odyssey for an hour of vintage jazz, blues and folk brought to you by a motley crew of junkers, jivers, vipers, dope-fiends, hookers, boozers and crap-shooting sinners

List of songs:

1) Bea Foote – Weed (1938)
2) Jo Jo Adams – When I’m In My Tea (1949)
3) Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson – Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine? (1947)
4) Lucille Bogan & Walter Roland – Shave Em Dry (1935)
5) Blind Blake – Champagne Charlie Is My Name (1932)
6) Charlie Poole and The North Carolina Ramblers – Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (1927)
7) Jimmie Rogers – Gambling Barroom Blues (1932)
8) Memphis Millie – Down In The Alley (1920s)
9) Champion Jack Dupree – Junkers Blues (1940)
10) Nelson Alexander – Drink Up, Light Up (1940s)
11) Joe Liggins – Whiskey, Women & Loaded Dice (1954)
12) Charlie Aldrich – Kinsey’s Book (1954)
13) Mabel Scott – Just Give Me A Man (1946)
14) Cab Calloway & His Cotton Club Orchestra – Reefer Man (1932)
15) Cab Calloway & His Cotton Club Orchestra – The Man From Harlem (1932)
16) Claude Hopkins – It’s Too Big Poppa (1945)
17) The Treniers – Poon Tang (1952)
18) Georgia White – Walking The Street (1937)
19) Dick Justice – Cocaine (1928)
20) Lil Green – Knockin Myself Out (1941)
21) Andy Kirk & His 12 Clouds of Joy - All The Jive Is Gone (1936)

Via Kottke

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Obscenely expensive Christian Louboutin handbag in the shape of a pill

I can certainly appreciate the swell design of the “Pilule” bag by Christian Louboutin, however, I don’t like it enough to spend $6,995 on it. Yikes!

Christian Louboutin celebrates 20 years of iconic designs with a capsule collection compiled of favorite pieces from decades past. The “Pilule”,  constructed in 100% resin, returns with the capsule collection. Produced in very limited quantities, this is your daily dose of Louboutin and it is just what the doctor ordered.

What pharmaceutical product is this capsule supposed to represent, anyways? I don’t recognize it. Is it a “happy” pill or just an antibiotic?
Via Who Killed Bambi

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dream homes of alleged drug lords
03:03 am

Current Events

El Narco

Today’s issue of The New York Times has a fascinating article on the interior design sensibilities of alleged Mexican drug lords.

Drugs, like oil, can produce piles of cash in a hurry. And in several Mexican cities, there are massive homes with domes that have an Arabian flourish. The desert mansion of Amado Carrillo Fuentes — a drug lord famous for transporting cocaine in jumbo jets, and for dying after botched plastic surgery in 1997 — has even been called the Palace of 1,001 Nights, after the book of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories that included Aladdin.

Conspicuous consumption, fueled by meth and coke profits and a strip club aesthetic, results in an El Narco world upholstered in fine Corinthian leather, animal prints, gaudy swaths of velveteen and automobiles in aspic.

What happens when the deal goes wrong and money can’t buy you out of some serious bad karma? These photos tell the tale. Graveyards of the Dope Gods.
More photos after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Nile Rodgers’ ‘Le Freak’: Music biography of the year

Yes, I am aware that Marc Campbell writing on this blog last month claimed that Everything Is An Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson is the music book of the year—which is why I have fudged the terms here and inserted the word “biography” into the headline. Shouldn’t there be a distinction between writers on music and musicians who write anyway? Well, it doesn’t really matter if you are more interested in the story or the music, as Nile Rodgers’ autobiography Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny is packed to the last page with stories and anecdotes that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor.

