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Author Topic: Post Pet Sounds: Brian's vision vs the band's vision  (Read 8635 times)
Smile4ever
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« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2013, 07:56:00 PM »

Great points. I don't really have a problem with them embracing their past in 1974. It was definitely the right time for it. I just wish they wouldn't have perpetuated it for the rest of their careers. It would be nice if they more diversified hit material to fall back on. And by the late 70s and early 80s they were clearly just trying to imitate themselves in the 60s.

I have no issue with 1974. Just the mantra that came after.
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2013, 08:54:33 AM »

Mike's interest in making retro music has been greatly exaggerated. That's more Brian's thing. Mike was always much more interested in staying current.

I think that's true. Until 1974 came around and Mike decided that he would act like it was 1963 for the rest of his life.

I just want to address that specific 1974-75 period for a second. This is an (incomplete, albeit selective) list of No. 1 songs from 1974-75:

1974:
"You're Sixteen" - Ringo Starr
"Season's In The Sun" - Terry Jacks
"Sunshine On My Shoulders" - John Denver
"The Loco-Motion" - Grand Funk
"The Streak" - Ray Stevens
"You're Having My Baby" - Paul Anka
"Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" - John Lennon
"I Can Help" - Billy Swan

1975:
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" - Elton John
"Please Mr. Postman" - The Carpenters
"He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" - Tony Orlando & dawn
"My Eyes Adored You" - Frankie Valli
"Before The Next Teardrop Falls" - Freddy Fender
"Love Will Keep Us Together" - Captain & Tennille
"Listen To What The Man Said" - Wings
"Rhinestone Cowboy" - Glen Campbell

So, what's the point? Grin I'm not sure they - The Beach Boys - felt that they were "going back" or not being hip or taking a back seat to the current crop of artists and songs that were popular. During that particular time frame, the U.S. was just getting out of Vietnam, getting over Nixon, and experiencing "happy" days again, literally. You had the popularity of American Graffiti, the TV shows Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and the impending bicentennial. Fun is in, it's no sin! It was hip to cruise in your car again, to like old time rock & roll, to have long hair and a beard but NOT be a hippie.

The Beach Boys were perfect for that time. Perfect. They could be themselves and still be cool. I mean, look at some of the hit songs they were competing against. They didn't have to force anything. They didn't need a SMiLE to compete. "Beach Boyish" music was still better than most. They were the real deal. The "hip" music of that day was disco music (which was coming) and glitter/glam rock. It wasn't Surf's Up, Carl & The Passions, or Holland-like.

Of course by 1977 all of that would change, or start to change. That's another topic for another thread. But, in my opinion, and as someone who lived through that period, The Beach Boys going back or going retro or giving up what they built in 1970-73 was not seen as a bad thing. I know that's what most fans wanted and, if the group didn't really believe it or weren't really behind it, boy, they sure fooled the public for a few years.
Great assessment and on the money. Music fans steered their course. There are no two ways about it. I think anyone who lived through that era understands why things unfolded as they did.
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The Brianista Prayer

Oh Brian
Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
clack
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« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 09:47:09 AM »

Of course by 1977 all of that would change, or start to change. That's another topic for another thread. But, in my opinion, and as someone who lived through that period, The Beach Boys going back or going retro or giving up what they built in 1970-73 was not seen as a bad thing. I know that's what most fans wanted and, if the group didn't really believe it or weren't really behind it, boy, they sure fooled the public for a few years.
For all the talk of how 74-76 were key years, I think the 77-80 era was a more decisive turning point for the band. Just when the New Wave was returning to 63-66 music for inspiration, the Beach Boys decided, post Love You, to throw in their lot with MOR light rock.

