Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Band members Related acts
- Ken Kesey (RIP 2001) -- spoken word
- Jerry Garcia (RIP) -- guitar, organ
- Wavy Gravy -- voices
- Dale Kesey -- violin
- Steve Newman --
- Hugh Romney -- voices
- none known
Rating: 1 star *
Title: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Company: United Fan Club
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 5902
There are some folks out there who live and breath stuff related to Ken Kesey, Wavy Gravy, The Merry Pranksters,etc. I have to admit that the appeal is largely lost on me.
This one's really hard to adequately describe. Released by the Swedish United Fan Club Society and not intended for sale, 1986's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" collected brief excerpts from a 1980 interview with writer/acid proponent Kesey and The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. In case you wondering, neither had anything particularly interesting to say. The rest of the album captured material from the October 1 - 2, 1966 San Francisco State College acid test featuring Kesey and friends on an extended acid trip. Having twice been arrested on marijuana charges, in order to avoid jail time Kesey had been living in self-imposed exile in Mexico. In advance of a nation-wide decision to make LSD a prohibited drug (the law went into effect Oct 7th 1966), Kesey snuck back into the country to host one more acid test. Most of this material was simply an acid soaked Kesey mindlessly rambling on and on about nothing in particular. His narratives were occasionally treated with extensive echo which while meant to enhance the trippy feel, ended up being irritating. The narratives were also occasionally accompanied by shards of music - supposedly Jerry Garcia and other members of The Dead, with sporadic sound effects (something that sounded like a beating heart, seagulls, crashing waves, church bells, etc.). If The Dead were actually there, it wasn't something they should have been particularly proud of. So what to make of it all? Well anyone who believed ingesting massive quantities of illicit drugs freed one's creativity should have had that notion quickly dispelled by this rambling nonsense. Drugs clearly had an effect on Kesey who was operating under the mistaken belief he was a major talent - be sure to check out the brief side one snippet of him singing/howling. Simply hysterical. So was there anything really worth hearing? Well side two had a seroiusly strange segment that sounded like Ravi Shankar conducting a jam session with a prenatal ward and a fog horn. It wasn't exactly fun to listen to, but was certainly different.
I can just see the hate mail coming in, but while this may have had some kind of historical value (I can hear the comments now ... yeah, grandpa was a 'head'), ease-dropping on a kindergarten class would prove more entertaining and enlightening than this stuff. The scary thing is this album represented the 'highlights' from the 14 hour long acid test program. Can you image what the 'boring' stuff sounded like? Hum, hard to imagine saying this, but Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" suddenly didn't sound nearly as bad ...
Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" track listing:
1.) The San Francisco Acid Test (A Musical Study)
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