"If ignorance is truly bliss, then why do so many Americans need Prozac?" -- David McGowan
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippy Dreamby David McGowan
As a native Angeleno who was born in 1960 and came of age in the 1970s, the music produced by the artists who populate this book provided the soundtrack to my youth, so it is a subject matter that is close to my heart. But what really set the hook was discovering, early on in my research, that there were a number of aspects of the Laurel Canyon scene that didn't… See more details below
As a native Angeleno who was born in 1960 and came of age in the 1970s, the music produced by the artists who populate this book provided the soundtrack to my youth, so it is a subject matter that is close to my heart. But what really set the hook was discovering, early on in my research, that there were a number of aspects of the Laurel Canyon scene that didn't really seem to fit in with the prevailing image of a hippie utopia that was ostensibly all about peace and love.
Having grown up right alongside this scene, I was shocked to learn that I didn't even know that it had existed at all! And after asking around, I discovered that no one else that I know in this city did either. After the passage of nearly 50 years, it seemed that this was a story that was long overdue for greater exposure.
Even more overdue, it seemed to me, was an expose of some of the hidden truths of Laurel Canyon. Though a few books exploring the scene have popped up over the last several years, all of them have a certain sameness to them, with the same stories told in much the same way. I felt it was time to tell a different version of the story - the one that can be found hiding in the details that are usually left out or glossed over.
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Read an Excerpt
ALTAMONT PIE: GRAM PARSONS
"No one could recall ever seeing or hearing about Gram being involved in a protest of any sort." Author Ben Fong Torres, who interviewed scores of people close to Gram Parsons while researching Hickory Wind
Let's begin with the obvious: Gram Parsons was far from being the biggest star to emerge from the Laurel Canyon scene. In his short lifetime, he failed to achieve any significant level of commercial success. None of his albums, whether recorded solo or with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, or the Flying Burrito Brothers, climbed very high on the sales charts. But to many fans and musicians alike, he is considered a hugely influential and tragically overlooked figure.
It is safe to say that Parsons does not have nearly the number of fans that David Crosby or Frank Zappa have, and compared to contemporaries who died during the same era and at roughly the same age-legendary artists like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix-Parsons is all but unknown. His life story, nevertheless, is a fascinating one, primarily because it contains all the classic Laurel Canyon elements: the royal bloodlines, the not-so-well-hidden intelligence connections, the occult overtones, the extravagantly wealthy family background, an incinerated house or two, and, of course, a whole lot of curious deaths.
We begin back about 1,000 years ago, with Ferdinand the Great, the first King of Castille on the Iberian Peninsula. It is to him that the wealthy Connor family claims their family lineage can be traced. Also in the family tree was King Edward II of England, son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castille. According to some sources, Eddie II was murdered by having a red-hot iron rod shoved up his rectum, though most of his loyal subjects probably didn't shed many tears for the hated ruler. Bringing the royal bloodline to America was one Colonel George Reade, born in the UK in 1608 and married in Yorktown, Pennsylvania, sometime thereafter.
Reade's offspring would ultimately spawn Ingram Cecil Connor, Jr., a well-to-do gent who settled in Columbia, Tennessee. Like his father before him, Cecil attended Columbia Military Academy. In May 1940, at the outset of WWII, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. In March of 1941, Cecil, who during the war would become known as "Coon Dog” (though no one seems to remember why), was shipped off to Hawaii. Nine months later, Pearl Harbor came under attack by Japanese bombers.
Meet the Author
David McGowan was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, where he still resides. After graduating from UCLA in 1983 with an unused degree in psychology, he went to work in construction and now works as a general contractor. He is the proud father of three daughters and is a lifelong music fan.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >