"This is going to break your heart, but much of the music you heard in the '60s and early '70s wasn't recorded by the people you saw on the album covers. It was done by me and the musicians you see on these walls ... Many of these kids didn't have the chops and were little more than garage bands ... At concerts, people hear with their eyes. Teens cut groups slack in concert, but not when they bought their records."
Hal Blaine, longtime drummer for the Wrecking Crew, quoted in the Wall Street Journal on March 23, 2011
Before moving ahead with the John Phillips saga, I first need to pose an extremely important question to all my readers: is anyone out there in the market for a slightly used, covert film studio? If so, then all you need do is pull about $6.2 million out of your penny jar (though in today's housing market, you might be able to cut a better deal) and Lookout Mountain Laboratory
can be yours! And if you act fast, you might be able to get a package deal on the lab and the Hodel house! (the photos in this post are of the lab as it looks today as a converted residential dwelling).
Another item worth noting: as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle
on January 28, 2011, "Ron Patterson, the flamboyant, free-spirited creator of the Renaissance and Dickens fairs, died Jan. 15 at a friend's house in Sausalito after an illness. He was 80." As staff writer Carolyn Jones noted, Patterson's creation "was sort of a medieval precursor to Burning Man." And Burning Man is, of course, a rather explicitly occult ritual first performed on the Summer Solstice of 1986 and now performed every summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert before an audience of 50,000+.
What does any of that though have to do with Laurel Canyon? As we have seen so many times before, all roads on the Conspiracy Superhighway seem to lead to Laurel Canyon: "In the beginning, the Renaissance Faire was an experiment in Mr. Patterson's backyard. In the early 1960s, Mr. Patterson and his wife, Phyllis, who were both interested in theater and art, began hosting children's improvisational theater workshops at their Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles County) home."
One naturally wonders whether aspiring thespian and golden child Godo Paulekas (originally cast, it will be recalled, to play Satan in Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising
) was involved in those workshops. In any event, there is certainly nothing creepy about children's workshops being hosted in a small, tight-knit community that was home to more than its fair share of pedophiles, so let's just move along.