Published  Sep. 7, 2019                                                                                 see also

   Truth is my business!            World Watch No. #155

The CIA Hippies #4

Continued from #152  The CIA Hippies #3

T1: We are being introduced to the gang that was hanging out in Laurel Canyon and who were part of the Music scene as well.

Page 68   McG:   Also in the troupe was a young Rory Flynn (Canyonite Errol Flynn's statuesque daughter), a bizarre character named Ricky Applebaum who had half a moustache on one side of his face and half a beard on the other, most of the young girls who would later become part of Frank Zappa's GTO project, and a lot of other colorful characters who donned pseudonyms like Linda Bopp, Butchie, Beatle Bob, Emerald, and Karen Yum Yum.

Also flitting about the periphery of the dance troupe were Navy brat Gail Sloatman and a curious character on the LA music scene by the name of Kim Fowley. Sloatman and Fowley were, for a time, closely allied and even cut a record together, America's Sweethearts, that Fowley produced. In 1966, Fowley produced a record for Vito as well, billed as Vito and the Hands. The seven-inch single, "Where It's At," which featured the musicianship of some of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention cohorts, came no closer to entering the charts than did Fowley and Sloatman's effort. Sloatman though soon found work as an assistant to, and booking agent for, Elmer Valentine, whom we will meet shortly.

Fowley, as with so many other characters in this story, has a rather interesting history. He was born in 1939, the son of actor Douglas Fowley, a WWII Navy veteran and attendee of St. Francis Xavier Military Academy. According to the younger Fowley's account, he was initially abandoned to a foster home but later taken back and raised by his father. He grew up in upscale Malibu, California, where he shared his childhood home with "a bunch of actors and guys from the Navy."

At the age of six-and-a-half, Fowley had an unusual experience that he later shared with author Michael Walker: dressed up in a sailor suit by his dad and his Navy buddies, he was taken "to a photographer named William, who took a picture of me in the sailor suit. His studio was next door to the Canyon [Country] Store." Right after that, he was driven down Laurel Canyon Boulevard to the near-mythical Schwab's Drugstore, where "everybody cheered and two chorus girls grabbed my six-year-old cock and balls and stuck a candy cigarette in my mouth."

T1: McG leaves us to put the piceces together, But I don't think he goes far enough to spell it out. Anyone knew to all this would have a hard time. Kim Fowley, a man, had a Hollywood father. You know what that means, don't you? His dad was also in the St. Francis Xavier Military Academy. So he had special training, I suspect. Kim grew up in upscale Malibu. So he grew up with some wealth. That means that he will have no problem succeeding among the beautiful people and positions. He is a member of the club.

McG: It's probably safe to assume that childhood experiences such as that helped to prepare Fowley for his later employment as a young male street hustler, a profession that he practiced on the seedy streets of the City of Angels (by Fowley's own account, I should add, just as it was James Dean himself who claimed to have worked those same streets with Nick Adams). Following that, Fowley spent some time serving with ( Page 69 begins )> the Army National Guard, after which he devoted his life to working in the LA music industry as a musician, writer and producer—as well as, according to some accounts, a master manipulator.

T1: He is accepted in the Music industry. So his connections are solid. He is a made man.

Around 1957, Fowley played in a band known as the Sleepwalkers, alongside future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. At times, a diminutive young guitarist named Phil Spector—who had moved out to LA with his mother not too many years earlier, following the suicide of his father when Phil was just nine—sat in with the group.

A young Phil Spector is allowed sit in with the group. So he has a pedigree as well. Everybody in Hollywood and the Music scene is a member of the club. No strangers allowed. See what I mean?

 McG: During the 1960s, Fowley was best known for producing such ridiculous yet beloved novelty songs as the Hollywood Argyles' Alley Oop and the Rivingtons' Papa Oom-Mow-Mow, though he also did more respectable work such as collaborating on some Byrds' tracks and having some of his original songs covered by both the Beach Boys and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

In 1975, Fowley would have perhaps his greatest success when he created the Runaways, further lowering the bar that Frank Zappa had already set rather low some years earlier when he had created and recorded the GTOs. The Runaways featured underage versions of Joan Jett and Lita Ford, whom Fowley tastefully attired in leather and lingerie. As he would later boast, "Everyone loved the idea of sixteen-year old girls playing guitars and singing about fucking." Some of the young girls in the band, including Cherie Curry, would later accuse Fowley of requiring them to perform sexual services for him and his associates as a prerequisite for membership in the group.

T1: Well if ya want in, you haf ta pay the entry fee. No one gets in for free. No one! If you don't like the deal, just walk away. Too many won't like it, but they will still do it. Since that is a mutual agreement, they have no right to bitch.

McG: Prior to assembling the Runaways, one of Fowley's proudest accomplishments was producing the 1969 album I'm Back and I'm Proud by rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent, featuring backing vocals by Canyonite Linda Ronstadt. Just two years later, Vincent—a Navy veteran raised in that penultimate Navy town, Norfolk, Virginia—died unexpectedly on October 12, 1971, due reportedly to a ruptured stomach ulcer.

