Time travel back to 1966, San Francisco. Ken Kesey, a former Stanford grad student, had volunteered for government tests involving the drug LSD. He decided to share the drug with his friends. He called these parties “acid tests” and they had a house band, The Warlocks, who later changed their name to the “Grateful Dead”.
At the same time, in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, a counterculture was growing. Young people grew their hair long, wore colorful secondhand clothes and danced in the streets. The media’s conservative reaction and outraged coverage of this happening only made more young people flock to the city to join the movement. Music moved away from the commercial folk music and doo-wop sound of the 50s and the style was experimental, the lyrics more emotionally authentic. Enter a band, whose album “Surrealistic Pillow” would become the soundtrack for a new generation: Jefferson Airplane.
KEXP Documentaries are produced by Michele Myers. Assistant producer is Kate Shantry. With help from John Felthous and Leah Pogwizd. Executive producer is Kevin Cole. You can hear all our KEXP Documentaries, including the new series Psychedelics, in the On Demand section of kexp.org.