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Author Topic: The Observer: Itís Time to Destroy Ďthe Legend of Brian Wilsoní  (Read 25981 times)
chaki
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« on: June 03, 2016, 10:42:56 AM »

http://observer.com/2016/06/for-the-love-of-mike-love-its-time-to-destroy-the-legend-of-brian-wilson/

For the Love of Mike Love: Itís Time to Destroy Ďthe Legend of Brian Wilsoní
By Tim Sommer ē 06/03/16 11:35am

Due to mental instability exacerbated by drug use, their distinctive primary vocalist and songwriter, a tousle-headed, coal-eyed satyr of shattering talent named Syd Barrett, had fallen into a state of high dysfunction. Despite the fact that Pink Floyd featured four other extraordinary musicians, three of whom were markedly capable of composing, singing and helping conceptualize a worthy career direction, Pink Floyd refused to step out of their leaderís long and dysfunctional shadow.

Due to pressure from their label, their management, the media, their fans and their families, they held on to the hope that their front man would return (and promoted the myth that he was operational), and that he would again achieve the remarkable heights he had reached on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

But their leader was no longer capable of coherent functioning, much less creating another masterpiece, and each of Pink Floydís talented members were forced to live with the specter of a faded and absent genius hovering over them.

OH, WAIT. THAT DIDNíT HAPPEN. Floyd let go of Syd Barrett and his substantial ghost, they reassembled around their extraordinary core and they went on to make some of historyís most lasting music.

In 1967, the Beach Boys made a peculiar decision.

Due to mental instability exacerbated by drug use, their distinctive primary songwriter and visionary, a floppy-haired bright-eyed man-panda of shattering talent, had fallen into a state of high dysfunction. Despite the fact that the Beach Boys featured five other extraordinary musicians (Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Dennis Wilson), each of whom had shown they were markedly capable of composing, singing and helping conceptualize a worthy career direction, the Beach Boys refused to step out of their leaderís dysfunctional shadow.

Due to pressure from their label, their management, the media, their fans and their families, they held on to the hope that their front person would return (and promoted the myth that he was operational), and that he would again achieve the remarkable heights he had reached on Pet Sounds. But their leader was no longer capable of coherent functioning, much less creating another masterpiece, and the Beach Boys and each of their talented members were forced to live with the specter of a faded and absent genius hovering over them.

America's top pop group the Beach Boys, from left to right; Carl Wilson (1946 - 1998), Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson (1944 - 1983), at a reception held for them at EMI House in London. Their latest single, 'Good Vibrations', which took six months to produce, is topping the charts. The Beach Boys are here on a concert tour, which sold out as soon as dates were announced.
The Beach Boys, from left: Carl Wilson , Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson. (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images.)
The tumbling, tragic and joyous story of rock is absolutely chock full of groups who lost their primary songwriters, vocalists and band leaders for one reason or another, yet carried on to achieve great creative and commercial heights: Fleetwood Mac without Peter Green would have once been considered unimaginable, not to mention Genesis without Peter Gabriel, Joy Division without Ian Curtis, or the Small Faces without Steve Marriot; for that matter, many would have considered Pink Floyd without Roger Waters inconceivable.

Yet the Beach Boys, a band of stunning skill who proved time and time again that they were capable of making extraordinary music without Brian Wilson, were never allowed to be fully free of him.

And f*** you all for that.

I have zero hesitation in pronouncing Brian Douglas Wilson a musical genius nonpareil; Pet Sounds is the greatest pop rock album ever made, and SMiLE, if it had been completed at the time of itís initial realization, could have changed the course of pop music (its integration of American musical tics into an avant-garde and psychedelic context might have encouraged an entire vein of adventurous American pop divorced from the Beatleisms that define the rock and pop landscape to this very day).

But the startling vocal skills of the entire Beach Boys ensemble and their shared experiences as a growing band framed and made ecstatic the brilliance of Pet Sounds (and the extant SMiLE tracks), and Carl, Mike, Bruce, Al and Dennis (not to mention later additions like Blondie Chaplin) were each golden talents more than capable of leading and redefining a Brian-less Beach Boys. But they never really had the chance.


