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Laurel Canyon: Military Intelligence Family Backgrounds of the Iconic 60s Counterculture Rock Stars

NOTE: The source of the information contained in the following post comes from Dave McGowan’s book “Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation.” I have surveyed the key points as related to the iconic counter culture rock stars that emerged out of Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon.

Now that I am five years deep into my awakening, I’ve finally come to appreciate what a key researcher Dave McGowan was. He died in 2015 at age 55 of “fast-going pancreatic cancer.

“The Pedophocracy” is a term coined by McGowan. It is the title of his book on the subject of pedophilia as an elite character and one of the main tools of control of the visible ruling elites, by the Crime Syndicate or Cabal. He dug into the vast deceptions of 9/11 as well.

Most of McGowan’s work and interviews can still be found on YouTube and elsewhere, and he has several books. I am in the process of picking through them. I previously wrote a post called “The Use of Cultists and Serial Killers in Death Squad Hits” that’s based in part on McGowan’s book “Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder.”

McGowan interview on Laurel Canyon and the Hippie scene. Charlie Manson hung out with the Laurel Canyon cadre. My view on Charlie Manson,  Sherlock Says: Charlie Manson Story Doesn’t Add Up.

Laurel Canyon: The Fonte of the ‘Hippie/Flower Child’ Movement  

The followed is a condensed, abridged version of key takeaways from McGowan’s book “Inside the LC”:

In a geographically and socially isolated community known as Laurel Canyon – a heavily wooded, rustic, serene, yet vaguely ominous slice of LA nestled in the hills that separate the Los Angeles basin from the San Fernando Valley – musicians, singers and songwriters suddenly begin to gather as though summoned there by some unseen Pied Piper. Within months, the “hippie/flower child” movement will be given birth there, along with the new style of music that will provide the soundtrack for the tumultuous second half of the 1960s.

It was the major record labels, not upstart independents, that signed Laurel Canyon’s newly-formed bands. It was the major labels that provided them with instruments and amplifiers. It was the major labels that provided them with studio time and session musicians. The bands themselves were initially lacking in skilled musicians and were very manufactured. It was the major labels that recorded, mixed and arranged their albums. It was the major labels that released and then heavily promoted those albums. And so as not to be left out, the corporate titans of all three branches of the mainstream media – print, radio and television – did their part to help out the titans of the record industry. Thus, we see once more that such movements were not organic. 

Despite being counter-culture “threats, these band’s members were never busted (for long) on drug charges. Nobody was ever drafted for the Vietnam war. The bands were largely indifferent to the anti-war movement. There were large numbers of strange deaths in this scene.

During the early years of its heyday, Laurel Canyon’s father figure is the rather eccentric personality known as Frank Zappa (1940-1993). Though he and his various Mothers of Invention line-ups will never attain the commercial success of some of the other bands, Zappa will be a hugely influential figure among his contemporaries. Somehow at 25, Zappa ensconced himself in an abode dubbed the “Log Cabin” – which sat right in the heart of Laurel Canyon, at the crossroads of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Lookout Mountain Avenue. Zappa will play host to virtually every musician who passes through the canyon in the mid- to late-1960s. The “Log Cabin” was a cavernous five-level home that featured a 2,000+ square-foot living room with three massive chandeliers and an enormous floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace.

Laurel Canyon’s Log Cabin

Zappa will also discover and sign numerous acts to his various Laurel Canyon-based record labels  including psychedelic rocker cum shock-rocker Alice Cooper, who will go on to superstardom.

Zappa never really made a secret of the fact that he had nothing but contempt for the “hippie” culture that he helped create and that he surrounded himself with. By numerous accounts, he was a rigidly authoritarian control-freak and a supporter of U.S. military actions in Southeast Asia. As a ringmaster who always wanted to be in control he never used drugs.

Zappa’s father Francis also had little regard for the youth culture of the 1960s. He was a chemical warfare specialist assigned to – the Edgewood Arsenal. Edgewood is the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations. Curiously enough, Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, where Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex. His son, meanwhile, prepped himself to become an icon of the peace and love crowd.

Later in life Zappa went off the rails and spoke frankly about his role as an actor in this charade and provided insights into what was going down in the real world. Like David McGowan, Zappa died of a virulent form of cancer at age 52.

