The summer of ’66 was a whirlwind of music, wild car rides up and down canyons, nude thrashing-about in and outside of pools, dream chasers and catchers, reviling of Lyndon Johnson, sprouting hair and large joints.
Juno’s house was always open, but then so was everyone else’s and sometimes she didn’t see her new home for whole weeks. Often she’d get back to find Jackson at the piano. He’d just left a band he’d briefly been in with some of the guys from McCabe’s. Although he partied with the best of them he was good at making time to write songs, which he had to do without the companionship of a band or the cocoon of a studio. And, save the odd couple bucks from a small-time publishing deal, without money. He wasn’t good at making that. He was still only seventeen, but sometimes it seemed he remained the only one of the old Troub gang without a record deal.
Juno knew why that was. His songs were beautiful, no doubt, but when Jackson sang the hairs on the back of her neck curled and tickled her in expectancy rather than rose, and the air became porous and lumpy with promise. He wasn’t quite there yet, and Juno longed for the day when he would be.
Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds on the other hand definitely were. That hot Southern Californian summer belonged to them. The Byrds’ new album, Fifth Dimension, was released in July. On parts of 5D the band left the eight-mile mark way below them. It didn’t storm the charts like their previous offerings had, didn’t even make the top twenty, but was locally seen as totally different and experimental. Psychedelic was the word. Among their peers the Byrds were untainted heroes now.
The Springfield got a deal almost immediately. Their first single, Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing, came hot on the heels of 5D. It didn’t make waves outside LA, but thanks to it and their number one fan Chris the band landed a long stint at the Whisky A Go Go on the Strip. They were the sound of the summer to the old Troub gang, even if the tension between Neil and Stephen was clearly about more than twelve strings.
Neil had other problems, too, to battle that summer. Whenever Juno sang she’d first consult her crystal ball, and if it looked like he was even close she’d intervene. West LA became a maze he was forever getting lost in, Angelenos on the whole antagonized him to the brink of his frail health, and the LAPD seemed to have it in expressly for him. All in all he came to see the city as one hell of a drag. So far, so good.