Despite the fact that some of the most wondrous and distinctive material in the bandís canon was recorded without Brian, he remained the Elijah we all left the door open for; but imagine if every time we sat down for Seder, someone said, ďWell, itís not a real Seder, since Elijah didnít show up.Ē

Thereís every bit of evidence that a Brian-less Beach Boys could have been a joyous and logical continuation of the bandís ideals and aural achievements.

Personally, I would argue that post-SMiLE, Brian Wilson wasnít just a shadow of himself, but less than a shadow; the most Brian-driven of the post-SMiLE albums, The Beach Boys Love You, is bizarre and psychologically fascinating, but the people who insist that itís a great album are like those who scan those tepid and twisted Alex Chilton solo albums for Big Star-esque greatness. It ainít there, bubbelah; go back and listen without trying really, really hard to like it.

Which is all to say that Brian Wilson could have left the Beach Boys after late 1967, with his legacy and place in history 100 percent intact (after all, Syd Barrett is no less a legend for having been a primary force on only one Pink Floyd album). And if Brian had been allowed to retire, the Beach Boys would have gone on, driven by the considerable and unique skills of their remaining members, and likely would have been appraised as an original and important American band, producing work of invention, quality and diversity.


I barely give a f*** who Mike Love has his picture taken with, or what political candidates he supports, or how he may stumble in public speeches; he is a gentle and kind man whose heart is in the right damn place, and he supports many worthwhile causes related to the environment, conservation, and spiritual enlightenment. Have any of you ever met Ric Ocasek or Todd Rundgren, or even, for that matter, the great Lou Reed? Have you ever talked to a waitress or stewardess who had to deal with Paul Simon?

I have met a pile of so-called pop stars, and in terms of being a decent man with a decent heart, Mike Love is pretty goshdarn high on the ďgood guyĒ list. Most of you just hate him because heís in a band called the Beach Boys without Brian Wilson. You think that the fact that he keeps the Beach Boys going is somehow denigrating of or defiant of the great achievements of that band, but itís just the opposite; Mike Love has kept the Beach Boys, a vital American institution, alive and working in the face of great odds and even greater derision.

Go see the current touring version of the Beach Boys.

The band is made up of able, passionate and credible musicians: Jeff Foskett, Scott Totten, John Cowsill, Brian Eichenberger, and Tim Bonhomme are all committed and credible cats with an honest and real devotion to the songs, sound and legacy of the Beach Boys (and Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for 34 years, longer than Carl or Dennis Wilson were in the band, if youíre counting). sh*t, if those guys were backing Jason Faulkner or Matthew Sweet, youíd be saying they were the best band in the world. But instead, they are part of a band with Mike Love and Bruce Johnston called The Beach Boys.

The current Beach Boys do great honor to the work of Brian Wilson (and to the work the Beach Boys did without Brian), and they keep the legacy of a valued American treasure full of vigor, harmony, and the power to move and emote. Listen, Iíll come out and say this: I vastly prefer the current Beach Boys to the Brian Wilson touring experience. Brianís band is amazing, and they play his compositions and his arrangements with loving detail, but there is no escaping the fact that at the center of the stage is a man who often looks like he doesnít want to be there, like heís just a sad ghost inserted into the middle of the worldís greatest Beach Boys cover band. Every time I see Brian Wilson, I leave depressed; but every time I see the current Beach Boys, I leave elated.
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 10:58:32 AM »

OK, which one of the Kokomaoists wrote this and how much coin did Mike have to pay to have it written?
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 11:03:04 AM »

This guy throws Add Some Music, This Whole World, Our Sweet Love, Til I Die (my absolute favorite BB track), Marcella, Sail On Sailor, The Night Was So Young, Good Timin' Love and Mercy, Melt Away, Rio Grande, GETTIN' In Over My Head, Your Imagination, Midnight's Another Day, Summer's Gone, The Last Song all under the bus because.... I don't know.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 11:07:15 AM »

