Published by
Viking Press, London 1996 (hardback)
St Martins Press, New York 1996 ISBN: 0-312-14444-X (hardback)
Bloomsbury, London 2003 ISBN: 0-747-56180-X (paperback)

Synopsis from flyleaf (edited)

Here is the entire history of pop Los Angeles in all its splendor and excess… Barney Hoskyns has spent the better half of a decade researching this definitive account of a dysfunctional artistic community. From the days of the thriving jazz clubs in the forties to the menace of West Coast gansta rap in the nineties, the sound of this bleached, irrigated dreamscape is here in all its warped glory. Hoskyns travels through fifty years of music history to unravel its unrealities. The result is a riveting account of, as he writes, “the peculiarly California interplay between light and darkness, good and evil.”

Radar Station overview

If you’re interested in ‘rock’ music of the 20th century then this is one book you need to read. Try to get the hardback version – it’s well illustrated throughout with photographs of key people and places (the paperback has less photos and these are all squashed together in the middle of the book).

There are a number of pages devoted to the story of Captain Beefheart in his own right, although there is nothing about him after 1972. However, you will find a lot of additional information about related people and bands – Frank Zappa, Little Feat, Ry Cooder, Rising Sons etc.

The book gives a good look at what was happening musically in Los Angeles and how much of it was interlinked. Pretty thorough … and there’s not many music books that give Zoogz Rift a mention!

Other details

Subtitled ‘Strange Days, Weird Scenes, and The Sound of Los Angeles’ in the US and ‘The Story Of The Los Angeles Music Scene’ in the UK.

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