I'm thrilled to report the release of The Family Acid: California, the book I published with Timothy Daly, my Ozma Records partner and co-producer of the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition. Limited to just 1,500 clothbound copies, it's a far-out photo album from a very unconventional family.
For more than 50 years, photographer Roger Steffens has explored the electric arteries of the counterculture, embracing mind-expanding experiences, deep social connection, and unadulterated fun at every turn. After serving in Vietnam at the end of the 1960s, Steffens immersed himself in California’s vibrant bohemia. Since then, with his wife Mary and children Kate and Devon, he has sought out the eccentric, the outlandish, and the transcendent. Just as often, it finds him, grinning, a camera in one hand and a joint in the other. Steffens took the spectacular snapshots in this new collection between 1968 and 2015 during his family's freewheeling adventures throughout the visionary state they call home.
Steffens is an intrepid explorer of the fringe but he’s also a family man. He met his wife Mary under a lunar eclipse in a pygmy forest in Mendocino, California while on LSD. Soon after, they conjured up a daughter, Kate, and son, Devon. Family vacations took the foursome up and down the West Coast, from the gritty glam of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to reggae festivals in Humboldt, fiery protests in Berkeley to the ancient redwoods of Big Sur and the wilds of Death Valley. Along the way, they’d rendezvous with likeminded freaks, artists, musicians, and writers, from Bob Marley and Timothy Leary to actor John Ritter and war photographer Tim Page, the inspiration for Dennis Hopper’s character in Apocalypse Now.
They’d take in the wonders of nature -- hallucinatory sunsets, expansive mountain vistas, the dreamlike haze engulfing foggy mountain roads. And, of course, the adults would occasionally lose their minds in psychoactive celebrations of creativity, freedom, and hope. Set and setting were everything.
A full-color, 192-page hardcover with foil stamping and tipped-on cover photo, The Family Acid: California contains hundreds of stunning images curated by Kate Steffens along with detailed captions and original essays by Steffens and Page.
Complementing the book is a far-out limited-edition Family Acid photo print on perforated LSD blotter paper (undipped), 6.25” x 10”, and signed on the verso by Roger Steffens.
I hope you dig it!
(photos of the book by Bart Nagel)