Cosmic American Angel
On Friday, the 19th of September we made our pilgrimage to Cap Rock in Joshua Tree National Park to pay our respects to the country/rock legend Gram Parsons (he preferred to call it Cosmic American Music). We’ve been fans of Gram’s for a long time, and we used to camp out with friends during this weekend at Hidden Valley, a couple miles from Cap Rock for our annual Gram Parsons Memorial Camp-out. Now that we live here in the hi-desert, Cap Rock is exactly 33 miles from our driveway, instead of driving 141 miles from Long Beach…
41 years ago Gram overdosed in room #8 at the Joshua Tree Inn. To fulfill the wish of their dead friend to have his ashes scattered at Cap Rock, Gram’s road manager and another friend stole Gram’s casket and body before they were loaded on a plane at LAX.
Using an old hearse they hauled Gram (and his casket) out to Cap Rock, poured 5 gallons of gasoline on the casket and lit it on fire. The friends escaped that evening during the ensuing police chase only to be apprehended a couple days later. They were eventually fined $750 for the offense of burning a casket.
Gram was only partially incinerated in the fire and his body was eventually buried in New Orleans.
Above: So a cool thing that we thought wasn’t going to be so cool at first was- a ranger came to check us out hangin’ at Cap Rock- and he ended up being super cool and we told him the whole tale of this being the 41st anniversary of Gram’s death and all about his music and the meaning of cap rock, etc.- and he in turn shared with us that the park recognized the cultural significance of the artists that had been inspired by JT and how “it was on the table” to create some kind of interpretive display…
Rolling Stone Article about Gram Parsons death: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/flashback-gram-parsons-dies-in-the-desert-20140919
Emmylou by First Aid Kit – This video was filmed at Cap Rock (also shown below)… http://youtu.be/PC57z-oDPLs