Friday, 20 December 2013

THE ORANGE COUNTY THREE

Attempting to marry the sophistication of Playboy and Esquire to the countercultural appeal of the underground press, Cheetah only managed eight issues (October 1967 to May 1968). It was mocked by the cognoscenti at the time for striving too hard to be hip (worst of all 60s crimes!), but it stands up well. This largely owes to its music articles, such as Jules Siegel’s fabled ‘Goodbye Surfing, Hello God’ interview with Brian Wilson (October 1967) and an interview with Curt Boettcher about the occult (April 1968). In addition, its record reviews by Peter Winkler (including what seems to be the only contemporary assessment of Safe As Milk, which he loved) are among the most perceptive of the period.

The January 1968 issue included a triple portrait by Tom Nolan of the so-called 'Orange County Three' - Jackson Browne, Tim Buckley and Steve Noonan - who were considered to have equal promise at the vanguard of the emerging confessional singer-songwriter movement. Today, of course, they are respectively a star, a cult hero and a footnote. The article is often referred to, but hasn't been available online before, so here goes.

3 comments:

  1. The magazine got its name from a successful chain of clubs ala Whiskey A Go Go, and just as the magazine was ascending the clubs began to fail (like all clubs did as the size of venues shifted toward larger spaces). The closing of the clubs brought about the unfortunate closing of the promising magazine.

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  2. Stan, the association with the clubs was part of its plan, but the reason it folded was simply because not enough people were reading it or advertising in it (as Rolling Stone gleefully announced at the time). The Cheetah Club finally closed in October 1968, I believe. Incidentally, Hullabaloo magazine had a similar link-up with the clubs of that name.

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  3. Great article. Thanks for posting it.

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