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The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test soundtrack with The Grateful Dead and The Merry Pranksters

My feelings about the Grateful Dead are not complicated. I like a lot of their music just fine, but it was their audience that turned me off.

I never got into that whole spinning hippies/Hacky Sack patchouli vibe, but I love the shit out of Workingman’s Dead, Anthem of the Sun, American Beauty, Live Dead and Terrapin Station. Notwithstanding the above, what I did like about Deadheads was when the tie-died circus came to the New York area, all of sudden there would be plentiful amounts of blotter acid, quality mescaline, DMT and opium around for weeks afterwards…

Drugs. Which brings me to the media below, recordings made of The Grateful Dead and Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters at the infamous San Francisco “Acid Tests,” as immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s classic book of “new journalism,” The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

This is the Dead in 1966, some of the earliest recordings that exist of the group, but what makes these tapes of even greater historical interest is that this is the soundtrack, essentially, of the “early adopters” of the psychedelic culture getting turned on together, as large groups gathered together in one place.

On that level, the recordings go from being merely an early period Grateful Dead bootleg and become something weirder, deeper and of Smithsonian Institute-level historical importance. Incidentally, today, April 16th,  is the 70th anniversary of Dr. Albert Hofmann’s 1943 discovery of LSD.

The sound can be ropey, but here it is…

This early film of the group playing at an “Acid Test” in Los Angeles on March 19, 1966 at Carthay Studio is some of the earliest footage that I’ve ever seen of the Grateful Dead:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Steal Yer Money: ‘Grateful Dead Kennedys’ tee-shirt

“Hey, you got a hippie jam band in my punk rock peanut butter.”

Two great tastes that would taste terrible together in a Bay Area musical mash-up from Hell: Introducing “The Grateful Dead Kennedys” tee-shirt!

You can get one here for $20.00.

Via The World’s Best Ever


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Gimme Shelter’ outtake: The Grateful Dead, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts

In this footage shot by the Maysles brothers on December 6, 1969 for the film Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead wait for a helicopter on a pier in San Francisco to take them to the Altamont Speedway.

Jagger, in not so sympathetic devil-mode, foppishly preens and sashays like rock royalty, much to Jerry Garcia’s amusement, while attempting to force an unyielding Charlie Watts to bestow a kiss upon a groupie’s forehead. As Jagger continues to egg Watts on, Charlie responds with the classy retort “Love is much more of a deeper thing than that.. it is not flippant, to be thrown away on celluloid.”

Later that day, the whip would come down.

This footage never appeared in the final cut of Gimme Shelter. It did eventually turn up on DVD as part of the Get Yer Ya Ya Yas Out boxset.

Michael Azerrad has written an insightful piece on The Gimme Shelter outtakes on his blog.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Documentary filmed in The Haight Ashbury during the Summer Of Love

Filmed during the Summer Of Love (1967) in the Haight-Ashbury, this groovy documentary features commentary from visionary poet Michael McClure, footage of The Grateful Dead hanging out at their Ashbury Street home, a visit to The Psychedelic Bookshop, The Straight Theater, scenes from McClure’s play The Beard and rare shots of the bard of The Haight, Richard Brautigan, walking through Panhandle Park in all of his glorious splendor.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ken Kesey: A brief interview

Ken Kesey died 10 years ago this month, on the 10th November. In memory of the great man who was “too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie”, here is a brief film interview with the Merry Prankster, where he discusses the characters he met through the Acid Test; the Grateful Dead and The Beatles and the Power of Music; looking for the crack that brings the magic and the Deadheads - what Fame meant and their Legacy.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Ken Kesey: The Merry Pranksters’ Magic Trip

Ken Kesey hits back at critics of ‘One Flew Over the Cucloo’s Nest’


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment