'Echo' of 1960s Los Angeles

Laurel Canyon rock musicians subject of new film as "chefs of a remarkable stew"
Fridays on the Homefront
'Echo of the Canyon,' the new film that profiles a brief period in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon from the mid-1960s, has afforded executive producer and the film's star
Jakob Dylan (son of Bob) a golden opportunity to sing and play music. Above: Under the projection of the 1960s Byrds, Jakob (center) revisits one of the seminal Southern California songs from the '60s era in the film.
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
The film's executive producer Jakob Dylan interviews Ringo Starr (originally of the Beatles) at director Andrew Slater's glass-walled modern home.
Fridays on the Homefront
Steve Stills (originally of Buffalo Springfield) interviewed today
by Jakob Dylan.

Taking audience questions after screening his new film about 1960s music recently in Berkeley, a first-time film director posed a quandary with which many Eichler owners might identify.

Is it feasible, asked Andrew Slater regarding the younger musicians in 'Echo in the Canyon,' to be "nostalgic for something you weren't even there for?"

He asked because the film—some of which was shot in his spiffy, Wallace Neff-designed house in Los Angeles—profiles a brief period in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon that many of the film's musicians are too young to have been part of or even witness.

Of course, the guts of the movie are interviews with eight musicians in their seventies who were there. They were chefs of the remarkable stew that merged folk and rock music into a new style altogether: members of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, the Beach Boys, and even three British stars who were admittedly enthralled with the scene.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr confesses that he "just fell in love with it" as he is interviewed standing in front of some pretty cool mid-century decorative blocks, expressing what all three Brits felt when they visited their peers in the canyon.

The interviewer, himself a child of that industry and era, joined Slater on June 7 at opening night Q&A sessions following select screenings of 'Echo in the Canyon' in San Francisco and Berkeley.

"I found them all hard to do," answered Jakob Dylan, the 49-year-old son of Bob Dylan who's the film's executive producer and star, when asked who were the most challenging interviewees. "It's not really what I do."

Of course, the movie also afforded him a golden opportunity for what he does do, which is sing and play music, usually with his band the Wildflowers. In this case, he assembled a band of his peers like Beck, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, and others to re-record some of the critical songs of the period in performances that are sprinkled throughout the film.

Several homes with views of the canyon or other attractive features were chosen as interview sites along with some of Hollywood's vintage recording studios. None are more impressive than Slater's glass-walled beauty designed by Neff, the Los Angeles-born, mid-century architect whose homes are a big draw for movie stars to this day.