But, as you say, another topic, another thread...
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2013, 10:18:02 AM »

Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, Friends - each one a completely different album from the one before and each one a bigger flop than the last. If anyone of those 3 had been a hit I think the band would have carried on in that direction. I think Brian took their failures particularly hard. I also think he was much less bummed about junking Smile as he was the failure of the following three records. In fact I think without others pushing him to do so Brian would have never made another album after 1968. He still had the talent for another few years but the drive just wasn't there anymore. Sunflower must have been seen as a fresh start on many levels but it's lack of sales killed his confidence in his abilties and his percieved relevance in the post 60's music scene.
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« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2013, 10:22:11 AM »

Of course by 1977 all of that would change, or start to change. That's another topic for another thread. But, in my opinion, and as someone who lived through that period, The Beach Boys going back or going retro or giving up what they built in 1970-73 was not seen as a bad thing. I know that's what most fans wanted and, if the group didn't really believe it or weren't really behind it, boy, they sure fooled the public for a few years.
For all the talk of how 74-76 were key years, I think the 77-80 era was a more decisive turning point for the band. Just when the New Wave was returning to 63-66 music for inspiration, the Beach Boys decided, post Love You, to throw in their lot with MOR light rock.

But, as you say, another topic, another thread...

Yes, clack, in my opinion, the choices that were made in the 1977-1980 period were as important as the choices that were made in 1974-76.

I never had a problem with the change in the set list in 1974-75 and the decision to record an oldies album (which 15 Big Ones was originally going to be). First, the set list wasn't entirely oldies; there was still a sprinkling of more "artistic" songs and recent songs thrown in there. But, as far as 15 Big Ones was concerned, it coulda been a contender, it coulda been someone, instead of a bum...Seriously, if done right, there was nothing wrong with taking one album - one album! - and recording a cool album of rock & roll oldies, especially by a group who had a track record of mastering them like The Beach Boys did. Other artists attempted similar albums - Bob Dylan and John Lennon to name two. Plus, they were still in an era of churning out an album per year, so they could've moved on and transitioned into something entirely different if they chose to.

Taking that year or two or three (1974-76) didn't blow everything to hell. They came out of 15 Big Ones wounded, staggered, and scarred, but they were still very popular, in demand, and could've STILL made the artistic statement that the "other" fans and critics longed for. To me, THAT'S when they blew it. But, man, it would take pages to discuss that. Drugs, alcohol, mental illness, and more drugs...
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Mike's Beard
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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2013, 10:32:34 AM »

Why pour your heart and soul into making new music if it's reception at best is polite, scattered applause and at worst results in some idiot yelling out for Barabra Ann? Eventually you're going to think 'f*** it', give the people what they want, pick up a fat paycheck and go home. I think the band (including Mike) held out from becoming a touring jukebox much longer than some people want to give them credit for.
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drbeachboy
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2013, 11:15:18 AM »

Why pour your heart and soul into making new music if it's reception at best is polite, scattered applause and at worst results in some idiot yelling out for Barabra Ann? Eventually you're going to think 'f*** it', give the people what they want, pick up a fat paycheck and go home. I think the band (including Mike) held out from becoming a touring jukebox much longer than some people want to give them credit for.
Absolutely correct. That is exactly what happened.
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The Brianista Prayer

Oh Brian
Thou Art In Hawthorne,
Harmonied Be Thy name
Your Kingdom Come,
Your Steak Well Done,
On Stage As It Is In Studio,
Give Us This Day, Our Shortenin' Bread
And Forgive Us Our Bootlegs,
As We Also Have Forgiven Our Wife And Managers,
And Lead Us Not Into Kokomo,
But Deliver Us From Mike Love.
Amen.  ---hypehat
anazgnos
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2013, 11:17:46 AM »

There's always a tendency to say "think of what Brian could have done if he'd just had the full support of the group", and it's valid, but the impression I get is that the boys would have been thrilled for Brian just to keep on contributing or leading like he had in the 67/68 period and would have happily gone along with any leadership he'd shown, regardless of whether they were 'flops' commercially.  It seems like all the way through late '77 they thought a Brian in charge was their first, best hope.

I mean, one imagines Brian had the full support of American Spring, but he still couldn't finish their album.
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hypehat
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« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2013, 02:11:53 PM »

Why pour your heart and soul into making new music if it's reception at best is polite, scattered applause and at worst results in some idiot yelling out for Barabra Ann? Eventually you're going to think 'f*** it', give the people what they want, pick up a fat paycheck and go home. I think the band (including Mike) held out from becoming a touring jukebox much longer than some people want to give them credit for.
Absolutely correct. That is exactly what happened.

