Hello reddit! We are Lotus Eaters Films, the (slightly off) minds behind Going Furthur. In this feature-length documentary, we follow the legendary Furthur bus on its 50th Anniversary trip across the United States, uncovering just how far we’ve come since Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters sparked the dawn of the psychedelic 60s. We spent almost three months on the road and traveled over 15,000 miles, riding into music festivals, community events and tribal gatherings, getting an in-depth glimpse of an immersive culture that continues to thrive 5 decades after its inception.

We here at Lotus Eaters Films are very passionate about this story in particular, because we truly believe it has the potential to shift people’s perspective on what today’s counterculture is really about. Our goal is to shed light on the transformative effects of festivals, and the potential this culture has to make the real change we wish to see in the world.

Joining us for the AMA today are original Merry Pranksters George Walker (Hardly Visible) ​and Linda Breen (Anonymous), as well new Prankster Donte Lamar (Air Guitar) and ​Executive Producer/Prankster ​Brian Walsh​ (Wally)​. We also have two crew members who helped restore Furthur for the long trek; Randy Turley and Scotty Franzyshen.

Victoria from reddit will be helping out George and Linda.

We are currently in post production on the film, and are nearing the end of our Indiegogo campaign to raise the final funds needed to complete the film in all its psychedelic glory. You can find out more and become part of it HERE https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-going-furthur-documentary

Proof 1: http://imgur.com/u8k6wg6

Proof 2: http://imgur.com/F4olUiR

Proof 3: http://imgur.com/mxhSU5P

Proof 4: http://imgur.com/I13coQO

Proof 5: http://imgur.com/52roWu5

Proof 6: http://imgur.com/cO1rvhv

Want to know some crazy stuff that happened during last summer’s tour? Thoughts on the future of festival culture? Ask Us Anything!

The Going Furthur Film crew is still answering questions!

Comments: 255 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

RunDNA69 karma

What was Neal Cassady like? Any good stories about him you can share?

GoingFurther85 karma

GEORGE: Got a couple weeks? Neal was one of the most advanced thinkers. He was aware of a lot of this stuff that we all take for granted, LONG before everybody else. And talked about it, incessantly. REALLY incessantly. For instance, the term "Karma" which is very much just a part of our everyday language, was part of his consciousness, and the way he spoke about it, we didn't know what he was talking about. It was just something that he understood and knew to be the way things worked.

He was so advanced, in so many ways. Intellectually, and philosophically, and spiritually.

Everybody around him knew he was really special, but nobody really understood him.

LINDA: He's the first one that ever turned me on. EVER. I just remember him as a sweetie. I remember him sitting upfront, on the bus, on an upturned apple crate, and sitting beside him, watching the road go by, and he got a joint, and passed it to me, and it's like Ooof... BOOM, BOOM.

Oh, I enjoyed the trip after that. I enjoyed it BEFORE that. But I loved Neal.

He was a trip.

GEORGE: He told me one time, he was bemused by the fact that everybody idolized him. And trying to explain that bemusement, he said "I'm just a simple telepath!"

LINDA: Oh, he was SO cool. Just so cool. Unique.

GEORGE: He was beyond cool.

LINDA: There will never be another Cassady. EVER.

GEORGE: He'll probably reincarnate again. He's probably not finished yet.

LINDA: I hope so. He was good. He was witty, wasn't he? And he never stopped talking, evereverever! Even when he was asleep, his hands were busy! He was just moving, even in his sleep. I remember that. I liked that.

GEORGE: He was the most high-energy person that any of us ever saw.

Karma was a term that wasn't even part of our language in 1960. When somebody mentioned the word "Karma," I would not have known what they meant, and most of my friends would have felt the same way. It's a Sanskrit word, probably, and it has to do - a law of cause and effect. Edgar Cayce explained it very well, in his visionary explanations of it.

He said "It's a law. It's a law of cause and effect, having to do with spirituality. What you do, determines what happens to you."

It can be - there was a book written about Cassady called GRACE BEATS KARMA- and Cayce spoke of that saying "You could overcome your Karma through acts of grace."

We didn't even know what Karma was! But Cassady was talking about it. And it was a while before I knew what he meant.

We were all stuck in old world philosophical belief systems that had no room for those kind of ideas, which are actually hard reality. Most of us still believed what we were told, by people who didn't know.

Much like now, hahaa!

Willywonkaknowsbest35 karma

How did Ken and Hunter S. Thompson get along?

GoingFurther38 karma

COLBY: They were friends, we have some footage of them playing poker together on the bus in vegas. Thompson wasn't huge on acid tho.

Willywonkaknowsbest15 karma

Any particular stories come to mind? It's been years since I read the electric kool aid acid test and I vaguely remember Hunter being mentioned in it with the hells angels. Or I'm just getting my sources confused.

GoingFurther20 karma

COLBY: Hunter definitely came to at least one of the acid tests with the Angels. We'll forward some of these questions off to the original pranksters and get back to you. they couldn't stay on all day.

run-about31 karma

The Merry Pranksters are known for their message of peace and love. They are also known for their associations with the Hell's Angels - themselves known for organized crime, sexual assault, racism, and intolerance. Wha? Where's the peace and love in their message? How does this association make any sense?

It's an honor by the way, I loved Tom Wolfe's book and look forward to seeing this documentary!

GoingFurther64 karma

GEORGE: Well, first of all, it probably doesn't make sense.

But things don't have to make sense.

