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672407 Posts in 27078 Topics by 3979 Members - Latest Member: sloopfan3 October 20, 2021, 08:30:41 AM
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1  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Jim Peterik's version of on: October 15, 2021, 09:00:53 AM
True. With the Midnight Cowboy theme you have John Barry recycling himself.

...and creating two of the greatest soundtrack theme songs of the last 60 years in the process!

Blur also paid kind of a neat homage to those sounds and that similar line cliche/melody on the Parklife album with "To The End", especially in the string arrangement.
2  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (2019 Brent Wilson Documentary) on: October 15, 2021, 08:52:34 AM
I'm probably the only person in the world who thinks this, but in my opinion Love & Mercy should have received awards for costumes and set design. I'm well aware that those sorts of awards typically go to big-budget sci-fi/fantasy/comic-book extravaganzas or period war movies or period dramas based on Victoria-era literature. But darn it, Hollywood is usually really bad at getting "recent period" (30, 40, 50 years ago) right. It's really hard to do, and I'm a stickler for details (e.g., "I remember 1978, and no one had door knobs like that!").  But I'm not sure I've ever seen a film like Love & Mercy where they went to such lengths to recreate the studio scenes and costumes based an obsessive-compulsive level of attention to detail.  Brian himself noted the realism of the studio scenes and how the film had so amazingly got it right.  And let's face it, to an extent, they were even more accurate than the memories of a few of the principals.  For example, I remember when Carol Kaye, God bless her, was griping that she never wore outfits like the actress who portrayed her, there was photographic evidence that those costumes were dead-on reproductions of her actual in-studio outfits circa 1966.

I agree 100%. And having had the opportunity to speak with people who were involved in making these details come to life on the screen, the sheer amount of care and attention which went into recreating those details accurately would have warranted an award, hands down.

I'm speaking especially to the scenes from 1966, those from Brian's home, inside the recording studios, and even the exteriors. They simply *nailed* it, and in some cases where a full geographic recreation wasn't possible, it was so close and so right-on that it wasn't a distraction at all.

A few examples, from memory (and of course more details can come from those who staged all of this) :

There are numerous prop houses and rental companies who provide period-correct props and items to film and stage companies, imagine a large market with shelves full of antiques and antique home decor that is like a shopping spree fantasy for vintage fanatics (like myself). You go in with a period in mind, and the props are there to choose from. So there are some brief scenes showing a vintage stereo amplifier/receiver in the background. They not only found one which was period-correct, but the detail was so important that they made sure the unit was on, with those beautiful vintage lights on the control panel glowing and providing a unique backlight aura in the scene.

They could have used any old stereo equipment, and just had it there on a shelf. But they wanted to make sure it was not only right, but also a part of the scene even as it sat in the background. THAT is the right way to do it.   

The same kind of detail was employed when things as insignificant as the lamps and other functional furniture was chosen from the vintage prop company. Everything looked right.

And there is where another issue comes up: A famous director once commented about set design and period staging in regards to capturing a previous era. If you're filming a scene in a house from 1966, the furniture and appliances would not be from a 1966 catalog. The realism would come in showing that the house was perhaps built 20 years earlier, the appliances may not be new off the line, and the furniture could be a hodge-podge mix of older family items, a favorite chair from 10 years ago, a TV set that made a previous move with the family, etc. So his point was that a scene inside a house set in 1966 would not have furnishings and design that looked like a magazine spread or catalog staging from 1966. The realism is in showing how real families would have furnished a home.

BUT...in 1966, specific to Love & Mercy, Brian and Marilyn were wealthy and young, and had the money to renovate and newly furnish a home they had recently bought. So a lot of the design and furnishings may have been brand new, bought after consulting a designer perhaps, and most likely more new than the old. So that contradicts what the director's point was about showing realism in vintage set design: Young couples with money and a new house would probably have more brand new items than they would old pieces or hand-me-downs in that home because they could afford to do so and would host parties and gatherings where that stuff mattered. And again, I think the L&M film showed that very well.

One key detail that has been mentioned here before but which might be missed: When the camera action is showing the studio floor during a session, and the musicians are playing, take special note of the audio track. The tracks are bone-dry and heard "live", exactly as they would be if we were sitting in the studio with the musicians. You don't hear tape echo, you don't hear wide reverb, you don't hear a "mix" of the instruments playing as you would on a record...until the scene cuts to the control booth where Brian is monitoring all the sounds going through the board.

Unlike many music-based movies, where they show the studio scenes and it sounds like a fully mixed record playing over it, L&M tried to get exactly what the musicians and others in the actual studio heard during the sessions, relevant even to which part of the studio they were in.

Another minor detail that is major for musicians is if there were a way to zoom in on the sheet music the musicians are reading in the studio, the charts on the stands are the actual songs they're playing. Again a very minor detail no one notices, but that's how much care was put into doing these scenes accurately and respectfully.

The Carole Kaye comments were unfortunate, especially considering what was actually done for and shown in the film and in the backstage pre-production and details to show respect for Carole and to pay tribute to her contributions to the music, and the fact that a working musician rather than a pro actress was hired to play the part, and could and did play the actual bass lines on camera. Again as much as I respect Carole for what she did musically, she got this one wrong, and it was unfortunate.

What was even more unfortunate was having a former poster on this board sending messages to other members here saying how many scenes got it wrong, and what they got wrong, etc and it seemed to be mostly about Melinda Wilson's scenes...and in reality that former poster was the one that was wrong on all of it. But we'll leave it at that.

Just wanted to add some more detail to those details in the film, and there are many more to be highlighted or pointed out. It was an amazing accomplishment, and I agree there should have been awards given. The attention to set design and period detail was stunning, and along with Mad Men is perhaps one of the best uses of period design and obsessive detail I've seen in the past 20 years.

