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Author Topic: Mike's leadership of the band  (Read 39874 times)
Bean Bag
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« Reply #100 on: May 09, 2013, 09:34:28 AM »

This discussion has gone all over the place and does reek a bit of dead horse... so I'm not sure I can add any value with this comment... but who cares, it's the Beach Boys and that's what we do here!!   Cheesy

I got into the Beach Boys as a kid in the early 80s... and I looked at Carl (at that time) as the serious one, the Wilson... the one with the brains and in the artistic/spiritual chair.  I figured he called the shots that mattered.

Mike was the clown.  The Mic Jagger dancing, cocky singer who probably thought he was the leader but sucked and people talked about him when he left the room.  Carl played guitar.  Mike looked silly.  Carl was cooler.

HOWEVER...  As "stuff" got released, and we're talking Wipeout, Kokomo, etc... it just seemed extremely LAME.  I like it now... but at the time, I rolled my eyes and sighed "well... it's something. And beggars can't be..."

As the Sheriff mentions... common sense told me this --- To me, what was getting released DID NOT mesh with Carl's persona.  It did fit EXACTLY with how I saw Mike: Shallow.  Cheesy.  I didn't put "blame" on Mike or anything like that.  I like Mike.  He doesn't bother me.  I was happy to have something.  But I just KNEW this wasn't what Carl Wilson or Brian Wilson, for that matter, sounded like in my mind.

Kokomo sounded like they rented Carl for the session.  That was my honest to God feeling upon hearing it.  "Well at least they got Carl on that part"  That was initial my thought.  Without doing any research or knowing anything about their history -- that's what I heard.

So... I do get your point about Carl being in charge.  But "the stuff" ... the evidence never really matched the image.  I'm sure Carl could pound his gavel if he wanted.  But he didn't.  Maybe because he didn't have anything to counter-offer and he wasn't a cocky dick, and therefore didn't need to get his way.
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« Reply #101 on: May 09, 2013, 09:54:31 AM »

So to hold out "Tears In Heaven" in some way as a comparison to what could have been with the Beach Boys releasing some fun in the sun romp, or whatever the case...

...it's missing the point, and the context of that song more than someone's perceived quality or lack thereof when hearing it in 2013 is ignoring what the public's reaction was in 1992 when the song came out.
That's a good point GFool.  Context.

I don't think you were replying to me necessarily, but I agree that context is essential to understanding why a song "hits."  I forget who posted about Clapton, but what I mentioned was related to Clapton's aesthetic and his move towards adult-soft rock --  AS COMPARED TO -- the Beach Boys "decay" into, what I'll call "gift-shop" quality, re-hashed "use once and discard" Beach Boy music.  And the fact that I still preferred THAT to Clapton's pop-excursions -- regardless of their context, appeal and connections.

Nothing profound.  Just my preference for sun-tanned harmonies and weak summer-metaphors over Clapton's pedestrian pop.  Tears in Heaven, for what it's worth was very touching given the events... but I didn't enjoy it and wasn't all that impressed with the song on a musical level.
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Cam Mott
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« Reply #102 on: May 09, 2013, 10:00:21 AM »

I remember Billy Hinsche saying once that Sail On Sailor was added to the setlist in the 90s by either Carl or Al, and against Mike's wishes, so at the very least he didn't have complete veto power.

Unbelievable that Mike was against "Sail On, Sailor". I know it's kinda "too easy" to box him in as the anti-artistic, don't-f***-with-the-formula guy, but things like this really do show him to be the kind of person his detractors think he is. But then, if you want to paint him as "anti artistic" he pulls out something like "All This Is That". But I have this sneaking suspicion that this song is only allowed because he wrote it, unlike Brian's more esoteric material. Because if anything, songs like "Sail On, Sailor", "Marcella", and "Heroes And Villains" are much more commercial than "All This Is That", yet Mike plays "All This Is That" much more.
I also think another factor in playing it is the TM themes that Mike always promotes. Hell, they played "everyone's in love with you" live in the 1970s, one of the worst songs on 15 big ones.