There is so much wrong with this article, I don't even know where to begin.  Maybe I'll write a long proper response later on.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 11:09:48 AM »

He's back again for more!  Cheesy

Check out a previous Sommer article from the archives that we discussed a year ago:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,22556.0.html

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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 11:10:39 AM »

"Brian is The Beach Boys. We're just his fucking messengers" said someone who should know.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2016, 11:11:53 AM »

The first part of this made some sense -- Yeah, they probably should've left Brian to his own devices back in the day, guilt-free, no demands -- But man, this article take a weird left turn in the middle. No problem with the praise of the M&B Beach Boys, but even that has to veer into nasty territory.

I SAY, GOOD DAY, SIR.
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 11:14:59 AM »

He's done it before, now he's done it again. There is a point where it comes down to people being who they are and doing what they do, once that is understood the supposedly random appearances of things like this article and the previous ones starts to make more sense based on the precedent.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 11:16:39 AM »

That went off the rails -
But can we all agree on this:
Brian Wilson - a floppy-haired bright-eyed man-panda of shattering talent
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 11:18:25 AM »

He's back again for more!  Cheesy

Check out a previous Sommer article from the archives that we discussed a year ago:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,22556.0.html



Brian's band is the rare touring band that actually has the chemistry of an organic outfit. Which is impressive considering the varied backgrounds of the people who have played in that band.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2016, 11:19:33 AM »

Al Jardine -- a short-statured, red-haired folk-lover of indeterminate vocal age
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2016, 11:20:10 AM »

this article is not really even worth consideration, full of falsehoods and seemingly no research. more of an opinion piece really, and an awful one at that. but this line may be the most misguided thing I've ever read:

Quote
Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for 34 years, longer than Carl or Dennis Wilson were in the band

i mean, wow.
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2016, 11:21:23 AM »

Click bait article with puffed up headline. Sometimes click bait articles actually have something under the hood. Not really so here. Not that every single one of his individual points are invalid. But there's nothing new or thought-provoking here, and the author does himself a discredit by creating a straw man (who really specifically badmouths Scott Totten and the other backing guys?) and then coming across as a cheerleader for Mike.

Lots and lots of straw man arguments in this piece. Some of the band's most celebrated mid-period work from non-Brian members is celebrated by the fan base.

I'm not sure why so many people put forth the straw man argument that everybody's main beef with Mike Love is that he isn't Brian Wilson. That kind of implies that if you don't like something about someone, it *has* to be *not* because of that person's own actions, but because they're *not* somebody else.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2016, 11:21:30 AM »

"As an A&R representative, Sommer was integrally involved with the success of Hootie & The Blowfish....He was also involved in the very early careers of both the Beastie Boys and Kara's Flowers, producing three tracks for Kara's Flowers in the summer of 2000, shortly before the group changed their name to Maroon 5."

lollll
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2016, 11:22:52 AM »

So much for ending the negativity surrounding all the "camps" and between bands, eh? If the guy wanted to promote Mike's band, he should have done just that. If he wanted to criticize Brian or Brian's band, he should have done just that. When the two subjects coexist in what was purported to be a music article, it comes off looking like a hatchet job. To me anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2016, 11:23:01 AM »

"As an A&R representative, Sommer was integrally involved with the success of Hootie & The Blowfish....He was also involved in the very early careers of both the Beastie Boys and Kara's Flowers, producing three tracks for Kara's Flowers in the summer of 2000, shortly before the group changed their name to Maroon 5."

lollll

Well it's a helluva lot better than my C.V.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2016, 11:23:10 AM »

this article is not really even worth consideration, full of falsehoods and seemingly no research. more of an opinion piece really, and an awful one at that. but this line may be the most misguided thing I've ever read:

Quote
Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for 34 years, longer than Carl or Dennis Wilson were in the band

i mean, wow.