And that's not even mentioning the costumes!  Smiley

3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 13, 2021, 09:30:32 AM
Just an aside, the band The Surfragettes who are also on the bill are a great instrumental surf band whose music I really enjoy, really great stuff. Check them out!
4  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 13, 2021, 09:29:12 AM
I just see it as another way to piggyback an "anniversary" of some kind onto Mike's Beach Boys shows or events that would have happened the same way had there been an anniversary or not. What is truly special about this gig to bill it as an anniversary celebration? Mark McGrath? Will there be a giant cake with sparkler candles and a large "60" cake-topper decoration that Mike and Bruce will cut during each performance after white-gloved kitchen staff wheel it out onto the dance floor? Maybe it will be a fake cake that Stamos will jump out of? Who knows. 

Understanding this is only one gig, to promote it as a celebration tied into the 60th anniversary of "The Beach Boys", the details of which fans have been discussing a lot for obvious reasons, seems like a question of is this cruise celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Beach Boys, or is the 60th anniversary of the Beach Boys being used to sell and market a music cruise that would have happened anyway? Mike has been doing these cruises for years, as shown by the marketing department using the same erroneous copy about Endless Summer they used in 2010, verbatim.

The difference as pointed out by others in previous posts is that the band's name and history is on the marquee, versus the name of an individual band member. And that's been the difference the whole time this license setup has been in place. It's a different ballgame.
5  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Summer Fun (book) on: October 13, 2021, 09:16:50 AM
Thank you for posting, Jeanne! This looks like a book I'd really enjoy, especially the references and tie-ins to the music of that era, and I will be getting a copy to read for sure.
6  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The Beatles on: October 13, 2021, 09:12:32 AM
I'm excited to see and hear a print of the Let It Be footage that is crisp and bright, and audio of the unreleased material to accompany it that isn't interrupted by the voice slating the reel numbers and times and the beeps over the track, as anyone who has heard even a minute of all the Get Back/Let It Be bootleg material is familiar with.

I've had a copy of the film since I got it for Christmas many years ago on VHS, and I think I share the opinion with many fans including the Beatles themselves that it looked very dreary, and nearly every print of it that I've seen looked both grainy and dark. When I see this version of it via that trailer, the colors are vibrant and it comes alive. It should be fun to see.

What I'm not as excited to see is what's been reported as a history rewrite of those sessions and the clouds hanging over them. I know there was a split within the band during and especially after this time, George was not happy at all to be a sideman after he had just been hanging with some of rock music's elite in the US, John was riding the horse, etc. When you have at least half the band saying it was a miserable time, and the other half saying it wasn't as bad as what people think, there's the divide right there. So I'm curious to see how those 57 hours or whatever it was that was shot on film can be edited down to give a narrative over 50 years later, but I'm hoping a balance can be struck between the one faction's sunshine and lollipops view of it and the other faction (both of whom are no longer around to comment) who says the experience overall was miserable.

In the words of Lennon, "all I want is the truth".  Smiley

But I am digging the clarity of this new print after decades of watching the footage in bad quality.
7  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 08, 2021, 08:34:31 AM
The issue of the "Endless Summer" credit and Mike's role from the cruise's PR release is NOT new and has been happening for well over a decade.

Here's a post from 2010, about a previous "Malt Shop Memories" cruise featuring Mike and the band, and note the exact same wording was used in that release:

http://www.maltshopcruise.com/

But this statement under the Beach Boys Bio caught my eye.

In 1974 Mike Loveís concept album Endless Summer ignited a second generation of Beach Boys fans and stirred a tempest that rocked the music world.

 Shocked


They just dusted off an old press release that was just as inaccurate then as it is now. I guess no one either bothered or dared to correct it in the past 11 years or so. More "sloppy" work from some hapless interns in the marketing department? Who knows...

And note too that Mike is doing yet another Malt Shop cruise after the one we're discussing, see the link above.

As far as calling "Endless Summer" "Mike Love's concept album", that's just bullshit. But we've also covered that numerous times before, along with the claim that Mike "produced" the Endless Summer album when it is a compilation of Brian Wilson or Nik Venet productions from Capitol's vault.

And Bruce Brown who created the classic surfing film "Endless Summer" in 1966 may have been the one to coin the term along with the group The Sandals who had the hit soundtrack connecting surfing and surf music to that title and concept, but I digress.

Here's a few quotes from that 2010 discussion to consider:

Someone needs to say that Endless Summer was Bruce Brown`s concept 10 years before the Capitol reissue.

Mike Love single-handedly turned the Beach Boys' very creative Sunflower/Surf's Up/CT&P/Holland machine into an oldies act overnight with his idea of Endless Summer.

Mikie, that's complete nonsense and you know it - at best, Mike suggested a title for a pre-existing, almost completed reissue project. Wasn't his idea, he had nothing to do with track selection, and he sure as hell had no idea it would take off like Craig Breedlove on speed. No-one did, least of all Capitol.

at best, Mike suggested a title for a pre-existing, almost completed reissue project. Wasn't his idea, he had nothing to do with track selection, and he sure as hell had no idea it would take off like Craig Breedlove on speed. No-one did, least of all Capitol.

I think this was the main idea of the original post in this thread, that the Endless Summer album was being credited directly as Mike's concept album in that press release when it obviously was not. So why make that claim in print in the first place?

Remember too that Capitol thought so much of the Beach Boys at that point in time that they couldn't even *find* let alone release the original 45/radio mix of Help Me Rhonda on the comp, a hit song which was roughly 8 years old at the time. That's harsh.

Add in the influence of George Lucas' "American Graffitti" on the Beach Boys revival of sorts well before Endless Summer - their "old" songs are featured in the movie, they're part of the dialogue, and in one of the better end-title music sequences in film "All Summer Long" blasts over the credits and sounds friggin' amazing!

I think the history of writing and releasing statements like that of the Endless Summer "concept" only feeds the fire so to speak among those in one Beach Boys "camp" or the other. I honestly don't know why they can't just leave that stuff alone and let people enjoy the music for what it is.


Ouch.

