Mar 162011

"I'm seeing trails! Can you see the trails?"

Until yesterday, when I belatedly read the news that the Godfather of Acid, Owsley Stanley, was dead I had no idea the guy had a last name, or should I say that Owsley was his first name! I also had no idea he was the man behind the high-tech stage soundsystem of the Grateful Dead. If you ask me it might have helped the band if he wasn’t so handy with electronics and their music came out inaudible. Here’s the New York Times obituary on Owsley. I wonder if all that acid he ate and handled had anything to do with his overall dietary philosophies.

Acid intake had a profound impact on rock ‘n roll, in many cases for the good of the genre. However, the drug—or at least music recorded to sound as if it had been recorded under the influence of the drug—led to some regrettable moments. What “acid” albums would you like to see packed off with Owsley’s corporeal remains…once and for all?


  40 Responses to “Owsley Dead: Can He Take Rock’s Most-Regrettable “Acid” Albums With Him?”

  1. “After Bathing at Baxter’s” by Jefferson Airplane. Syd Barrett’s solo work, as well as Pink Floyd’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

    Syd never did anything for me, and his legacy is usually pared down to “rock’s first acid casualty.”

    What else…”Aoxomoxoa” by the Dead, and the entire Eagles catalog. HA!

  2. About half of Oar by Skip Spence

    All but a song or two from “Electric Music for the Mind and Body” by Country Joe and the Fish.

    Iron Butterfly

  3. I wouldn’t put “Piper” OR “Satanic Majesties” out with the worst acid influenced albums, and I just listened to the Stones one a few days ago – there are more songs on that album (actually, both of those albums) I’d gladly listen to again than ANYTHING off “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”! I’ll take any Syd era Floyd over the later stuff, where all they seem to do is write songs about how hard it is being a rock star & what crappy, abusive childhoods they (meaning Waters) had. Zzzzzz……

    Would “Two Virgins” by John y Yoko count as an acid influenced album, because that’s one I hate?

    Nektar – “A Tab In the Ocean”, which is apparently considered a classic of proggy/acid “rock” by some. Bury it, I say!

    I mean, listen to this silly, meandering crap:
    Yeah, they’re really going for baroque, there! Feh!

  4. The Electric Prunes’ Mass in F Minor: one of the worst acid albums I ever bought (and quickly sold)!

  5. What about these cosmic gnomes?

  6. BigSteve

    I want to keep ALL the acid albums. Accepting the good and the bad is one of the lessons you learn when tripping.

  7. How many late 60s era rock LPs weren’t influenced by acid and therefore somewhat acid albums? Just sayin’.

  8. I’d want to salvage a song or two, but Eric Burdon and The Animals, Winds of Change, is welcome to blow away. Sorry, Mod.

  9. You know — a few years ago I would have voted to put the Tommy movie and soundtrack album on the mothership, but I watched the whole movie recently and enjoyed it way more than I did the first time I sat through the whole thing. The baked beans thing with Ann-Margret . . . .

    • tonyola

      If there’s any Tommy to be done away with, it’s the godawful symphonic version released in 1973 and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. Possibly worth listening to once for its bad campiness, then into the sun it goes.

    • misterioso

      A bad, bad, bad movie. Ken Russell sucked, big time. Pretentious and utterly devoid of any interesting ideas (in general, not just in that movie). The Tommy movie soured me on the record for years and years. Feh to him.

      • tonyola

        The Tommy movie is indeed bad and pretentious, but it has a few things worth watching like Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie. If you want to see Ken Russell and Roger Daltrey at their over-the-top worst, you should watch Lisztomania.

  10. The large portion of The Doors catalog.

  11. tonyola

    Vanilla Fudge – The Beat Goes On
    Monkees – Head (keep “Porpoise Song” though)
    Grateful Dead – first album
    Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum
    Godz – Contact High
    Chambers Brothers – (should have stuck with soul)
    Seeds – anything
    Hello People – everything (they dressed as mimes and should have stayed quiet like mimes)

    • 2000 Man

      I’m plenty okay wit The Seeds, but The Godz Contact High is really, really awful. Lester Bangs owes me for that one, and I’m gonna collect in the next life, provided Lester doesn’t bite it early there, too. But I’ll catch up one day, and I’ll get my ten bucks back!

  12. I’m not a collector of the acid stuff but so far I agree with the Syd solo records and the Monkees’ Head (the movie, at least). And the Dead album to ship off is Anthem of the Sun“, Aoxomoxoa is positively lucid by comparison.

    I was recently listening to Leon Russel’s Carney and the track “Acid Annapolis” wrecks the flow of a pretty good record.

  13. Totally agree with The Beat Goes On by Vanilla Fudge and After Bathing at Baxters. I’d also toss in Farewell Aldebaran by Judy Henske and Jerry Yester.

  14. I just read the Sam Cutler book about Altamont and The Dead. He talks about what Owlsey contributed to The Dead (which in the 1970’s was a lot – technologically, chemically, general direction into spacyness)

    “After Bathing at Baxter’s” by Jefferson Airplane should be sent off to the great “final acid trip”

    Keep The Doors – I like Jim to be my personal guide (at least his voice is calming)

    I am a big fan of Satanic Majesties – agreed there are a few clunkers, but overall it is a good next step from Between The Buttons and it cleared the decks for their “Get Back” record (Beggars Banquet)

    I can understand why you would want to play music while on acid, but who can get to the actually completing a song, recording it, etc. It’s amazing that there are any acid records to put into this conversation (or maybe I should have stuck with beer)

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