Of course they threw in the towel just as that sea change was taking place - I guess Capitol can be blamed for that, forcing their hand with Endless Summer.

But at least they didn't mix their metaphors, as I'm doing....
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« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2013, 02:30:13 PM »

Everyone involved is and was an asshole!

End of story.

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Justin
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« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2013, 04:00:12 PM »

And the ones who had the most talent (Dennis, Carl) were the least likely to want to go backward stylistically.


In a way I think a part of me wonders why it took so long for the Mike Love era (The Beach Boys '85 and Still Cruisin, Summer in Paradise) to arrive?  Please don't misunderstand that I think it should have come earlier but after all the "missteps"(at least what the band perceived as missteps) in the 70's..it's unbelievable that they continued on with this identity crisis for another decade or so until they finally settled in the formulaic "fun in the sun" image.

I hate to say it, but I feel that part of that had to do with Dennis having passed away, and no longer being someone to voice an opposition to the band artistically grinding to a halt. I realize that (barring L.A. Light Album), most of the post-Holland records have a declining DW presence, but it just seems like his no longer being around helped make it easier for The Beach Boys '85 + Still Cruisin + Summer in Paradise to happen.  I mean, it's hard to imagine "Wipe Out' happening while Dennis was alive and actually part of the band.

And yes, I realize that he had less of a "voting" voice in the last few years of his life, especially due to his addictions...but with someone (DW) who would almost certainly raise opposition to the full-on total formulaic "fun in the sun" image permanently out of the picture, it just made things easier to happen the way they did. Mind you, I still have an affection for a number of BB tunes from the 80s/90s.

It also seems, IMO, that Carl (after his brother's passing) probably further gave in/gave up more into the formula than he had before (not that Carl's giving in mentality hadn't started pre '83, it just seemed to flower more after that)... maybe it was his way to keep things simpler and more peaceful after such a traumatic event. DW's passing probably helped dampen CW's artistic ambitions, or at least as far as if those ambitions came at the cost of further BB-band infighting. Again, just IMHO.

This makes sense to me and I agree with you. With Dennis gone, it's obvious now why the band went in the direction they did.  It's hard to see Carl "give up"--he seems like a very strong pesonality but I guess his plate was full with other things.

Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, Friends - each one a completely different album from the one before and each one a bigger flop than the last. If anyone of those 3 had been a hit I think the band would have carried on in that direction. I think Brian took their failures particularly hard. I also think he was much less bummed about junking Smile as he was the failure of the following three records. In fact I think without others pushing him to do so Brian would have never made another album after 1968. He still had the talent for another few years but the drive just wasn't there anymore. Sunflower must have been seen as a fresh start on many levels but it's lack of sales killed his confidence in his abilties and his percieved relevance in the post 60's music scene.

Why pour your heart and soul into making new music if it's reception at best is polite, scattered applause and at worst results in some idiot yelling out for Barabra Ann? Eventually you're going to think 'f*** it', give the people what they want, pick up a fat paycheck and go home. I think the band (including Mike) held out from becoming a touring jukebox much longer than some people want to give them credit for.

Great posts--thank you!
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Justin
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« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2013, 04:03:54 PM »

Thanks for the replies everyone.   What prompted me to put this thread up was my reaction after reading a passage from Carlin's "Catch a Wave" during the description of that 1967 rehearsal tape with Mike's infamous rant. I had forgotten about this passage so it struck a chord with me after re-reading it:

"In every recording group's career there comes that moment when you realize you have a nuclear bomb on your hands. Right now Brian Wilson leader of the Beach Boys is about to unleash his nuclear power and sing for you the song that went all the way to forty!" Mike Love quips as his band rehearses the song "Heroes & Villains.....It topped the chars at about forty, and the next week it just zoomed right off to us well about 250.  Right now, it's lurking at about 10,000 on this year's top 10,000!  Come on in here and sing!  Wail your buns off!"

