Do yourself a favor and check out this great profile of La Monte Young, “the composer who quietly shaped much of contemporary Western music.”
It is difficult to square Young’s influence with the humbleness of Young’s upbringing. He was born into a conservative Mormon family, inside a log cabin in Bern, Idaho, a town that at the time had a population of about 145. His father was a sheep herder who moved the family to Los Angeles in 1940 to work as an experimental machinist for the Douglas Aircraft Company when Young was about 5. But at heart, Young’s father was a cowboy, a country hill jack with a temper. A doctor once told Young’s father that his son was very smart, and upon hearing this news, Young’s father took him outside and beat him.
Young now owns that very cabin. “He’s been thinking of installing a sign in front of the cabin — ‘La Monte Young Was Born Here’ — but his sister has demurred: She was born there, too, she says. Why shouldn’t she get a sign as well?”