If you consider yourself a music fan, then Nile Rodgers needs no introduction. He is a hardcore, bona-fide music industry legend. He not only co-wrote some of the biggest hits of the Seventies with his partner Bernard Edwards in the band Chic (“Le Freak”, “Good Times”, “We Are Family”), and produced some of the biggest records of the 80s (Madonna’s Like A Virgin, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Duran Duran’s Notorious, Diana Ross’ Diana.) His skills as a guitarist are beyond any doubt and have influenced a generation of musicians not only in the disco, funk and dance genres but further afield in post-punk and even hard rock. At a recent gig in Manchester, Rodgers’ Chic Organisation was joined onstage by The Smiths’ Johnny Marr who sat in on “Le Freak”—the pairing might seem unusual, but listen to their guitar styles and the influence is clear.

Le Freak is Rodgers’ candid autobiography, and what a tale he has to tell. Not only is this one of the most fascinating stories in modern music, with a cast list of some of the biggest stars in the world, but it’s also one of the most under-documented so to hear it coming from the proverbial horse’s mouth is a delight. There’s drugs, sex, rock’n’roll, drugs, booze, disco, hippies, drugs, Black Panthers, bohemians, buppies, drugs and some more drugs for good measure. The years spent playing and writing in Chic, while not given short thrift, are not the main focus of the book. Chic have been well documented elsewhere, in particular the book Everbody Dance: Chic and the Politics of Disco by Darren Easley. But where that book leaves off—namely the coke-fuelled 80s—is where Le Freak really kicks in to gear, with Rodgers working with Ross, Bowie, Ciccone and snorting his way through the GDP of a small country. Any mere mortal would be dead from the amount of coke Rodgers scoffed, but what’s even more impressive is his hardcore work ethic and the fact that he managed to keep it all together (and tight!) while under the influence.

But it’s the early years of Rodgers’ life that are the unexpected highlight. To call his upbringing unusual would be an understatement. Born to his mother when she was just 13, and only a few years before she became a full-time heroin addict, Nile travelled with his mother or one of his grandmothers between New York and LA during the 50s and 60s. His musically gifted father wasn’t present, but Nile ran into him in a couple of times on the street, and got to witness his vagrant lifestyle first hand in a couple of heart-breaking reminiscences. In Los Angeles, at the age of 13, Rodgers drops acid at a hippie pad and ends up hanging out with Timothy Leary. In New York, at the more wizened age of 17, he finds himself tripping balls in a hospital emergency ward as Andy Warhol is wheeled in, having just been shot by Valerie Solanas. This being the kind of incredible life that Rodgers leads, he is able to meet both men later on in life, in very different circumstances, and recount these tales directly to them. He credits events and coincidences like this in his life as something called “hippie happenstance.”

Yet, despite all the major celebrities who make regular appearances throughout the book (I particularly liked the story of meeting Eddie Murphy), this remains distinctly the Nile Rodgers story. It’s clear how important family is to the man, and despite his own family’s unusual set-up and dysfunction, it’s the Rodgers’ clan who are the anchor in this wild tale (even despite their own wild times consuming and selling drugs). Nile’s parents may have been junkies, and genetically predisposed him to his alcoholism, but they taught him about fine art, music, fashion and culture, which is not how heroin-addicted parents are generally perceived by the public.

Le Freak is an excellent book, and worth reading whether you like disco music or not. Nile Rodgers’  is one of the most important composers/musicians/producers of the 20th century, and it’s good to see him finally getting his due. But despite creating the biggest selling single for his then label, Atlantic, and producing the biggest break-out records for a generation of 80s pop superstars, it still packs a punch to read about the discrimination that Rodgers and his music faced from within the industry:

A few weeks later I did a remix of a song of [Duran Duran’s] called “The Reflex”. Unfortunately, as much as Duran Duran liked the remix, their record company wasn’t happy, and I was soon in an oddly similar situation to the conflict Nard and I had had with Diana Ross’ people.

Nick Rhodes called me moments after the band had excitedly previewed my retooling of “The Reflex” to the suits at Capitol Records. “Nile” he began, his monotone stiff-upper-lip English accent barely hiding his despair. “We have a problem”.