And that's from 2010...along with previous press releases and promotions which used the exact same or similar wording to promote Mike's shows...yet no one in over a decade has fact-checked or corrected something which just isn't accurate. It just continues to feed the fire and it's a little disheartening to see how little things have changed since 2010 in that regard. At least they didn't use a C50 photo from 2012 to promote this cruise.

8  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 07, 2021, 04:01:22 PM
9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 07, 2021, 01:49:51 PM
Ringin' in the 60th with Mark McGrath. Sweeeeet!  LOL




And Joe Piscopo.
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love just announced a \ on: October 07, 2021, 01:42:29 PM
Originally a Rolling Stone article:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/monkees-beach-boys-cruise-mark-mcgrath-1238631/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/10/07/beach-boys-plan-bahamas-fan-cruise-with-the-monkees-temptations/

The cruise has its own website now with more details:

https://www.thebeachboyscruise.com/

Not Mike's only cruise planned for 2022, he's also back on the high seas again with the "Malt Shop Memories":

https://maltshopcruise.com/lineup/the-beach-boys/
11  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: What songs did Brian play drums / percussion on? on: October 02, 2021, 09:52:11 AM
Brian's the drummer on much of Lei'd in Hawaii. Good possibility of a number of Wild Honey era tracks too, with one that he's confirmed on being Can't Wait Too Long. And of course, he's the multitasking percussionist on Diamond Head and Take a Load Off Your Feet. There are quite a few through the years. The 1962 version of Surfer Moon is a likely other.

Just to clarify the point in bold: Do you mean the Heider re-record studio sessions? I've been listening to that material for years and just assumed it was Dennis as it was on stage in August '67 for the original shows, with Brian on the Baldwin. Is there more info that has come out in recent years?

The studio sessions; Dennis didn't play or sing on any of the re-record material. Brian and Carl shared drummer duties on those, with most of it being overdubbed onto very sparse basic tracks.

Interesting! Considering how sparse Dennis' drumming (and drum setup in general) was in Hawaii, it wasn't too hard to do basic beats on a snare to remake the tracks.
12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: What songs did Brian play drums / percussion on? on: October 02, 2021, 09:33:05 AM
Brian's the drummer on much of Lei'd in Hawaii. Good possibility of a number of Wild Honey era tracks too, with one that he's confirmed on being Can't Wait Too Long. And of course, he's the multitasking percussionist on Diamond Head and Take a Load Off Your Feet. There are quite a few through the years. The 1962 version of Surfer Moon is a likely other.

Just to clarify the point in bold: Do you mean the Heider re-record studio sessions? I've been listening to that material for years and just assumed it was Dennis as it was on stage in August '67 for the original shows, with Brian on the Baldwin. Is there more info that has come out in recent years?
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: October 01, 2021, 03:51:35 PM
Important to note with the last few posts about the swing/big band material Brian was writing circa 76/77: Brian seemed to be completely sold on it, and actually pitched his music to Frank Sinatra. Or at least he said he was going to have a pitch meeting with Sinatra in a 1977 interview just before it was supposed to happen.

Details and a link to that interview from 77 can be found here: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,27617.0.html

So I get the feeling Brian believed in that music and even wanted other artists like Sinatra to record it, and I think some of that batch of songs were pretty damn good. Was it a stylistic complete left turn? Yes - But that's nothing new.

One of the great "what if's" of that era.

14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New Brian music this Friday ? on: October 01, 2021, 06:57:18 AM

My number 1 favorite song of all time! Fantastic. It really does remind me of the Gershwin "Piano Rolls" project.
15  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: September 30, 2021, 10:17:56 AM
McCartney's career has had a *very* different trajectory than Brian's, so it's very difficult to compare. McCartney was as productive, and eventually more productive, than Brian or the BBs were, and McCartney didn't have band members to pick up the slack the way Brian did.

A "when are you going to give us another Pet Sounds?" question is not the most subtle, sympathetic question. But I'd argue it would be meant as a motivational, positive comment. Moreover, Brian would have had a hard time countering Paul with a similar question about Paul's career as of 1976, as McCartney was red hot in 1976 with a huge Wings tour and top-selling albums and singles. He was arguably the biggest rock star in the world at the moment he visited that Brian birthday party in June 1976.

McCartney put out much, much more product over the years and thus there was never any jarring, extreme left turn album that he released as a main-line "pop/rock" album (meaning, I'm discounting his weird side projects like the classical stuff or "Liverpool Sound Collage" or the "Fireman" stuff). McCartney did veer into some of the trappings of different eras. But, because he remained commercially successful into the early-mid 80s (and intermittently thereafter), there was no perception when, say, he did "Band on the Run" in 1973 or "Tug of War" in 1982 that his career had just completely fizzled and he needed to do a "Sgt. Pepper 2."

Every "legacy" artist has some amount of spectators and "fans" chasing after them asking for them to make stuff as "good" as their pinnacle/heyday.

It is ironic that part of the "when is Brian going to do another Pet Sounds?" stuff came from people who knew nothing of the quality post-Pet Sounds work that the band *and* Brian had done.

And also - as we all know - the main difference is how The Beatles had a definite ending to the group. As of 1970 they became four individual artists known as ex-Beatles, and that for a solo career would be very liberating since there would be no band to return to, no matter how loud the calls were to do so.

I guess I'm trying to convey how different it would be if The Beatles had either regrouped or stayed together while pursuing more solo projects, and if there would have been as much for fans to critique as "The Beatles" who had done Sgt Pepper and "Hey Jude" versus whatever hypothetical they would have released in, say, 1976. With the Beach Boys there was always the Jekyll And Hyde element at play, where fans as early as 1976 when McCartney made the Pet Sounds comment on camera would be hearing tracks from "15 Big Ones" and asking when is this group - the same group - going to give us another Pet Sounds or even another California Girls or whatever. The band was still together, but the music kept getting farther and farther away from the fans' expectations, I think perhaps the nadir until Summer In Paradise was actually Keepin The Summer Alive. At least Macca could release his disco stuff and his other stylistic explorations and it wasn't "The Beatles" because the band was officially done in 1970. Same with the other members.

