LAUREL CANYON — In our January 5th column we took the documentary Echo In The Canyon to task for not including Joni Mitchell at all in their somewhat revealing look at the music of Laurel Canyon; and the artists that lived there; developed there and grew successful there. Filmmakers Andrew Slater and Jacob Dylan did a serviceable job, but, face it: how can you talk about that magical moment in time without mentioning Mitchell?
It was something of a major embarrassment as most of the media picked up on that omission as well.
To me: both lads were far too young to appreciate, and, maybe understand the phenomena. Hey, it happens!
The new doc Laurel Canyon (which was supposed to unspool at the now canceled SXSW) does mention Mitchell … and, really does an exemplary job in examining that special musical phenomenon; some footage of Mitchell painting, as well as some terrific Graham Nash quotes really do help beautifully explain that certain magic there.
It will premiere on EPIX in May and comes in two parts; Part One lays out the awe of Laurel Canyon and thanks to terrific voice-covers by the likes of Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Michelle Phillips, does a terrific job in defining what it meant to be there and live there.
Part Two: Despite a brief foray into Charlie Manson-land and Vietnam, this segment nicely ties up what developed and the formation of The Eagles. It was also nice that John David Souther, a major influence then, is included.
Directed by Allison Ellwood — who recently worked on The Go-Go’s and the 2013 critically acclaimed History of the Eagles documentary — this 30-second clip features the legendary artists that inhabited the Hollywood Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles during the late Sixties and early Seventies. Check it out
My favorite moments were Micky Dolenz talking about living next to Alice Cooper and right near Frank Zappa. Did you know that Dolenz was actually offered a spot in the Mothers of Invention? True!
Musician cum photographer Henry Diltz is sort of our guide through the doc as he interacted with so many of them. Well done Henry!
And, of course, the travails of the Mamas and The Papas.. John Phillips, a true genius. And, just to mention: Has there ever been a better record than their “California Dreamin’?”
Needless to say, Laurel Canyon is an experience … the music and personalities were truly compelling. Check this one out for sure.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER — Big shake-up at the Hollywood Reporter yesterday: Editor Matthew Belloni (who took over for Janice Min 17 months ago) is out. Both sides plead a happy ending, but insiders say the powers that be wanted Belloni to go easy on certain valued friends; like Dick Clark Productions. Valence Media, which own the rag as well as Dick Clark Productions) and music-rag Billboard, has long been the subject of nefarious rumors.
A good friend of mine who used to be editor-in-chief at Billboard says this: “Sounds familiar. The entertainment media, especially Billboard and THR are corrupt as ever… sad… very sad.”
As one who regularly reads Billboard, it hasn’t had the cachet it had in its formative years … in fact, in decades. Billboard was once the bible of the industry. Now, it’s just another magazine tub-thumping its friends. It is very sad.
SHORT TAKES — Great piece on Romeo Delight-the #1 Van Halen Tribute band in the NY Independent. Check it out here:https://www.thenyindependent.com/music/16876/tribute-bands-finally-getting-respect/?fbclid=IwAR3vtjlhF_GBq9ztTq1c1DC9nEeKHihxte3NtsASSgUnuO-O_NRDJmRSUtA … We were so looking forward to photographer/.artist Alan Kaplan’s show at The Cutting Room. What happened? …
RIP Boxcar Willie … Been watching “Sandman” from America on YouTube what a great track. Check it out … Speaking of missed opportunities: Whatever happened to Kjertsi Long? We were given a sneak listen to her debut album, on Van Dean’s Broadway Records, Stronger Than You Think I Am, and absolutely loved it. Possessed of just an outstanding voice and interpretive prowess, we loved it. The album is played regularly on two West Coast stations … but, then it all disappeared. We know her father Jeremy was guiding the process … but, then nothing. Too bad as she was definitely a start on the rise. Sad … Been watching loads of shows on Netflix and Amazon and have come to the conclusion that there’s a lot of filler. For everything Fleabag (outstanding!), there’s something like Blow The Man Down on Netflix (please do not watch this), but there is hope … a diamond in the rough as it were. Bordertown on Netflix proved to be a winner. Usually these shows are at least 8 episodes; Bordertown is three. The dubbing is dreadful, but you sort of get sued to it. Check it out …
And, finally: is Cleveland International Records being re-born? The legendary Steve Popovich owned the label, which released Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell album eons ago (1977). Steve’s son is reportedly the new boss. Will he be the same as the old boss? Stay tuned.
NAMES IN THE NEWS —Coati Mundi; Deb Caponetta; Andrew Fuhrman; Cristina; Lydia Lunch; Don and David Fagenson; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Evan Levy; Steve Leeds; Neil Lasher; Markos Papadatos; Steve Marinucci; Chris O’Dell; Van Dean; Kjersti and Jeremy Long; Alan Kaplan; William Schill; and, CHIP!