WHEE, MORE QUESTIONS LEST ANSWERS
From Jeff Nettleton
1. How did you feel about the United States' involvement in Vietnam before and after your time spent as a Merry Prankster?
Muy el estupido to the extreme and here we go again.
2. When you were with the Merry Pranksters, were what you were doing for a reason, or just to have a good time? (please elaborate if possible).
We were and are creative artists. We made movies, wrote books, put on performances, did what we could and still do to save the world.
3. What was your political standing point at that time? Which party did you support? Did you make it to the 1964 or 1968 Democratic National Conventions?
I stood then and still do for freedom. Attended no political conventions, only the unconventions.
4. Did you feel that Johnson stepping down in 1968, and refusing to accept the Democratic nomination, was the right move for him to make?
Where do you think the nation would have gone had he not done this?
To Mexico or Canada depending on if you wanted guava and salsa or free health care.
5. Did you believe that what the free speech movement at Berkeley was
trying to accomplish was the right thing?
Yes, although I never realized it would lead to rap lyrics blaring in the living room dirty language.
Did you know any of the participants (Mario Savio, etc)? (please elaborate if possible).
Not personally. They were East Bay. We were La Honda Redwoods.
6. Which band of the time did you think was the most influential on society? Why?
The Grateful Dead because they toured and provided a meeting place for peoples of like mind and spirit.
7. Did 'Furthuur', the bus, signify anything more than just a way to get around?
Yes, it represented many different ways to spell the word, further. When it was spelled, Furthur, people in Mexico thought we were from Germany. Roy Sebern, who gave the bus its name, said it represented a destination.
Was it a sort of representation of your collective sense of freedom and detachment?
More than sort of, plus a great ride, a traveling moviemaking rig, totally attached.
8. Do you think that Kesey's free spirit and calm demeanor was what mainly attracted people to your group, or was it the fun-loving attitude that was expressed through your various pranks?
It was all of that and the fack we were riding a wave. We weren't the wave, the wave came along and many many peoples rode the wave and are still on it. Kesey always said, "The Sixties ain't over till the fat lady gets high."
9. Were you and the Pranksters involved at all with the Civil Rights movement? How so?
In 1964 in New Orleans we reverse-integrated Lake Ponchatrain when we swam in the "No Whites Allowed" area.
10. What did you think about Martin Luther King Jr. and his efforts
in the deep south?
You kidding? You can only think it was muy tremendioso all the way to maximum supremioso.
11. What was your view of what was happening in Europe, with the spread
of communism and the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union?
Crackpot idiocy gone bananas by powermad keepers of the insane asylum flame.
12. Did you agree with the United States' foreign policy of the period?
Er, what exactly was it? Rampant imperialism? Sanguine complacency? Caring and sharing?
13. It appears that the Pranksters and Timothy Leary's band were wildly
different in their goals when taking LSD.
Their band played mostly classical music whereas our band was free-form with folk music throwback. There was no competitiveness. We made beautiful music together.
What do you think caused this?
Lack of practice. Made for some long winded rambles.
Do you think that Leary's mind expansionism was for a good cause, or just a waste of time?
Expansion of one's consciousness is not a waste of time, particularly when it allows one to see through the falsities and embrace the verities.
Ken Babbles FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2005 THEY KEEP ON COMING
Dear Mr. Bobbs. My name is Billy. I am doing a report for Mrs. Katranskis class about the big sixties. Can I ask you some questions?
No, you may not, although you can ask.
- Mrs. Katranski says that you used to strip-out. I stripped out once at my uncle's birthday party in a fancy restaurant and my Dad whacked my behind real good and told me to put my pants back on. Did you have this happen a lot?
More times than my behind would like to recall if you can remember that song by Iggy and Ziggy: Talk about Bun Cakes, Big Bottem, Big Bottem, my baby's gottem. How can I leave that Behind?
- I read that your bus went furthur. Furthur than what? My bus goes to Midland Avenue, but I'm not allowed.
Furthur than Further, although recently I saw the spelling, Fuurthur.