That's something people need to understand.

At the time, when we started associating with the Angels, we had just been busted for some pot. Another one of those stupid things they still seem to do. And so there was a kind of fellowship - we were fellow criminals, in a way. They were seen as being a criminal gang, which in some senses, I suppose they were, but they were just people, they were outlaws, we were outlaws in a different way, but there was a kind of bond in that we were outlaws.

One of the things I remember was when the Hell's Angels came out to La Jonda, to Kesey's house, where he lived. And they came and we had a big weekend-long party, with a whole bunch of 'em from the Frisco group, and they told Kesey "We've never been invited ANYWHERE before."

Nobody wanted the Angels to come. But then Kesey invited them. And we became friends with some of them. They were just people like anybody else. They didn't have respect for dumb laws. Sometimes they were violent. But they were just people.

And there was a way in which we could relate to them, and they could relate to us.

I could write a book-length thing about it. There's that much there.

Because there's so much there.

GoingFurther25 karma

LINDSAY: Although I wasn't around during that time, I have read a great deal about that period and that relationship. One important thing about psychedelics is its ability to tear down the walls we have constructed for ourselves, and see things in a new perspective. The Hell's Angels stood for something different, but they were also just people. People making choices, like everyone else. There was very little judgement on either side of the other's choices, and that's what made their relationship possible. When we stop seeing the other for the choices they have made, or what they believe in, and see them as an extension of ourselves, we raise the potential for peace.

CapTrips24 karma

For the Original Pranksters, could you tell us your favorite story about Ken?

GoingFurther38 karma

GEORGE: Oh god, we don't have that much time.

LINDA: I got one quick one. Ken said that one time, at the farm, he had some guests, and they were staying at the farm, and that was alright with him and his wife, Faith. So one night they invited this couple to dinner, and Ken said that was good, except for they kept coming back, and back, and back, having dinner every day, and every day. So one day, after dinner, Ken put the plates down on the floor, and he had Happy - I think it was either Happy or Maggie, one of the dogs, lick the plates clean, and Ken put the plates back in the cupboard, and he said 'Those people never came back for dinner ever again."

GEORGE: I had forgotten that story! I remember it now!

LINDA: He said it was open cupboards!

GEORGE: I remember the cupboards, yeah! They were just a shelf.

LINDA: And those people never came back after that. i thought it was great. I tell that story to every-body.

GEORGE: That tops just about anything else I can think of.

LINDA: It's so witty, and so non-personal.

GEORGE: And I'm sure that after the people left, he took the plates and ran 'em through the dishwasher.

LINDA: Absolutely.

GEORGE: Actually, just having the dogs lick the plates clean was probably as good as the dishwasher.

errday22 karma

How would you describe acid for those who haven't done it before?

(For the record I have done it and I went to the Masonic Cemetery in Eugene)

GoingFurther33 karma

COLBY: Personally I feel like its like a portal back to childhood, less filters, everything is more colorful, beautiful and just generally more pleasant. You don't actually hullicinate much, I explain the visuals as more like the finger prints of the Universe, where you can percieve the energy of objects. Also expect some auditory hullicinations, music will feel more impactful etc.

mrdoqo8 karma

That's one of the better descriptions I've heard. Working at a pizza joint when I was younger there was lots of hallucinogenic talk. "It's like being a baby, when your brain couldn't block out ANY external stimuli, you see/feel it ALL" - my coworker at pizza joint.

GoingFurther4 karma

COLBY: that is a great analogy

CapTrips19 karma

How does one become a Merry Prankster?

Also what was the craziest thing you experienced on last years bus trip?

GoingFurther26 karma

GEORGE: I'm reminded of a story that Ken was talking about, when we were meeting the Hell's Angels back in 1965, and Kesey at one point asked somebody, I think it was Pete, the president of the Frisco Angels, "How do you pick your members?"

And Pete said "We don't pick them. We recognize them."


GEORGE: And I thought that was very apropos. And I think it applies to pranksters, I guess. You don't become one, you are one.

LINDA: It's not what you DO, it's what you ARE. You ARE what you are. I totally agree with George. Totally.

GEORGE: I guess at some point you realize who you are. Taking a large dose of acid helps. It helps you find out who you are. Or at least it did me. I spent quite a few years of my life having no clue who I was. And then I took acid, and had the sudden realization that I was a completely different person than I thought I was.

GoingFurther13 karma

My favorite part was stopping for gas. The reactions we saw from people were the same reactions received from the originals when they first took off across The country. Especially from those who were too young for the sixties and had not yet "drank the Kool aid" -from wally

GoingFurther13 karma

Ken Kesey said in an interview after him and Mountain Girl were arrested, "I feel a man has the right to be as big as he feels it in him to be." I felt like being happy so I became a prankster! -Wally

GoingFurther11 karma

You get on the bus of course! And there are a few different ways to get on the bus. But that's something you'll have to discover for yourself :) -Lindsay, Lotus Eaters Films

GoingFurther9 karma

MATT: There were a lot of crazy experiences on the tour so it’s hard to pick just one, but one of the most memorable I think was when we got Donte “Airguitar” to play live on stage at Lockn Festival in front of several thousand people. He rocked out with his airguitar at over 10 shows on tour but this one was his biggest. He made it on multiple jumbotrons, and legends like Tom Petty, and String Cheese even played on that same stage later that night!

