Grateful Dead Music Forum

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When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #102304  by seamones
 Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:52 pm
These guys apparently have no idea of who they are dealing with: ... ture=share.

Zane Kesey's post:

Email asking me to "keep quiet" and the FULL wild story given about this bus!
by Zane Kesey on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 5:12pm

Subject: Re: does anyone know this guy Paul Currier?? read this

To: Zane Kesey <keyz></keyz>

Zane, this blows me away too. Driving home today, it occurred to me – we were just Pranked. I am asking you to help me by not spreading this around, and if you will agree, you and I can discuss the whole story.

We’re a collector car auction company from Indiana, and we sell classic cars at auction. Find some interesting vehicles that need a new garage, market them to collectors, and have an auction – it’s really pretty simple. We routinely do research, hire writers, and create descriptions for the website and catalogs. We did the same thing on the Gillig and got prankstered.

It is vitally important to me that there is no malice or bad publicity towards Paul. We sought out a resource that could tell us about the bus, and his name was on the title search way back, it was that simple. He was not out spouting – we found him, and we were wrong, it needs to stay between you and me.

That’s all I can say without your word. Please do not spread this any further, to use a bad pun. 231 645 5776 Thanks

On 8/12/11 6:14 PM, "Zane Kesey" <keyz> wrote:</keyz>

Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 21:50:18 +0000

From: <lquarnstrom></lquarnstrom>


Holy Moly! This carries the Never Trust a Prankster theme to a odd place indeed.

When & if you learn that anybody has ever heard of any of this please send out a follow-up email letting us know., And no, I've never heard of him. thanks and how you doing?

Lee Quarnstrom

---- Zane Kesey <keyz> wrote: </keyz>

> A Merry Prankster Tour Bus Built to Follow The Grateful Dead,

> Hundreds of Tour Artifacts Included


> The counterculture of the 1960s has been romanticized by a number of

> works and icons. Among the many that could be named are written works

> like Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and Hunter S.

> Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." The list goes on to

> include author and erstwhile Yale professor, Timothy Leary, beat

> poets, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, and musical

> groups like Hendrix, Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, and The

> Grateful Dead. The whole scene was further bound together by the

> likes of the Hells Angels and, famously or infamously, Ken Kesey and

> his Merry Band of Pranksters. The movement touched on from personal,

> national and international politics, culture and art, and was heavily

> fueled by the consumption of drugs like marijuana and LSD. All of

> these groups traveled through the same time and space together,

> converged and formed complex interrelationships that still have yet

> to be fully explained to outsiders. Love them or hate them, there is

> no doubt that Kesey and the Pranksters were colorful, and they are

> rightly given credit for sowing the seeds of the counterculture

> through mind expansion via LSD.

> The epicenter for most of this activity was Palo Alto, California.

> This is the place that the group that would be known as The Merry

> Pranksters would form. Here too is the place where the remnants of a

> band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions would form a band

> called The Warlocks. Learning of the existence of an East Coast band

> of the same name, the group changed its name for a performance on

> December 4, 1965. The new chosen name was The Grateful Dead, and the

> venue they played at was one of several similar gatherings organized

> by Kesey's group which would be known collectively as "The Acid

> Tests." This early connection cannot be emphasized importantly

> enough, as the two groups and all their associates would be

> intertwined for the next several decades.


> Kesey and his Pranksters traveled across the country in a 1939

> International Harvester bus which would be known as "Further" for the

> book release of Kesey's latest novel, "Sometimes a Great Notion" in

> New York and the adventures had on Further were later popularized by

> Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." In the 1960s, '70s, and

> '80s, there existed a healthy culture of travel by bus. Many groups

> and individuals traveled around the country following The Grateful

> Dead and having their own Prankster-esque adventures. Sometimes the

> goal was simply to experience all the life that different parts of

> the country could offer. Having such a significant artifact survive

> with access to the actual owner is quite incredible, given the

> free-wheeling lifestyle it represents.


> Offered at The Auburn Auction is an extraordinary specimen from this

> time period, a 1965 Gillig Transit Coach Bus known as "The Tour Rat."

