The 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love is coming up in a couple of months, but Los Angeles is already in the grittier, grimier 70’s. With the resurgence of the Laurel Canyon scene in the past few years, there has been an explosion of tough chicks and sensitive dudes making names for themselves in the hills and the Valley- strong woman fronted occult-psych rock bands with Manson Family looking members, feminist schlock films ala Russ Meyer and androgynous young rock stars that exude glitter trash glam like the lovechild of Marc Bolan and Iggy Pop.
As expected, renowned LA DJ and Mayor of Sunset Strip Rodney Bingenheimer is all up in the mix of it helping bring the Sunset Strip back (what WOULD L.A. do without this magic culture creator?) Here are some of my favorite people to emerge out of the scene, appreciated for both their strength and style:
Troma’s best director is a 20-year old film maven who uses strong female roles to up the ante on her low-budget horror/comedy films. An unabashed Monkees fan, Kansas is not only influential in film but also in style; I can’t get enough of her vintage dresses, mustard yellow and center part hair.
Death Valley Girls
Making pentagrams on your forehead look more glam than Charles Manson EVER did, Death Valley Girls are all glow in the dark occult garage psych with tight hooks and far out vocals. Started by Patty Schemel of Hole and her Larry, the band has a music video that was shot by Kansas Bowling and stars Rodney Bingenheimer. Watch the video here
Frontwoman and L.A. baby Arrow de Wilde is half Ozzy, half David Bowie and all fierce androgynous warrior. Ryan Adams produced their album, and they are a critics darling- if anyone can bring glam rock back hard at the Sunset Strip, it’s Starcrawler. Watch Starcrawler here
More Laurel Canyon than Sunset Strip, his single “Suddenly” with Weyes Blood has that gorgeous early 70’s AM sound with a warm glow that is all Los Angeles. Listen to “Suddenly” here