Mike is the most upfront about it but I'm pretty sure all 3 Wilsons and Al were/are also TMers.
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« Reply #103 on: May 09, 2013, 10:14:18 AM »



Kokomo sounded like they rented Carl for the session.  That was my honest to God feeling upon hearing it.  "Well at least they got Carl on that part"  That was initial my thought.  Without doing any research or knowing anything about their history -- that's what I heard.

So... I do get your point about Carl being in charge.  But "the stuff" ... the evidence never really matched the image.  I'm sure Carl could pound his gavel if he wanted.  But he didn't.  Maybe because he didn't have anything to counter-offer and he wasn't a cocky dick, and therefore didn't need to get his way.


All the evidence points that by the late 80's Carl had become 'rent a voice'. He always sang impeccable and sometimes his vocals could save a crappy song.... and sometimes not. Credits only tell half of the story, Carl was clearly in charge in the early 70's despite only writing a handful of songs. Lots had happened in Carl's life by the late 80's/early 90's and I think conquering the world again with the band was not a top priority. Heck I imagine just the fact that there was still a band to speak of at all by this point was good enough for him.
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« Reply #104 on: May 09, 2013, 10:18:51 AM »

I remember Billy Hinsche saying once that Sail On Sailor was added to the setlist in the 90s by either Carl or Al, and against Mike's wishes, so at the very least he didn't have complete veto power.

Unbelievable that Mike was against "Sail On, Sailor". I know it's kinda "too easy" to box him in as the anti-artistic, don't-f***-with-the-formula guy, but things like this really do show him to be the kind of person his detractors think he is. But then, if you want to paint him as "anti artistic" he pulls out something like "All This Is That". But I have this sneaking suspicion that this song is only allowed because he wrote it, unlike Brian's more esoteric material. Because if anything, songs like "Sail On, Sailor", "Marcella", and "Heroes And Villains" are much more commercial than "All This Is That", yet Mike plays "All This Is That" much more.
I also think another factor in playing it is the TM themes that Mike always promotes. Hell, they played "everyone's in love with you" live in the 1970s, one of the worst songs on 15 big ones.

Mike is the most upfront about it but I'm pretty sure all 3 Wilsons and Al were/are also TMers.

Brian was, but I believe isn't any more. Dennis wasn't, and I'm pretty sure Carl wasn't either (though both tried it briefly). Al definitely was/is, though.
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« Reply #105 on: May 09, 2013, 10:29:38 AM »

Carl did meditate regularly into the '90s, but he switched to a different type of meditation from TM, using tapes (possibly some form of mindfullness meditation). I accidentally interrupted his meditation session with a phone call one time, and apologized profusely. Carl was gracious as usual, but I was mollified.

As for Dennis, could he have stayed still long enough to meditate?


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« Reply #106 on: May 09, 2013, 10:36:03 AM »

I know Brian completed training to be a TM [Spiritual Rejuvenation] instructor in late '66 and "graduated" with a ceremony and everything. Didn't Dennis introduce the rest of the group to TM?
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« Reply #107 on: May 09, 2013, 10:37:22 AM »

I think Brian's real opinion on TM was said though the bizarre songs he made about it. (TM, TM song)
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« Reply #108 on: May 09, 2013, 11:16:05 AM »


Brian was, but I believe isn't any more. Dennis wasn't, and I'm pretty sure Carl wasn't either (though both tried it briefly). Al definitely was/is, though.