My stomach tightened. “What’s up Nick?”

He struggled to find the words. “Capitol hates the record” he finally said.

I was stunned. “The Reflex” was a smash. I was sure of it. This was déja vu all over again.

“How do you guys feel about it?” I asked a little defensively.

“Nile, we love it. But Capitol hates it so much they don’t want to release it. They say it’s too black sounding.”

Too black sounding? I tried not to hit the roof, but in a way it was nice to hear it put so plain. Finally someone had just come out and said it.

Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny by Nile Rodgers is available here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Nile Rodgers dishes the dirt on Atlantic Records
Miles Davis talks about his art on Nile Rodgers’ ‘New Visions

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Drug Etiquette
04:00 pm

Current Events

AP Ticker

Witty, smart, right-on, AP Ticker is Andy Rooney without the shakes.

Legalize it? Why, of course.

Via Phawker

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A seemingly stoned Sonny Bono warns teenagers about the dangers of marijuana
01:19 pm


Sonny Bono

Sonny Bono seems more than a little stoned in this US government anti-marijuana film from 1968. It includes an hilarious final piece to camera (which looks edited to best comic effect) where Bono trips over his words, as he tells the audience:

“Well now, you’ve heard from both sides of the question, but what you do with your life is up to you.

“If you become a pothead you risk blowing the most important time of your life: your teen age. That unrepeatable time for you to grow up and to prepare for being an adult that can handle problems, and make something meaningful out of life.

“Or, you have the choice to have the courage to see and deal with the world for what it really is - far, far from perfect but for you and for me the only one there is.

“While it’s true that some of you will actually go to the moon and perhaps other planets, it’s also true that in a few short years, this world will be your establishment, and you will be the Establishment and what you do or don’t do about it will be your scene. Your the generation with the brain power and the opportunity to do more for the human needs of this world than any other generation in history.

“Let’s hope your teenage children don’t have too much criticism of what you did or didn’t do because you were on pot.”

O, roll me a fat one Sonny.

With thanks to Debbie Rochon

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Morningstar Commune and the roots of cybernetics

A photo of Morningstar Ranch featured in Time Magazine in 1967.
By the time I visited Morningstar Ranch (aka The Digger Farm) in 1968 it was becoming a suburb of the Haight Ashbury. Young hippies, like myself, were drifting through the Sebastopol commune not quite knowing why we there but feeling we needed to be there. It felt less like an actual community than a halfway house for people yearning for community. None of us were actually ready to settle down yet. We were too fucking young. The idea of going back to the land was nice in theory, but we were still digging what the cities had to offer: rock clubs, bookstores, Love Burger on Haight St., hot water and supermarkets.

Lou Gottlieb founded Morningstar Ranch in 1966. A former member of the folk group The Limelighters, Lou had a spiritual epiphany and felt compelled to explore alternatives to the status quo approach to living. Morningstar was Lou’s experiment in communal living, a work in progress that wasn’t really work but some kind of joyous attempt at re-defining how we lived as neighbors, lovers and caretakers of planet Earth.

Morningstar had an anarchic spirit. It was literally open to everyone. What you did when you got there was up to you. I don’t remember any rules. Most of us didn’t have the discipline or patience to become active members of Lou’s wild dream. We were either too lazy, too restless, or both. There was a core group that kept the place functioning as a community, but for the most part nomadic flower children passed through the place on their way to something called the future.

In nearby Palo Alto, the beginning of virtual realities were stirring in the shadows of mainframe computers.

Long before he co-founded The Hackers Conference, The WELL (considered by many to be the first online social network) and the Global Business Network, Stewart Brand was staging acid tests with Ken Kesey and his ragtag band of Merry Pranksters. Brand, who popularized the term personal computer in his book II Cybernetics Frontiers, took his first dose of acid at the International Foundation for Advanced Study in 1962.