I read that and immediately felt protective of Brian (even though he apparently laughed along with Mike) and wanted to defend him.  Okay Mike...you wanna rag on the song? Fine but why don't you go and try to do better? 

But Mike never did, did he (not until "Kokomo" really)?.  Nor did it look like he really, really tried to do so.  That's what interested me.  Why didn't/couldn't he?  What prevented him from doing so?  Was it a passive aggressive move to wail on Brian but never really act on it? 

Thanks to this thread I have a better understanding of the situation as I see now that Mike wasn't in the position to really turn the tide--at least not during this period.  It looked like Mike was a passenger in the car with the rest of the guys---going along where the band was going.  Carl and Dennis were still very strong forces in the band.

But again, I ask:  was there anyone else in the band as critical of Brian as Mike was?  It's often mentioned that during this period that the "group" was often weirded out by the material Brian wrote.--"Group"  implying there was more than one person.  Who besides Mike would challenge Brian?  Or is that just the PC way of saying that Mike was unhappy with it--without naming names? 

Again, I'm sorry if this tedious for some but I'm just trying to get a clearer picture of the situation.  I also hope this isn't coming off as a Mike-bashing thread because I certainly am not participating in a vengeful way or trying to bring him down.  These are the facts--as it happened, after all.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 04:21:55 PM by Justin » Logged
runnersdialzero
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« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2013, 04:45:47 PM »

Thanks for the replies everyone.   What prompted me to put this thread up was my reaction after reading a passage from Carlin's "Catch a Wave" during the description of that 1967 rehearsal tape with Mike's infamous rant. I had forgotten about this passage so it struck a chord with me after re-reading it:

"In every recording group's career there comes that moment when you realize you have a nuclear bomb on your hands. Right now Brian Wilson leader of the Beach Boys is about to unleash his nuclear power and sing for you the song that went all the way to forty!" Mike Love quips as his band rehearses the song "Heroes & Villains.....It topped the chars at about forty, and the next week it just zoomed right off to us well about 250.  Right now, it's lurking at about 10,000 on this year's top 10,000!  Come on in here and sing!  Wail your buns off!"

I read that and immediately felt protective of Brian (even though he apparently laughed along with Mike) and wanted to defend him.  Okay Mike...you wanna rag on the song? Fine but why don't you go and try to do better?  

Brian wrote that "rant." Smiley

The idea of "Brian versus the band" after Pet Sounds is pretty overblown and wasn't a real issue, at least not on a consistent basis. Even "Brian versus Mike" is greatly exaggerated, and at least until '74, Mike was not the regressive, un-artistic person he's made out to be - he was growing just as everyone else in the band was. These guys probably would have followed Brian off of a cliff for most of their careers and indeed probably would have preferred Brian keep up the pace he did until 1969 or so while contributing a bit themselves.

There were occasions when one or two members disagreed with Brian on something (it was never Brian versus the band as people like David Leaf or Carlin would like you to believe), but, y'know, that's being in a band.

Edit: clack's post below mine gets it right, too. No one could have kept up the pace Brian did from '61 to '67. It was Brian's decision to back off, it had nothing to do with him being consistently rejected. If anything, it was the opposite - once he withdrew and stopped being the "leader" after Friends, the guys kept wanting him to contribute more.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 04:54:53 PM by » Logged

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clack
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« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2013, 04:47:46 PM »

  It's often mentioned that during this period that the "group" was often weirded out by the material Brian wrote.--"Group"  implying there was more than one person.  Who besides Mike would challenge Brian?  Or is that just the PC way of saying that Mike was unhappy with it--without naming names? 

Again, I'm sorry if this tedious for some but I'm just trying to get a clearer picture of the situation.  I also hope this isn't coming off as a Mike-bashing thread because I certainly am not participating in a vengeful way or trying to bring him down.  These are the facts--as it happened, after all.
What period exactly are you referring to? During the making of SMiLE the group may have been weirded out, but that was because Brian was flying by the seat of his pants with no real idea of how to get to his destination (that is, a finished album).

