• March 13, 2011
    https://www.dead.net/features/news/owsley-bear-stanley-1935-2011
    Owsley "Bear" Stanley - 1935-2011

    I met Owsley at the age of eighteen. I had just left home, having run off with a Rock&Roll band. Bear, as we knew him, was one of my all-time biggest influences. Always, when I think of him, I think of the endless stuff he taught me or somehow made me realize, all stuff that I've been able to use to the benefit of countless people who probably don't know much about him or how deeply he influenced me and the rest of the band. Most important was the approach he taught me and us: Always be open and engaging - always critical and questioning, but not negatively so much as playfully. He taught me to take myself and my interests out of the picture and work with the subject under consideration so that the best deductions or conclusions are made. I guess this means working from the point of view of the higher self, though that term never came up; it was always just assumed...

    -Bob Weir

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I met Owsley at the age of eighteen. I had just left home, having run off with a Rock&Roll band. Bear, as we knew him, was one of my all-time biggest influences. Always, when I think of him, I think of the endless stuff he taught me or somehow made me realize, all stuff that I've been able to use to the benefit of countless people who probably don't know much about him or how deeply he influenced me and the rest of the band. Most important was the approach he taught me and us: Always be open and engaging - always critical and questioning, but not negatively so much as playfully. He taught me to take myself and my interests out of the picture and work with the subject under consideration so that the best deductions or conclusions are made. I guess this means working from the point of view of the higher self, though that term never came up; it was always just assumed...

-Bob Weir

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I met Owsley at the age of eighteen. I had just left home, having run off with a Rock&Roll band. Bear, as we knew him, was one of my all-time biggest influences.