> Since its existence was publicized in the 2000s, rumors abounded

> about its history. Psychedelic artwork, a custom-designed interior,

> and a collage of authentic concert posters lent themselves to stories

> that the bus was actually a tour bus used by The Grateful Dead in

> their early days or that it was perhaps part of the massive support

> convoy that followed The Dead on their long tours. Rumor and

> speculation were finally put to rest when Worldwide Auctioneers put

> its researchers into high gear to debunk the story and dig for the truth.


> A title search yielded the names of a number of northern California

> owners. The first individual located was a gentleman from Calpella,

> California, who was able to verify that he once owned this 1965

> Gillig bus, but his testimony left more questions than answers.

> According to this gentleman, the bus was purchased new by the Loma

> Prieta school district and used as a school bus from 1965 until his

> acquisition in 1977. The transformation of the bus began with the

> removal of most of the seats and the installation of bunks and a

> small cooking area. From 1977 to 1983 the Gillig was used as a tour

> bus for groups of up to ten people who wanted to see the natural

> sights of the western United States. The interview granted to

> Worldwide Auctioneers was highly detailed and chronicled much of that

> history. When asked who the bus was sold to, the owner responded that

> the guys seemed to be part of a movement and indicated that they were

> going to use the bus to "tour with The Dead." "Look up the Hog Farm

> and a guy called Wavy Gravy," the owner said. "They were located

> about ten miles north of where I was living at the time."


> The Hog Farm began in the 1960s as a hippie commune which was

> contracted to assist with the setup and security of the pending

> Woodstock Music Festival. Its leader is a man named Wavy Gravy, who

> was also one of the Pranksters who rode on Kesey's Further. After

> their involvement with Woodstock, the Hog Farmers kept peace at the

> Texas International Pop Festival and eventually began traveling

> through the United States and Europe promoting various musical groups

> utilizing dozens of converted school buses over the years. Certainly

> this connection had to be the key to uncovering the true history of

> the Gillig. Further research yielded contact information on the next

> owner, a man by the name of Paul Currier, and once we spoke with

> Paul, the trajectory of the Gillig history spun in a completely

> unforeseen and fascinating direction. Paul had purchased the bus from

> the second owner in 1983. When asked if he was involved with the Hog

> Farm his response was "No, and this was not a Hog Farm bus... this

> was a Prankster bus." Mr. Currier granted subsequent phone interviews

> as well as a sit-down interview conducted in Palo Alto to set the

> extraordinary history of the bus straight.


> In the 1960s, the Merry Pranksters were out in force sharing expanded

> consciousness with the masses and a sixteen year old, Paul Currier,

> was a recipient of one of those doses. From that time forward, he was

> devoted to spreading the gospel of acid and toured the country doing

> just that. According to Ken Kesey, there were seventeen original

> Pranksters, and Paul was the last official member of the group.

> Currier acknowledges that although the official list is relatively

> short, dozens of other close associates could be considered part of

> the group. Among those he considered to be "on the bus" were Grateful

> Dead founders Jerry Garcia and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, as well as

> members of other bands like Jefferson Airplane. When asked about the

> relationship between The Grateful Dead and the Pranksters, Currier

> replied "The Dead was our house band. The bands worked for the

> Pranksters. The Pranksters didn't work for anybody."


> Currier went on to relate his experiences with the bus. He described

> it at the time of purchase as basically "an empty shell," but one

> which was recognized by him as a blank canvas. Shortly after his

> purchase of the bus, Currier and friends converted the bus for a new

> purpose, equipping it with new bunks and kitchen equipment. By this

> time he had acquired an extensive collection of lithographed posters

> which were pasted to the ceiling. Curtains were constructed and

> decorated with pins. Murals were painted including one of the earth

> as seen from space, which passengers could gaze up at as they fell

> asleep. Those who helped remodel the bus contributed something

> special. From the Hog Farmers was two decades of experience living on

> buses. Currier describes the interior as being designed for "life at

> 60 miles an hour." There are no hard edges in case an unplanned drift

> sent passengers flying.