Rock music 1967-69 was supposed to be "weird". Mike was hanging out in India with Donovan, the Beatles, and the Maharishi. He knew as well as anyone that the Beach Boys had to update their music and their subject matter.

There was never any anti-Brian revolt. Brian just got burned out from writing/producing/arranging 25 tracks a year, and cut down to 3 or 4, relying on the rest of the guys to pick up the slack.
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« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2013, 06:45:22 PM »

I want to add three points to this conversation:
1. Adult Child was submitted to and rejected by Warner Brothers. If they had accepted it, it would have come out, and there would have been three late 70s Brian dominated albums, instead of two.
2. Carl and Dennis did not want 15 Big Ones released as it was, and they were outvoted, three to two. My understanding is that this is not a metaphorical situation - there was a literal vote, and they lost. For good reason, Dennis and Carl wanted their own and Brian's excellent material on a more polished album, instead of the rough covers that came out.
3. People seem to seriously underestimate the seriousness of Brian's mental illness in the 60s, in my opinion. Yes, he managed to live a normal life into the early 70s, but during the Smile period he was hearing voices, suffering serious paranoia, and manic up and depressive down periods. These kinds of symptoms, and especially the voices, which Brian still struggles with to this day, to my understanding, can make just day to day life incredibly difficult. Without any kind of proper treatment, it's amazing how together Brian held it for so long, in my opinion.
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« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2013, 07:03:30 PM »

Keep in mind that their contract with Reprise in 1970 called for Brian as the lead composer, which he really wasn't, but there had to be Brian at the fore to keep the record contracts coming.

I agree though, as a fan who got introduced to the band with SMiLE, the story about Mike stopping SMiLE from ever happening just doesn't add up. If Mike thought SMiLE strayed too far from the "formula," how in the world would he agree to release Smiley Smile, which is by far a more advant garde/less commercial offering. I am convinced that many factors led to SMiLE's demise, including band resistance, but if I assign a "fault percentage" to Mike I'd give him 5-10% of the blame.

Agree 100%
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« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2013, 07:14:13 PM »

Mike's interest in making retro music has been greatly exaggerated. That's more Brian's thing. Mike was always much more interested in staying current.

I think that's true. Until 1974 came around and Mike decided that he would act like it was 1963 for the rest of his life.

I just want to address that specific 1974-75 period for a second. This is an (incomplete, albeit selective) list of No. 1 songs from 1974-75:

1974:
"You're Sixteen" - Ringo Starr
"Season's In The Sun" - Terry Jacks
"Sunshine On My Shoulders" - John Denver
"The Loco-Motion" - Grand Funk
"The Streak" - Ray Stevens
"You're Having My Baby" - Paul Anka
"Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" - John Lennon
"I Can Help" - Billy Swan

1975:
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" - Elton John
"Please Mr. Postman" - The Carpenters
"He Don't Love You (Like I Love You)" - Tony Orlando & dawn
"My Eyes Adored You" - Frankie Valli
"Before The Next Teardrop Falls" - Freddy Fender
"Love Will Keep Us Together" - Captain & Tennille
"Listen To What The Man Said" - Wings
"Rhinestone Cowboy" - Glen Campbell

So, what's the point? Grin I'm not sure they - The Beach Boys - felt that they were "going back" or not being hip or taking a back seat to the current crop of artists and songs that were popular. During that particular time frame, the U.S. was just getting out of Vietnam, getting over Nixon, and experiencing "happy" days again, literally. You had the popularity of American Graffiti, the TV shows Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and the impending bicentennial. Fun is in, it's no sin! It was hip to cruise in your car again, to like old time rock & roll, to have long hair and a beard but NOT be a hippie.

The Beach Boys were perfect for that time. Perfect. They could be themselves and still be cool. I mean, look at some of the hit songs they were competing against. They didn't have to force anything. They didn't need a SMiLE to compete. "Beach Boyish" music was still better than most. They were the real deal. The "hip" music of that day was disco music (which was coming) and glitter/glam rock. It wasn't Surf's Up, Carl & The Passions, or Holland-like.