GoingFurther9 karma

Potential pranksters had to go through an application process, though it wasn't like most applications. We had to answer questions like "favorite pickup line" and "if we'd pick up a hitchhiker" AirGuitar

GoingFurther8 karma

The craziest thing that happened last year was a few sequences that led to a naked lap around the bus. My love for Michigan State football and Zane's love for Oregon football produced a bet in which I lost and after weeks of avoiding the lap I "Birthday Suited Up" and bared it for all to see for a few laps with my Air Guitar!

beernerd16 karma

What is counterculture all about?

GoingFurther19 karma

GEORGE: It's all about everything that's happening, I guess. When people talk about "counterculture" I don't even know what they mean. I guess it means something other than what all those other people are doing!

LINDA: I never even knew there was a counterculture thing until I heard that we were going to be inducted into it! But we're us, they're them, and I guess it's clashing.

beernerd8 karma

Now that you're aware of it, do you agree that you guys fit the definition?

GoingFurther12 karma

GEORGE: Uh...I guess as much anybody does, as much as anything does, I suppose? Yeah, I guess so! Haha! I think the counterculture - there's the culture, which is TV, and Walmart, and all that stuff, jobs and everything, and then there's everything else.

So everything else fits the counterculture.


GEORGE: It's kinda hard to pin that one down. Everybody has a different idea of what it is. To some people, it's probably terrorists and murderers, to some people it's homeless, to some people it's making music or writing poetry. It's just what isn't mainstream culture, I guess.

There are more choices now than ever before.

Bernie Sanders might be counterculture. Or he may be mainstream.

There are probably people out there that thinK Barack Obama is counter-culture. Or mainstream.

Donald Trump is anti-culture.

LINDA: Agreed. Agreed! Dude!

GoingFurther11 karma

GEORGE: I think that one of the things that makes counterculture different is how we rely on each other.

A lot of mainstream culture is about exploiting each other.

LINDA: We've stayed family for 50+ years.

GEORGE: We're not just family, LOTS of families. Lots of tribes.

LINDA: Mountain Girl said once that "We're Merry Pranksters because we LIKE hanging out with each other." And I thought Good one. Good one.

GEORGE: I still like hanging out with Mountain Girl. She's really cool. Babs says this year will be his last Fourth of July party.

GoingFurther10 karma

I'm sure we fit any definition that isn't "straight"! AirGuitar

GoingFurther10 karma

COLBY: To me, counter culture is about stepping outside of your comfort zone. Questioning what we've be taught to believe. So basically just living outside of the conventional norm.

GoingFurther8 karma

The counterculture is about being free! Being who you want to be without boundaries, it's about breaking the walls society has put up around you and having an understanding of why we are here, to love one another and encourage peace among all. Air Guitar

GoingFurther8 karma

To me being part of a "counterculture" means being the yin to the yang or the yang to the yin. Or something like that. "They" would have you believe the world is on fire and war and hate is everywhere when in fact now is the safest time in human history to be on earth.. So eat drink and be Merry!! -Wally

GoingFurther7 karma

MATT: The counterculture to me is about being yourself and not blending into society the way that everyone expects you too. Everyone is unique and the fact that we can all gather together and celebrate our creativity and spread positivity through festivals, art, music, and shared experiences like the Furthur Bus 50th Anniversary Tour is really inspiring to me and a lot of people that I know. We are all so different yet so similar and we can help all each other out in making the world a happier and more creative place for future generations.

GoingFurther5 karma

Great question! The term counterculture covers quite a bit of territory; it is essentially any set of values/ways of living that are opposed to societal norms. There's bus loads (pardon the pun) of countercultures out there, but the one we dove head first into last summer revolved around the values sparked during the hippie movement-the importance of creativity and self expression, personal liberation, the cultivation of community and overall, peace and love :) -Lindsay, Lotus Eaters Films

IKingJeremy15 karma

Where did the name Lotus Eaters films come from?

GoingFurther29 karma

COLBY: It comes from Homer's 'The Odyssey. Odysseus and his crew finally escape, having lost six men per ship. A storm sent by Zeus sweeps them along for nine days before bringing them to the land of the Lotus-eaters, where the natives give some of Odysseus's men the intoxicating fruit of the lotus.

When my friends and I would eat acid and be wasting time we would refer to it as 'eating lotus' As Odysseus's men end up staying in lotus land for over a year and think its only been days. So to us it represented a kind of happy complacency.

GoingFurther13 karma

GEORGE: Ancient Greece. I don't know my classic literature, but I think the Lotus Eaters were from the Odyssey?

LINDA: There was a movie.

GEORGE: From Millenia before there were movies. That'd be my guess. I have no deal knowledge of what Lotus Eaters Films is.

GoingFurther12 karma

George was that you who ran the Grateful Dead flag up the pyramids in Egypt??

GoingFurther23 karma

GEORGE: It was.

LINDA: AAAAH! George I love you!

GEORGE: On the top of the Great Pyramid - which was either never finished, or the top was removed - I know a lot of the casing stones were removed millennia later by whomever took 'em - but on the top of it, it doesn't go to a point, it's flat. And there's kind of a tripod with a pole there, and I think the top of the pole represents where the peak of the pyramid would have been, if it were still there. So to me, it looked like a flagpole, so Jerry gave me his "Steal your Face" flag out of his guitar case, so I climbed that pole and tied the flag to the top of the pole.

By morning, somebody else had taken it down and stolen it! It didn't even last the night.

