Looking for a wild ride in a psychedelic memoir? Check out Marlowe B. West’s “Go West: The Rock and Roll Memoir 1967-1970” (1986). West’s writing moves with a glittering energy, zanily poetic, as colorful and textured as the experimental fashions he put together as a fixture in Laurel Canyon during its heyday.
West was anointed an original BTO by his freaky friends, the locally popular GTOs, a band produced by Frank Zappa. A chemise-wearing GTO, Miss Lucy, discovered West one velvet morning sleeping outside her abode in Laurel Canyon, and, with a flourish of her cigarette, ashes tipping onto her satiny robes, invited West in. And so his great adventure into the world of freaks, hippies, and music-makers began!
Reading his book is like walking into the world’s best dressing room, one that has a secret passageway. It’s inviting and sumptuous, and a little bit scary. Glitter in the dirt. Back then–and back there in the dressing room with secret passages–it really did seem as though people could live their lives as uniquely and spontaneously as they wanted, making it all up as they went. Glamourous in the true sense of the word, a transformation. As dreamy as it often was, West’s memoir makes it very real as he provides the details and tidbits about what it was like to be so free during a time in history when the intersection of music, politics, and individual creative expression felt like–and looked like–revolution.