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Tom Wolfe, THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Inc., 1968, Copyright 1968 by Tom Wolfe. excerpts ( JH picked out all passages describing experimental sound activity or sound equipment ) Typed by Barb Golden, Aug. 17, 1994. 648w

A bigger glow in the center of the garage. I make out a school bus ... glowing orange, green, magenta, lavender, chlorine blue, every fluorescent pastel imaginable, in thousands of designs, both large and small, like a cross between Fernand L‚ger and Dr. Strange, roaring together and vibrating off each other as if somebody had given Hieronymous Bosch fifty buckets of Day-Glo paint and a 1939 International Harvester school bus and told him to go to it. On the floor by the bus is a 15-foot banner reading ACID TEST GRADUATION, and two or three of the Flag People are working on it.

Bob Dylan's voice is raunching and rheuming and people are moving around, and babies are crying. I don't see them but they are somewhere in here, crying. Off to one side is a guy about 40 with a lot of muscles, as you can see because he has no shirt on __ just a pair of khakis and some red leather boots on and his hell of a build __ and he seems to be in a kinetic trance, flipping a small sledge hammer up in the air over and over, always managing to catch the handle on the way down with his arms and legs kicking out the whole time and his shoulders rolling and his head bobbing, all in a jerky beat as if somewhere Joe Cuba is playing "Bang Bang' although in fact even Bob Dylan is no longer on and out of the speaker, wherever it is, comes some sort of tape with a spectral voice saying:

"...The Nowhere Mine...we've got bubble gum wrappers..."some sort of weird electronic music behind it, with Oriental intervals, like Juan Carillo's music: "... We're going to jerk it out from under the world...working in the Nowhere Mine...this day, every day..." One of the Flag People comes up. "Hey, Mountain Girl! That's wild!" p. 12

It is a very sleepy, dreamy voice, however. The curtain pulls back and standing there is a wiry little guy who looks like a pirate. Behind him, back in there behind the curtain, all sorts of wires, instruments, panels, speakers are all piled up, a glistening heap of electronic equipment, and the tape is back there going ... "In the Nowhere Mine ..." The guy looks like a pirate, as I said, with long black hair combed back Tarzan-style, and a mustache, and a gold ring through his left earlobe. He stares out, sleepily. In fact, he is a Hell's Angel. p.21

...picking up vibrations from Ampex tapes and a juggled Williams Lok-Hed sledge hammer, hooking down mathematical lab drugs, LSD-25, IT-290, DMT... p. 28

Kesey stands in the gloom of the Control Central, over to the side amid the tapes, and cans of movie film marked with adhesive strips, and notebooks and microphones and wires and coils, speakers, amplifiers. The Prankster Archives __ and a tape drones on in a weird voice, full of Ouija-whammy: " ... the blissful counterstroke ...a considerable new message ... " p.29

and when it came time for the sentimental bitter statement, well, instead, this big guy Kesey dragged a piano out of his house and they all set about axing the hell out of it and burning it up, calling it "the oldest living thing on Perry Lane," only they were giggling and yahooing about it, high as coons, in some weird way, all of them, hard-grabbing off the stars,... p.48

Sandy (Lehmann-Haupt) had dropped out of N.Y. U. and was working as a sound engineer. he was a genius with tapes, soundtracks, audio systems and so forth, but he was going through a bad time. p.50


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