I certainly tend to agree that, in the infamous words of no less an authority on all things Laurel Canyon, California as F. Zappa, most rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read.
Which makes a book such as the one I write of today even more special, and without a single doubt worthy of your very own careful study.
True, in a market already too glutted with Fortieth Anniversary re-servicings of everything from Woodstock to the Stones’ Altamont misadventures, one would hardly be blamed in passing by yet another study of Los Angeles pop culture from its equally distant, if Golden age. Somehow though, veteran SoCal rock historian Harvey Kubernik’s bountiful new Canyon Of Dreams book is the joyous exception to the patchouli-drenched rule: It is both lush in layout and deep in detail, of not only the musicians, but the arrangers, club owners, publicists and even architecture behind an era roughly stretching from Art Laboe to Slash. Or, as the author himself tells me, “We needed a print ride from 1914 to 2009. I took the challenge.”
“I knew my highly passionate writing style and implementation of the oral history structure could really bring readers into a real/reel world from my native viewpoint.” And Kubernik’s approach, like a spin off the Strip itself, is one perfectly chaotic, wildly colorful concoction wherein Donovan rubs coffee table-sized pages with the Firesign Theatre and Eric Burdon, only to find Glen Campbell bumping lazily into Andrew Loog Oldham by way of Rick Rubin and the Mamas and Papas.