And that was on the western side of the bay. Throw in the eastern side around Berkeley and Oakland and there are a whole new batch of ingredients that went into the mix, including the Free Speech Movement, the Vietnam Moratorium and the Hells Angels.

Looking at that list of influences there's more than one maverick element, but if you were looking for someone who out-mavericked most of the rest of them you'd probably find yourself looking in the general direction of one Augustus Owsley Stanley III, who died in a car crash in North Queensland on 13 March this year.

Now, the average reader might be surprised to see an obituary to a non-musician on these music pages, but apart from Owsley's status as the chemical architect who provided the substance that fuelled much of the West Coast exploration of inner space his involvement with the Grateful Dead was a key influence on much that came afterwards.

For a start, his status as the Dead's sound man, and the financial resources he contributed that helped build the Dead's Wall of Sound concert audio system shaped much of what ca,me afterwards when it came to the sonic presentation of rock & roll, though few of his successors went to quite the same lengths.

Then his espousal of recording what was passing through that system laid the foundation for the tape trader scene which the Dead exploited to build a sustainable marketing operation that continues to this day. He also made significant contributions to the iconography of the Dead, including the Lightning Bolt Skull Logo.

And that's without considering any of his widespread influence as an industrial-quantity manufacturer of LSD.

When my attention returns to that Interesting Times project and I get to that particular era it would, perhaps, have been interesting to interview the Bear, but I suspect any intrusion into the environs of his home on the Atherton Tablelands would have produced an acerbic reaction.


B© Ian Hughes 2012