I hope whomever took it realized it was something special, and still has it. It's a real artifact. I hope somebody managed to keep that and save that, because it was Jerry's personal flag out of his guitar case.

LINDA: Damn.

GoingFurther7 karma

"Wave that Flag-Wave it High!" Does those Fare thee Well 50th shows also mean the start of something new. After all we are halfway between the 60's?

GoingFurther10 karma

GEORGE: I would say probably. There's always something new starting.

LINDA: Introductions. This is what it's gonna be, this is what it might be, this is what it could be. People... there's still a lot of that da-da-da-da-da - music is EVERYTHING. Brahms, Beethoven, I've heard it, I've played, their music has come into today's music, OUR prankster music will go into tomorrow's. It's an automatic.

GEORGE: Well, if our music makes it - we were the WORST BAND EVER. I remember telling Kesey when we were doing our usual inept performance onstage - "We're doing a lot better now! We used to drive people away by the hundreds, now we're driving them away by the thousands."

It's TRUE. We'd do a show with the Grateful Dead, and you'd have the audience high on acid, and then we'd get onstage, all this dissonance and discord would start happening, people would start to get looks of consternation and then just start to flee...the Dead copied the stuff we did, though, and made it totally.

Our music was totally freeform. If somebody said "what key are you in?" we'd say "The Key of Donkey."

If people ask me what key I play in, I'd say "Gee-whiz."

Kesey worked VERY hard at NOT PLANNING his events. He would even give a graduation talk to the graduating class at Harvard Law School, which he did, and he would very carefully NOT plan what he was going to say. He would make sure that the didn't think about what he was going to say, so he could take a look at the group, instantly size them up, and start talking.

He'd never plan his events. And our music was like that. We didn't know what was coming one minute to the next. We'd just do stuff. And see what would stick.

LINDA: I remember us being on a mic one time - both our lips were touching the mic, and we were going for it, and it was SO cool. I don't know what we were singing, but I'll remember that until we die - our lips touching the mic at the same time, and we're WAILING, and we're DIGGING it! And everyone else was digging it too. That was one of the highlights of my life - our duet.

GEORGE: The fact that it was so strange, and random, and unplanned - and then you'd have a moment when everything clicked. And it was amazing, and because it was so spontaneous, there was a power to it, nothing else could touch it.

And I think that was what we were trying to do.

Another thing we were trying to do - with the Acid Test, which was a culmination of this - he was trying to break down the line between performer, and audience, so you weren't somebody people played music at, everybody was somehow a part of what was going on. He was very much about this, his whole life.

Trying to be inclusive of people while it was going on. Rather than playing to people, he wanted people to get IN on the experience.

LINDA: Another quote from Kesey - "We take our fun, seriously."

I heard that once.

GEORGE: And you could turn that around, and say "We don't take our seriousness, seriously."

There's something there.

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: George, did you guys film any of the trip to Egypt?

dirtydansie9 karma

'In the San Francisco jail Before he got out on bail Kesey met a kid with magic fingernails. 'Take a lick,' said the kid And everybody did. They all licked his nails and blew their lids. Twenty-seven psyches Going off like Nike Missiles through the lye-scoured Concrete skyways of the San Fransisco jail. The kid had LSD on his magic fingernails.'

Where can I sign up for the next acid tests?

GoingFurther11 karma

COLBY: There was an Acid Test planned for Chicago for the final dead but it fell through. I personally would love to help create a 50th Anniversary Trips Festival Acid Test in Sanfran Next January, and possibly another for the Acid Test Graduation which was on halloween 66. So keep an eye out for those potentially.

iloveyoursun9 karma

You guys are a huge inspiration to me. I've been wanting to travel the U.S in a bus or something of the sort with a group of friends since I was a young girl. Do you think something like this would be feasible now a days?

GoingFurther7 karma

COLBY: Well we just did it last summer over 15,000 miles, so yes, I totally believe its still feasable, I for a fact know that it is!

DrDeanrusky9 karma

What were the Merry Pranksters relationship with the Weather Underground? Both groups had mutual connections (Timothy Leary for instance), but how did the Merry Pranksters view that counter cultural organization?

GoingFurther9 karma

GEORGE: Rarely. We didn't really have any relationship with 'em. They were much more political. We were much more social. The Weather Underground was a political organization, we were not. I don't think I ever knew any of them, or if I did, I didn't know that I did.

LINDA: You know what, I hate to sound redundant but everything that George is saying is coming out of my mouth, my heart, my head. George has been around a lot longer than I have. I had to go home, I wasn't on that long, but everything he's saying makes sense to me, and he's clarifying a lot of stuff for me too.

GEORGE: Another thing - just from the name of them, they were underground, we were very much above ground. We were up in the air a lot, figuratively speaking!

LINDA: We dealt with the public, or the public dealt with us. We were out there for everybody to see. There was no hiding about it.

GEORGE: We weren't trying to change behavior. I think political groups are trying to change behavior or society. We were trying to change consciousness, and let people work out for themselves what they were going to do with it.

seven_seven8 karma

Isn't this just an invitation to get pulled over and raided by the cops? Or do the drugs travel in a separate unmarked car?

GoingFurther9 karma

COLBY: the bus was clean the entire trip. No one carried anything on the bus. Also the police were incredibly friendly all along the way, often just stopping and taking pics of the bus.

