Finally Dave's "Inside the LC" series is coming to book form. Since Dave has disabled many of the chapters at his site (aren't you glad you saved them all as PDFs) I guess that means he's giving us a little push to buy Weird Scenes with its new additions.
Unfortunately it won't be available for Christmas. It's due to be released April 30, 2014 (Walpurgis Night), from Headpress.
Whether you agree or disagree with McGowan on his conclusions, questions and speculations, all of his writings, to me at least, are entertaining when you need a little diversion.
Excerpt from a sample chapter at Dave's facebook.....
Working once again with Emmylou, Gram began working on tracks for what would be his posthumously-released second solo album, Grievous Angel. But as July of 1973 rolled around, a series of tragedies befell Parsons and the people around him. In July of the previous year, Gram’s friend Brandon DeWilde – who had introduced Gram to Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern and Jack Nicholson, resulting in Gram’s involvement in The Trip – had been killed in a traffic accident. A year later, on July 15, 1973, Gram’s friend and fellow musician, Clarence White, was hit by a car and killed. According to Fong-Torres, “Around the same time that Clarence White was killed, Sid Kaiser, a familiar face in the Los Angeles rock scene, a close friend of Gram’s and, not so incidentally, a source of high-quality drugs, died of a heart attack.” Just after those two deaths, “In late July 1973 … [Gram’s] house in Laurel Canyon burned down.”
Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris
Other sources, for the record, have placed that house in Topanga Canyon rather than Laurel Canyon. Whatever the case, Gram was home when the house caught fire and he was briefly hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Having lost their home and all their possessions, Gram and Gretchen “moved into Gretchen’s father’s spacious home on Mulholland Drive in Laurel Canyon.” Gram wouldn’t live in the Burrell estate long though; on September 19, 1973, Ingram Cecil Connor III died in a nondescript room at the Joshua Tree Inn. His death is usually attributed to a drug overdose, but toxicology reports suggest otherwise. Parsons’ death received minimal press coverage, partly because, as fate would have it, singer/songwriter Jim Croce went down in a blaze of glory the very next day, on September 20, 1973. But though the media had moved on, the Gram Parsons story wasn’t quite over yet.
Parsons had been a regular visitor to Joshua Tree National Park, where one of his favorite pastimes was said to be ingesting hallucinogenic drugs and then searching for UFOs. Sometimes he would take friends like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones along with him to help with the search. In September of 1973, Gram was accompanied to Joshua Tree by his personal assistant, Michael Martin, Martin’s girlfriend, Dale McElroy, and Parson’s former high school sweetheart, Margaret Fisher. As the story goes, the group soon ran out of pot and quickly dispatched Martin back to LA to pick up a fresh supply. He was, therefore, officially not there at the time of Gram’s death, though why he hadn’t returned has never been explained, especially given that his job was, specifically, to keep an eye on Gram and monitor his drug intake.
How Gram Parsons died is anyone’s guess. There are as many versions of the event as there were witnesses to it. Actually, that’s not quite true – there are more versions than there were witnesses, because some of those witnesses have told more than one story. Officially, Parsons died of an overdose, but forensic testing revealed no morphine or barbiturates in his blood. Morphine showed up in his liver and urine, but as experts have noted, those toxicology results indicate chronic, but not recent, use. Police seem to have had little interest in getting at the truth and made no apparent effort to reconcile the various conflicting accounts. Details of the incident – such as how long Gram had been left alone, whether he was still alive when discovered, who made that discovery, etc. – were wildly inconsistent in the accounts of Fisher, McElroy, and Frank and Alan Barbary, who were the Inn’s owner and his son. Their accounts conflicted both with each other and with the girls’ accounts.
At the hospital, police spoke briefly with the two girls and then released them. Within two hours, Phil Kaufman was on the scene to pick up Fisher and McElroy. Bypassing the police and the hospital, Kaufman went directly to the Inn, which the girls had returned to, and quickly hustled them straight back to LA. Police never spoke to either of the women again, despite the conflicting accounts and the open question of what exactly it was that killed Gram.
On the autumnal equinox of 1973, Kaufman and Martin, driving a dilapidated hearse provided by McElroy, arrived at LAX to claim the body of Gram Parsons. If this story is to be believed, then nobody, including the police officer who was nearby, found it at all unusual that two drunken, disheveled men in an obviously out-of-service hearse (it had no license plates and several broken windows) had arrived without any paperwork to claim the body of a deceased celebrity. In fact, according to Kaufman’s dubious account, the cop even helped the pair load the casket into the hearse – and then looked the other way when Martin slammed the hearse into a wall on the way out of the hangar.
Kaufman and Martin then drove the body back out to Joshua Tree, doused it with gasoline and set it ablaze. Local police initially speculated that the cremation was “ritualistic,” which indeed it was, but such reports were, and continue to be, scoffed at.
On September 26, LAPD detectives, led by anchorman Larry Burrell, came knocking on Kaufman’s door with warrants to serve. Bizarrely enough, director Arthur Penn was there with a full crew shooting scenes for the film Night Moves with star Gene Hackman. When you are a friend of Charlie Manson’s, it would appear, everyone in Hollywood wants to hang out with you. While the crew continued working, Kaufman was taken in but he was back just a few hours later. In the end, he and Martin were fined $300 each plus reimbursement for the cost of the coffin.
In January 1974, four months after Parson’s death, Grievous Angel was released to critical acclaim and public indifference. Later that year, Gram’s adoptive father, Bob Parsons, died from complications of an alcohol-related illness. He had apparently been making moves aimed at gaining control of the deceased musician’s estate. By sheer coincidence, no doubt, the deaths of Gram and Bob Parsons were followed by the 1974 bankruptcy of much of the Snively family business. Around that same time, Little Avis gave birth to daughter Flora. Sixteen years later, both were killed in a boating accident in Virginia. Avis had made it all the way to age forty.
You might also want to take a look at McGowan's "The Boston Marathon Bombings: Fully Exposed."