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ontor pertawst
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« on: August 16, 2012, 11:46:47 AM »

Zeppo Wilson: The Beach Boy Time Forgot

Notes and Research by Andre Perkowski



Figure 143. Zeppo Wilson, AKA: "The Lostest Beach Boy," "The Firmly Forgotten Beach Boy," "The Real Reason Smile Wasn't Completed"

While Beach Boys scholarship continues chugging along nicely, filling in vast swathes of previously murkily sketched areas and highlighting often under-appreciated band members, for some reason research into the life of Herbert Manfred "Zeppo" Wilson is sorely lacking.The Middle-Middle Brother of the Wilson clan, Zeppo's disdain for publicity and lack of a mailing address have made contact difficult if not annoying. Let's try to pool our resources and see if we can correct the history books once and for all.

There are different theories as to where Zeppo got his stage name: Al Jardine said in a press conference for the Carnegie Hall concert in 1971 that the name was derived from the Zeppelin airship. Zeppo's ex-wife Barbara Sinatra repeats this in her 2011 book, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank; only with more emphatic hand gestures. Mike Love insists that he was the one who coined the nickname, adding that he also came up with the hook in "Good Vibrations."



Figure 144. Zeppo Wilson in a Beach Boys promo shot before being airbrushed out

The popular assumption that his role in the band was superfluous was fueled in part by Brian Wilson. According to Brian's own ghostwritten story, when the group signed to Capitol Records and it was revealed how the money would be split, Brian Wilson replied "We're twice as good without Zeppo!"

LORREN DARO: "He was as mean as Murry. It's not surprising that he became a Hollywood agent. Can you imagine any of the other Wilson brothers becoming an agent? Of course not. Zeppo didn't give a sh*t about surfing, but he sure cared about percentages."

Buried in court transcripts of the Mike Love vs. Brian Wilson legal maelstrom is testimony from a Sandra Glick of Pico Rivera who insisted that Zeppo was responsible for Mike Love not getting credited for anything, "He said we should put everything in an extremely small font and apparently that was enough to fool him."



Figure 147. Zeppo Wilson introduces the Maharishi to the rest of the band. Notice how Brian looks to Zeppo for guidance.

His brief enthusiasm for Transcendental Meditation shoved Mike Love into a creative cul-de-sac he reportedly never emerged from despite "doing that funny cross-legged sitting down for like, minutes at a time" according to former BRI production assistant Jimmy Agnello.

VAN DYKE PARKS: "He was as fast as a mongoose who forgot about the snake entirely in favor of going into advertising. He was the real reason Smile never came out."

Let us pay homage to a difficult, apparently deeply conflicted man.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 09:30:24 PM by ontor pertawst » Logged
ontor pertawst
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 12:29:15 PM »



DANNY HUTTON: "Offstage, he was actually the most musically talented of the Beach Boys. He had this way of holding the guitar that meant business. I guess that's why he didn't play any gigs with them live, he knew he'd make them look besides the point. We tried to write a song together and I'm pretty sure I ended up hitting him, or he hit me. Somebody hit somebody. (chuckles)"



AL JARDINE: "He's responsible for my growing a beard back then. He kept ribbing me and calling me Ron Howard. Once everybody else started doing it too, I figured it was time for a change. To this day, when I wake up in the morning and shave... I think of Zeppo. Then I start thinking about my favorite episodes of Happy Days."



BRIAN WILSON: "I was 19. Dennis was 15. Carl was 17. I was 19, Zeppo was 16. Mike was 18. Al was 19. I was 19, too. And so we wrote a song called "Surfin'" in my living room. We were all playing and singing and Mike and I wrote a song called "Surfin'" and that's how it all started. I never surfed."
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 11:19:18 AM by ontor pertawst » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 12:55:32 PM »



I love you.