> Like its predecessor Further, the Gillig was outfitted with a sound

> system. One small set of speakers was installed for playing music for

> the passengers. A much more powerful sound system was installed for

> broadcasting music and announcements to the masses. The equipment was

> actually provided by remnants of the Wall of Sound, a sound

> reinforcement system provided by LSD chemist Owsley Stanley for The

> Grateful Dead and used by them in the early 1970s. Another special

> piece which survives with the bus belonged to Grateful Dead member

> Ron McKernan, known affectionately by fans as "Pigpen." Currier grew

> up with the McKernan family and he was profoundly affected by the

> untimely death of his lifelong friend in 1973. When the Gillig was

> being outfitted a decade later, McKernan's mother insisted that

> Currier remove the Mercedes-Benz seat that Pigpen had installed in

> his Studebaker pickup truck and install it on the Gillig so that a

> piece of her son could travel with the bus. The whole layout was

> thoroughly planned to allow for a revolving crew of six drivers

> working in eight-hour shifts to beat pavement across the country on a

> moment's notice. When completed, the bus was dubbed "The Tour Rat."


> Aside from functioning as a conveyance to various tour destinations

> so that he could continue his work of promoting mind expansion, the

> manifesto written by Currier and his associates and which is still

> glued to the ceiling of the bus states: "Find some wheels and roll

> 'em. We are rolling out for the spring tour of the eastern United

> States with The Grateful Dead to inspire others to dare doing what

> appears crazy and impossible." Currier's close friend Jerry Garcia

> prompted yet another goal for this round of touring. In the early

> 1980s, Garcia began experimenting with opiates. What began as a

> flirtation quickly turned into outright addiction and Garcia, who

> previously had no issues getting on stage on time, quickly began to stumble.

> Despite his involvement with the distribution of psychadelics,

> Currier often pleaded with Jerry Garcia to stay off the opiates he

> was becoming addicted to, and offered the Gillig as a safe place for

> Garcia to get away from the heroin dealers that were affecting his

> performance and his life. According to Currier, there were never any

> hard drugs or alcohol allowed aboard the bus, and despite their close

> friendship and many long, late night discussions, Jerry always found

> a way to get high.


> The tour finally ended on May 20, 1986, when federal narcotics agents

> arrested Currier and five other associates for his decades-long

> distribution of LSD and stated that he was responsible for

> distributing between four and ten times as many doses as Owsley

> Stanley. In July of that same year, the health problems associated

> with Garcia's hard lifestyle surfaced when he went into his first

> diabetic coma and began a chain of events that would result in the

> unfortunate end of his life less than a decade later. Paul Currier

> spent two years in prison during which the bus was mothballed. When

> he went to Europe as part of his new, legitimate career he lost

> contact with the bus and as it passed from hand to hand the story of

> its existence became more lore than fact.


> During the years that the Gillig was on the road it was host to many

> guests. Owsley had been on the bus as had Ken Kesey several times,

> who called it "the remanifestation of Further." Early Grateful Dead

> roadie Barney Laird called it "Further Up The Road." Currier states

> that it was one of Kesey's visits to the bus that inspired him to

> perform one last prank. In 1990, Kesey and the remaining Pranksters

> created a second Further out of a bus similar to the one used for the

> original Further. The group announced that they were donating Further

> to the Smithsonian who dearly wanted the bus, and the media followed

> the group around for a week before finally realizing it was merely

> another prank by the Pranksters. This Gillig bus has been host to

> celebrities, poets, musicians, visionaries, and every one of the

> Merry Pranksters and their associates, and it has been witness to an

> incredible array of events that changed American culture forever.

> While the very nature of the Counterculture Movement makes it

> challenging to trace the facts, "The Tour Rat" has been undeniably

> linked to the music, the drugs, and the bands that became famous and

> influenced the entire commercial music scene forever. Had the LSD

> bust not gone down, it is likely that Paul Currier would still be

> living in the bus and following the Grateful Dead and all their

> subsequent iterations. The "Tour Rat" remains one of the most

> significant and authentic artifacts of an entire movement, and with

> the verification from the actual owner, it is worthy of the kind of

> care that a collector would give Hendrix's white Strat or Ringo's

> Ludwig drum kit. It is an incredible opportunity to purchase not only

> the historic items inside, but the very soul of the most prolific

> period in rock history.
 #102327  by tigerstrat
 Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:15 pm
a few years ago I saw that a museum or something was claiming this was "the Grateful Dead's Tour Bus 1965-1983" .. well, as McNally pointed out, the Dead never toured by bus at all after sometime the late 60's!

