Red Dog Saloon (Virginia City, Nevada)
The Red Dog Saloon is a bar and live music venue located in the isolated, old-time mining town of Virginia City, Nevada which played an important role in the history of the psychedelic music scene. In April 1963, Chandler A. Laughlin III established a kind of tribal, family identity among approximately fifty people who attended a traditional, all-night Native American peyote ceremony in a rural setting. This ceremony combined a psychedelic experience with traditional Native American spiritual values; these people went on to sponsor a unique genre of musical expression and performance at the Red Dog Saloon.
During the summer of 1965, Laughlin recruited much of the original talent that led to a unique amalgam of traditional folk music and the developing psychedelic rock scene. He and his cohorts created what became known as "The Red Dog Experience," featuring previously unknown musical acts — Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Charlatans, The Wildflower and others — who played in the completely refurbished, intimate setting of Virginia City's Red Dog Saloon. There was no clear delineation between "performers" and "audience" in "The Red Dog Experience," during which music, psychedelic experimentation, a unique sense of personal style and Bill Ham's first primitive light shows combined to create a new sense of community. Laughlin and George Hunter of the Charlatans were true "proto-hippies," with their long hair, boots and outrageous clothing of distinctly American (and Native American) heritage.
The poster for the first six week stint of performances from The Charlatans beginning in June 1965 is the first one of the rarest psychedelic posters. It is known as "The Seed".
LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley lived in Berkeley during 1965 and provided much of the LSD that became a seminal part of the "Red Dog Experience," the early evolution of psychedelic rock and budding hippie culture. At the Red Dog Saloon, The Charlatans were the first psychedelic rock band to play live (albeit unintentionally) loaded on LSD.