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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 12:59:34 PM »

I would love to hear Mike's thoughts on his cousin Zeppo.
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 01:01:05 PM »

(cracks knuckles)
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 01:03:15 PM »




BRIAN WILSON: "I was 19. Dennis was 15. Carl was 17. I was 19, Zeppo was 16. Mike was 18. Al was 19. I was 19, too. And so we wrote a song called "Surfin'" in my living room. We were all playing and singing and Mike and I wrote a song called "Surfin'" and that's how it all started. I never surfed."


^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 01:22:15 PM »



FANTASY MIKE LOVE: "Yeah, it was Zeppo that told us that the Maharishi was someone we should pay attention to and he booked our flights for India in February of ’68. We all went down there and the Beatles were there as well, and so was Donovan, and Mia Farrow was there for a little while. Mia Farrow and her sister, I can't remember her name but the Beatles wrote Dear Prudence about her. It was actually a teacher-training course, a gathering to train teachers of Transcendental Meditation but Zeppo didn't tell us that. I didn’t really realize that that was the case when I first went there, I was so new to meditation... I mean, I thought meditation was something to do with air conditioning. Zeppo claimed to have been doing it for years, but I never saw it.

So, Zeppo and I are eating breakfast one morning when Paul McCartney from the Beatles came to the table with his acoustic guitar and he kept saying "Hey Zeppo! Hey Michael! Will you listen to this... I flew in from Miami Beach, BOAC," and he sang us the original version of ‘Back in the USSR’ and I told Paul...well, you ought to talk about all the girls around Russia like we talked about all the girls around the world in ‘California Girls’ and he did. Zeppo told him he should make it a Beatles song and he agreed with that too."



Figure 43535. People more famous than you'll ever be.
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 02:09:25 PM »

THE ROLE OF ZEPPO WILSON IN THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY


As the two last surviving Wilson brothers, Brian and Zeppo's participation in the reunion was deemed "almost positively crucial, I'm sure of it" by Capitol Records and indeed, it was Zeppo's business acumen and ability to read attachments sent with emails that made the reunion possible in the first place. Displaying his characteristic ruthless modesty, Zeppo insisted on staying strictly behind the scenes in a logistical support role. He worked tirelessly for days just constructing Mike Love's color coordination timetable, and there are rumors that he's directly responsible for rhyming "spring vacation" with "good vibration."
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 02:35:15 PM »



CYBORG BRUCE HISTORICAL JOHNSTON: "By the time I got into the band, Zeppo was coming around less and less because, let's face it, he had less and less to do. Sometimes he'd stand at the back and hold a tambourine, but for the most part his main function as a Beach Boy seemed to be to be really sarcastic to people. So. Fast forward to Smile. Suddenly Zeppo is the hippie to end all hippies and every word out of his mouth is far out this, psychedelic that. It was scary. Everybody said he was really talented and I was just jealous and didn't "get" Zeppo. No, not jealous. It was more frustration than jealousy. It was about the way Zeppo was treating us and the reputation of the band. Up until 1967 it was no worries mate, put another shrimp on the barbie as they say in Australia. Then Zeppo takes LSD, starts feeding it to Brian, starts putting it in Dennis' orange juice and suddenly all of our livelihoods are in jeopardy. The Beach Boys are and were a business, it's just a job to me. What would you do? Am I supposed to be ashamed of trying to save Zeppo from self-destruction? We threw him out of the band but it was the only way to try to get him to straighten out. He did, so we were right. But he was still sarcastic even off drugs."
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 04:25:37 PM »

I'm sorry but this needs to be stickied.
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 04:45:57 PM »

Zeppo is not in Wikepedia nor is he on AGD's site. This oversight needs to be addressed!
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 04:51:50 PM »

And what of Gummo, the even murkier figure in BB history? He was forcibly ejected from the family home by Murry for a perceived transgression as a pre-teen and left to fend for himself on the mean streets of Hawthorne. Little more is known....
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ontor pertawst
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 05:28:01 PM »



Figure 352. Mike and Zeppo, Happier Times.