Now these auctioneers are pissing off Zane and the rest of the MP family by claiming it's a Merry Prankster Bus. But really, if you read the background story they contradict that story by saying it started life by serving as a school bus from 65-77, then a sightseeing bus 77-83... THEN some heads bought it in '83 and toured in it for about 3 years. All of that is very believable... but it doesn't make it a "Merry Prankster Bus".

It's just another modded school bus used by some not-so-famous hippies, for a short time.
 #102329  by tigerstrat
 Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:08 pm
it is worthy of the kind of care that a collector would give Hendrix's white Strat or Ringo's Ludwig drum kit.
 #102351  by seamones
 Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:07 am
Looks to me like these guys are serious shysters. They find a somewhat interesting vehicle and then create a history around it. Perhaps leaving in subtle references to the truth.
 #102355  by Mick
 Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:40 am
seamones wrote:Looks to me like these guys are serious shysters. They find a somewhat interesting vehicle and then create a history around it. Perhaps leaving in subtle references to the truth.
That's the way it looks to me too. Looks like it was a real tour bus for some heads, and I'll bet lots of good times were had in it! But the whole story surrounding it looks to be either totally fabricated (likely, as the auctioneers seem to be acknowledging that THEY got pranked), or so overblown as to be nowhere near the truth. Lots of stuff in the story doesn't make sense, including but not limited to the rotating 6 drivers thing, I don't see anything in the pictures that would indicate that any special system was in place.

What is most appalling is that the auctioneers apparently know the story is bogus, but IT IS STILL ON THEIR WEBSITE ADVERTISING THE BUS!
 #102361  by willmusic
 Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:11 am
HAHA love when Voight bites George!
But yeah, how many heads have we met from back in the day who were "best friends" w/ Jerry and Pig, yaddah yaddah yaddah? Plenty. So many dudes that are just toast, have read some deadhead lore, and can fold themselves into an already hazy history.
 #102999  by Mick
 Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:02 am
I tried to find out how much this sold for over the weekend, but couldn't. If anyone else finds out, I'd be interested to know.
 #103028  by mgbills
 Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:50 pm
Magic Trip is really awesome. It's a great part of history, and should get a thread for commentary. There's a great scene where some rural cops pull the bus over, but there is no frame of reference. He's just curious. There is no historical bias for the poor fellow to be prejudiced by. He's just checking it out & looking for "mischief." No search & seisure. Poor guy didn't even know what to search for.

Loved every minute.

 #103029  by HeadSpace
 Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:21 pm
Agreed. Great movie and worthy of its own thread. Some very early Dead footage and many Dead tunes throughout, plus general drug-fueled pandemonium.
 #104794  by JtToy
 Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:19 am
I love music and cars. I became aware of this being offered for auction through an ad in Hemming Motor News and after the auction date, was unable to get any auction results. The story and presentation seemed ludicrous to me. I just found the original ad for the auction on my desk and thought I'd see if there was anything new. That's how I ended up at this great site. I just learned that the bus was presented on Ebay and the auction ended on Oct. 6 with a bid of $1,875 and did not meet reserve. Description was honest and basically said it was a piece from that era and made no claim or link to The Dead or MP or KK. This part of the description caught my eye: "12K worth of professional conservation work done on the posters on the ceiling of the bus. " Hmmmm. I think someone is probably realizing that they have a bus on their hands that won't run and is not worth nearly as much as they thought.
 #104839  by ugly rumor
 Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:30 pm
Check out "", Zane Kesey's website, for fun and information. Zane still owns the original Furthur, and probably could not be induced to part with it. He is also an awesome human being, and has some cool merchandise at very reasonable cost. Nothing like the truth to blow a good con....