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Author Topic: Are there people here who still believe the David Leaf version of the story?  (Read 13491 times)
RJM
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« on: March 27, 2014, 11:38:00 AM »

He is a very polarizing figure in the Beach Boys world. Some would also call him destructive. But in the mad rush to refute everything he has claimed, I wonder if there are people here who think that maybe Leaf got it mostly right about Brian and the band?  I know he gets very little love here but there have to be some people who appreciate the stuff he has done whether it be his book, his work on various TV specials, CD reissues, etc. It's not as if we're talking about Geoffrey Guliano! At least Leaf knew the members of the Beach Boys.
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 11:47:11 AM »

me.

oh wait, i didnt read his book.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 11:49:40 AM »

Just exactly what do you think David Leaf was wrong about? There might be some disagreement among fans based on how they interpret and expand on what he wrote, but I think his writings have proven more than 99.99% factually accurate.
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 11:53:46 AM »

I have noticed in my time lurking (and reading old posts) that he and his ideas aren't very popular. I don't want to get into why, but I was wondering if there are people here who feel the opposite.

Personally, I think he is unfairly maligned.
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The Heartical Don
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 12:03:49 PM »

And here's me thinking that Leaf played and plays an important positive role in the world of BW. Yes, there may have been conflicts... it would have been humanly very odd if these would be totally absent.

Leaf laid bare the problematic life Brian had, his very strained and dualistic relationship with his father, his being a victim of vicious childhood abuse, and the resulting need to self-medicate, IIRC.

And I didn't even read 'The BBs And The California Myth'.
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 12:19:09 PM »

I think it is a matter of the pendulum just swinging too far one way.  And then an inevitable backlash occurs and the pendulum swings in the other direction.  David's book was (and is) great, as it illuminated Brian's contributions as the genius and architect behind the boys (a view which we all take for granted now) but it (like Derek Taylor's views before it) did further the Brian and a bunch of assholes view that seemed to catch fire.  This line of thinking, while providing insight to the unique gifts that Brian possessed, unfortunately did more to minimize the important contributions of the other boys.  

For me it is all about having an balanced assessment of what everyone brought to the table.  

At any rate,  I loved David's book (I have both editions) as well as his Smile doc.  While both have a few weak points and flaws - the world of The Beach Boys is a better place because of David's contributions.  Besides his book, liner notes and Smile doc, his PERSONAL support and help with Brian's career has helped us all enjoy a renaissance in Brian's and The Beach Boys' later chapter and for that I am grateful.  
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 12:59:58 PM »

I think the Beach Boys diehard fan community can be summed up with the expression about the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction. It always does. And then it seesaws back and forth. Hyperbole and then the backlash, the return, and then back to the backlash. On various subjects.

David Leaf is a prophet. David Leaf is full of sh*t.
Mike Love is evil. Mike Love is above criticism.
Brian Wilson is an infallible genius. Brian Wilson is equal to the rest of the band.
Dennis Wilson has no talent. Dennis Wilson is the Messiah.
etc.

Look, even this post is hyperbole!
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 01:28:38 PM »

I think David Leaf was accurate with a very large percentage of what he wrote. Did he go a little too far with his Brian bias? Yes, but only a little. The only part of what he wrote that I really believed in at the time, but, in my opinion, never came to fruition was his belief that Brian would eventually come back and compose great things again. Leaf's book was written after Love You and right before M.I.U. Brian never equaled or exceeded the quality of Love You, again in my opinion.
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 02:03:31 PM »

I think it is a matter of the pendulum just swinging too far one way.  And then an inevitable backlash occurs and the pendulum swings in the other direction.  David's book was (and is) great, as it illuminated Brian's contributions as the genius and architect behind the boys (a view which we all take for granted now) but it (like Derek Taylor's views before it) did further the Brian and a bunch of assholes view that seemed to catch fire.  This line of thinking, while providing insight to the unique gifts that Brian possessed, unfortunately did more to minimize the important contributions of the other boys.  

That's more or less how I feel about his contributions.  I think his book was probably also important in helping the reevaluation of the Beach Boys as serious artists (or, rather, Brian Wilson as a serious artist), and my own first exposure to Beach Boys history was probably from his liner notes to the two-fer rereleases.   But in addition to what you say, I think that sometime around the release of Gettin' In Over My Head and the Smile tour he became more of a PR guy for Brian.  Maybe it was just that I had already gotten a better sense of Beach Boys history on my own by the time those things came out, but his Smile documentary seemed more like an advertisement than a useful historical account of events.

I also get the impression that a number of people who post here have had rather negative personal experiences with him, which might be one cause of his unpopularity here.
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 07:56:09 PM »

David is a good egg!
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 08:25:45 PM »

I don't know what to believe about these guys half the time. Heck, they even believe different things about themselves at times.

All I know is they made some awesome records and had some awesome problems. Maybe the most epic band of all time for ups and downs. You name it, they had it happen to them or around them or linked to them. Everything apart from being murdered. Unless you count self-murder, of course.

I swear they would make the best soap opera ever.