The fragile yin/yang relationship of the Beach Boys can best be understood by examining the tense give and take between Zeppo Wilson and Mike Love -- see for example the feud that turned physical over who REALLY kept the summer alive. Friends, enemies, cousins: they never actually wrote a song together, but Zeppo to this day is irritated over Mike getting 30% of the royalties for them. Despite their almost desperate dive into Transcendental Meditation, they never managed to heal the rift this caused. A rift that became a chasm, a chasm that became a vortex... a vortex that in 1999 claimed the life of a youngish Matt Jardine, who to this day is impersonated by a series of convicted criminals as a sign of respect.
 
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 06:04:38 PM »



Figure 2525. Relaxing in Big Sur, 90s.

AL JARDINE: "Despite what he did to my son, I'd invite him up every couple of months... he liked getting out of Los Angeles. We'd feed goats, take long walks. We'd talk about old times. A lot of people don't know that he was responsible for my leaving the band. He just "forgot" to tell me about rehearsals and I got so bored of waiting around I decided to go to school. Brian thought it was hilarious when he found out, of course. Zeppo was always playing pranks like that. He lit up like a Christmas tree when I fell into my well."
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 08:51:07 PM »

Do you people see what happens when you start a "least essential Beach Boy" thread? Huh? Do ya?

Don't let THIS happen to you. Give generously to The Michael Edward Love Foundation.
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2012, 09:24:24 PM »



Figure 5776. Zeppo confronts Phil Spector

Disturbed by Brian's insistence that Phil Spector conspired with director John Frankenheimer to make his film "SECONDS" some kind of "mind gangster assault" on his brain, Zeppo handled the matter in a distinctly Zeppovian way, marching right into a session.



HAL BLAINE: "He started extending his arms and spinning in circles like that guy in um, what's that game... 'Final Fight' I think. Instruments were going everywhere. Maracas were slamming into tack pianos. Phil was going ballistic. He ran down from the control room."

CAROL KAYE: "And Spector ran a tight ship. He liked to have fun but he worked hard and got the job done, he was a perfectionist. I know because I was there."

HAL BLAINE: "Phil starts spittin' cotton almost, just goshdarn this f*** that, Wilson this, Zeppo that. Zeppo is still spinning in circles, music sheets are everywhere. Now this is session time, so it's costing a lot of money. Finally Zeppo slows down, points at Spector..."

CAROL KAYE: "He told him, 'Call off your mind gangsters!' and Spector started squawking like a parrot. Hal cracked a joke and the tension kind of died down. We got back to work."




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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2012, 09:42:04 PM »

As I understand it, Gummo Wilson was more talented than Brian. He was the oldest of the brothers and unfortunately died in the Korean war before the group started.
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 09:45:35 PM »

The event that "broke Murry's heart" as Audree put it. He took to his bed  playing "Two Step Side Step" for sixteen hours solid upon receiving the news.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcJIn8rUZUw

Some say that it led directly to his death twenty some-odd years later.



Figure 2425. Pacific Ocean Blues: Three Wilsons, One Big Mess

Often cast in the role of "enforcer" or "hatchet man" for the Beach Boys, Zeppo was entrusted with handling tricky family business, which got even trickier in the difficult years after the death of Murry. Here he is at the exact moment following his firm ultimatum to Dennis Wilson that he cannot tour as a solo act AND be a Beach Boy. Dennis was crushed, and Zeppo "found it all rather hilarious, especially when Dennis started crying and crooning soulfully between gasping sobs" according to Barbara Sinatra on a February 23, 1993 interview on Larry King Live. Larry King went on to say how interesting that was and announce an upcoming interview with funnyman Gabe Kaplan.
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2012, 10:01:48 PM »






Whoo! Saturday Night Slam Masters!!!
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2012, 10:47:58 PM »

FANTASY MIKE LOVE: "By the eighties, some of our critics were saying that we weren't keeping the summer alive anymore, it was barely on life support. The summer was flatlining. The summer was in dire need of resuscitation. That's when a little thing called 'Kokomo' changed everything. I have to hand it to Zeppo, he recognized quality when he saw it. He backed me 100%."

