We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to witness a feat of unbelievable tolerance, not of the Buddhist kind but certainly of the mind-altering kind, as The Grateful Dead chow down on a birthday cake laced with acid. That’s about as classic a story as you’ll ever hear.
If there’s one thing you associate with The Grateful Dead it is almost certainly ‘groove’ or, should we say, ‘vibe’? While much of that is aligned with the band’s inception in the counter-culture movement of the 1960s, a large chunk of it is also attributed to their love of psychedelic drugs. It’s not the only thing interesting about the Grateful Dead, far from it, but it does make for some ludicrous tales.
The group had quickly become the underground face of the counter-culture movement after they exploded in San Francisco in the mid-to-late-60s. While acts like Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were taking to the stage and singing about the free-thinking, free-love and cheap drugs of the hippie movement, The Grateful Dead were living it every single day of their lives—and living it hard. It led to some more than precarious situations.
One such occasion, while the band were in San Francisco getting ready to perform at the legendary Fillmore Theatre in the mid-1960s (a likely hotbed of psychedelia), Jerry Garcia was enjoying life backstage when suddenly a “known freak” brought in a beautiful birthday cake. Now, we know what you’re thinking, and you’d be dead right, but still Garcia only “suspected” it may be “dosed”.
Perhaps the singer was in a Devil-may-care mood or perhaps he just really wanted some cake (or acid). Either way, the Grateful Dead leader soon found himself cutting a small slither of the cake which was largely frosting. It wouldn’t be long before things turned a bright shade of crazy and he soon found out that the frosting had indeed been dosed. With a humongous 800 hits of LSD.
The situation, as one might imagine, soon deteriorated and deteriorated quickly.
He recalls in the video below: “I’m looking at it, and looking at it, and looking at it. But it looks good! I’ll just take a little of the frosting here. I’ll just take a little snack. So I took this, and then someone comes in and says, “Yeah, we put about 800 hits of acid in that frosting.”
He continued: “And I go, ‘D’oh, oh God, oh Jesus Christ, I’m going to be totally wiped out’. By this time, I didn’t really enjoy playing under the influence of psychedelics because I didn’t have the freedom to quit if I wanted to. It wasn’t that much fun to play if you don’t have the option.” We simply can’t imagine the change of pace that may have been for Garcia but we’re also pretty sure that he could handle it.
Watch Jerry Garcia explain the whole sordid event, below.