In that way I can understand Macca's Pet Sounds question/comment a little more. There was still a "Beach Boys", as in the same group that did release Pet Sounds ten years prior. And instead of that kind of music, the most current Beach Boys were going heavier on the 50's/60's oldies covers than they had in a long time.

And later on there were no lawsuits and licenses over the band name or "confusion in the marketplace" over who the Beach Boys that fans were paying to see or hear actually were.  Grin
16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys lineup in Cleveland - June 1, 1991 on: September 30, 2021, 10:05:25 AM
Wow, the guyís not pulling any punches. Shocked at his candor. Not surprised by his anecdotes, but still shocked he apparently didnít sign the same NDA all of the others did

I agree, it's putting it right out there on the table so to speak. Again, not an uncommon sentiment among various touring musicians in the BB's universe (including those who Mike fired) but they don't express it as publicly.

It would depend on the duration of the non-disclosure agreement, if there was one in a contract he signed. If it were 5 or 10 years, the guy would be in the clear to say whatever he wants in 2012, and if he didn't care about working with Mike as a musician again, he could say anything. 
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: September 29, 2021, 09:33:45 AM
I also have to remember a time when people who were following all this stuff back to the early 90's had a notion of Brian doing a new project more in line with Smile/Smiley Smile that might end up sounding in their minds like an Animal Collective or Elephant 6 label project or something, and perhaps that kind of hope or expectation is what drove (or continues to drive) the letdowns and disappointments when a Brian project comes out and it's not all weird and goofy like "Smiley Smile 2" or something.

Big facts. And this phenomenon doesn't seem to plague too many of his contemporaries in the same way. I don't think there have been too many people complaining about McCartney's solo albums not being something along the lines of 'Sgt. Pepper 2' (didn't he actually do something like that in the 80s and NOT release it?) Most people seemed to like the relatively recent album by The Who, even though it's certainly not 'Tommy 2' or 'Quadrophenia 2'.

Funny you'd bring up Animal Collective and Elephant 6 though, obviously for musical/aesthetic comparison, but it gets me thinking about how a lot of Animal Collective fans have spent 10+ years complaining about not getting 'Merriweather Post Pavilion 2' and a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel fans have been dreaming about 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea 2' for almost 25 years! People like us just want it all, sometimes  LOL

It really doesn't seem to fall on Brian's contemporaries, does it? I can understand why to a degree, and I think there is actually more of an emotional investment in Brian and his music than there is maybe for The Who or The Stones, or whoever else, but it's also frustrating to see it play out again and again.

The irony too is there is that film clip from '76 where Paul and Linda visited Brian for a birthday gathering, and Paul directly asks Brian "When are you going to give us another Pet Sounds?". Maybe the best reply could have been "When are you going to write another Hey Jude?". But there was the same sentiment and similar expectations on Brian ten years removed from Pet Sounds' release playing out on camera.

I think the conundrum with Brian is how he's openly said he wants a hit record, something that would be on the radio. So a list of producers and collaborators have tried to deliver that, and honestly I have to say some of the production sounds of those records and songs sink them for me. It's hard for me to get past the sometimes (or often) dated sounds and get into the actual songs sometimes, and that's a shame. But if someone in, say, 1987 were to say "I want a hit record", and people were contracted to deliver said hit record, it would most likely sound similar to what folks in the biz thought was a "hit record" at that time. And that's what can date the material.

I would LOVE to have a 100% Brian Wilson mix on anything he releases, if it's just one song where he's the guy pushing the faders doing the whole thing with no fixing or meddling after the fact. It has been done in the past 30 years, we just haven't heard it. Part of the problems I have with several of the solo projects going back to BW88 is that the production masks the personality of Brian's music rather than enhancing it and bringing it out. It either sounds too dated or not close enough to the heart of the song. I think a track like Love And Mercy works so well as a live track versus the BW88 version, and having seen that first tour when Imagination was released, I think several of those tracks also worked better live than they did with the production heard on the studio album.

It certainly is a conundrum.
18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys lineup in Cleveland - June 1, 1991 on: September 29, 2021, 09:16:40 AM
Went through one of the old touring band lineup threads, and the sax player for the first half or so of 1991, including in the pic above, appears to be John Renner.

It appears he passed away a few years ago, 2017, according to online obituaries.

He *may* have written whatever this is, which may or not be some sort of memoir touring with the Beach Boys (or a fictionalized account, or a stream of consciousness thing); I honestly can't make heads of tails of what it is or the provenance of it based on the samples:

https://www.amazon.com/Take-Mike-Love-Please-Parker-ebook/dp/B01G92LZK6

Here's a bit from it from a blog, where buried in there you can sort of extract a bit of content regarding his touring with the Beach Boys:

https://johnrenner.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/take-mike-love-please/

Nice work digging that up!

Just from reading what's at those links, it would appear he didn't have fond memories of touring with Mike Love. Before reading the book or memoir, would that be an accurate guess? Seems to be a pretty common thread...other former touring musicians I've heard have a less than positive view too, but they tend to keep it mostly under wraps in interviews.

Re: The photo of the July 28 '91 show, it's hilarious how it shows Bruce adjusting the mic stand. Some things never change I guess.
19  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: September 28, 2021, 08:12:31 AM
Just referring to his solo work; I think, usually, Brian has been more of a participant than collaborator; but there are times when he does contribute.

For 1988 and Sweet Insanity, I think this is pretty Brian, despite the constant presence of Landy. It sounds Brian; just how Love You and Adult/Child sound like Brian. Landy's presence is felt, but musically, it sounds like the guy who made Love You in the 70s'; all made up for the 80s. It may be easy to say, well, these two albums were really made by Landy, but Landy couldn't emulate anything like Brian musically speaking. I'm sure it was hell working with Landy, but the overall sound of these two are Brian.