Al presumably has mixed feelings though if his interview with ESQ from a few years back is anything to go by. I think he called Mike a dumb sap for believing that TM was going to fix things.
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« Reply #109 on: May 09, 2013, 12:51:20 PM »

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Pinder's Gone To Kokomo And Back Again
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« Reply #110 on: May 09, 2013, 01:02:45 PM »

I think with The Beach Boys "band dynamics" are much muddier than in most of our experiences (those of us who are musicians. Or in my case: "musicians") ..... Most bands revolve around a single songwriter, a few musicians, and the dynamics define themselves around this core fact. Or like Sting put it: bands start off as democracies and then roles become defined.... The Beach Boys were always a collaborative/family outfit of singers based around Brian and a revolving door of lyricists/contributors: mainly Mike by virtue of his being in the band and being basically the lead singer.... This same lead singer was perfectly fine being reduced to singing "bad luck, no more" over and over in the background only a few years later when the band had blossomed into an honest-to-God democracy (with Carl calling the shots live) .... Each guy got their moments to be the front-man and each guy had the option, opportunity to get their material on the albums without a single leader to appeal to or maneuver around..... Therefore, this being the case, there really was no leader or controller. If people want to complain/blame Mike for "controlling" or "leading The Beach Boys whenever they don't like The Beach Boys it is completely fair to hold up one's hand and ask "Well, why weren't the other guys contributing songs and creative direction"? Unless we see legal documents blocking Carl, Al, or Brian from contributing I'm going to blame them for Summer In Paradise as much as I'll blame Mike.
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« Reply #111 on: May 09, 2013, 01:44:08 PM »

So to hold out "Tears In Heaven" in some way as a comparison to what could have been with the Beach Boys releasing some fun in the sun romp, or whatever the case...

...it's missing the point, and the context of that song more than someone's perceived quality or lack thereof when hearing it in 2013 is ignoring what the public's reaction was in 1992 when the song came out.
That's a good point GFool.  Context.

I don't think you were replying to me necessarily, but I agree that context is essential to understanding why a song "hits."  I forget who posted about Clapton, but what I mentioned was related to Clapton's aesthetic and his move towards adult-soft rock --  AS COMPARED TO -- the Beach Boys "decay" into, what I'll call "gift-shop" quality, re-hashed "use once and discard" Beach Boy music.  And the fact that I still preferred THAT to Clapton's pop-excursions -- regardless of their context, appeal and connections.

Nothing profound.  Just my preference for sun-tanned harmonies and weak summer-metaphors over Clapton's pedestrian pop.  Tears in Heaven, for what it's worth was very touching given the events... but I didn't enjoy it and wasn't all that impressed with the song on a musical level.


I brought up Tears in Heaven (which I happen to think is a lovely song, but no matter). I wasn't comparing the quality of that song to the quality of Beach Boys material at that time so much as comparing the opportunity for chart success. I was well aware, both at the time and now, of the context surrounding Tears in Heaven, but I was unsure-- I was prepubescent at the time-- if the general public really knew the roots of the song well enough to catapult it to its high chart position. I assumed that it had to have also been due to the fact it's a sweet, pleasant song*.

 *your mileage may vary

However, Clapton and the Boys were both artists from the 60s with some later career success and some questionable musical decisions behind them. My point was: The Boys weren't necessarily totally out of the running for some chart success at that point in time. But, of course, the back story behind Tears in Heaven may have played a bigger part than I realized in the single's success, so...

Wait, what did I come here to say again? Ah well. Screw Clapton.
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« Reply #112 on: May 09, 2013, 06:48:55 PM »

I think with The Beach Boys "band dynamics" are much muddier than in most of our experiences (those of us who are musicians. Or in my case: "musicians") ..... Most bands revolve around a single songwriter, a few musicians, and the dynamics define themselves around this core fact. Or like Sting put it: bands start off as democracies and then roles become defined.... The Beach Boys were always a collaborative/family outfit of singers based around Brian and a revolving door of lyricists/contributors: mainly Mike by virtue of his being in the band and being basically the lead singer.... This same lead singer was perfectly fine being reduced to singing "bad luck, no more" over and over in the background only a few years later when the band had blossomed into an honest-to-God democracy (with Carl calling the shots live) .... Each guy got their moments to be the front-man and each guy had the option, opportunity to get their material on the albums without a single leader to appeal to or maneuver around..... Therefore, this being the case, there really was no leader or controller. If people want to complain/blame Mike for "controlling" or "leading The Beach Boys whenever they don't like The Beach Boys it is completely fair to hold up one's hand and ask "Well, why weren't the other guys contributing songs and creative direction"? Unless we see legal documents blocking Carl, Al, or Brian from contributing I'm going to blame them for Summer In Paradise as much as I'll blame Mike.
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Gertie J.
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« Reply #113 on: May 09, 2013, 07:17:36 PM »