Not long before his death, Vincent had been on tour in the UK but he had hastily returned to the US due to pressure from, among others, promoter Don Arden. Known none-too-affectionately as the "Al Capone of Pop," Arden had a penchant for guns and violence and he was known to openly boast of his affiliation with powerful organized crime figures. In addition to being a business partner of the equally nefarious Michael Jeffery, Arden was also the father of Sharon Osbourne and the former manager of her husband's band, Black Sabbath... but here I have surely <Page 69 ends < > page 70 begins >>  have surely digressed, so let's try to bring this back around to where we left off.

 T1: to spell it out, Gene Vincent was killed for making money that Don Arden was not getting a cut of, in all likelihood. Don was likely a key member of the "Music Mafia." He might have even been the "God Father" of it. McGowan is taking us deep into the rabbit hole. He is showing us the many connecting dots. Everyone in the movie and Music industries are all tied together. I assume many know the name of Sharon Osbourne and her hubby Ozzie.

McG:  At least as early as 1962, not long before Carl Franzoni joined the group, the freak troupe was already hitting the clubs a couple nights each week to refine their unique style of dance ( perhaps best described as an epileptic seizure set to music ) and show off their distinctively unappealing, though soon to be quite popular, fashion sense. In those early days, they danced to local black R&B bands and to a band out of Fresno known as the Gauchos, in dives far removed from the fabled Sunset Strip—because, Franzoni has said, "There were no white bands [in LA] yet," and "There were no clubs on Sunset Boulevard."

McG: That, of course, was all about to quickly change. As if by magic, new clubs began to spring up along the legendary Sunset Strip beginning around 1964, and old clubs considered to be long past their prime miraculously reemerged. In January 1964, a young Chicago vice cop named Elmer Valentine opened the doors to the now world-famous Whisky-aGo-Go nightclub. Just over a year later, in spring of 1965, he opened a second soon-to-be-wildly-popular club, the Trip.

Not long before that, near the end of 1964, the legendary Ciro's nightclub began undergoing extensive renovations. Opened in 1940 by Billy Wilkerson, an associate of Bugsy Siegel, the upscale club had flourished for the first twenty years of its existence, with a clientele that regularly included Hollywood royalty and organized crime figures. By the early 1960s, though, the Strip was dead, and the once prestigious club had gone to seed.

T1:  "as if by magic." There may be more truth to that, then you might imagine. With Satan puling strings, anything can happen and Satan can make it happen. Somebody in the way? Satan can fix that, too. Mobsters obey Satan, as do the CIA and all intelligence agencies in all nations.

That the Beatles arrived in the USA and took it by storm, was no accident. Everything kicked into high gear in 64. The whole music industry took off like a rocket. There certainly seemed to be something in the air igniting a huge, almost urgent push to reach as much potential as possible. Mere desire for profit does not seem to explain it all, as far as I am concerned.

It is also my opinion, studying TV programming from 1957 thru the 60s, that 1964 brought a lot more children oriented programming in Prime time. "Lost in Space," " Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and similar shows of a fanciful nature. 1966 would be another big year for kids. My favorite year as Batman come out in January 1966 and Star Trek came out that year, too. There was no program in the 60s that grabbed me more than Batman. While a few shows started broadcasting in color, I think everything went to color in 66. But my family was black and white all the way to 1985, when we got a Sony Trinitron 19 inch color TV. It was heaven. Early color TV was not perfected or with the sharp clarity that the 85 Sony was.

What I am trying to say is that more was being aimed at the young in 64. So it was a universal movement all over the USA, so there was something planned and co-ordinated going on, and it had grand plans for the future.

McG Ciro's reopened in early 1965, just before the Trip opened its doors and just in time, as it turns out, to host the very first club appearance by the musical act that was about to become the first Laurel Canyon band to commit a song to vinyl: The Byrds. By 1967, Gazzari's had opened up on the Strip as well, and in the early 1970s Valentine would open yet another club that endures to this day, the Roxy. Smaller clubs like the London Fog, where the Doors got their first booking as the house band in early 1966, opened their doors to the public in the mid-1960s as well.

T1: Earlier in McGowan's book, we learn that Jim Morrison's dad had been in the Navy and was an agent for the CIA. Jim eventually became a member of the "27 Club." Members all died at age 27, many being CIA kids. As a kid, its hard to take things too seriously. Jim was outspoken and may have said too much. But it does not explain all the deaths, by any means. But Laurel Canyon had many mysterious deaths of celebrities and CIA kids turned adults. Most often ruled as suicide but the deaths were far too many and far too unusual for many of them to be suicides. Living among CIA agents is not without dangers.

McG:  The timing of the opening of Valentine's first two clubs, and the reopening of Ciro's, could not have been any more fortuitous. The paint was barely dry on the walls of the new clubs when bands like Love and the Doors and the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield and the Turtles and the Mothers of Invention and the Mamas and the Papas and the Lovin' Spoonful came knocking. The problem, however, was that the new clubs << End of page 70 . . .  Continued in next installment.  

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