Headpress Publications 'the Gospel according to unpopular culture' latest release looks to be an excellent tome of wierdness from the music scene and the subculture surrounding Laurel Canyon. A place that many entered but few made it to the end of the decade and the early 70's. The stories are legion but not too many books tackle a subject which is still surrounded in mythology, especially now many of the participants are no longer around to confirm or deny the stories that have come out of that hippie dream.
The last decent analysis, if that's what you could call it, was the rivetting 'Waiting For The Sun' by Barney Hoskyns which first came out in 1996. Pick that up if you ever see one.
Now David McGown's 'Wierd Scenes Inside The Canyon' promises an equally compelling view from the heart of rock and roll in those halcyon 5 or more years.
"Members of bands like the Byrds, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, the Monkees,the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Steppenwolf, CSN, Three Dog Night and Love,along with such singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, James Taylor and Carole King, lived together and jammed together in the bucolic community nestled in the Hollywood Hills."
Get that.. "bucolic community". Well that 'pleasant aspect of the countryside and country life' didn't last long.
"there was a dark side to that scene as well. Many didn’t make it out alive, and many of those deaths remain shrouded in mystery to this day. Far more integrated into the scene than most would like to admit was a guy by the name of Charles Manson, along with his murderous entourage. Also floating about the periphery were various political operatives, up-and-coming politicians and intelligence personnel – the same sort of people who gave birth to many of the rock stars populating the canyon. And all the canyon’s colorful characters – rock stars,hippies, murderers and politicos – happily coexisted alongside a covert military installation."
"One of the strangest, most iconoclastic books ever written about music" and if that hasn't peaked your interest then the underground world of Headpress is not for you.
WEIRD SCENES INSIDE THE CANYON - Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream is available now as an exclusive, pre-release special edition hardback only from here at Headpress