GoingFurther8 karma

Where is mountain girl these days?-Wally

GoingFurther7 karma

GEORGE: Eugene. She lives in Eugene, South Eugene. She runs around, all over the world, talking about stuff and relating to people and being Mountain Girl.

LINDA: Yeah.

GEORGE: She's a psychedelic activist. Not in a drug sense, more in the social / spiritual sense. Although she does do it in the drug sense. I know she's been a judge at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. And she goes to women's rights events - I think she's doing that instead of going to Chicago - there's some kind of women's issues even happening. She's an EXCELLENT speaker - if you ever get a chance to see her speak in public, she's so well-spoken, brilliant, articulate and experienced that her talks are very, very much worth experiencing.

LINDA: Yes, she's good.

GEORGE: And she does it a lot. That's what she does.

LINDA: She's a busy girl. And she's looking good these days.

GEORGE: I saw her last weekend. She looks great!

Moray1117 karma

what is your impressions of the new Merry Pranksters and Zane taking the bus out again ?

GoingFurther15 karma

GEORGE: It's really different. It's a whole different thing. The world is different. It's about different stuff. Zane's whole trust of what he's doing is a different plan, different goals from what we were doing. Zane's trying to make a living, trying to pay the bills, trying to take care of his family, which you have to do now. And when we were young, a lot of us had some family money, and we were spectacularly bad at making money at all. Every time we managed to make any money, we managed to either give it away or lose it! And Zane is very about this thing being financially viable. And to us, there was no possibility of that. There was no question it was financially viable. We had to support it. And with Zane, it supports him. And I think he's probably right, the world is different. In the 1960's, the country was awash in young people with no visible means of support, and there was no need for it. You could rent a place for $10 a month, there was always food around, you didn't need to make a living. And today, instead of being called "Flower Children" or "Hippies," they'd be called "Homeless."

There's no scene like that anymore. It's not possible. The Republicans have taken over. They've slammed all the doors, and assured us that we can't survive without playing their game.

So in that respect, it's really VERY different.

In some respects, there's a lot of similarity. There's music, and a lot of playfulness, and the bus itself is more beautiful than ever. It draws attention, it draws a lot of people in. And it's an attraction.

It's really different.

LINDA: I agree with him. And when I first heard- this was 50 years ao - when I first heard of "Neo-Pranksters," I didn't know what they were trying to do, or anything about them. But then I got invited to Indiana, and they were all neos. I was the ONLY old one - in more ways than one! BUT they were loving. I was scared, I was nervous, they weren't my people, I didn't know a soul. And when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised.

They tried to emulate the happiness, and love. They tried SO hard.

It's just what we were. Like George said, you ARE what you ARE.

I can't say anything bad about them. But they're the ones that are going to decide if they ARE Merry Pranksters, because the world isn't going to do it for them.

They're ok. They're new.

GEORGE: That's a good point Linda. There's still that feeling of love and family out there. There are a lot of young people who are trying to be a part of something - like when we were doing it, nobody quite knows what it is, they just know THAT it is.

There's a recognition of... I just re-read Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation. And it kind of validated a lot of this. It makes me realize that there's something that's UNITING about us all.

He said in the 60's there was a vast influx of reincarnated Atlanteans, and I'm sure that's who the Hippies were, because there was a kind of consciousness expansion going on. And I think that's still happening. I think we're seeing a continuing wave of that group Karma - that we all know each other in a way that we don't recognize or understand.

But we know it's happening.

LINDA: I agree with George.

When we were ON, we were on. We didn't think about "should we do this?" We just, as a group, DID it. Because we LIKED each other. It was just... and if the neo-pranksters can do that?

That would be cool. That would be good.

GoingFurther7 karma

GEORGE: When we were in our later days of doing this, when Tom Wolfe came around and wrote his book, ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, he had a skill that you would do well to have, Victoria - if you are even aware of its existence - he took shorthand. He kept a notepad strapped to his leg, and he was able to, with a pen, record everything that was said. His recollections were so accurate, because he wrote them down on the spot. That's the way business used to be done. People in business would dictate their letters to a secretary, a stenographer, and they would take it down and transcribe it. Nowadays you can do it with a tape recorder, and then you play it back, and write it down. Now they even have computers. But that's a technique Tom had, and he put it to really good use, he was able to capture stuff because he knew what had been said, and shorthand was really quick. I don't know how to do it, my mother did, my dad was in business and she would take it down in shorthand and type it up on a typewriter, and that was done for hundreds of years probably. Until electronics came along.

LINDA: It was a requirement at school, for a time.

PEDALphiliac6 karma

Thoughts on The Curch of Unlimited Devotion? I was a member in the 90s and when we visited the Hog Farm it was one of the best weekends of my life.

GoingFurther12 karma

GEORGE: I always enjoyed the Hog Farm. They're great people.

LINDA: They are amazing. Wavy Gravy is amazing.

GEORGE: He was kind of the leader of the Hog Farm. Hugh Romney was his given name.

LINDA: Wasn't he also the guy that ...

GEORGE: He was definitely a powerful person. He often would take care of people in trouble, in various ways. And the Hog Farm scene, they do a thing, in the summer, called Camp Win-A-Rainbow, where they teach kids entertainment skills, acting and singing and dancing and magic and all this kind of stuff. A lot of our friends still go there and teach, at Camp Win-A-Rainbow in Northern California. The original Hog Farm was originally a real hog farm near Los Angeles, just north of LA in the Hollywood Hills. And then next door to them, you had Charlie Manson and his gang of horrible people with their bus painted black. I think everybody knows who he is.

