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614657 Posts in 24801 Topics by 3525 Members - Latest Member: sixtiesdoll August 23, 2017, 07:12:21 AM
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Author Topic: Does anyone know who played bass on Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and Friends?  (Read 2798 times)
HeyJude
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2017, 11:17:18 AM »

I guess one of the underlying questions is: Did Bruce stay away because he was actively rejecting what the BBs were doing at that moment, or because he had other scheduling conflicts, or simply because in 1967 he was still kind of in a limbo as only a semi-full-fledged band member?

What other bands in 1967 had a member of the band leaving for most of a whole album while not actually being fired or quitting? Fans could be forgiven for being a little perplexed as the apparently casual nature of Bruce just kinda not being there for most of an album after he joined and after he had played a role in the last few years of singles/albums.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2017, 11:20:29 AM »

So what happened?  Had he quit the group or had the group "let him go?" Until they needed him, which they definitely did in Hawaii but he wasn't there?  So from the concert on May 19 Bruce was absent from recording and from the Hawaii concerts until Sept 11!  4 months was like an eternity in the 60s.  What was he doing?

There's a lot of smoke to the proposition that Bruce was basically out of the band, or skating very close to it, during that period.  Recently elsewhere (can't remember which board or thread) a story came up that apparently a nascent version of Three Dog Night (pre-Redwood) was being considered with Johnston has the third member.  It didn't happen, but I would bet it was during this period that it was being considered.  Interesting.

Interesting theories. It would be quite enlightening if everybody involved remembered what went down and honestly described it.

A more basic question: Has any member or anyone else every gotten into whether Bruce wasn't at the Hawaii gigs because he was told not to go? Or did he bow out? It's easy to presume "Bruce wasn't there because Brian was", or "Brian was there because Bruce wasn't", but it certainly wouldn't have been a huge deal, even with their stripped-down "Smiley Smile" type of arrangements on that gig, to have six members there.

Interesting stuff.
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c-man
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« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2017, 03:26:31 PM »

The answer's out there...I forget which book I read it in (maybe Leaf's, maybe Gaines), but it's this:  things had gotten too weird for him...and I mean dope-wise, not music-wise. According to one of those books, there was a lot of hashish being smoked in and around the band (not to mention the acid Brian, Dennis and Carl had all apparently dropped), and that wasn't his thing. He's on record as saying Smiley was "brilliant" - he even calls out "W. Woodpecker Symphony" as genius. He proved his loyalty by going to England on a promo trip for "H&V", even though he wasn't on the released version. That's why Bruce isn't on Smiley Smile, or the latter quarter of the SMiLE sessions, for that matter. That's why Brian was at the Hawaii shows and Bruce wasn't: he took a sabbatical until things apparently normalized to the degree that he felt comfortable returning.
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adamghost
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« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2017, 11:20:04 AM »

The answer's out there...I forget which book I read it in (maybe Leaf's, maybe Gaines), but it's this:  things had gotten too weird for him...and I mean dope-wise, not music-wise. According to one of those books, there was a lot of hashish being smoked in and around the band (not to mention the acid Brian, Dennis and Carl had all apparently dropped), and that wasn't his thing. He's on record as saying Smiley was "brilliant" - he even calls out "W. Woodpecker Symphony" as genius. He proved his loyalty by going to England on a promo trip for "H&V", even though he wasn't on the released version. That's why Bruce isn't on Smiley Smile, or the latter quarter of the SMiLE sessions, for that matter. That's why Brian was at the Hawaii shows and Bruce wasn't: he took a sabbatical until things apparently normalized to the degree that he felt comfortable returning.

Yeah, I think there's no question Bruce was freaked out and uncomfortable with the drug use and general weirdness (quite understandably) but it's still a bit amazing that someone whose status in the group was as uncertain as his was just decided to blow it off.  OTOH, he had his own career and power centers that he could conceivably return to (and in fact did much later), so he probably felt like he would be fine even if he wound up being dismissed.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 11:20:57 AM by adamghost » Logged
bringahorseinhere?
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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2017, 11:29:56 AM »

The answer's out there...I forget which book I read it in (maybe Leaf's, maybe Gaines), but it's this:  things had gotten too weird for him...and I mean dope-wise, not music-wise. According to one of those books, there was a lot of hashish being smoked in and around the band (not to mention the acid Brian, Dennis and Carl had all apparently dropped), and that wasn't his thing. He's on record as saying Smiley was "brilliant" - he even calls out "W. Woodpecker Symphony" as genius. He proved his loyalty by going to England on a promo trip for "H&V", even though he wasn't on the released version. That's why Bruce isn't on Smiley Smile, or the latter quarter of the SMiLE sessions, for that matter. That's why Brian was at the Hawaii shows and Bruce wasn't: he took a sabbatical until things apparently normalized to the degree that he felt comfortable returning.

Yeah, I think there's no question Bruce was freaked out and uncomfortable with the drug use and general weirdness (quite understandably) but it's still a bit amazing that someone whose status in the group was as uncertain as his was just decided to blow it off.  OTOH, he had his own career and power centers that he could conceivably return to (and in fact did much later), so he probably felt like he would be fine even if he wound up being dismissed.

Bruce had quite a career before the Beach Boys, so yeah I agree. He played on other peoples songs,
did his own recordings and produced at Columbia records.  He had his finger in the pie since what, 58? 59?
I'm sure it wasn't a big blow for him.

was probably
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Bicyclerider
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« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2017, 12:12:37 PM »

The answer's out there...I forget which book I read it in (maybe Leaf's, maybe Gaines), but it's this:  things had gotten too weird for him...and I mean dope-wise, not music-wise. According to one of those books, there was a lot of hashish being smoked in and around the band (not to mention the acid Brian, Dennis and Carl had all apparently dropped), and that wasn't his thing. He's on record as saying Smiley was "brilliant" - he even calls out "W. Woodpecker Symphony" as genius. He proved his loyalty by going to England on a promo trip for "H&V", even though he wasn't on the released version. That's why Bruce isn't on Smiley Smile, or the latter quarter of the SMiLE sessions, for that matter. That's why Brian was at the Hawaii shows and Bruce wasn't: he took a sabbatical until things apparently normalized to the degree that he felt comfortable returning.

It still sounds a bit strange like there has to be more to the story.  He's a full fledged band member and then suddenly he's absent for four months including for a live album when he was an important part of the live touring band.  He refused to go to Hawaii for a what he must have known was planned to be the next album live?  If that had been released I assume he wouldn't have been in the credits - wouldn't everyone assume then he was out of the band?  And how did he know drugs would be used in Hawaii, especially with the recording of an album?  (Apparently they were, but how would he know that in advance?  Or did he cancel at the last moment when he realized Brian was bringing drugs?)

If he was boycotting the drug scene but then decided to return, does that mean Brian Dennis and Carl stopped smoking hash and taking drugs suddenly in Sept 67?  Seems unlikely.  Or did he realize that if he wanted to be in The Beach Boys he'd just have to accept that drugs were part of the scene as they were becoming ubiquitous in the LA music biz in general?
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Custom Machine
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« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2017, 12:21:37 PM »

The answer's out there...I forget which book I read it in (maybe Leaf's, maybe Gaines), but it's this:  things had gotten too weird for him...and I mean dope-wise, not music-wise. According to one of those books, there was a lot of hashish being smoked in and around the band (not to mention the acid Brian, Dennis and Carl had all apparently dropped), and that wasn't his thing. He's on record as saying Smiley was "brilliant" - he even calls out "W. Woodpecker Symphony" as genius. He proved his loyalty by going to England on a promo trip for "H&V", even though he wasn't on the released version. That's why Bruce isn't on Smiley Smile, or the latter quarter of the SMiLE sessions, for that matter. That's why Brian was at the Hawaii shows and Bruce wasn't: he took a sabbatical until things apparently normalized to the degree that he felt comfortable returning.

Bruce's transition from a BW "fill-in" to a full fledged member of the Beach Boys is a strange one in that it didn't follow a well defined path where it was suddenly announced that Bruce was, at some specific point, now an "official" member of the group.

Concerning Lei'd in Hawaii, I don't think Capitol would have been interested in releasing a Beach Boys live set in 1967 without Brian having been present as an on-stage member of the group. Back then most people considered The Beach Boys to be a five man band, and a large part of the listening public (as opposed to more serious fans) was probably unaware that Brian was no longer touring. It is well documented, as c-man says, that Bruce had serious issues with the drugs floating around the group, but I've always assumed that that reason Bruce did not perform at the summer 67 Hawaii concerts was because he was advised that Brian would be there instead, so his presence was not needed. That is, of course, pure conjecture on my part, as Bruce has said he did not go to Hawaii because things were getting too weird for him.

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Custom Machine
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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2017, 12:26:00 PM »


If he was boycotting the drug scene but then decided to return, does that mean Brian Dennis and Carl stopped smoking hash and taking drugs suddenly in Sept 67?  ...


Good point.

As far as Bruce being a "full fledged" member of the group, back at the time this was all happening I first felt he had achieved that status when he was pictured as one of six obvious group members on the back of the Wild Honey album in December 67. We know he was at the Summer Days and Pet Sounds cover shoots, but did not make the cover on either of those albums, nor was he pictured on BB Party or the US 45 rpm picture sleeves of Sloop John B and  Good Vibrations. But he does appear on the withdrawn unissued US Capitol Heroes and Villains picture sleeve. And world wide he first appeared (as one of 5 Beach Boys) on the 45 rpm EP God Only Knows picture sleeve in the UK, the same photo being used for the Good Vibrations picture sleeve in Australia. And of course there are some small black and white photos of him on the back of Pet Sounds, but only the more serious fans would have noticed that he was not one of the five "original" members.

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c-man
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« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2017, 11:17:25 AM »


Concerning Lei'd in Hawaii, I don't think Capitol would have been interested in releasing a Beach Boys live set in 1967 without Brian having been present as an on-stage member of the group. Back then most people considered The Beach Boys to be a five man band, and a large part of the listening public (as opposed to more serious fans) was probably unaware that Brian was no longer touring. It is well documented, as c-man says, that Bruce had serious issues with the drugs floating around the group, but I've always assumed that that reason Bruce did not perform at the summer 67 Hawaii concerts was because he was advised that Brian would be there instead, so his presence was not needed. That is, of course, pure conjecture on my part, as Bruce has said he did not go to Hawaii because things were getting too weird for him.



That's a very good point, Rob. But since the Smiley /i] sessions had wrapped by then, and they were conducted without Bruce's involvement, I see the two as closely related. As to what Bruce was up to during this time, aside from his "H&V" promo visit to the U.K., he was apparently considering some type of solo release: he produced a session for "Fanfare" on July 27 (funded by Arwin Records), for which he is listed as Artist and Producer. Of course, he also produced the basic track for "Bluebirds" that year, but that wasn't until September 29, by which point he was involved in the Wild Honey sessions: and that one was funded by Brother Records, with no artist listed (although Bruce told a reporter around that time that he was planning to release "Bluebirds" as a solo single).
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Custom Machine
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« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2017, 02:46:23 PM »


Concerning Lei'd in Hawaii, I don't think Capitol would have been interested in releasing a Beach Boys live set in 1967 without Brian having been present as an on-stage member of the group. Back then most people considered The Beach Boys to be a five man band, and a large part of the listening public (as opposed to more serious fans) was probably unaware that Brian was no longer touring. It is well documented, as c-man says, that Bruce had serious issues with the drugs floating around the group, but I've always assumed that that reason Bruce did not perform at the summer 67 Hawaii concerts was because he was advised that Brian would be there instead, so his presence was not needed. That is, of course, pure conjecture on my part, as Bruce has said he did not go to Hawaii because things were getting too weird for him.



That's a very good point, Rob. But since the Smiley /i] sessions had wrapped by then, and they were conducted without Bruce's involvement, I see the two as closely related. As to what Bruce was up to during this time, aside from his "H&V" promo visit to the U.K., he was apparently considering some type of solo release: he produced a session for "Fanfare" on July 27 (funded by Arwin Records), for which he is listed as Artist and Producer. Of course, he also produced the basic track for "Bluebirds" that year, but that wasn't until September 29, by which point he was involved in the Wild Honey sessions: and that one was funded by Brother Records, with no artist listed (although Bruce told a reporter around that time that he was planning to release "Bluebirds" as a solo single).


Craig, thanks for the additional info as to what Bruce was/wasn't up to at that time. I agree that Bruce's non-involvement in the Smiley sessions in June and July and his non-appearance in Hawaii in August would be related, although I can't imagine Capitol releasing a live BB album in 1967 without Brian on stage. That got me thinking about the Monterey Pop Festival on June 17. I've always assumed Bruce would have been there, but not Brian, but is known if Brian would have appeared, either with or without Bruce, especially since he was on the Monterey board and the concert was recorded? (Although my recollection is that it was a few years before any of the recordings were released.) (Going a step further, and something I've never considered before, if Brian had been talked in to performing at Monterey, perhaps by John Phillips, for example, I'm wondering if that could have been a contributing factor as to why Brian cancelled. But most likely it would have been the touring BBs without Brian.)

Is my recollection correct that Bruce is the only one who has spoken on the record as to why he didn't appear in Hawaii, and his comments came at least a few years after the fact? Has he or any other band members spoken about the reason for his non-participation in the Smiley sessions? I spoke to Bruce briefly after a BB concert last year, mentioning the first time I met him, as he played the piano on stage post-concert at the Hollywood Palladium on April 20, 1973, after he was no longer in the band but showed up for the concert and played the encore. He remembered the incident, but then without having been asked, said, "Do you wanna know why I left The Beach Boys?" I replied that I hadn't asked, but sure, tell us, and he emphatically stated, "Drugs! I left because I didn't like being around all the drugs!" I didn't think of it until later, but I should have mentioned his comment at the beginning of the Dec. 3, 1971 concert at the Long Beach Arena, when he was the last band member to show up on stage, sauntering in and explaining his lateness by stating, "It takes a long time to shoot up!" (I recall having a sinking feeling, thinking, "OMG, is Bruce Johnston on smack?" but then decided he had made the comment in jest.)



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