In Praise of Bobby Faust
I’m trying to think of where it was that I first met Bobby Faust. It must have been at a party with the 6th Street crew down in the East Village somewhere, probably at Terry and Dave’s apartment. He was part of the Rainbow Family when I joined up and came over to the 8th Cannabis Cup to play the role of the caterpillar in the Alice in Wonderland On Weed fantasy that Garrick Beck had written just for the event.
When I started planning the first World Hemp Expo Extravaganja (Whee!), Bobby quickly made himself an essential part of that operation, in effect becoming one of the original founding members of the Temple Dragon Crew. I didn’t realize at the time Bobby had a very strong connection with the Merry Pranksters, apparently having first met up with that crew at Woodstock.
Funny how many of us were actually at that first Woodstock festival, including me, Bobby and Fantuzzi. The whole reason I planned for Whee! to happen in Eugene, Oregon, was so we could pull the Pranksters into the movie, which was to re-start the non-violent hippie counterculture by uniting all the greatest shamans we could find, a list that included the Gaskins, the Pranksters, John Trudell, John Sinclair, Paul Krassner and a few others. I assembled an army of over 200 volunteers to build hippie disneyland on a shoestring in an empty field. I thought we were well on our way to healing the sickness infecting America with our positive vibrations.
Bobby was my right-hand man at the second Whee. For some reason, I’d decided I didn’t want to sit at Mission Control this time and supervise the stage for a second year. Instead, I wanted to prowl around and check on all the problems and issues everywhere on site and make sure grifters and hoodwinkers weren’t running amok. I spent most of my time checking for wristbands because the venue didn’t have a proper fence and anyone could easily sneak in. My objective was to give away wristbands to anyone who actually couldn’t afford one, but also collect admission from those that could.
Because of his short stature, Bobby often had trouble getting around, but once I gave him a golf cart he could drive with no problems, he became one of the hardest working members of the crew, buzzing around the venue solving all sorts of problems all day and night.
Later on, when the Pranksters invited me onto the Grandfurther Tour, which was their historic second trip across America and into Canada, Bobby joined me and Andre and 622 on that incredible adventure. The Pranksters were happy to see me, but overjoyed to see Bobby. In fact, Kesey considered Bobby one of the most magical people he’d ever met and he told me so.
When it came time to visit a Phish show, we found out where the lines were because the Pranksters and Bobby got in free and became part of the improvisational show Kesey put on, his way of telling Phish they were the new Dead Tour. Meanwhile, Andre, 622 and I had to buy tickets into the show and then sneak backstage, where we climbed up to the top of Further and just hung out there for most of the show.
Unfortunately, Bobby had a stroke and passed over at 11 am on February 3, 2014. This news comes two days after I learn Rene Ricard also unexpectedly died from a brain tumor? What can I say, this is shaping up to be a somewhat painful year.