whats the hells going on with them?!?!!
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« Reply #114 on: May 09, 2013, 09:20:43 PM »

Leader and dictator do not mean the same thing.

Just because a leader does not have absolute power in the band, and is not responsible for every single decision that is made, does not mean he/she is not a "leader."  A leader is the person who sets the direction and generally has the final say in decisions that are made.  I lead my band.  But there are times they don't want to something I want to do.  Do I make them do it? Sometimes, and sometimes I don't.  Too many times making people what they don't want to do and guess what?  You don't have a band any more.  Part of being a leader and staying a leader is knowing how to keep your troops motivated and in line and moving forward.

So this whole Mike wasn't the leader because Brian or Al got a song on or whatever, saying absence of absolute control is disproving someone's leadership role -- it totally misunderstands what band dynamics are, and what the nature of leadership is.  Silly.

This is what I'm saying except about Carl. When four guys are equal partners the decisions have many owners, you have various people taking a lead on this and that  but there is one guy who is looked to as leader and that was Carl.

Sez you.  It's an opinion where there's no evidence to back up that statement past, at the very latest, 1985.  Leader of the live band, yes.  Leader of the band overall, no.  The first in no way the same as the second.  For example, I was music director -- which is leadership of the live band -- in the Standells for a year.  I was "Carl."  Was I the leader overall?  No.  Larry Tamblyn was.  Larry was "Mike."  We had a disagreement artistically very similar to Carl and Mike's.  Guess what?  I'm not in the band anymore.  Larry is.

And that's the reality of how these things work, regardless of how anyone would like to believe otherwise.
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« Reply #115 on: May 09, 2013, 09:28:18 PM »



whats the hells going on with them?!?!!

All making a wish to blow out the candles on a  giant birthday cake...or

It took the photographer so long to load film in his camera they all fell asleep....or

They are trying to mediate but that guy on the left had beans and cabbage for lunch.
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« Reply #116 on: May 09, 2013, 11:29:52 PM »



Does anybody else get the feeling Ricky wasn't taking it that seriously?
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« Reply #117 on: May 10, 2013, 03:04:51 AM »

Leader and dictator do not mean the same thing.

Just because a leader does not have absolute power in the band, and is not responsible for every single decision that is made, does not mean he/she is not a "leader."  A leader is the person who sets the direction and generally has the final say in decisions that are made.  I lead my band.  But there are times they don't want to something I want to do.  Do I make them do it? Sometimes, and sometimes I don't.  Too many times making people what they don't want to do and guess what?  You don't have a band any more.  Part of being a leader and staying a leader is knowing how to keep your troops motivated and in line and moving forward.

So this whole Mike wasn't the leader because Brian or Al got a song on or whatever, saying absence of absolute control is disproving someone's leadership role -- it totally misunderstands what band dynamics are, and what the nature of leadership is.  Silly.

This is what I'm saying except about Carl. When four guys are equal partners the decisions have many owners, you have various people taking a lead on this and that  but there is one guy who is looked to as leader and that was Carl.

Sez you.  It's an opinion where there's no evidence to back up that statement past, at the very latest, 1985.  Leader of the live band, yes.  Leader of the band overall, no.  The first in no way the same as the second.  For example, I was music director -- which is leadership of the live band -- in the Standells for a year.  I was "Carl."  Was I the leader overall?  No.  Larry Tamblyn was.  Larry was "Mike."  We had a disagreement artistically very similar to Carl and Mike's.  Guess what?  I'm not in the band anymore.  Larry is.