Foskett was with them from 1982 to 1990 and rejoined the Touring Band in 2014. Not even close to have had a longer tenure than Dennis and Carl.
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2016, 11:24:22 AM »

this article is not really even worth consideration, full of falsehoods and seemingly no research. more of an opinion piece really, and an awful one at that. but this line may be the most misguided thing I've ever read:

Quote
Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for 34 years, longer than Carl or Dennis Wilson were in the band

i mean, wow.

Foskett was with them from 1982 to 1990 and rejoined the Touring Band in 2014. Not even close to have had a longer tenure than Dennis and Carl.

But surely we can agree that Foskett has had a comparable impact on the band. Don't be unreasonable.
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2016, 11:24:54 AM »

this article is not really even worth consideration, full of falsehoods and seemingly no research. more of an opinion piece really, and an awful one at that. but this line may be the most misguided thing I've ever read:

Quote
Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for 34 years, longer than Carl or Dennis Wilson were in the band

i mean, wow.

In case anyone needs to know, Jeff Foskett's total tenure in the touring Beach Boys as of mid-2016 is about 10 and 1/2 years (December 1981 to July 1990, and early-mid 2014 to present). Even if you add his years in Brian's band, it comes to about 24 and 1/2 (the 10 and 1/2 plus 14 with Brian).

Very poorly researched. It'll be interesting to see if certain nitpicky folks who have been known to denounce things for minor factual errors and who might now be posting on other boards will be willing to discredit this article as well.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2016, 11:28:13 AM »

Bruce Johnston has been in the "touring band" longer than Al has at this point. Adrian Baker spent more time in the touring band than David Marks did.

Jason Sheff has been in Chicago longer than Peter Cetera was (or Terry Kath).

Rusty Anderson has spent more years touring with Paul McCartney than John Lennon did.

Comparing tenures in a band is a meaningless prospect, and doing so makes one look like even more of a tool when the comparison is made to someone who is deceased and whose tenure ended due to their death.
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2016, 11:29:02 AM »

This Tim guy is gonna get some serious hate mail heading his way real soon. Shame on the Observer as well.  Shocked
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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2016, 11:32:08 AM »

While some may argue if Mike actually put someone up to write this article...

Regardless if that is true or not (I have no reason to necessarily believe that it is true)... I have no doubt that Mike would be genuinely grinning from ear to ear in agreement, if he were to see even just the title of the article.

Barf.
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2016, 11:34:22 AM »

Bruce Johnston has been in the "touring band" longer than Al has at this point. Adrian Baker spent more time in the touring band than David Marks did.

Jason Sheff has been in Chicago longer than Peter Cetera was (or Terry Kath).

Rusty Anderson has spent more years touring with Paul McCartney than John Lennon did.

Comparing tenures in a band is a meaningless prospect, and doing so makes one look like even more of a tool when the comparison is made to someone who is deceased and whose tenure ended due to their death.

Tool is a very appropriate description.
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« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2016, 11:36:30 AM »

Wait, so the guy says this:

the Beach Boys refused to step out of their leaderís dysfunctional shadow

But then soon after in the article he switches from blaming the *band* for not stepping out from Brian's shadow and literally says "f**k you" to fans (I guess?) as if it's the fans' fault.

Has this guy even listened to the band's entire catalog? Everything he says is contradicted and undercut. The band produced some fan-favorite material without Brian, and at the same time, had the BB's dumped Brian in 1967 (or whatever it is he's trying to say), we indeed would have missed out on some of *Brian's* best material, including two songs on "Surf's Up" that are regarded as among the band's greatest works. Separately, the band without Brian also produced some total crap too, and while Brian was producing music with mixed results at best in the mid-late 80s and early 90s, I'd venture to guess that one of the many reasons for the poor quality and even poorer reception for "Summer in Paradise" was the zero involvement from Brian.

The band did need Brian in many ways. Whether they should have kept bugging him to be there is a separate question. But the continued to get record deals based on promises of Brian involvement.
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2016, 11:46:26 AM »

Whether they should have kept bugging him to be there is a separate question.
To be precise, they hired people to physically force him to be there.
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