Andrew Slater's film shows how The Byrds, The Mamas and the Papas, The Beach Boys and more fed off each other, and changed rock n' roll
More than 50 years ago a creative flowering germinated in the hills of Laurel Canyon, changing the course of rock n' roll.
Some of the greatest bands and greatest musicians of the 1960s congregated in the Los Angeles neighborhood nestled above Sunset Boulevard, feeding off each other's creative energy and artistic ambitions. The story of how that music scene came together, and how it ultimately dissolved, is told in the new documentary Echo in the Canyon, directed by Andrew Slater.
Slater joined forces with musician Jakob Dylan (son of Bob), who interviewed many of the key figures from that heady time, including David Crosby (The Byrds), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield), Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Michelle Phillips (The Mamas and the Papas), plus musicians who came slightly later like Jackson Browne and Tom Petty, in his final filmed interview.
Dylan also spoke with Graham Nash, Eric Clapton of Cream, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr about the remarkable musical cross-pollination that took place inside and outside the Southern California rock nexus.
The documentary is now playing in Los Angeles (it opens in New York May 31, with a national rollout to follow). At the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, the 8:30pm screening on Saturday and Sunday, and the 7pm screening on Monday will be followed by a Q&A with the director and a musical performance by Dylan and the Echo in the Canyon Band, along with vocalists Cat Power and Jade Castrinos, playing songs from The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield.
At the Landmark Theaters in West Los Angeles, the 7pm screening on Saturday and Sunday and the 4:50pm screening on Monday will be followed by a Q&A with Slater and Dylan.
Nonfictionfilm.com spoke with Slater on the red carpet at a special screening of the film at the Cinerama Dome on Thursday night. Watch it here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.