Of course by 1977 all of that would change, or start to change. That's another topic for another thread. But, in my opinion, and as someone who lived through that period, The Beach Boys going back or going retro or giving up what they built in 1970-73 was not seen as a bad thing. I know that's what most fans wanted and, if the group didn't really believe it or weren't really behind it, boy, they sure fooled the public for a few years.

Excellent, excellent post. Thanks for putting that time period into perspective. Very cool.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2013, 07:33:17 PM »

There were occasions when one or two members disagreed with Brian on something (it was never Brian versus the band as people like David Leaf or Carlin would like you to believe), but, y'know, that's being in a band.

There's a real difference between Leaf and Carlin. Peter's book acknowledges a lot more of the complexity and depth of Brian's situation.

And I don't think you can just say the band wasn't resistant to Brian. Not when you have someone like Marilyn talking in IJWMFTT about how beaten down Brian felt by the rest of the guys. He was a sensitive person, and they were certainly not thrilled with things like the Fairy Tale on Holland. Till I Die didn't get a great reaction either. When you're ill and producing stuff of that caliber, being insulted by the other guys, or treated like you're kind of mentally deficient must have been deeply, profoundly difficult.

All that being said, if Brian had been well, I think the story would have been different. He would be resilient enough to handle any friction (as he did during the 60s). But he wasn't. So the same kind of behavior from the guys (along with the desperation of no longer having hit singles or albums) elicited a different response.
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« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2013, 08:00:32 PM »

There were occasions when one or two members disagreed with Brian on something (it was never Brian versus the band as people like David Leaf or Carlin would like you to believe), but, y'know, that's being in a band.

There's a real difference between Leaf and Carlin. Peter's book acknowledges a lot more of the complexity and depth of Brian's situation.

Yeah, well, the stuff he said on the Brian Wilson: Songwriter documentaries was a lot of the same fantastic/exaggerated crap. I was a little disappointed.

Quote
And I don't think you can just say the band wasn't resistant to Brian. Not when you have someone like Marilyn talking in IJWMFTT about how beaten down Brian felt by the rest of the guys. He was a sensitive person, and they were certainly not thrilled with things like the Fairy Tale on Holland. Till I Die didn't get a great reaction either. When you're ill and producing stuff of that caliber, being insulted by the other guys, or treated like you're kind of mentally deficient must have been deeply, profoundly difficult.

It's annoying how it's always "The Beach Boys versus Brian Wilson" though when that generally just was not true. The only solid, documented examples I can think of are as follows:

Mike not liking the lyrics to "Hang On To Your Ego" (but still singing them and actually offering to sing the entire song himself)
Mike questioned the lyrics to "Cabin Essence" and other Smile songs (but still singing them)
Bruce found doing the animal noises for "Barnyard" degrading (but still doing it)
Mike and/or Carl telling Brian they would not work on the "Old Man River" sections anymore
Carl and/or other members thinking "Mount Vernon And Fairway" was not appropriate for Holland (but then basically including it anyway)
Mike (or most likely Mike) calling "Til I Die" a "downer" (but still singing on it)
The rejection of the Adult Child album on some level (the details aren't entirely clear)

Meanwhile, amid the "The Beach Boys were regressive aside from Brian" crap, it's never mentioned how Dennis was Brian's biggest cheerleader during the Pet Sounds and Smile sessions, Carl would enthusiastically tell Al that Brian was doing incredible things and encouraging Al to visit during instrumental tracking sessions, the recordings of Mike occasionally going apeshit listening to Brian play songs from Love You, Bruce repeatedly praising Brian's more sophisticated material and asking "Why would you ever question Brian Wilson?", Dennis saying Brian is the Beach Boys, Mike praising Pet Sounds and condemning Capitol for under-promoting it as early as 1969, Mike, Al, Carl and Bruce speaking very fondly of the majority of the material mentioned above, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

It's just way, way too simplistic and glosses over so many details. Yes, there were lots of conflicts, and yes, I'm sure these guys were less than nice about some of their criticism toward one another on occasion, but the conflict didn't all center around Brian. Again, you're in a band, you're gonna have conflict. A lot of conflict. I'm tired of the notion of "the rest of the band wanted surf and sun songs" or "Mike wanted surf and sun songs" when their output from  has fucking zero evidence to the band wanting to regress and stick to some "formula" that worked for them in the early 60s.