Zappa’s manager, was a shadowy Jewish character by the name of Herb Cohen, who had come out to L.A. from the Bronx with his brother Mutt just before the music and club scene began heating up. Cohen, a former U.S. Marine, had spent a few years traveling the world before his arrival on the Laurel Canyon scene. Those travels, curiously, had taken him to the Congo in 1961, at the very time that leftist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was being tortured and killed by the CIA. Not to worry though; according to one of Zappa’s biographers, Cohen wasn’t in the Congo on some kind of nefarious intelligence mission. No, he was there, believe it or not, to supply arms to Lumumba “in defiance of the CIA.” Because, you know, that is the kind of thing that globetrotting ex-Marines did in those days

Making up the other half of Laurel Canyon’s First Family is Frank’s wife, Gail Zappa, known formerly as Adelaide Sloatman. Gail hails from a long line of career Naval officers, including her father, who spent his life working on classified nuclear weapons research for the U.S. Navy. Gail herself had once worked as a secretary for the Office of Naval Research and Development (she also once told an interviewer that she had “heard voices all [her] life”). Many years before their nearly simultaneous arrival in Laurel Canyon, Gail had attended a Naval kindergarten with “Mr. Mojo Risin’” himself, Jim Morrison (it is claimed that, as children, Gail once hit Jim over the head with a hammer). The very same Jim Morrison had later attended the same Alexandria, Virginia high school as two other future Laurel Canyon luminaries – John Phillips and Cass Elliott.

Jim Morrison of the Doors father George S. Morrison, commanded the fleet during the Gulf of Tonkin incident (false flag) that led to an escalation of the Vietnam War.. Aboard the flagship carrier Bon Homme Richard, Mr. Morrison commanded American naval forces in the gulf when the destroyer Maddox engaged three North Vietnamese torpedo boats on Aug. 2, 1964. A skirmish and confused reports of a second engagement two days later led President Lyndon B. Johnson to order airstrikes against North Vietnam and to request from Congress what became known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, allowing him to carry out further military operations without declaring war.” Morrison had no real interest in music nor did he play instruments.

The first to drop an album were The Byrds, whose biggest star will prove to be David Crosby. The band’s debut effort, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” will be released on the Summer Solstice of 1965. It will quickly be followed by releases from the John Phillips-led Mamas and the Papas (“If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,” January 1966), Love with Arthur Lee (“Love,” May 1966), Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention (“Freak Out,” June 1966), Buffalo Springfield, featuring Stephen Stills and Neil Young (“Buffalo Springfield,” October 1966), and The Doors (“The Doors,” January 1967).

“Papa” John Phillips, more so than probably any of the other illustrious residents of Laurel Canyon, will play a major role in spreading the emerging youth ‘counterculture’ across America. His contribution will be twofold: first, he will co-organize (along with Manson associate Terry Melcher) the famed Monterrey Pop Festival, which, through unprecedented media exposure, will give mainstream America its first real look at the music and fashions of the nascent ‘hippie’ movement. Second, Phillips will pen an insipid song known as “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” which will quickly rise to the top of the charts. Along with the Monterrey Pop Festival, the song will be instrumental in luring the disenfranchised (a preponderance of whom are underage runaways) to San Francisco to create the Haight-Asbury phenomenon and the famed 1967 “Summer of Love.”

John Edmund Andrew Phillips was, drum roll please, yet another child of the military/intelligence complex. The son of U.S. Marine Corp Captain Claude Andrew Phillips and a mother who claimed to have psychic and telekinetic powers, John attended a series of elite military prep schools in the Washington, D.C. area, culminating in an appointment to the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

After leaving Annapolis, John married Susie Adams, a direct descendant of “Founding Father” John Adams. Susie’s father, James Adams, Jr., had been involved in what Susie described as “cloak-and-dagger stuff with the Air Force in Vienna,” or what we like to call covert intelligence operations. Susie herself would later find employment at the Pentagon, alongside John Phillip’s older sister, Rosie, who dutifully reported to work at the complex for nearly thirty years. John’s mother, “Dene” Phillips, also worked for most of her life for the federal government in some unspecified capacity.

Before succeeding in his musical career, however, Philips did seem to find himself, quite innocently of course, in some rather unusual places. One such place was Havana, Cuba, where Phillips arrived at the very height of the Cuban Revolution.

Yet another of Laurel Canyon’s earliest and brightest stars, Mr. Stephen Stills.  Stills will have the distinction of being a founding member of two of Laurel Canyon’s most acclaimed and beloved bands: Buffalo Springfield, and, needless to say, Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Before his arrival in Laurel Canyon, Stephen Stills was the product of yet another career military family. Raised partly in Texas, young Stephen spent large swaths of his childhood in El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal Zone, and various other parts of Central America – alongside his father, who was, we can be fairly certain, helping to spread ‘democracy’ to the unwashed masses in that endearing American way. As with the rest of our cast of characters, Stills was educated primarily at schools on military bases and at elite military academies. Among his contemporaries in Laurel Canyon, he was widely viewed as having an abrasive, authoritarian personality.  Stephen will later tell anyone who will sit and listen that he had served time for Uncle Sam in the jungles of Vietnam.