Now there were a lot of other collaborators; chief among them Andy Paley. My view about Paley is that he was almost like a life coach for Brian. He could get Brian amped up and rolling; the ideas would start bouncing back between them. Brian doesn't get that comfortable with many people; so these type of collaborations I'm totally fine with. Brian is still contributing to the sound of the album, in addition to co-writing and co-producing. I think that's why some of the Paley material had a lot of promise as well. I don't need Brian to be a one man wrecking crew like it's 1966. IF he needs a collaborator, that's fine; as long as he is enjoying it. From what I've read Brian really did like the material they came up with. However, the Beach Boys did not and I recall Melinda calling the material great for therapy, but not for release.

And, in my view, that's the last time we got anything original from Brian. The Don Was soundtrack and Orange Crate Art are clearly more guest than anything else, though he did arrange the vocals for OCA, it was still mostly a VDP project. The Joe Thomas material has always seemed really artificially Brian. Wasn't the process record Brian for a few hours and try to generate a new song from it? Everything about Imagination is over the top in its appeal to 1990s Adult Contemporary. Same with GIOTH; it sounded dated when it was released. Has Brian ever sounded pumped up when talking about either one of these albums? I've not seen it. From what I read, Brian was more or less forced to work with Joe Thomas. The late 90s period is weird; Brian stops working with Paley, makes AC with Thomas, while relocating to St. Charles, Illinois, to create the album. (I think they built a studio there, too) Then by 1999, weren't he and Thomas in the middle of suing each other? It's like Brian never lived in St. Charles at all. It gives me vibes of Brian being forced to go to Iowa in winter 1977 to make music. Come on Brian, get up, make some music for your cousins, friends, and brothers. And none of that Adult/Child crap! Come on Brian, get up, make some music with Joe Thomas. And none of that Chain Reaction of Love crap!

BWPS was mostly based off the live show but it did lead to Brian working on TLOS with Scott; Brian was coming up with some original material. The Disney and Gershwin albums were nothing original, but Brian was into singing the material. Even though TWGMTR is a BB album, I'll include it here due to the heavy presence of Joe Thomas. (First, why is he back after the lawsuits and the fighting?) There are some really good songs on that album, but I really don't know what exactly Brian did in making the album. It's a collection of old material from the 90s, with a few newer songs and Mike's Daybreak. I want to believe Brian had a hand in From There to Back Again, but I easily accept the entire production and composing could be Joe Thomas. I can't tell exactly where Brian is; I can tell places where Brian is being emulated. The album seemed like it was put together without the Beach Boys until it was time for vocals. I can understand why Mike had his issues with how the album was made because it doesn't seem like a real Beach Boys album. Was there any chance of anyone writing together? Al? Bruce? David? It seemed tailor made to promote the 50th reunion tour; that's it. No Pier Pressure seems even less like Brian, even though there are a few good tracks. Take into consideration interviews of people saying Brian just sits there, says and does nothing in the studio. Someone is making the music, but I don't believe it's always Brian these days. That's fine. Brian doesn't owe me anything. I just hope Brian likes making these albums and doing these tours. Maybe he does and he just goes with the flow, but there's also the other side of Brian we hardly see. He did have to postpone several shows for mental health reasons. I imagine even with the best treatment, he probably still suffers a lot from mental illness. Those reasons alone I don't expect him to create anymore. He should play music whenever he wants to and it doesn't have to be recorded. Just let loose.


There are a few points here that are either painted with too broad of a brush, or not complete or accurate, and that's not a critique but just an observation!  Smiley

I think as a few of us wrote in this discussion, Joe came to the table with a business plan for the 50th that encapsulated all aspects of the year 2012 including recording new material, the tour itself, and subsequent multimedia releases and promotions. That's huge for a band who had a hard time getting in the same room together let alone getting their sh*t together enough to stage something like the C50 project. And again I'll say, like it or not, it happened and they pulled it off.

I think what's missing is that Joe brings to the table the multimedia and marketing aspect of it, where if the artist wants not only a new album but also a TV/video special, a tour, and other promotional projects besides simply a new album, Joe has a plan in place bundling all that stuff together. He did the same for Brian with Imagination, he did the same for the group earlier with "Stars & Stripes", and again with Brian for the NPP album that included the Las Vegas TV special. He basically brought the same plan to the table for C50, and the group signed on.

As far as Mike's issues with the TWGMTR album, he is credited as "Executive Producer" and was one-third of the LLC corporation called "50 Big Ones" formed for the 50th tour along with Joe and Brian. So Mike had more say than others involved over what was planned out, and what the album would be...He signed off on it, didn't he? If he didn't like it, he was exec producer of the album and part of the "board" for the LLC overseeing everything and had a voice while it was going on.

Again I think some of the statements above about the solo works are a little too broad - If we wanted to be historically accurate to an obsessive degree, we could go song-by-song on each solo project and people could clarify exactly what was done for each song. Especially TLOS and NPP, to suggest Brian was more of an observer or would just sit there while others did the work just isn't accurate across the board. But those clarifications would have to be made by those who were there to witness the sessions. Just consider how many hours are spent on a song, and before a studio is even booked to record the tracks for the album...sessions and recordings happen that are NOT logged or on a budget sheet somewhere. Like the sessions Brian was doing with Danny Hutton and when Tommy Morgan was called in to play harmonica...Brian was fully involved in those and others. And consider if someone walks into Ocean Way (or whatever other studio) for a few hours and catches them doing a vocal overdub, yes there is a great possibility Brian and other musicians would be doing a lot of sitting around.