Even when the sole nod to the past, "Do It Again", did better on the charts than anything else of theirs in recent years, they didn't stick with it and keep repeating themselves, they moved forward. There was commercial ambition or at least awareness, but not to the detriment of the real art that was happening, and there had always been commercial ambition from the very beginning - that goes for Pet Sounds and Smile, too.

Brian evolved, Mike evolved, Al evolved, Bruce was always Bruce, Dennis and Carl really evolved. You listen to the 67-74 material and it's progressive, it's real art, it's not retread or regression.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:12:37 PM by » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2013, 08:02:17 PM »

There were occasions when one or two members disagreed with Brian on something (it was never Brian versus the band as people like David Leaf or Carlin would like you to believe), but, y'know, that's being in a band.

There's a real difference between Leaf and Carlin. Peter's book acknowledges a lot more of the complexity and depth of Brian's situation.

And I don't think you can just say the band wasn't resistant to Brian. Not when you have someone like Marilyn talking in IJWMFTT about how beaten down Brian felt by the rest of the guys. He was a sensitive person, and they were certainly not thrilled with things like the Fairy Tale on Holland. Till I Die didn't get a great reaction either. When you're ill and producing stuff of that caliber, being insulted by the other guys, or treated like you're kind of mentally deficient must have been deeply, profoundly difficult.

All that being said, if Brian had been well, I think the story would have been different. He would be resilient enough to handle any friction (as he did during the 60s). But he wasn't. So the same kind of behavior from the guys (along with the desperation of no longer having hit singles or albums) elicited a different response.

I don't think it's ever been a matter of the other guys being either resistant to Brian or not, but rather, what being resistant to Brian actually meant once you're not just talking to people who are obviously biased to Brian (for very human and understandable reasons). It's allowing shading to be applied to "being resistant to Brian" and dropping the notion that to be resistant to Brian in any way was tantamount to abuse no matter what....
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:03:37 PM by Pinder Goes To Kokomo » Logged
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« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2013, 08:12:32 PM »

Well I didn't say it was tantamount to abuse no matter what. So there's that.

I'm also not sure why one would assume that a musician's ex-wife would be biased toward him. Especially when he offered drugs to your kids.

As for runnersdialzero's point, I'm not sure what that his handy "documented examples" list really proves, one way or another. Yeah, that's what we know about. That's what people told the press about. But more happened than that if you were living it.

And as for people praising stuff retroactively, so what? That's easy to do. Yes, even three years later.

EDIT: And I don't believe it was Brian and the four assholes. That's ridiculous to anyone who has a working knowledge of the band's history. But I also think you can't ignore the fact that there was friction from the guys, and that Brian felt beaten down. Everyone had a hard time and was let down by everyone else. I think it's far too easy to say that because the dominant historical narrative is wrong, the opposite belief must therefore be true. It ain't that simple.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:22:52 PM by Wirestone » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: September 12, 2013, 08:30:53 PM »

Well I didn't say it was tantamount to abuse no matter what. So there's that.

I'm also not sure why one would assume that a musician's ex-wife would be biased toward him. Especially when he offered drugs to your kids.



I think in Brian's case, it's easy to assume why...... Plus, I don't think Marylin divorced Brian because she hated his guts, and he was batshit insane when he offered his kids drugs. I think she fully grasped the nuance.