I don't recall exactly where it was, but it was kind of near where the 101 Highway goes over the Hollywood Hills, that was where their first place was. And they just started out as a commune, but Wavy was an exceptional person, and he got people to a very high consciousness. One of the things he's done over the years is raise millions and millions of dollars for treating children in 3rd world countries with eye diseases - he says it costs something like 20 cents to keep an African baby from going blind. And he's probably saved the eyesight of millions of children.

That's Wavy Gravy. He's a saint.

xaqaria6 karma

When and where is the next cultural revolution going to take place? Where are today's visionaries? Who is there to look up to? Where are people doing something new and not just reminiscing?

GoingFurther7 karma

COLBY: I feel like we're in the midst of a cultural revolution right now. As for today's visionaries, we crossed paths with one this summer many times, Alex Grey. He reminds me a lot of Kesey and Leary and earlier pioneers. What they're doing with COSM and Entheon is the next phase in this counter culture. I also feel like the film that we're currently working on will help tie together this subculture again, unite some more people and help focus and make some more progress with our culture in general.

Loztotherescue5 karma

Hi Pranksters! Can I ask what are you crowdfunding for?

GoingFurther5 karma

GEORGE: I don't know what we're doing either.

LINDA: I have no clue.

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: We are raising funds for a variety of things. Color correction, audio engineering, map graphics, music licensing etc and we're working on a super psychedelic animated sequence telling the history of Ken, the Merry Pranksters and the Furthur Bus.

3ABM5803 karma

Why isn't Ken Babbs in this?

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Babbs was unavailable today. We would have loved him to be involved. Maybe next time.

GoingFurther3 karma

Ken Babbs will be in the film though, so please check it out when it is released :)

xanax_bus3 karma

What was it like when you met up with Timothy Leary's camp in New York?

GoingFurther2 karma

MATT - From what i’ve heard, the rumors about how that Millbrook visit back in 64’ went aren’t true, it was a warm reception and there is even a photo out there of Timothy Leary on the bus from that time. He was just sick so couldn’t socialize for too long. We shot an interview with Timothy Leary's son Zach that explains it from a fresh perspective that will be in the film during the part where we visit Millbrook on the bus.

amountainofyawns3 karma

I'm sure I am far too late for this business, how do you feel Ken and Neal would feel about this reincarnation of the pranksters and Further? Is it not difficult without either of them around? I mean, from my outsider perspective, they were the spirit and guidance amongst your troupe. Don't take offence! None is implied! On a side note, Cassady is one of the most compelling human beings I have ever read about. I wish that I could have had just one conversation with him as I feel that is the type of thing that can completely change your perspective on things. Thanks for everything!

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: I whole heartedly feel we would have made them proud to see what we've acomplished. We took the bus on its longest trip ever and have a complete film that is almost ready to share with the world. That tells their story and eveyrthing that spiralled out of what they first did and what we did last summer. It could never be the same as what we did, but we feel we carried the torch and are proud to have done so.

GoingFurther2 karma

Thank you everyone for participating! Please follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/goingfurthur and check out the last few hours of our campaign https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-going-furthur-documentary. We love you all! <3 -The Going Furthur Team

IKingJeremy2 karma

What were some of the challenges you had to overcome to get this documentary done?

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GEORGE: Which documentary?

LINDA: This one? Today? I had to make sure that my grandson picked up my dog, Freedom, so I wouldn't have to take him outside during the middle of all this. BIIIIIG for me. I don't know!

It's a bit daunting.

GEORGE: Whatever the challenges were, I failed to overcome them.

GoingFurther6 karma

The filmmakers were incredible. They were fully functioning the while time we were partying. I was busy licking wallpaper while they were on point! They were like Doc Ellis on the mound!

GoingFurther3 karma

COLBY: Well just making it through the grueling tour last summer was tough. With a Festival every weekend and events every other night, the core crew went through a lot to make it from Coast to Coast to Coast. Over 15,000 miles on that beautiful old bus, sometimes we'd leave an event at 1am and drive 500+ miles to the next location that night. Since we've finished the tour, we've had to watch down nearly 400 hours of footage. Skimming through it all with a fine tooth comb to make sure we didnt miss anything important. Thats been the biggest challenge for myself. We haven't finsihed the Film yet tho, there are some big challenges that still lay ahead.

GoingFurther2 karma

LINDSAY: We definitely jumped a few hurdles making this movie. Filming anything where you are on the road and have a tight schedule is pretty challenging; add to that a very small crew and and a daily dose of herding cats-you get the idea. The three of us working on the film also live in different countries, so organizing post production remotely has been a challenge as well. We are very lucky though to have so many people supporting what we are doing, who have expressed desires to get involved any way they can. We're very excited to share this film with the world very soon!

ChLoRo85232 karma

As a guy who love's kens work and the electric kool-aid acid test, how was Tom wolfe's account of the life of the pranksters? It was so romanticized I couldn't help but fall in love with the entire culture. How was he to have along on your travels?

GoingFurther6 karma

COLBY: Tom Wolfe never actually travelled with the bus at all. His book was entirely based off of the footage, tape recordings and interviews with the Pranksters.

Need_a_Ladder2 karma

What did you guys think of One flew over the cuckoo's nest?