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From Phil: A Beautiful Mind I received a text in the middle of last night that Bear Stanley has died in a car accident in Australia. Bear, for me, was a true kindred spirit; when we first met, it was as if I had met a long-lost brother from another lifetime. I am heartbroken and devastated at his passing. He was a friend, a brother, an inspiration, and our patron at the very beginning of our creative lives. We owe him more than what can be counted or added up- his was a mind that refused to accept limits, and he reinforced in us that striving for the infinite, the refusal to accept the status quo, that has informed so much of our work. He never gave up his quest for pushing the limits of whatever he was working on. We had just been discussing his concept of point-source sound reinforcement in relation to a new project of mine, and his vision incorporated the latest developments in technology and perceptual research. My heart goes out to his family, for whom he had such love and pride- his wife Sheilah, his children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren- who have lost their patriarch. A mind like Bear’s appears very rarely, and it’s been my privilege and honor to have known and loved two such minds- Jerry and Bear. I always laugh when I think about what Jerry once said about Bear: There’s nothing wrong with Bear that several billion fewer brain cells wouldn't fix. I am eternally grateful for all of the gifts that Bear brought to the scene and to the music. Fare you well; I love you more than words can tell. - Phil The Truth is realized in an instant, the act is practiced step by step.
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Journey well Bear, you'll be with old friends soon.
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My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He had such a profound influence on so many of us. His spirit lives on in all of us and through the music he is so connected to. Peace.
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another one gone..............rest well, Bear...tell Jerry we said hey....
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I am crushed. A mentor and hero for sure. I always felt comforted knowing Bear was out there.....somewhere.....working on something...... Thanks for turning us on Brother. You & Jerry got some things to talk about.......
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Tonight Leary, Kesey, Garcia, and Bear get God to turn off and tune in.
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My deep sadness only reinforces how important Bear and his life work was/is to me. Long live the legacy of the Alchemist of Our Age! The faster we go the rounder we get!
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And he changed my, life.his little brother was the drummer for my band.We used to rehurse at his house up at Paradise estates in Lagunitas.I will always remember him as my friend.Tought me a lot. Take good care brother Bear...
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Thank you Mr Weir for sharing. Still learning from him :) thank you Oroboros for posting phils comments. Reminds me of what this is all about.
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He certainly had a full - but odd - life. Spinning Bear's Choice today in memory.
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Thank you for the post, Bob.
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"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss
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A few years back, I had some questions about something that I had read, so I dropped Bear an email, since his address was right there on his home page and because you never know about these things. A few hours later, I was pleasantly surprised to find a kind and thoughtful response. We then went back and forth a couple of times on my question, which had to do with an article that Tim Leary had written back in the late 60s that was titled God's Secret Agent A.O.S.3. In that piece Leary writes that Bear proposes a theory of cosmic consciousness: "Yeah. Now dig. The Van Allen belt is a thick blanket of electronic activity protecting this planet. What is the eart? A core of molten metals covered by a thin layer of soft, vulnerable, organic tissue. Life nibbling away, nibbling away at the rock beneath. All life on this planet is a delicate network unified. Each living form feeding on the others. And being eaten. The Van Allen belt is the higher intelligence protecting earth from lethal solar radiation, and it's in touch with every form of living intelligence on the earth--vegetable, animal, human" (Leary, Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out pg. 58 via Google Books). When I questioned Bear about this a few years back, he denied ever ever such a conversation, which I let slide because really; he probably absorbed more micrograms through manufacturing than I actively ingested over several decades. But my point is this: through that Leary piece, the character known as Bear got me thinking about things, a lot. So I'm grateful for his many contributions to this scene, this species, and this planet. Sleep in the stars, Bear. You're where you are and likely it's the same place you've always been.
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RIP Bear. My wife and I met him at Shoreline in the early 90's and he was a gracious and warm man who passionately brought his visions and art to the fore. He was certainly a friendly and talkative sort who enjoyed expounding on his creations. His Mars God-O-War bust sculpture in bronze struck my wife as a particularly powerful and moving piece he produced and sold (we were too poor to buy one then, but would have loved to have one). He was a one-of-a-kind person who never bent to the establishment and kept his vision true to himself. His alchemy opened a lot of minds to the infinite and oneness of it all. We'll miss ya Bear. Heaven just got a major player for the eternal party. Peace.
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May our thoughts all be with his wife, Shiela, four children and extended family. I believe it was the Bear that blew my VW Bus safely home.
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O gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament,ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purgatory, have mercy on the soul of Thy servant, Owsley (BEAR) Augustus Stanley III. Be not severe in Thy judgment, but let some drops of Thy Precious Blood fall upon our beloved departed brother and friend, and do Thou, O merciful Savior, send Thy angels to conduct the soul of Thy servant to a place of refreshment and peace. Amen. Cosmic Charlie Alado-Bosch
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fishpalace We'll miss him so.....condolences
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the discoverer of "increasing the level of bossness", and the guide to my generation for delivering quality in any enterprise you undertake, farewell Bear and thanks for the flash
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man ill miss you ill miss you so much but i have never met you aleast you get tosee jerry.
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I met him over twenty-five years ago in Kansas City. I don't think I've ever met a more pleasant, gentle, kind person. My condolences to his family and to band members and staff who were closer to him.
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In the mid 90's, I had some curiosities and questions, and found Owsely's website and direct email address. He promptly and personally responded to my inquiry, and recommended that I read this book: The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy by Three Initiates. Thank you, Bear, for being a bold dreamer, leader, and friend.
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I'd have never lived through my high school years were it not for those wonderful concoctions. Rest easy, and join the growing choir!
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Thank you Bear, for Everything. Rave On, Kid Charlemagne, Rave on. I'll see you in the Next Life.
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Only got to see you in 84 but so glad you studied chemistry.
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I never met Bear nor most of you others out there. But in various ways you changed my life forever. Peace and be well. See you next time around. Rosey
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Bear in the air.
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I too sent bear a e-mail and i freaked too he e-mailed me back it was right after 9-11 i asked him about our situation in iraq and about the state of America and he replied ......Run get out as fast as you can,Talking about th usa i was rolling...........Got to hear the wall of sound in the 70s it wa awesome............Rest in Peace
