Love Guitarist Johnny Echols Takes A Trip Back To ‘Laurel Canyon’

Love guitarist Johnny Echols reflects on Laurel Canyon being a "safe haven" for artists. Plus, Echols is grateful for Love's continued success around the world.

The two-part docuseries Laurel Canyon focuses on the artists who lived in hillside area of Los Angeles back in the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, and Love guitarist Johnny Echols reflected on being a part of that era. Video of my interview, as well as a transcript of the Q&A is featured in the post.

Laurel Canyon is a must see docuseries if you are a fan of that music period, as there are all-new interviews with Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Michelle Phillips, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and Chris Hillman. My biggest takeaway from the project came from being introduced to such bands as Little Feat, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Love. Truth to tell I had no idea about Love, and although bandmates Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean have passed, Echols continues to keep (for lack of a better phrase) Love alive with Love Revisted (the group features band members from Baby Lemonade).

I have yet to listen to all of Love’s work but am currently deep into the album Forever Changes, and one of the album’s many standout tracks include “Alone Again Or”:

In the docuseries, Echols has a memorable anecdote about how Love helped open the proverbial door for . . . The Doors (I won’t spoil the story!).

Johnny Echols talked about being grateful for Love’s continued success and he also elaborates why Laurel Canyon was such a great place to live and most importantly hang with friends.

Love’s music lives on from generation to generation. That must be a pretty good feeling.

This is like living a dream. It’s so fascinating. We have been rediscovered by a whole different generation. We played in the UK and over 97,000 people showed up in Sefton Park to hear us play and it was really wonderful to see all of that and remain relevant after all of these years. It’s just amazing.

Photo: Elektra
Forever Changes is considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time. What are your general thoughts on the album’s success?

It was very difficult to complete that album. Over the years it’s received quite a bit of recognition but now it seems to have morphed into something entirely different and it’s become something unto itself.

The record itself stands above most of the other things we had done. I’m just grateful that it is still relevant and it’s never been out of print and people are still buying it. They just released a box set just a couple of months ago and different versions of it that is on vinyl as well as digital so we’re really thrilled . . . it has received so much recognition. We’re in the National Museum of African American History & Culture in the Smithsonian. It’s just amazing.

What are your thoughts on living in Laurel Canyon with such a diverse array of artists?

It just seemed like the universe kind of blessed us and opened up and decided to, for this one place and one moment in time everybody came together and it was this feeling of camaraderie and love. There was competitiveness but there was a feeling of warmth and friendliness and people just cared about each other. It was a different time – there was not this polarization, at least in this one place in time.

Of course all of that was during the Civil Rights Movement and during The Vietnam War so we had this one safe place, this safe haven where we could be ourselves and we could make music and chat and be friends and not have to worry what was happening in the outside world.

It must mean a lot for you to keep the music of Love alive.

Absolutely it does. We’re still traveling and playing all over the world and I’m just having the time of my life. This is just a blast. I never ever expected any of this and just a few years ago it started up again. It’s snowbaling and it’s just fantastic.

Johnny I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

I appreciate you asking. Thank you Greg.

Laurel Canyon airs tonight at 9 pm et/pt on EPIX and continues June 7th (9 pm et/pt).