The proto-cybergeeks conjuring electric magic in what would eventually be known as Silicon Valley were dropping Owsley and conceiving realities in which brain meat interfaced with machine and the mind could perceive itself in its true limitless state. Many of these bearded outlaws from computerland were Gottlieb’s close friends and early pilgrims to Morningstar.

We - the generation of the ‘60s - were inspired by the “bards and hot-gospellers of technology,” as business historian Peter Drucker described media maven Marshall McLuhan and technophile Buckminster Fuller. And we bought enthusiastically into the exotic technologies of the day, such as Fuller’s geodesic domes and psychoactive drugs like LSD. We learned from them, but ultimately they turned out to be blind alleys. Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control. But a tiny contingent - later called “hackers” - embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.”  Stewart Brand (founder of The Whole Earth Catalog).

In this short clip from Canadian television, Lou envisions a cybernetic world where machines do the work while humans have all the fun.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Reggae star DJ Smiley Culture dies during police drugs raid
01:26 pm

Current Events

DJ Smiley Culture

Eighties Reggae star, DJ Smiley Culture has died during a police drugs raid at his home, in Surrey, England. A report on Sky News reads:

The musician, real name David Emmanuel, 48, apparently died from self-inflicted wounds.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched an investigation, after the incident was voluntarily reported to it by Scotland Yard.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police had called at his home in Warlingham, Surrey, as part of a series of raids during a drugs investigation.

It is believed he died in the kitchen of the house after police tried to resuscitate him.

Surrey police were called to the house during the incident. It is understood other suspects were arrested at other addresses during the series of raids.

Smiley Culture had a short burst of fame in the 1980s with singles “Cockney Translation” and “Police Officer” which both reached the singles charts and led to appearances on BBC’s Top of the Pops.

As his pop career diminished he turned to acting, with a cameo appearance in the film Absolute Beginners.

In September last year he was charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court.


Coroner’s Officer Carole Hall told Woking Coroner’s Court on Friday 18 March that singer, DJ Smiley Culture, real name David Emmanuel, aged 48, had died from a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest. His death occurred at the scene despite attempts at resuscitation.

The report raised serious questions about the death: firstly, why Mr. Emmanuel had been allowed, while in police custody, to enter another room (the kitchen) “to make a cup of tea”.

Secondly, it was reported Emmanuel was “calm” at the time of the raid, which goes counter to the violent force necessary for Emmanuel to kill himself, as the knife entered his chest, and pierced the other side.

Reports in the UK press have also questioned the coroner’s report and the family have asked for an independent inquiry into Mr Emmanuel’s death.

At a press conference in Brixton, London, held after the coroner’s report, the singer’s nephew, Merlin Emmanuel said:

We haven’t had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley.

‘The police have a lot to answer to. Until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest.

‘Fact – Smiley Culture died at his home from a single stab wound whilst in police custody, while they let him go and make a cup of tea.’



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley has died

Owsley “Bear” Stanley the 1960s counter-culture figure, who “flooded the flower power scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Grateful Dead” has died in a car crash in his adopted home country of Australia on Sunday, his family have said. He was 76. The National Post reports that Owsley was:

..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.

“I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for,” he told the Chronicle’s Joel Selvin. “What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”

He emigrated to the tropical Australian state of Queensland in the early 1980s, apparently fearful of a new ice age, and sold enamel sculptures on the Internet. He lost one of his vocal cords to cancer.

Stanley was born Augustus Owsley Stanley III in Kentucky, a state governed by his namesake grandfather from 1915 to 1919. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 months, studied ballet in Los Angeles, and then enrolled at UC Berkeley. In addition to being an LSD advocate, he adhered to an all-meat diet.

A statement released by Cutler on behalf of Stanley’s family said the car crash occurred near his home in far north Queensland. He is survived by his wife Sheila, four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Here is a rare interview with Bear Owsley by Bruce Eisner .

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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