Leaf seems to me like he told their story pretty accurately. I know he sympathizes with Brian more in his writings, but that's easy to do. Brian makes a very sympathetic central figure when you are telling the Beach Boys story.
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 08:57:21 PM »

I wonder what happened with David Leaf. How come he fell out of touch around the mid-2000's. Was there some kind of falling out between he and the Wilson's? Was it mutually agreed upon that they go separate ways? I wonder what happened. Leaf and Brian were like good buds for awhile - going to restaurants and ballgames and movies and hanging out at Brian's house together. Maybe just another case of someone falling out of Brian's inner circle. Probably can happen to anybody. Leaf did so much for Brian and his career though. Too bad.
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 09:50:31 PM »

last I talked to him, not long ago, he was running this   http://www.lslproductions.com/
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 11:18:07 PM »

David's book was the first in-depth account of the BBs I ever read and for a long time it was the only in-depth book out there. As someone stated above it was probably responsible for a re-evaluation of brian and the band by many critics and rock music authorities, which would have permeated through the media to a fan base. He kept the faith, and preached it, at a time in the band's history when they could have disappears off the radar.he also believed in Brian's potential for renewed greatness, effectively prophesising this Indian summer Brian's career has enjoyed since … well, probably starting around the time of the 2000 Pet Sounds tour?

Leaf deserves a heck of a lot of the credit for the rejuvenation of Brian's solo career in my book, even if he's not around right now in the thick of things.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 12:58:51 AM »

David's book was the first in-depth account of the BBs I ever read and for a long time it was the only in-depth book out there. As someone stated above it was probably responsible for a re-evaluation of brian and the band by many critics and rock music authorities, which would have permeated through the media to a fan base. He kept the faith, and preached it, at a time in the band's history when they could have disappears off the radar.he also believed in Brian's potential for renewed greatness, effectively prophesising this Indian summer Brian's career has enjoyed since … well, probably starting around the time of the 2000 Pet Sounds tour?

Leaf deserves a heck of a lot of the credit for the rejuvenation of Brian's solo career in my book, even if he's not around right now in the thick of things.

...which is the best possible summary of the role of David Leaf in the history of BW and the BBs.

Heartfelt thanks, John, and what was the name of that single malt again? Arbeg? At any rate, we'll have one someday, I promise.
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 01:29:27 AM »

last I talked to him, not long ago, he was running this   http://www.lslproductions.com/

I think that's a few years old. Unless I'm badly mistaken, this is more current:

http://www.leafprod.com/
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 01:57:59 AM »

I appreciate his recognition of Brian as one of the absolute best songwriters of the last 50 years, I just wish he hadn't done so while going out of his way to slight everyone else involved with the band. The last time I watched the Beautiful Dreamer doc I found it infuriatingly inaccurate or greatly exaggerated in Brian's favor at times. Just, no.
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 02:13:29 AM »

It must be said he has much praise for all the other Beach Boys in his twofer liner notes, especially Dennis.
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 02:18:14 AM »

I appreciate his recognition of Brian as one of the absolute best songwriters of the last 50 years, I just wish he hadn't done so while going out of his way to slight everyone else involved with the band. The last time I watched the Beautiful Dreamer doc I found it infuriatingly inaccurate or greatly exaggerated in Brian's favor at times. Just, no.

That's the flip side of the coin. And you can only speculate on the long term fallout… did the Wilson camp's adoption of Leaf's pro-Wilson bias ultimately, directly or indirectly, estrange Brian further from the rest of the band? Might we have had more BBs product involving Wilson in recent years? Is there still resentment over the "BW & 5 others" legacy?

Or we only know half the story? Do Brian, Mike, Al and David Leaf all hangout at the same parties together? While we buy the public image?
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2014, 03:30:35 AM »

I think that sometime around the release of Gettin' In Over My Head and the Smile tour he became more of a PR guy for Brian. 

More like sometime around the release of BW's first solo album in '88! In fact, one year-end review of that album referred to him (without actually naming him by name) as a "hand-picked ass polisher". I've only read that once, in a convenience store at the end of 1988, but I've never forgotten it! Have you ever read the (Leaf-penned) official Sire Records promo packet that accompanied that release? If not, there's probably a copy or two availalbe on eBay. Informative, but almost worshipful.

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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2014, 03:50:37 AM »

I think that sometime around the release of Gettin' In Over My Head and the Smile tour he became more of a PR guy for Brian. 

More like sometime around the release of BW's first solo album in '88! In fact, one year-end review of that album referred to him (without actually naming him by name) as a "hand-picked ass polisher". I've only read that once, in a convenience store at the end of 1988, but I've never forgotten it! Have you ever read the (Leaf-penned) official Sire Records promo packet that accompanied that release? If not, there's probably a copy or two availalbe on eBay. Informative, but almost worshipful.



Hm. But didn't all of us diehards see that album, and BW, as faultless, the comeback LP as something like the Second Coming at the time? I am sure Leaf wasn't exactly alone in this...
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2014, 05:57:13 AM »

Just exactly what do you think David Leaf was wrong about? There might be some disagreement among fans based on how they interpret and expand on what he wrote, but I think his writings have proven more than 99.99% factually accurate.

Promulgating, if not actually orginating, the myth that the band played on very few of their pre-Smileey Smile releases, notably stating as a fact that Hal Blaine, and not Dennis, played in "LDC" ?
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« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2014, 07:39:44 AM »

I find Leaf sort of creepy. But that's just me. It's more the type of sycophantic relationship he formed with Brian than the book he wrote, which I only read once and don't remember well. I wonder why he's no longer in Brian's inner circle, when they were once so tight.
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2014, 08:29:22 AM »

It must be said he has much praise for all the other Beach Boys in his twofer liner notes, especially Dennis.

Yes, indeed. And in his book as well. IIRC, it is the Pet Sounds/Smile and Brian's Back  chapters that are the most biasedin favor of Brian and that is (as someone points out) it is very easy to sympathize with Brian. But he rightfully praises the Boys for picking up the pieces on the road and in the studio during the Brother Years. People do tend to forget that.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2014, 08:31:55 AM »

Oh and David wrote this about Dennis back in 1984.

http://www.danaddington.com/denny/requiem.html

And he sang on Bambu. That alone makes him cooler than you.
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