And that's the reality of how these things work, regardless of how anyone would like to believe otherwise.

Right, that's my opinion and you have yours and none of us have proof.
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« Reply #118 on: May 10, 2013, 01:51:09 PM »

True.  But we do have EVIDENCE.  Evidence and proof are not the same thing, and evidence not rising to the level of proof does not invalidate it -- that's not what it's for.  When there is no proof, the logical mind weighs evidence of conflicting propositions to reach a conclusion.  Confusing evidence for proof is the hallmark of losing argument...if the evidence doesn't back up one's argument, the last resort is, "well, you can't PROVE it..."

You can't prove a UFO didn't just land in my backyard, either.  But since there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it did, I wouldn't expect anybody to take the proposition seriously.

I think, actually, you're having us all on a bit by sticking doggedly to this line of thinking.  If so, kudos.  
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« Reply #119 on: May 10, 2013, 02:38:26 PM »

I agree but we don't necessarily accept each other's interpretation of the evidence and there is no proof to settle it.
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« Reply #120 on: May 10, 2013, 06:52:38 PM »

Your command of word salad is awesome.  Kudos from a performance art standpoint.
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Cam Mott
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« Reply #121 on: May 10, 2013, 06:58:20 PM »

Your command of word salad is awesome.  Kudos from a performance art standpoint.

Thank you.
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« Reply #122 on: May 12, 2013, 02:29:42 AM »

I think maybe Cam (not speaking for you) sees a leader as a different thing than most of us do. That's his choice, and while I very much see Mike gaining ground from 1973-85, and feel he took charge from 1986 on, we honestly can't know who voted what. IF that's how you want to define a leader.

Beyond the surface I would guess the way the group divided after Carl died should tell us the most about who felt closest to who at that time. I think the way they are divided now reflects that as well. Obviously when band members came and went from 1962-97 there were always reasons that reflected the reality of that given period. I think we can make a very educated guess, but The Beach Boys have always kept me guessing to some extent. I mean Dennis defended doing the Maharishi tour as late as 1976 and who would expect that!

David does seem to be the one person who has the best perspective (or most able to understand both sides) because he was out of the group for so many years. So many worthy artists don't get a second chance at proper recognition and I am happy to say that through Jon, and of course David's talent, he is one of those rare people that really got perceptions changed about them. I hope all writers in the future will continue to give Dave his truly deserved credit, and I know I have made that a real point myself. I don't know of anything too personal after Jon's book, so I don't know if he too has now had to make a choice between them as people. As an artist I would think it makes more sense for him to be with Brian now, but personally that may not reflect any dislike of Mike or Bruce. However he stayed quiet after the so called firing of Brian, which I must say was a choice I applaud him for. Not that I am not curious to some degree, but I would think he is more the type to try to talk to someone direct instead of through their "people" in public.

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« Reply #123 on: May 12, 2013, 05:20:50 AM »

No, I see it the same way you guys do.

I think the problem is the band took a direction and many mistakenly believe only one guy was on board with that direction and therefore he must be leader. There were many equal leaders [who looked to Carl as the "leader" amongst leaders] and there was much consensus is what I'm saying.
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« Reply #124 on: May 12, 2013, 04:09:09 PM »

If you call my name
It's but one of many by which I'm known
The borneless one
There is no pain or anger that I am not
Hell will come
He will come
Two nails in the palm of the hand
Hell will come

I press the dagger to the center of my heart
Of my heart
I draw you close within the circle of my arms
Of my arms

Asar Un Nefer

This my spirit hell
From me come all things black and bright
In the name of the damned
My infernal service is at hand
Hell will come
He will come
Two nails in the palm of the hand
Hell will come

I press the dagger to the center of my heart
Of my heart
I draw you close within the circle of my arms
Of my arms

Asar Un Nefer
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Tell me it's okay.
Tell me you still love me.
People make mistakes.
People make mistakes.
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