As someone who was in the studio business for a bit of time, I can vouch for the fact that a lot of studio time is spent sitting and not actually playing as other things are happening. In fact I'd go out on a limb and say more time is spent sitting and waiting than actually playing or singing. So take some of those reports with the appropriate grain of salt. And yes indeed, there may have been some cases where whoever was in the studio saw Brian sitting and waiting as others worked - But that is part of the process for everyone involved.  Smiley

As far as the Paley sessions, don't forget the involvement of Don Was. Ultimately Don had been working up and recording the Wilson/Paley material with the band rather than just as solo Brian material, he said both Brian and Andy were fully involved in recording those tracks, and then next thing anyone knew Carl vetoed "Soul Searchin" and Mike brought in Joe Thomas and all activity shifted to Stars & Stripes, and Don had nothing to do with them anymore.



I also have to remember a time when people who were following all this stuff back to the early 90's had a notion of Brian doing a new project more in line with Smile/Smiley Smile that might end up sounding in their minds like an Animal Collective or Elephant 6 label project or something, and perhaps that kind of hope or expectation is what drove (or continues to drive) the letdowns and disappointments when a Brian project comes out and it's not all weird and goofy like "Smiley Smile 2" or something.

20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: September 27, 2021, 12:07:13 PM
I think there are also a few different types of "completion." Needing help to complete compositions is different from needing help to fully realize and release a project.

Pretty much all of the Beach Boys, individually and collectively, have, since some time in the 80s at the very least, usually needed some outside influence/agent/manager/promoter/fixer to help push projects to completion *and release.*

Joe Thomas did this for a number of Brian projects, and did so for the 50th reunion tour and ancillary projects. Thomas also did so on the writing side as well. Brian has not often had that type of collaborator; there's a reason Joe Thomas got s**t out the door numerous times while Andy Paley knocked out dozens of songs with Brian only for them to be shelved (and then eventually trickle out over the years).

Brian and all of the other members collectively and individually have needed the organizational/A&R/business push to get things released. The closest they've come in the last several decades to pushing a project along mostly on their own would be things like Al Jardine putting out some early solo stuff via CDBaby and in some cases direct sales.

Back to the creative side of things, I think the issue isn't even so much *how much* help Brian needs, it's more how that help comes, and how much it colors the work. To use my go-to example, "Message Man" sounds much like "pure Brian" than "Midnight's Another Day."

I think Brian, certainly in the last decade or two, could have sat down at a piano and pounded out a bunch of solo takes of true "solo" compositions. But I don't think he would feel like those are "records", and it would be something fans might love, but not so much everybody else. We as fans (sometimes) enjoy the quirks of a "Male Ego" or "Message Man" or whatever. To get to fully-realized, fleshed-out songs that turn into recordings that turn into a *released album*, he has clearly sought out (and thus, I think, it's fair to say, has *needed*) some help.

I know you've said before, and I agree, that without Joe Thomas there would probably not have been a C50. He came to the table with a business plan that hit on all the necessary elements to stage the tour and get the releases in the stores, and it was like a ready-made situation where the band had to sign the papers and the machine started running. That's pretty impressive, and of course we can agree or disagree about the results (Mike sure disagreed after the fact...), but you're right: Joe came in and the job got done.

I think there are issues among some pockets of the fan base - if they're really fans - who have taken on this kind of behavior where it's almost a knee-jerk reaction whenever a new Brian project is announced to critique the concept well before the execution and delivery, and make a lot of hay over what they think Brian should be doing and releasing versus what the man actually does. It's been a consistent pattern for several decades now, and I hope Brian himself tunes it out at this point and chalks it up to those people being who they are and that's what they do, and NOT indicative of the majority of the fan base. But it does get ridiculous to have it appear like clockwork every time the man announces something new, and the same peanut gallery seems to come out with the comments why it's not going to be good. We saw it just this past month with the piano album, and it's happened on everything he's released going back to at least the Christmas album.

So I think Brian does what Brian does - If an idea is mentioned or pitched to him and he likes the idea, at this point he'll do it. And I think there is also an element of just not giving a s**t what people think after all the times he's done something and had it rejected as inappropriate, not good enough, not commercial enough, etc. He was approached to do a Gershwin project, he did it. Simple as that.
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brianís involvement in solo albums on: September 27, 2021, 11:53:56 AM
I think there are several precedents to consider going back to 1961 regarding Brian and collaborations. In terms of songwriting, he's always used collaborators going back to Mike and Gary Usher in the earliest days. When he has song ideas that he wants or needs input to flesh out, or lyric ideas and subject matter where he thinks someone else's unique perspective and skills can deliver a better song, he will go to a collaborator. And if he has something to say in a song and has the lyrics too, he'll do it himself. So in terms of writing, that hasn't changed at all since "Surfin".

With production and finishing the entire project, we have to look back over 50 years ago and see what happened. Brian specifically said he wanted to drop out of the production race, and hand the ball to the other guys in the band to run with it and add their work and input too. At that time the guy was burnt out, he was tired of being questioned and challenged (see Marilyn's comments in the Don Was film), and he gave more responsibility for completing the songs to others in the band.

It established a different workflow than what he had been doing up to 1968, and there seemed to be something like a process bubbling under making these records where Brian would be involved to a point, and others would then grab the production steering wheel and do the finishing touches. Of course that wasn't on every single project, but it was on a majority and this process continued well into the present day.

So I know it's stating the obvious but there is a precedent and Brian's working methods really haven't changed much since 1968. What he doesn't finish, others finish.

I agree with some of the comments above regarding the production process, but there is a difference between saying he "needs" outside collaborators and suggesting this working method is pretty much the same things he has been doing since at least 1968 in terms of making records. If the process has worked for over 50 years, and product gets released pretty consistently, maybe the mindset is why change something that's working and getting product out the door and into the stores?

I also think a lot had to do with those comments from Marilyn, where at one point he just got fed up with the hassles (and hassling from others) and said if you guys think you can do it, here it is, and he pulled back...and in the process established a working method that worked for him, and it included collaborators or others finishing up the project after Brian set it up. Kind of like a head chef and a sous chef in the kitchen, one has the concept for the food and gets the main ingredients working, and the other finishes it off to be sent to the customers.