BRIAN WILSON: "I really like 'Kokomo.' I wish I was on it. Zeppo kept calling, leaving messages. 'Brian, Brian, we're recording! You have to be on Kokomo!" And I really wanted to do it, but I wasn't on it. Zeppo was really angry at me for a while so I stayed away from his house. He was sleeping in my living room, so it was real hard to do."

The Beach Boys are currently performing "Kokomo" on their extremely successful 50th Anniversary Tour.

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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2012, 11:57:25 PM »



Figure 5776. Zeppo confronts Phil Spector

Disturbed by Brian's insistence that Phil Spector conspired with director John Frankenheimer to make his film "SECONDS" some kind of "mind gangster assault" on his brain, Zeppo handled the matter in a distinctly Zeppovian way, marching right into a session.



HAL BLAINE: "He started extending his arms and spinning in circles like that guy in um, what's that game... 'Final Fight' I think. Instruments were going everywhere. Maracas were slamming into tack pianos. Phil was going ballistic. He ran down from the control room."

CAROL KAYE: "And Spector ran a tight ship. He liked to have fun but he worked hard and got the job done, he was a perfectionist. I know because I was there."

HAL BLAINE: "Phil starts spittin' cotton almost, just goshdarn this f*** that, Wilson this, Zeppo that. Zeppo is still spinning in circles, music sheets are everywhere. Now this is session time, so it's costing a lot of money. Finally Zeppo slows down, points at Spector..."

CAROL KAYE: "He told him, 'Call off your mind gangsters!' and Spector started squawking like a parrot. Hal cracked a joke and the tension kind of died down. We got back to work."






Gummo was kind of like the Charles Crumb to Zeppo's Robert, or Jack's older brother (forgot his name), killed in WWII, to J.F.K. BTW this is hilarious, as is the whole thread, nice work.
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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2012, 12:41:56 AM »

This is the balls-out weirdest thread ever, particularly if you get the Marx in-jokes.  I have to wonder if Boyd had a hand in this...
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« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2012, 01:32:57 AM »

Now hold on just a minute there, sir. This is Murry Wilson speaking to you. Now I'm not going to sit here and an allow an honorable, decent man like Zeppo be slandered by two-timing cons and hoodlums! That was a pack of lies! In every way Zeppo conducted himself, he was an utmost professional and a valuable member of the Beach Boys singing group. Just ask Carl, or Al - anyone except Brian, because he's probably too fried out of his overblown head to answer!

On many an occasion I had the pleasure to hear Zeppo sing, and he was angel with a strong soprano. Never once did I witness or was a party to Zeppo smoking or otherwise ingesting any illicit substances, including both marijuana and LSD. When the time came to screw Mike and Al out of royalties, not once did Zeppo say anything untoward. He understood that the Beach Boys were a family group built on harmony and family kinship, not ego or lies. The money stayed within the Wilson family, where it belonged, instead of the pockets of some Hollywood fat cat with a slick tongue.

In fact, I trained Zeppo as my right hand man, and it was with great joy that I watched him become a fine agent and a reputable businessman. Bruce Johnston could eat his shorts for all I care, although with how small they are I doubt it would make for much of a meal.

Love always,

Murry Wilson
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« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2012, 04:11:12 AM »

Ontor, I love you man.
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All roads lead to Kokomo. Exhaustive research in time travel has conclusively proven that there is no alternate universe WITHOUT Kokomo. It would've happened regardless.
What is this "life" thing you speak of ?

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« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2012, 06:43:52 AM »

This just in from Probyn Gregory: "Not many people realize that Zeppo was a diehard fan of Pez candy, in fact, his nom de guerre is short for Operation Pez, backwards."

I just reread all this. Apparently I had a very strange Thursday.
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