- You say that Cassidy had a lot of Happenings. I had a happening in gym class the other day during square-dancing practice, and had to run to the locker room. What did Cassisy do when he had his hapenings?
He ran off at the mouth in an incandescent manner that reminded listeners of the angels in a choir. He also said, "It's like ady as in lady, not idy like in idiot."
- Did Ken Keasey ever have any hair? I like his hats. Does he have a dog? I have a dog. His name is Booky.
Yes. His hats cover where his hair was. His dog is Happy.
- It says that you made a lot of big parties and drank a lot of Kool Aid. My Mom says I shouldn't drink Kool Aid because it gives me a rash. But I drink it sometimes anyway, and then I have to scratch. If I went to a Kool Aid party in the sixties, did a lot of people scratch? I don't like to scratch, but I sure can drink a lot of Kool Aid. I like rapsberry.
If the scratch itches, scratch it is what was told to Bob Cratchit.
- I want to have an Orgy. Where can I buy this game? Are they expensive? My cousin Al says orgys were cool. He says they were something like playing pin-the-tail on the Donkey. I'd like to pin some tails, too. Does Walmart have this game?
Have one, with milk. Not for sale, free love, which is sometimes more expensive than the kinds you buys, sometimes, but you have to check with Al, who has a pintail duck haircut.
- Mrs. Katranski says that you drank ACID. She says that acid is no good for you, that it melts things like metal and stuff. Did you melt when you drank acid?
I thought you said we drank Kool Aid. Now which is it? Acid is used to put on gold to test if it is really gold or not, that's why it is called the acid test. A pure heart will not melt.
Your are welcome. Are you the same Billy T who lived on the coast and appeared every once in a while with wild stories about crank and fights in the blackberries?
There's no way that's the real Billy T. He was a gunslinger as I recall from the 1980's. Used to twirl a Rubiks cube about on his left index finger while walking backwards and humming an obscure Charlie Patton blues number. Saw him broke down and busted in Tuscon one night coming out of a bar about 2 am.
Said he road a steer into town, lost it in a poker game with some guy named Johnny. Looked pretty beat that night.
Saw him years later on the Jersey shore, near Wildwood, New Jersey, carrying a guitar with four strings and a knapsack full of beach trinkets. Could have been stolen, could have been bartered in some downtown Wildwood crapshoot.
Last I heard of the real Billy T, he was running a small hardware store up in Billings, Montana. Reading glasses, balding. Still wearing that 45 on his hip and chewing that tobacco wad.
-- Wingman Nalaflow
QUESTIONS FOR MISERY BOBBS
I have always wondered if the internet was any good at accomplishing actual human connection, instead of bland mercantalism or gross sexual escapade.
Oh yes, the internet is all things to all people, wide open, and a good way to explore without leaving the comfy of the cushiony chair, but we do go outside to shop for food and get books outta the library and have traffic jams and music jams and do all the fun people stuff, too.
The computer in a way is similar to the mind in that you can get on the computer the same way you can get in your mind, but remember, in both ways you are in and it is important to get out. Get the stuff out of the computer, get out of your mind, beware of the internal trap, er, do I mean, crap?
I have always wondered if the superhuman efforts put forth by you and your compatriots in the Merry Pranksters (as duly recorded in the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) were, in fact, as real
and amazing as they appeared to be.
Oh yes, mister tom wolf was at his whammo bammo boffo new journalism best when he wrote the book and it made the whole bus trip as lively as you can make it in the print medium. We filmed the whole thing and you can get the dvds of the films at Zane Kesey's website and see the whole fershulginer trip in all its glory. key-z.com
In today's world, forty-three years after the events chronicled by wolfe, it is posible to be as inventive, as creative, as out there and in there and still be good citizens, as it was then. As time goes on and I mean long periods of time, the human being pretty much stays the same, it is the surrounding material world with all its inventive and new stuff that continues to change. You gotta go with what you got and enjoy it to the fullest. Good luck to yah.
THE QUESTIONS KEEP COMING IN
So, how IS the bus name spelled?
Hmmm, does a picture tell a thousand words? No. One word. Seven letters. Actual film footage, single frame, muy autentico.