22  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 24, 2021, 10:13:44 AM
I've never understood why they performed "Okie"  Huh I like the song but is it some kind of tongue in cheek joke? It's a bit subtle for that, no?

The crowds at that time loved it by all accounts and recordings available. It was definitely tongue in cheek when artists like The Beach Boys performed it, playing up the lyrics like "we don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee" as pure parody and comedy for the counterculture. Merle Haggard himself wrote the song purely at face value after touring through those areas and seeing the differences between rural America and cities like San Francisco, and the song went to number 1 on the country charts, but later Haggard said he started to sing it and view it with a different perspective with a lot of events and years in his rearview mirror than he had originally.

The Grateful Dead also covered other Merle Haggard songs, bottom line is he wrote good songs that were popular and had a good country beat that bands liked playing, and with "Okie" it was a good laugh for the audiences who were smoking pot and dropping LSD so it turned into parody with a good beat. I thought The Beach Boys always knocked it out of the park with the song, and it got the crowds moving and grooving and singing along.
23  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 24, 2021, 09:59:55 AM
I canít find it now, but I recall reading somewhere that there was some type of film industry boycott on Two-Lane Blacktop also. Though it came out in 1971, and itís not exactly an ďeasyĒ movie- but this is an interesting angle I truly never thought of. Maybe there was some type of disassociation of the group (and possibly particularly Dennis) with the industry following the Manson scene. This also seems to coincide with their absolute lowest point commercially in the US Ö and Murry selling the catalog in Nov 1969 too. Odd timing for this stuff, isnít it? I guess they really did need Jack Rieley to turn things around.

If you can find that, please post it - I had never heard of this angle. I just picked up the Criterion Collection 2-DVD set (with script in book form) this past weekend, and have to dig into it more. I've only seen the film on VHS copy, so I'm late to the game in digging deeper. But having read the history and commentaries on it for years, it seems like it was more of an inside-baseball thing with the studio that released it. Condensed version: The entire script was published in Esquire before the release, and Esquire raved about the film before anyone saw it. Numerous studios passed on buying it, until a younger executive gave it the green light and a budget. But the filming created something like 3 hours of a rough cut, that got edited down to just under 2. So again without doing s deep dive into the Criterion set and the commentary, I'm thinking when people read the script and rave review in Esquire, then saw the film's final cut, there may have been key scenes missing. Just a guess.

But ultimately the head of the studio hated the film, and it sounds like attempts were made to torpedo it from within. The Esquire advance release of the full script backfired in terms of marketing. And the studio itself sank it from within, it was barely in the theaters then pulled, and was unavailable in any form except maybe midnight movies at various small theaters on the cult circuit for many years.

I think the rush from studios to grab "road" film projects in the wake of Easy Rider was how the film finally found a studio in the first place, but there was only a 2-3 year window on that Easy Rider contact high (compare it to the rush from record labels to sign and sculpt any number of low-rent "Grunge" bands in the wake of Nirvana's success), and I think there was resentment from the Hollywood powers-that-be as a result. There had to be some reason why the head of the studio "hated" Two Lane Blacktop enough to tank it before it had a chance.

I don't see the Manson-Dennis connection being enough of a reason to tank the film, but if there are reports of that, I'd like to see them! It just sounds like Hollywood infighting and power-grabs rather than Dennis Wilson's supporting role being enough of a factor to throw out the entire film. After Easy Rider and all the copycats that followed, there were a lot of bad feelings in Hollywood's power circles, and I'm guessing that kind of thing played a bigger role.

Yes, those are the stories I'm referring to I believe. "Boycott" is probably the wrong word- but some people seemed to hate it so much, it was semi-not released originally?

Most of that hate for the film seems to have been coming from the head of Universal, which was the parent company of the group that gave it the green light originally. I don't know offhand why there was so much anger and resentment toward the film from such a big player at the studio, but it's not an uncommon story with both Hollywood studios and the music biz, where the caricature is a studio head pointing a finger at an actor he didn't like and saying "You'll never work in this town again!". Tying it into another film from this same era, look at the scene in Godfather where studio head Jack Woltz blows up on Tom Hagen at the dinner table over Johnny Fontaine "ruining" one of his best actresses who he invested a lot of money into to become a star. Woltz, of course, ended up with the head of his prized racehorse in his bed, and Fontaine got the role he wanted...and all of it was a thinly veiled reference to Sinatra being cast in From Here To Eternity which was his comeback role.

It could have been something that was pure inside baseball with the people involved, but yes the film was all but sunk and pulled immediately when it was released by the parent studio who released it. Some reports said there were not even advertisements for its opening, and that's almost an open case of the studio sabotaging it by not promoting it. I'm just not sure if a Manson connection had anything to do with why the head of Universal hated the film.

It's the difference between a parent company refusing to promote something and outwardly limiting its release, and theater owners (or music DJ's and program directors) refusing to play something. One comes from within, the other is the delivery system refusing to let the public have a chance to see or hear something. The Beach Boys during this era suffered the latter.
24  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 24, 2021, 09:45:43 AM
My recollections of the 1970-71 time frame--which are here to be corrected by those who've done a more complete dive into the many Manson source materials (I've ordered CHAOS and plan to work it into my reading shortly after it arrives)--was that the press in general really tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube for the band and Dennis after the Manson events broke wide. Their reviews of SUNFLOWER are glowing. They did not pick up and run with Dennis' earlier statements about his association with Manson--a few sensationalistic references, but these were kept on the margins.

But there was clearly something going on behind the scenes that Fred Vail bumped into, but may not have connected the dots at the time in terms of a "slient backlash" that involved the folks who could make or break an album commercially making sure that SUNFLOWER tanked.

Think of it as a tradeoff--you are cut loose in the industry to sink or swim based on how things play out, in exchange for not being dragged into an incredibly messy story about music biz excess and the type of FBI "sting operation" lawlessness built on destroying the political efficacy of the counterculture (which went way beyond destroying the credibility of rock stars: let's not forget their involvement in domestic political assassinations of key figures in dissent political groups, such as Fred Hampton).