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: I think its one of the greatest films of its Era. A true masterpiece in every sense of the word. Zane told me an amazing quote from Ken too, who never watched the film but was always told how amazing it was. His response would be "Well you can't make shit from Gold!" Both the book and the film are incredibly important parts of american culture.

GratefullyMe1 karma

I heard you guys got a lot of harassment on the road from police, is this true?

Thanks for going around! I was lucky enough to party on the bus at the Werk Out last year, and got my picture taken with the bus at both Gathering of the Vibes, and The Werk Out. Keep the dream alive!

GoingFurther3 karma

COLBY: Totally not true, we were never pulled over or searched or anything even close. We were a novelty to police, just had cellphone pictures taken of the bus.

Zachadelic1 karma

First I love you all, second how do you officially become a Merry Prankster? Also what is your stance on dosing random people? I have heard alot of prankster dose stories. Thank yall so much!

GoingFurther7 karma

COLBY: Dosing people unknowingly is criminal. it should never happen. Stories about the pranksters doing so are false. Tho we've heard and read a few about Owsley Stanley doing so.

peaceshark1 karma

Where would you have wished you could have taken the Further Bus?

GoingFurther2 karma

Being from Colorado I wanted to have a party in my town on our way back across the country to California but time didn't permit that from happening. I quit my job to stay on the bus so it would've been awesome to ride on top of the bus going back into the place I quit at 2 months prior. AirGuitar

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: The place I had wished to have taken the Furthur Bus was COSM and we got to do it so my wish came true. It took a little effort but it happened. Other than there, i guess probably where Im from, I live on tiny little Gulf Island on the Coast of British Columbia and it would be amazing to have her come take a cruise here.

Fitnhotfromtx1 karma


GoingFurther1 karma

No we didn't but that sounds cool

poketama1 karma

Were you guys there for the preperation of the Acid Test 50th Anniversary in Chicago and when it fell apart? I'm interested in all the kinds of stuff that Zane and fellows would have had ready to go before it fell apart.

GoingFurther1 karma

Zane had been getting the bus prepared in Oregon. Pranksters from tour last summer had been getting prepared all around the counrty to join in and help out.

Himself891 karma

Thanks for the AMA. 2 questions!

1) How important are/were drugs--particularly acid--to the Merry Prankster way of life? Would you say that the Further bus was the church that acid built? Could it have happened without acid?

2) What role did other drugs--besides pot--play? Were Pranksters or others in the movement experimenting with other substances--hallucinogenic and otherwise?

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: I cant speak expertly on this, but I can tell you what I know.

1) I think you're analogy of Furhur being the Church that acid built is spectacular. It played a vital role in it all. Ken was heavily influenced by being a part of the MkUltra experiments in the late 50's and the acid played a HUGE role in the creating of the Merry Pranksters. I know for a fact that the name Merry Prankster was coined by Ken Babbs the first time George Walker ever took Acid.

2) I know for sure that Neal Cassady took a ton of speed. As for the rest of them, I think mushrooms, mescaline and peyote all played a pretty big role in their personal exploration which lead to the psycedelic revelution with Furthur leading the way.

MadmanMaddox1 karma

Did you guys find Gut up in Reno? He'd get a kick knowing the bus was on the road again. Having done a lot of the art on it he said it'd be impossible to restore the original look. Mostly because it was redone so many times. Nice guy.

GoingFurther1 karma

Unfortunately not but sounds cool

tartan_monkey1 karma

Do you have any of Owsley's liquid left?

GoingFurther3 karma

COLBY: I wish. We got to meet with Rhoney Stanley last summer, his first major partner in cooking the cleanest stuff ever, she seemed like she still might have a secret stash.

Aquanaut381 karma

What, if any, connection do you have with the Grateful Dead? Are you guys going to the shows in California or Chicago?

GoingFurther1 karma

There had been plans but they fell through. The direct connection with the Furthur Bus and the Dead died when Ken did it seems.

GoingFurther1 karma

There will be members of the Going Furthur crew and some new Pranksters at the Chicago show!

tamadrum321 karma

Are there any plans to restore the original bus? Got to see the new one last summer at the Yasgur Road Reunion and it looks great, but it got me thinking about what it would take to restore the original.

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: Yes there are most certainly plans to restore the original bus. A foundation has been created to do so, by Stephanie Kesey, Ken's step daughter. http://furthurdowntheroad.org/

rkt88edmo1 karma

The acid test era is remembered for mind blowing heroic doses. Currently we are hearing about a new wave of information on microdoses. Any mcrodose anecdotes or experiences you'd like to relate?

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: None personally but its been drawing my attention heavily. A lot of people in powerful places have been coming forward about micro dosing. If I ever try it I will happily pass along my experiences with the world.

JakeScythe1 karma

Have you folks ever seen Across The Universe? If so, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the portrayals of the Pranksters in the film.

GoingFurther3 karma

COLBY: I love across the universe and that sequence is amazing, except for the fact that innaccurately portrays the meeting between Ken and Leary. We will be clarifying that in our Documentary tho, we met with Timothy's son and also have Zane explaining what actually went down.

GoingFurther2 karma

Good movie. The Pranksters weren't really center stage in that film; you just see people tripping out on the bus-which is pretty accurate. Bono's rendition seemed very Bono, not much like Ken in my opinion. Interesting fact though-when the bus got to Leary's farm (Geary's in the movie) and they were turned away, that;s not quite how the real story unfolded. We got some intel from Tim Leary's son, Zach, about what really happened that day. Please check out the movie to find out :)

AccidentalAlien1 karma

Ham or Bacon?

