news & updates / November 10, 2001


Farewell to Ken Kesey
transmission: email (11.13.01) /website


Ken Kesey...a counter culture icon and psychedelic legend. He was a key figure in the bridge from the beatniks on the road to the free-spirited hippies. He made a difference in American society by generally throwing aside its constraints. He was always challenging and subverting people, challenging the front of settled life.

To Drop Bass Network he was our biggest influence. His book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was inspiration for us to rebel against and question authority. His epic 1964 cross-country trip on the Furthur bus with his band of Merry Pranksters, as celebrated in the book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", was the inspiration behind our four day techno campout - electric festival - family re*union. Paying homage to this journey we called our event Furthur (and later Even Furthur). "Either you're on the bus or off the bus." The tales of his LaHonda ranch offer glimpses of our cultures potential. We strive to achieve that potential today. Kesey's Acid Tests were the precursor to this rave thing that is our passion now. All night partying, non-stop music, mind altering chemicals, light shows, video projections, costumes, dancers, was all there over 30 years ago. All designed to take the participants further. And for those seeking the truth and the meaning, he was one of our last frontiersmen, heading into the wilderness of ones self. A search within that we will continue.

As we bid the chief of the Pranksters farewell we thank him for adding some color to our existence and for making the world a better place. Godspeed Ken. See you on the other side.

--Drop Bass Network




Kesey's belly was hurting and the docs did a scan and found a black spot on his liver. It was cancerous but encapsulated which meant there was no cancer anywhere else. They decided to cut it out and the surgery went okay. He had sixty percent of his liver left to carry the load but in one of those dirty tricks the body can play on you everything else went to hell and this morning at 3:45 AM his heart stopped beating.

A great good friend and great husband and father and grand dad, he will be sorely missed but if there is one thing he would want us to do it would be to carry on his life's work. Namely to treat others with kindness and if anyone does you dirt forgive that person right away. This goes beyond the art, the writing, the performances, even the bus. Right down to the bone.

-- Ken Babbs



A undated photo of American author Ken Kesey, posted in his memory on the website of his son Zane. Kesey, whose 1962 novel "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" celebrated rebellion against rigid authority and whose exploits inspired the '60s hippie movement, died on November 10, 2001. He was 66. (Zane Kesey-Handout)



Obituaries and articles from around the United States and England:

Associated Press - Novelist, 60s Icon Ken Kesey Dies
Reuters - Author, Counterculture Icon Ken Kesey Dead at 66
Los Angeles Times - Ken Kesey, Novelist and '60s Icon, Dies
New York Times - Ken Kesey, Author of 'Cuckoo's Nest,' Is Dead at 66
San Francisco Chronicle - Larger-than-life novelist, counterculture icon dies
Washington Post Editorial - Exit the Magic Busman
Baltimore Sun - Furthur took Ken Kesey on a long trip
The Oregonian - All times a great artist, Ken Kesey is dead at age 66
BBC - Author and hippie icon Kesey dies
The Observer - End of the road for a Merry Prankster
CNN - 'Cuckoo's Nest' author Kesey dead at 66
The Guardian - The hero of US counterculture has died at 66
New York Times - Kesey's Words Resonate at the End of a Long Trip
New York Times - Psychodelia's Middle-Aged Head Trip



Ken Kesey is shown just before he was sentenced to six months in jail in Redwood City, Calif., Jan. 17, 1966, for possession of narcotics.
(AP Photo/File)


Kesey holding an original playbill from the 1963 production, starring Kirk Douglas, of the play based on Kesey's novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".
Photo: April 23, 2001 in his Pleasant Hill, Ore. office. (AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)

Kesey poses with his bus Furthur, a descendant of the vehicle that carried him and the Merry Pranksters on the 1964 trip immortalized in the Tom Wolfe book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test".
Photo: April 24, 1997 in Springfield, Ore.
(AP Photo/Jeff Barnard, File)


Newt the Nut Catcher hood ornament on his second bus called Furthur.
Photo: April 7, 2000 at his farm near Pleasant Hill, Ore. (AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)