And no, you never said resisting Brian was tantamount to abuse. I was referring to Carlin's book. More balanced than Leaf, for sure, but I still stand by my opinion.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:33:37 PM by Pinder Goes To Kokomo » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2013, 08:34:01 PM »

The main point of the post was that the idea of Brian wanting to write avant garde soundscapes about wanting to blow his head off (which the band didn't allow him to record, of course) versus the entire rest of the band off somewhere recording "Funner, Funner, Funner" and strictly following "the formula" while having some agenda against Brian doesn't add up at all when you bother to actually listen to the 67-74 albums. I'm not sure why this myth continues to exist in the way it does. I'm not gonna say there was zero conflict or that Mike didn't indeed probably hold Brian back on at least a couple occasions, but again, the story that's told (and being talked about in this thread to some extent) is so simplistic and glosses over so many important details.
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« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2013, 08:49:06 PM »

The main point of the post was that the idea of Brian wanting to write avant garde soundscapes about wanting to blow his head off (which the band didn't allow him to record, of course) versus the entire rest of the band off somewhere recording "Funner, Funner, Funner" and strictly following "the formula" while having some agenda against Brian doesn't add up at all when you bother to actually listen to the 67-74 albums. I'm not sure why this myth continues to exist in the way it does. I'm not gonna say there was zero conflict or that Mike didn't indeed probably hold Brian back on at least a couple occasions, but again, the story that's told (and being talked about in this thread to some extent) is so simplistic and glosses over so many important details.

I think it's because people feel bad for Brian, and why not? They feel bad for Brian for a whole lot of years there and it's very easy to want to pinpoint some ground zero for when he might have turned down the spiral which lasted several years (and even this spiral is overblown)..... The narrative of Brian being resisted so harshly by his band-mates is high drama and hard to shake off. It's kind of like just slumping your shoulders and going "OK, yeah, I guess it was really just Lee Oswald who shot JFK all on his own. Not much entertainment value in that. A grand conspiracy is much more juicy.... Why preferring a narrative where guys who's voices we love and who as a live band have kicked ass all over the planet for 50 years spreading the word of BDW are the bastards who crippled the great Brian Wilson over a more realistic and shaded viewpoint is a mystery to me, but I think I can get it to an extent.... I think the better question should be: what would have likely happened if Brian had just said in 1967 "I don't care what any of you guys think, I'm doing this! Don't question me, and show up to sing when I need you"! ..... Who in the Beach Boys would have stood up to that? Grumbling is one thing, but who would have taken actual steps to toppling Brian's authority?
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« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2013, 08:50:00 PM »

In my opinion, I agree that, despite having a musical genius in your group, it is normal or expected to occasionally have disagreements over individual songs, direction, and projects. Brian was near perfect, but he wasn't always perfect. Grin

Of course we will never know the extent or exactly how many times the guys had "differences" with Brian. But, if I was a betting man, I would bet that they went along with Brian - without questioning him - about 99% of the time, and only 1% of the time did Brian meet resistance.

If Brian did meet resistance and was affected by it, he certainly didn't show it, or, it wasn't reflected in the songs he was writing. Despite the love on this board and some critical acclaim for the Friends album, I often wonder how much the group wanted to go in that direction - a very short, "soft", mellow album - in 1968; the follow-up album, 20/20, rocked a lot more. Did the guys really long for a song about "sleeping", complete with snoring vocals. I wonder what they thought about "Sail Plane Song". Brian then wrote songs about a bird speaking French, about a formula/solution offered to his dog, about a dying tree, about himself dying, about a masseuse, and about a transistor radio complete with pied piper. Then there was the Christmas song with the weird spoken vocal, recorded and released too close to Christmas.

The point isn't that those songs weren't brilliant, because they were. The point is that Brian Wilson recorded ANYTHING HE DAMN WELL PLEASED AND THE BEACH BOYS WERE RIGHT THERE NEXT TO HIM SINGING THEIR ASSES OFF. If Brian was met with so much resistance that affected him so negatively, it certainly left him undaunted. Obviously, the guys had to accept that the days of Today, Summer Days (And Summer Nights), and Pet Sounds were over. But how could they ever imagine that Brian would write songs with the subject matter listed above? But he did. So I find it hard to say that he "gave in" or did what the guys wanted him to do. That came in 1976.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:59:19 PM by Sheriff John Stone » Logged
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