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I never met Bear, at least I don't think I did, who knows though?, as he was reportedly at many Dead shows over the years. I did, however, get to sample some of his product in 1980 at a Dead show in Michigan at Pine Knob. I obtained it from a Dead roadie and had the time of my life! In any event, Bear influenced more people than he could ever know. May he rest in peace and keep on truckin'. Get along, get along Kid Charlemagne...
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Did not know him....but he was legendary in the 1960's, when I was a teenager. My first acid trip was on Owsley "Yellow Sunshine" in 1968 at Lake Tahoe. It is ingraved in my mind. I assume it was Owsley's product. It was more than pleasant. Don't know if he was a "reluctent icon" like Jerry, but he affected many people, mostly for the positive.
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Most Deadheads and concert goers generally think of Bear as an LSD chemist. But he did more. Way more. What they either forget, or are unaware of, is that Bear is directly responsible for the way we hear high quality PA sound at concerts today. Bear along with others set out on a journey to make the best PA system available using the technology available to them at the time. And most of the time, the gear they needed was not available so they custom made what they needed along with help from Alembic. We owe so much to Bear, not just for his PA research but his unparalleld, perfect sounding live tapes he made that all future generations can enjoy. Next time you are at a concert, just listen to the music and take a moment to think of how much of a role Bear played back in the day in perfecting live sound that today modern engineers take for granted. We will miss you, Bear. May you rest in peace!
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Bear is what i think of as a true American Hero.He broke new ground, fearlessly looking into the truth as he perceived it and like a true artist, questioning and challenging assumptions about himself and the world around him. This is the true American spirit. Brave, questing for knowledge, and down to earth. A true genius but not self-inflated to believe everyone should bow down to him. No one provided him with a role to play or steps to take to achieve what he did. He blazed a trail himself through the lonely world, bringing joy, enlightenment and peace with him and to all of us!. Imagine a world without Bear or the Grateful Dead! Unimaginable! Come on Obama, let's remember him for who he was: One of the main figures in modern American culture and one of the most influential post WWII characters in world history. he should be on a stamp, have a national holiday and have streets named after him!
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" a rose in the wheel" by fullerjam ☞ a rose that hung upon the wheel / was laughing from the really real the wind laughed back and thunder spoke majestic king it's time to toke peaceful dreams that never end /reborn to love and love and then what once was grace, now guides your pen / may heaven find a way my friend may heaven find your way again ☜
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I really enjoyed our correspondence a few years back. Keep on Truckin', my friend... Byrd
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At one Red Rocks show my friend came back to the seats and said he just met Owsley selling belt buckles he made, down by the front. I was too intimidated by his aura to go down. Another time we were hiking, my friend said "Sunset by God, colors by Owsley". Things would never have been the same without Bear.
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Bear has gone furthur.
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As i'm an avid reader, my favourite Bear story comes from Dennis McNalley's What a Long Strange Trip. In 1977 Bear gave Mickey Hart a Damaru, a Tibetan drum made from a human skull. Mickey subsequently became ill and suspected the drum.. Phil Lesh suggested returning it to the Tibetans and when they did, a lama told them the drum could wake the dead and that great care was needed in handling the drum. Mickey was then involved in a car crash so mabey he hadn't taken enough care. It was his passenger Rhonda Jensen who saved him by getting help. I was sad to hear of Bear's passing which was all but ignored due to events in Japan. I'll finish by quoting Robert G. Ingersall who in 1881 said, "In nature there are neither rewards or punishments - there are consequences. Andy Aitken (Scotland)
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The passing of an era with Bear leaving the planet. I met him a few times years ago. He had his wearable cast art... It is really intense live! I carved guitars at Alembic in the 1980s & view Owsley as a leader of a family... A really weird hodgepodge of artists, engineers, and waifs... The last time I saw Him was backstage at New Year's EVE in Oakland, 1990. He was standing "chicken shack" (back to back) with Phil watching all the familiar strangeness. I learned more from Bear than from any university. I'll see you on the other side, after you get the sound fixed! Love to you & your family... Jim Vaughn
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Although I live in Indianapolis I was at the Fillmore this weekend - the band Umphrey's McGee played a song in his honor.
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That knocked the wind outta my sails.From a very SPECIFIC BEAR, BLASTED to EVERYTHING IN GENERAL in a FLASH. Go good. Go FAR, Brother Bear. JiJi
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His support of the band in the early days and his contributions to the bands sound system were huge. All of his "Sonic Journals" recordings that he started making of every show the Grateful Dead played in the early days are what evolved into all the releases and Dicks picks and gave us fans tons of great music to cherish forever. And lets not forget this man was responsible for what made the 60s and 70s a "real trip" without him and his vision things just wouldnt have been as cool as they were. He was the Acid King. He will be missed. Farewell Bear. RIP
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I remember talking to Bear, he was a nice soul.He always had vast amounts of knowledge to offer about anything in life. I remember the little bronze or golden Buddha that would sit on a certain groups table, this would signal that he was at the show. God Bless you Bear.
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As I consider the passing of his body, I am grateful for the presence of his spirit, and intellect. I celebrate the gifts I received even though I didn't know from whom they were given until much later. For those of us still walking among the living, I wonder did the key-maker leave anything to unlock the doors for us now, or did those go with him? Transposed into life in the key of peace
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We keep losing the giants. It is up to us now. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bear's extended family; of which I am proud to be a member. I really got a kick out of reading any interviews I could find; with him and/or Jerry. It's nice to know that we have some similar thoughts. I love you all. Peace Bear, we'll miss you
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  • marye
    4 years 10 months ago
    Article in today's IJ
    About tonight's benefit at the Great American to preserve Bear's Sonic Journals:http://www.marinij.com/article/20151105/FEATURES/151109886
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    LockeSlate
    8 years 10 months ago
    Bear
    Just posted a poem, long thought about and now released on the poetry forum. I thought it might be appropriate to cross-post here. Wondering tonight if we'll get our mojo back, if we'll dream again, if we'll see the "rusty strings shine...". Bear …and was…but will not be again. No one saw the train leave the station Just heard about it over the radio Read about it over the internet The Kentucky bluegrass bent Bourbon not its best son But someone called Bear Master Illusionist Grand Experimenter A cowboy riding onward pushed by the dry desert winds to the Curious Dreamtime Say hello for me to the nut that drove the Bus To the one who ran FURTHUR To the one who made the rusty strings shine See ya down the Golden Road, Bear!
  • Mike Edwards
    9 years 5 months ago
    Bear Interview
    Thanks for posting audio of this interview, dgans. I've read it a number of times and it's pretty amazing listening to it now.