GoingFurther3 karma

Peameal bacon

BlastedBiggs1381 karma

I wrote an essay about the "trip" and I connected it (the trip) to the band Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and the book Into the Wild.

After I had written the essay, I had the opportunity to watch the documentary Magic Trip. What will set these two documentaries apart??

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Our documentary is going to be trying to encapsulate a lot more than just our personal journey. Our journey will be the spine and take us from place to place, but at each stop and different setting we were able to explore themes that we inspired by the original bus and to see what has grown out of it. So I would say the biggest difference is that our film will be addressing a much broader scope.

--Danger--1 karma

I know Dorothy F. made documentaries and was maybe also a Prankster? Well, anyway, was she part of the making of this film at all? How did you determine which "OG" Pranksters would be involved? Thanks!

GoingFurther4 karma

COLBY: We reached out to whoever we could. We knew we had to interview Babbs and Walker, they were the ones we couldnt make this without. We also tried to reach out to Mountain Girl but it never lined up. We also interviewed Anonymous who joined us on this AMA and Lee Quarnstrom. On tour we crossed paths with Roy Sebern at La Honda and R We Really in Sanfran. Those were all the OG pranksters we managed to interview. As well as Sam Cutleer (ex tour manager of the rolling stones and the dead) and Rhoney Stanley, Owsley The-Bear Stanley's old partner.

kdub791 karma

Are you guys coming to Chicago this July 4th?

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Many of the neo pranksters will be there. And randy turley one of our bus mechanics from last summer is bringing his bus dead on. Our crew will be easy to spot in the lot I think.

chef_beardy1 karma

Simple question.. Very late. How much of that bus is original parts by now?

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: From what I know, very very little, the body is. The steering wheel. I know every single wire was replaced before last summer, I can't answer this question in complete confidence tho.

FireHole1 karma

How much acid do you guys take? Do you take acid everyday, or every couple days, or what?

GoingFurther3 karma

COLBY: I probably shouldn't answer that question on here.

egalroc1 karma

I used to wrestle with/against Zane in high school. You got any word on him, like how's he doing? He seemed pretty modest about his dad being famous. Did you guys get any inside scoop from him on his dad? My uncle spent some time (disorderly conduct) in jail with Ken when he was fighting City Hall about licensing his dogs. It was funny my uncle trying to convince my dad that smoking dope ain't so bad and that Ken was kinda cool back in the redneck seventies.

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Zane is good, driving around the bus, selling blotter art and whatnot, seems pretty comfortable.

casadeparadise1 karma

Hey! I met Zane and the crew at Mountain Sky in Pennsylvania. Had so much fun. Will you all go back to Mountain sky this summer? My travels have taken me to Taiwan for the time being but I know Ragu and his crew would love to see you all again. Cheers!

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: Doesn't look like the bus will be hitting the road again this summer, the crew tho would love to get back to Mountain Sky, maybe we'll screen the film there eventually.

CattMristoff1 karma

Are you also going to contact any former Hell's Angels members?

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: We hadn't thought of it. Barger is the only one mentioned in the books.

annieasylum1 karma

This may be too simple a question, but here goes: how did you all become a part of the Merry Pranksters? Additionally, what is the most memorable thing you did as a group?

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Personally I talked with Zane and Derek leading up to the tour and just insisted I was their guy to shoot this film. As for the most memorable thing... hmmm... there were a lot. One day we went to Woodstock the town, I met Rhoney Stanley, owsley stanleys old partner, then we took the Bus to Alex Grey's COSM, his chapel of Sacred Mirrors, filmed a wonderful interview and got a private tour. Then we drove 30 miles to Timothy Learys old pad Millbrook. That was a pretty magical day. Taking the bus back to the Unisphere where the original tour set off to go in New York was also pretty special. Also all the pranksters got to play an improved set at Woodstocks 45th Anniversary. Those are some pretty special highlights for me. That and meeting some of my best friends who will be a huge part of my life forever.

GoingFurther1 karma

To the OG's, have you heard from Sonny Barger and the rest of the hells Angels In a while?-wally

Staggerlee891 karma

Will you guys be in Chicago for the 50th Anniversary shows? Hope to see ya there!

GoingFurther2 karma

COLBY: Many of the neo-pranksters will be in Chicago for the 50th Anniversary show.

3ABM5801 karma

Why isn't Ken Babbs in this?

GoingFurther1 karma

Babbs unfortunately was busy today, although he will for sure be in the film.

O_Toole501 karma

WHY WERE YOU NOT AT THE VILLE IN OHIO A FEW WEEKS AGO?? please come to the next one in August :(?

GoingFurther1 karma

COLBY: We made it to theVille last summer, the bus might not leave Oregon this year, we're not quite sure yet about that.

GoingFurther1 karma

We had so much fun at the Ville last summer! Good people and good music all around. It was amazing having a waterpark in the middle of a festival and we would love to go back but the 50th Anniversary Tour was a special thing and the bus is back on the west coast currently. Were not really sure what the future holds at this point and it's not really our call. I'm sure it will be a great time though, and hopefully John Welton and Adam's Ale are playing again those guys are awesome!

Send_Me_Gold-2 karma

This is a question for Wally. Why do you have a Mercedes Benz logo drawn on your hard hat? Do you know what a peace sign is?

GoingFurther1 karma

Hahaha I'm just a really big fan of Mercedes!