Do you feel people have a misconception on what being a prankster is?
Some do, some don't. Doesn't matter. Most important thing is that pranksters know who they are and what their responisibilities are.
How did you become a prankster?
I was born into it. There's more to the story than that. I have always like classical music since my dad played Polanaise in A flat over and over again because it was the only record he bought for his new 33 and a third player. One of my favorite numbers was The Merry Pranks of Till Eulinspiel, or however it's spelled.
How did you get your prankster name?
I gave it to myself. A merry prankster is happy, alert, ready to leap into the fray, unafraid, with helping hands exstended, creating laughter and confusion, authorities can't figure out what is going on. I have the dubious honor of creating the merry band of pranksters one fine night when I came ambling down the hill and Mal Function asked, "Who goeth there?" and the answer was, "Tis I, the Intrepid Traveler, come to gather my merry band of pranksters and lead them either across country or back again in search of the kool place." George Walker tells it differently and both stories are true, muy sympatico.
How does someone become a prankster?
I don't know. It is a bestowed upon thing but by whom is a mystery.
Do you think the test is still relevant?
Only if you are into passing and failing.
Describe one day on the bus?
Hot. Itchy. Buggy. Music blaring. Everyone on the microphones coming on to Cassady coming on to the universe. Wind pouring through open windows blowing everything all over the place. I rip open a pillow and let the feathers fly. Total bedlam. Raucous. Great fun.
Do you think further #1 will ever be back on the road?
Beyond my powers to predict.
What is your philosophy compared to Kesey's and Leary's?
Hmm, that is deep. I'd have to figure out what their philosphies are and what mine is but it is easier to say that we have similar bents which revolve around being kind to others and not making anyone the butt of the joke.
If you could do it all over again would you?
Oh my, it's one of those unanswerable questions because it is totally impossible to do so, so why even consider it?
Do you still have a copy of the trip to New York?
On video, yes. You can get the DVD from www.key-z.com
Did you travel to London with the others?
Yes, with the bus in '98 doing the show: Where's Merlin
Did you graduate with the others?
Oh yes, quite an affair with Cassady handing out the diplomas.
Would you like me to quote you on anything?
Sure. yup the dumb people are still out there but our job is to love them whilst enjoying our lives to the fullest knowing this country and we the people will survive so git out there and feed the hungry, house the homeless, teach the chilluns, git yer exercise, nuts and berries, fruits and roots, keep positive thoughts, big kiss to all the loved ones, kesey is smiling.
Can you please answer any important questions that I might have missed?
the "acid test" was a thinly-veiled excuse
to show samples of the movie
the pranksters had filmed on their bus trip.
Certain unknowns placed a garbage can
full of Kool Aid in the middle of the floor.
The Merry Band of Pranksters was actually a band
playing a form of non verbal communication.
They set up at one end of the hall.
At the other end the Grateful Dead
played rock and bluegrass
and psychedelic wanderings.
Sometimes both bands played together.
Now, instead of Kool-Aid
we're drinking Tang
and showing lots of fang
like Howlin' Wolf sang
Doodlin' a Wang Dang
all dee doo dah day
and wasn't it Ray
who asked what'd I say?
and the dead who answered
no mercy in this land
with skulls buried in the sand
cloudy mumblings and utterings
rainbow spiraled imaginings
and wistful dreams
"spitfurther", they wrote
on a bus of some note
no meaning to denote
jus' reciting by rote
that's all they can tote
Ihave one more question:
What do you think would be good advice for me to give to students who are completly miserable with their lives as an alternative to feed your head?
The old sixties coin may be a bit tarnished and the Sex Drugs and Rock and Drool side rubbed down to where the lettering is all worn out, but the other side of Love Peace and Happiness still shines brightly, the lettering full ridged and fruitful.
Love peace and happiness; extended in practicality to the simple act of helping one another out, being kind and generous.
Practice this. Enjoy life. As Cassady said, "No one was ever happy, angry.
We were riding a wave in 64; riding it with our particularly unique surfboard bus; many others were riding the wave and, as kesey says, "The sixties aint over till the fat lady gets high."
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