Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain hope to get the juicy inside stories of 60s SoCal rock, as they did for its putative anthithesis, punk.
Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain hope to get the juicy inside stories of '60s SoCal rock, as they did for its putative anthithesis, punk.

Support The Stranger

Wavy Gravy, who coined the axiom "If you remember the '60s, you weren't there," has a lot of explaining to do. Another refutation of that old saying will be coming in the form of a new oral history about the late-'60s Southern California rock scene by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. According to this piece in LA Weekly, the authors, most famous for 1996's Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Grove Atlantic's publishing a 20th anniversary edition next year), are in the process of interviewing several major players from that music-biz Mecca for a book they're titling 69: An Oral History. (I'll pause while you crack some jokes about how much this will suck or how you find the premise hard to swallow.) McNeil and McCain hope to have the volume finished in two years. "The book’s a lot about the counter culture not just rock & roll," McCain told LA Weekly's Lina Lecaro. "LSD, Black Panthers, Watts Riots… In this music scene, there’s like six degrees of separation to everything. So we're using that as a bounce off."

So far, the two writers have interviewed the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston, Debra Tate (Sharon's sister), Ned Doheny, bassist for Raul Revere and the Raiders, Billy Hinsche of Dino, Desi & Billy. They're hoping to score time with David Crosby, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Steven Stills, and others, but they note that often it's the hangers-on and peripheral figures in the scene who have the best stories—not the stars.

You may think this era of rock has been exhausted for insights and anecdotes by countless music historians, biographers, and autobiographers, but if anyone can extract info-rich blood from this cultural stone, it's probably McNeil and McCain.

Sponsored
This Monday: A New Collide-O-Scope For a World Going Off The Rails!
Watch escapist video treasures bursting at the sprockets with excitement, color, music, and laughs!