Moving away from the hoary tip of the iceberg in the Manson situation, maybe we now can more clearly embrace the thinking in the Beach Boys' camp once Jack Rieley is on board, a recognition that the band had to mount an all-out counterassault on their past image AND more aggressively employ the SMiLE myth in order to dig themselves out of a hole that might otherwise have had no bottom. Adds another dimension as to why some were so adamant about resurrecting "Surf's Up." It helps to explain the rather pointed tone of VDP's quote about guaranteeing pre-sales by making "Surf's Up" the title of the LP.

Very interesting points. I do agree that I haven't seen nor heard of many (if any) attempts to bury artists based on a Manson connection. Not saying it didn't happen, but it doesn't seem to have any proof behind it. Like I said earlier in this discussion, both Hollywood and the music business is exactly like the stock market: Actors, directors, musicians, screenwriters, and producers are ultimately viewed and used as commodities whose value rises and falls exactly like the stock market. These commodities are invested in and traded in order to do one thing: Make money for the investors. When something threatens that, and when a lot of money stands to be lost and unable to be recouped, there are damage control plans put into place to prevent that. Investors don't like losing money. And if the damage can't be controlled, the commodity (in terms of an actual human being) is thrown under the bus and cut loose, which then leads to more damage control to remove any associations from those who are still hot moneymaking commodities.

I just don't know of or can't think of anyone connected to Manson who was thrown under the bus. Terry Melcher continued to work for his mother Doris Day and made a lot of money doing so, then got back into making records and especially in the 80's helped the Beach Boys get back onto the charts several times. I don't see Dennis' association doing any damage in terms of the Beach Boys, they had already been thrown under the bus with Capitol after their contract was up, and they were able to get a deal on Warner/Reprise to continue making records and touring. Were they blackballed because of Manson? I don't see it. Someone still thought they were a commodity who could make money.

Go down the list of other actors and musicians who were in contact with Manson - Were any of them obviously thrown under the proverbial bus? Neil Young bought Manson a motorbike and had good things to say about Charlie's music, and Neil didn't suffer at all. Mama Cass was involved with many of the players, close friends with the murder victims, and at one point was threatened with charges by the LAPD...she got a network TV show and other solo starring vehicles right after the murders. No harm there in the associations.

Roman Polanski continued to make movies, and just several years after the trial he made Chinatown, which is one of the greatest films of all time. If the contents of those Sony Porta-Pak video reels in his attic at the murder house were ever made public, he'd have been sunk long before his similar activities came to light around 1977. But in the wake of Manson and the trials, he was still working in Hollywood and making acclaimed films, and making money for those bankrolling him (including Hugh Hefner).

I think if anything, attempts were made to shield or protect those commodities in the entertainment business from any negative backlash surrounding Manson. And that goes right up to the way Bugliosi planned the prosecution strategy and the witnesses for the prosecution. He made a case, now we know some was not factual, in order to secure a conviction without getting deep into the Manson universe of people and things which could potentially lose a lot of money for a lot of people, as well as possibly blow the lid off some nefarious if not criminal activity from government agencies.

It's an interesting exploration overall, that's what keeps me interested in reading and learning more, and I sure as hell don't think writing it off as conspiracy theory nonsense is serving any purpose for recording the proper and accurate history of the case unless writing it off as tinfoil hat bullshit is another attempt to whitewash and protect certain people and narratives.

25  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 24, 2021, 09:24:52 AM
I canít find it now, but I recall reading somewhere that there was some type of film industry boycott on Two-Lane Blacktop also. Though it came out in 1971, and itís not exactly an ďeasyĒ movie- but this is an interesting angle I truly never thought of. Maybe there was some type of disassociation of the group (and possibly particularly Dennis) with the industry following the Manson scene. This also seems to coincide with their absolute lowest point commercially in the US Ö and Murry selling the catalog in Nov 1969 too. Odd timing for this stuff, isnít it? I guess they really did need Jack Rieley to turn things around.

If you can find that, please post it - I had never heard of this angle. I just picked up the Criterion Collection 2-DVD set (with script in book form) this past weekend, and have to dig into it more. I've only seen the film on VHS copy, so I'm late to the game in digging deeper. But having read the history and commentaries on it for years, it seems like it was more of an inside-baseball thing with the studio that released it. Condensed version: The entire script was published in Esquire before the release, and Esquire raved about the film before anyone saw it. Numerous studios passed on buying it, until a younger executive gave it the green light and a budget. But the filming created something like 3 hours of a rough cut, that got edited down to just under 2. So again without doing s deep dive into the Criterion set and the commentary, I'm thinking when people read the script and rave review in Esquire, then saw the film's final cut, there may have been key scenes missing. Just a guess.

But ultimately the head of the studio hated the film, and it sounds like attempts were made to torpedo it from within. The Esquire advance release of the full script backfired in terms of marketing. And the studio itself sank it from within, it was barely in the theaters then pulled, and was unavailable in any form except maybe midnight movies at various small theaters on the cult circuit for many years.

I think the rush from studios to grab "road" film projects in the wake of Easy Rider was how the film finally found a studio in the first place, but there was only a 2-3 year window on that Easy Rider contact high (compare it to the rush from record labels to sign and sculpt any number of low-rent "Grunge" bands in the wake of Nirvana's success), and I think there was resentment from the Hollywood powers-that-be as a result. There had to be some reason why the head of the studio "hated" Two Lane Blacktop enough to tank it before it had a chance.

I don't see the Manson-Dennis connection being enough of a reason to tank the film, but if there are reports of that, I'd like to see them! It just sounds like Hollywood infighting and power-grabs rather than Dennis Wilson's supporting role being enough of a factor to throw out the entire film. After Easy Rider and all the copycats that followed, there were a lot of bad feelings in Hollywood's power circles, and I'm guessing that kind of thing played a bigger role.
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