David Crosby, founding member of the seminal Laurel Canyon band the Byrds, as well as, of course, Crosby, Stills & Nash. Crosby is, in another coinydink, the son of an Annapolis graduate and WWII military intelligence officer, Major Floyd Delafield Crosby. Like others in this story, Floyd Crosby spent much of his post-service time traveling the world, including the 1927 US Marine occupation of Haiti.

David Van Cortlandt Crosby, as it turns out, is a scion of the closely intertwined Van Cortlandt, Van Schuyler and Van Rensselaer families. If you plug those names in over at Wikipedia, you can spend a pretty fair amount of time reading up on the power wielded by this clan for the last two-and-a-quarter centuries or so. Suffice it to say that the Crosby family tree includes a truly dizzying array of US senators and congressmen, state senators and assemblymen, governors, mayors, judges, Supreme Court justices, Revolutionary and Civil War generals, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and members of the Continental Congress. It also includes, I should hasten to add – for those of you with a taste for such things – more than a few high-ranking Freemasons. Stephen Van Rensselaer III, for example, reportedly served as Grand Master of Masons for New York. And if all that isn’t impressive enough, according to the New England Genealogical Society, David Van Cortlandt Crosby is also a direct descendant of ‘Founding Fathers’ and Federalist Papers’ authors Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

Another shining star on the Laurel Canyon scene, just a few years later, will be singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, who is [coinkydink] the product of a career military family. Browne’s father was assigned to post-war “reconstruction” work in Germany, which very likely means that he was in the employ of the OSS, precursor to the CIA.

Mike Nesmith of the Monkees and Cory Wells of Three Dog Night (two more hugely successful Laurel Canyon bands), both arrived in LA not long after serving time with the U.S. Air Force. Nesmith also inherited a family fortune estimated at $25 million. Gram Parsons, who would briefly replace David Crosby in The Byrds before fronting The Flying Burrito Brothers, was the son of Major Cecil Ingram “Coon Dog” Connor II, a decorated military officer and bomber pilot who reportedly flew over 50 combat missions. Parsons was also an heir, on his mother’s side, to the formidable Snively family fortune. Said to be the wealthiest family in the exclusive enclave of Winter Haven, Florida, the Snively family was the proud owner of Snively Groves, Inc., which reportedly owned as much as 1/3 of all the citrus groves in the state of Florida.

10 Comments on Laurel Canyon: Military Intelligence Family Backgrounds of the Iconic 60s Counterculture Rock Stars

  1. “I’ve been told that it’s actually incurable small-cell lung cancer that has already spread to my liver and bones”. – Dave Mcgowan
    I discovered Dave’s web site “The Center for an Informed America” a few years before his death, and spent many hours reading pretty much everything he wrote. He was an amazing author and researcher. His daughter Alissa has kindly reactivated his site so this great mans work will not be lost. It is a great source of information that I feel most people here would love.
    http://centerforaninformedamerica.com/

    • Yes, Laurel Canyon was also the site of the CIA’s movie studios that it ran in the same 1960s-70s era, and great author Dave McGowan whom Russ Winter is highlighting here, also wrote one of the great comprehensive debunkings of the USA ‘trips to the moon’ hoaxes of 1968-72, ‘Wagging the Moondoggie’ … Film director Stanley Kubrick admitted just before he died in 1999, that he personally faked the ‘NASA moon landing films’ there at Laurel Canyon

      We’re now a few months away from the 50th anniversary of the first of the 9 fake ‘trips to the moon’ (with 6 ‘landings’), the Christmas 1968 ‘moon fly-by’ … I used to think that by this time they would be forced to admit the moon landings are a hoax … will be funny to watch how minimally they ‘remember’ those ‘events’, which are already omitted from some history school textbooks in Europe

  2. The Byrds, the Doors and Buffalo Springfield all made great music. I don’t regard their influence as socially corrosive. It’s true that Jim Morrison was no great musician, but he was a compelling vocalist. Frank Zappa was utterly talentless and heavily over promoted, but that’s the norm today.
    As for John Phillips, go to Youtube and play ‘California Dreaming’ and tell me that’s not a great song, even a half-century later.

    • I don’t necessarily disagree about the music. I was a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fan. I think it is more about how they presented themselves. They were drug users, quite tuned out and surprisingly apolitical and rather mindless.

  3. As someone who read McGowan’s excellent book, and lived through some of this madness, I could say with amazement and a tinge of fear how easy it is to brainwash, gaslight, mind-control whole generations in fake movements.

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