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LSD Guru Turned Sound System Pioneer Dies in Car Crash

Reported by JontySkrufff on April 2, 2011

Picture; Rolling Stone magazine on Owsley (Click HERE)

Counter culture icon Owsley Stanley (aka Bear) has died in a car crash in Australia. He was 76. Renowned for being one of the key architects and catalysts for the hippy movement of the 60s, he was also widely recognized as the first private individual to synthesize LSD, earning him the accolade  ‘the king of acid’ in a belated feature article by Rolling Stone magazine in 2007.

“No one did more to alter the consciousness of the generation that came of age in the 1960s than Augustus Owsley Stanley,” the magazine said.

“Long before the Summer of Love drew thousands of hippies to Haight-Ashbury, Owsley was already an authentic underground folk hero, revered throughout the counterculture for making the purest form of LSD ever to hit the street."

Manufacturing LSD when it was still legal initially, he became the ‘primary LSD supplier to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters’ (wiki) in 1965 later teaming up with the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and going on to develop a method of synthesizing 99.9% pure LSD.

Sentenced to three years in jail in 1967 after a jury refused to accept his claim that 350,000 doses of LSD was for his own personal use, he hooked up as a sound engineer with the Grateful Dead after being released and went on to develop their ‘Wall Of Sound’ music system which set the standard for stadium and outdoor rock concerts in later years.

His genius at building sound systems also saw him teaming up with then fledging sound company Meyer Sound, the company whose equipment nowadays sits in Berlin’s Panorama Bar, powering the uber-influential venue’s sound since last year.

Meyer Sound CEO and cofounder John Meyer paid tribute in a statement posted on the company’s website.

"Bear was a great friend and a true inspiration," he said.

"We first met Bear in the 1970s, and we worked very closely for many years. His determination to find new technical solutions to improve audio delivery led to our numerous experiments together in the early days of Meyer Sound. He was an uncompromising advocate of audio system clarity, which to this day is still the driving force behind our engineering philosophy."

"Bear was a unique soul unlike anyone else we have known,” Meyer co-founder and vice president of the company Helen Meyer agreed.

“His energy, talent, and passion have inspired all of us, and we will miss him dearly. In love and gratitude to Bear, we have decided to name the new mix-to-picture room at our Berkeley headquarters 'Bear's Lab.'" She added. (Owsley on Youtube, amazing footage) (A rare interview from 1990) (Rolling Stone on Bear)

Jonty Skrufff: