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Question: Rate Catch a Wave : The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson
5 - 41 (66.1%)
4 - 13 (21%)
3 - 7 (11.3%)
2 - 0 (0%)
1 - 0 (0%)
0 - 1 (1.6%)
Total Voters: 56

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Author Topic: Catch a Wave : The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson  (Read 52973 times)
Charles LePage @ ComicList
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« on: February 07, 2006, 09:36:44 AM »

Discuss, review and rate Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, released May 2, 2006.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2006, 01:08:23 PM by Eye Don't Think So » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 10:27:55 AM »

On the SMiLE Shop, there is a large thread with Peter posting about his book.
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 09:36:44 AM »

Just a head's up!

Catch a Wave : The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson
by Peter Ames Carlin
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1594863202/qid=1139333683/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/102-4632854-1456960?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
Due May 6, 2006

Book Description

Brian Wilson was the visionary behind America's most successful and influential rock band.  And as the leader of the Beach Boys, he sold 100 million records, produced Pet Sounds, and built a catalog of songs that continues to define the sound and feel of American popular music.  He also became one of the culture's most mysterious and tragic figures.  But after spending years lost in a wilderness of despair, Wilson has fought his way back to productivity.  And now with teh release of Smile - the masterwork that nearly undid him - he has returned to music's center stage.
 
Now Peter Ames Carlin, who conducted in-depth, exclusive interviews with dozens of sources and listened to hundreds of hours of unreleased studio recordings and live music, tells a uniquely American story of the band, the music, and the culture the Beach Boys both sang about and helped create.  Carlin brings a fan's passion, a seasoned journalist's objectivity, and a cultural critic's insight to his subject, and the result is a magesterial and authoritative account of the Beach Boys' visionary figure, who has emerged into a new era of creativity.

About the Author

PETER AMES CARLIN's award-winning reportage on Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys has appeared in the New York Times, People, American Heritage, and the Portland Oregonian, where he is currently the newspaper's television critic.  Previously he was a senior writer for People in New York.
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Peter Ames Carlin
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 07:41:01 PM »

Well, hi. Here I am. In the cyber-flesh. I wrote that there book, with lots of help from usual suspects Reum, Hanes, etc. I think it turned out okay, too, though at this point I'm way more interested to hear what other people think about it. But that won't be possible 'til early May (or maybe a few weeks before that, given the way publishing goes).

Anyway.

I'll be happy to answer questions or what-have-you. Fire away.
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2006, 07:54:50 PM »

Thank you, Peter!
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006, 07:56:55 PM »

Peter,

re: the 66/67 SMiLE-era: who did you get to speak with from that era and (without giving anything away)what is the shortened version of your assessment of what happened? Also, based on your research, how close is the version told by Dom Priore to what you discovered?
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2006, 10:51:23 PM »

Hi Rob: Let's see...I talked to Brian, of course....VDP, Vosse, Mike, Al, Danny Hutton, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Jules Siegel, probably a few others. I read tons of stuff, listened to tons of stuff. What happened....hmm....my sense was that it was a lot more complicated than the version I grew up believing (in which aspiring but fragile Brian is smited by the surfin' troglodytes). Which isn't to say that that version is entirely wrong, or that some aspects of that story aren't exactly right. But what I kept coming back to in every aspect of BW's life is paradox. It goes all the way back: Murry loved his boys beyond belief, but often communicated it by tormenting them. Brian to this day uses "love" and "fear" nearly interchangeably. ("It's good scary," was the lovely line he told me a couple of years back describing the fear he'd felt on the night he finallly debuted 'Smile' in London). Isn't it amazing how sad "Pet Sounds" reads, even though the music itself is so beautiful and inventive it sounds ecstatic?

This is a guy who did his best work when he was the most freaked out. And "Smile" was a horizon or two beyond anything he'd done before, in terms of form/content. This was not an intellectual exercise for him. This was the sound of a guy trying desperately to channel a lot of scary, confusing, screwed-up feelings into a kind of musical art that had never been attempted before. While his family resisted him. While his psyche was fracturing. While he took more and more drugs to escape the foregoing. In a sense, it would have been shocking if it HAD worked out.

That said, I can't really comment one way or another on Dom's recent book...it came out when I was already deep into my own "Smile" research/writing, and so I resisted the urge to dive in and read the whole thing...for weird writers' reasons that are mostly visceral and hard to explain. I had a line on what I'd come to understand and what I wanted to say and sometimes reading another guy's version of the same story can really screw me up. That said, Dom is a cool guy and he figures in my book in his own distinct way.
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2006, 01:38:08 AM »

Hi Rob: Let's see...I talked to Brian, of course....VDP, Vosse, Mike, Al, Danny Hutton, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Jules Siegel, probably a few others. I read tons of stuff, listened to tons of stuff. What happened....hmm....my sense was that it was a lot more complicated than the version I grew up believing (in which aspiring but fragile Brian is smited by the surfin' troglodytes). Which isn't to say that that version is entirely wrong, or that some aspects of that story aren't exactly right. But what I kept coming back to in every aspect of BW's life is paradox.

I can't wait to read your book.  The personal and artistic tragedy at the heart of the Brian Wilson's (and The Beach Boys') story aside, one of the biggest fascinations for me about it is that, as you suggest here, it's enigmatic nature.  There's a sort of 'Rashomon'  quality about it.  It's like a riddle that's never been solved and, I don't know, may never be solved fully and to everyone's satisfaction.  Do you think you've come any closer to solving it, and if so, by how much? 
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2006, 02:44:58 AM »

Peter, does your book address in any fashion Brian's history of having partners who end up being replaced or shut out of Brian's inner circle?  Mike Love, Gary Usher, Andy Paley, Gene Landy, Joe Thomas, Van Dyke Parks, and perhaps others, all stuck with and supported Brian through different trying times, but eventually either left or were told to leave.  Certainly some, like Landy, needed to leave, but in the end, it seems like there is a big price to pay to get that close to Brian.  Even record companies seem to get the boot very quickly.
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2006, 05:30:46 AM »

sounds great!
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Peter Ames Carlin
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2006, 08:11:18 AM »

Charles: Yes, I tried to address Brian's revolving world of friends/collaborators. Again, it seems to come down most often to choices he made for himself, for often obscure reasons, which were then enforced by others, most often at BW's instigation. Despite what I (and possibily you) suspected for years and years, BW is way more responsible for his circumstances than it usually seems. When he wants something -- e.g., Alan Jardine in the Beach Boys, despite Murry's initial success at ejecting AJ in 9/61 -- he gets it. When he's done with someone -- Usher in '63 -- he's more than happy to let Murry have his way. If he'd wanted to stick with VDP and his "Smile" crew (Anderle, Vosse, etc.) in '66/'67 he could have, but ultimately the project (and related circumstances) ovewhelmed him, so he more than happily let Mike, et. al play the bad guy and get rid of them. And on and on through David Sandler (fizzled out when Warner asked Sandler to help BW produce a new Beach Boys album in '73), Andy Paley, etc. etc.

More on this later....gotta clean up the kitchen now.

pac
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2006, 08:20:32 AM »

Wow, Peter, that sounds great and very interesting !! Can't wait for your book !!
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2006, 08:24:53 AM »

Peter, does your book address in any fashion Brian's history of having partners who end up being replaced or shut out of Brian's inner circle?  Mike Love, Gary Usher, Andy Paley, Gene Landy, Joe Thomas, Van Dyke Parks, and perhaps others, all stuck with and supported Brian through different trying times, but eventually either left or were told to leave.  Certainly some, like Landy, needed to leave, but in the end, it seems like there is a big price to pay to get that close to Brian.  Even record companies seem to get the boot very quickly.

One of the better things about the Gaines book - he coigned the phrase "Brian's New Best Friend". Respect.
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2006, 08:51:49 AM »

Peter --

Will your book primarily be a Brian Wilson bio or will it focus time (not necessarily equally) on all six Beach Boys (YMMV on the number, up to 9)?  That is, will you only be addressing BB issues if Brian is on the stage?  I would especially be curious about the prime touring years (1971-4) and Denny's last years with the band.
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2006, 09:22:43 AM »

Peter,

Thanks for coming here and talking with us. I was wondering how you tackled the Landy years. Will there be any new insight into what the Landy/Wilson relationship consisted of? Will you be going in depth into Brian's stay in Hawaii during his rehabilitation? Who did you talk to about that era?

Thanks and I look forward to reading your book.
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2006, 10:00:35 AM »

Jeff: The book is primarily about Brian, but there's stuff on all the guys, to the extent that their lives intersect with BW's. But that's quite a bit, it seemed. There's a certain amount of stuff about the non-BW touring years in the early '70s, but it's not a huge chunk of material. Mostly I was trying to figure out what Brian was up to during those years, but i was also interested in how the Beach Boys figured in the larger cultural scene of the '70s, and how they adapted the themes they'd been working since the early '60s to fit the post-Woodstock era.

Landy....yeh, I tried to figure that out. It's a trick because many of the major players (particularly E.E. Landy himself) are either unwilling or legally restrained from speaking on the record. BW speaks about it a bit, and other witnesses have their own memories and impressions. But again, I came away with the sense that it was a little more complicated than it seems at first. Someone said: even Landy wasn't Landy until Brian made him that way. That stuck with me.

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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2006, 10:24:32 AM »

Someone said: even Landy wasn't Landy until Brian made him that way. That stuck with me.

That sounds related to the answer to my question.  The people who, on the surface, appeared to use Brian were being manipulated by Brian at the same time.
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2006, 10:45:42 AM »

Did Marilyn contribute anything to the book? Do we investigate his marriage and love life? What about Melinda? Any dirt on her?
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2006, 10:51:47 AM »

Bubba: I spoke to Marilyn briefly, but mostly ran up against her current husband Daniel, who for reasons I never quite understood resisted my many, many, many attempts to do a full-bore interview with Marilyn. Carnie was more cooperative. Melinda too. As for "dirt"....again, this is complicated stuff, and it's not always easy to say who's doing dirt to whom. Or why there is always a kind of Murry-like figure in Brian's life, who others can point to and say: he/she is the problem.
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2006, 10:54:52 AM »

Quote
Or why there is always a kind of Murry-like figure in Brian's life, who others can point to and say: he/she is the problem. 
 

EXACTLY! People just love to point the fingers.
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2006, 11:15:18 AM »

I know I do....


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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2006, 06:53:24 PM »

PAC,

I know you don't want to give too much away about your book's contents, but just a question...

Does Mike or Al comment on Brian's SMiLE tour?

Can't wait for the book! Great title, btw. Really strong.

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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2006, 08:19:17 PM »

I'll be buying it for sure!

Any new revelations about Brian's "lost years", i.e. the period after Spring but before Landy?
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2006, 09:30:50 PM »

Run: Mike had a lot to say about Brian's 'Smile,' but we didn't talk specifically about the tour. He was more interested in the album itself, and certain legal rights and privileges that might or might not have been violated.

Mr. Fear: I think those "lost years" were really about the death of Murry. And Dennis's life took a turn in mid-73 too, and not for the better. His ex-wife Barbara identifies that as the point where a cloud came over him. You could see it in Brian too: he put on a ton of weight, his personal habits got out of whack. And he didn't regain his balance 'til the next Murry -- E. Landy -- appeared.
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2006, 09:34:52 PM »

 Shocked

I never made that connection, but you are right -- everything in the BB world changed after Murry died.  Holland was finished before his death -- and they never made another artistically valid release after.  Dennis never took charge like before.  Brian disappeared.  Carl lost his battle for the heart of the touring band.  Could it be that Murry's death and not Endless Bummer was the watershed event for the band?  I could see that argument.
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