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Author Topic: Carl and Kowalski  (Read 4267 times)
NateRuvin
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« on: January 17, 2018, 01:14:25 PM »

I don't mean this in a mean way... And while Mike Kowalksi played with the group for many years (starting in the late 60's), I can't believe Carl didn't replace him in the 90's. By that time, his drumming just felt all over the place to me. Always rushing or dragging- never in the pocket like Cowsill, for example. And having Cowsill in a band like Mike's California Beach Band wouldn't surprise me, but knowing about Carl's scrutiny over the band's sound makes me surprised he'd put up with Kowalski's drumming. Maybe he's a fine drummer and I over analyze.
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Tony S
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 03:43:49 PM »

I never really thought too much about that but you bring up a good point. I thought it was later in the game, after Carl passed, that Kowalski's drumming really started to go down hill. That's the only explanation I can come up with, in thinking about it, considering Carl's ''stink eye" approach for keeping the touring unit solid.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 05:17:33 PM »

I never really thought too much about that but you bring up a good point. I thought it was later in the game, after Carl passed, that Kowalski's drumming really started to go down hill. That's the only explanation I can come up with, in thinking about it, considering Carl's ''stink eye" approach for keeping the touring unit solid.

Not having been an avid listener of tons of BBs live shows (in the manner that some fans on this board have been), I keep hearing about his drumming becoming subpar, but haven't heard an example. Are there any clips online that are examples of this?
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 08:17:29 PM »

Watch the Philly July 4th 1995 concert for examples. It's readily and widely available.
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 09:34:46 PM »

Watch the Philly July 4th 1995 concert for examples. It's readily and widely available.


And a fine credit to why Kowalski needed to hit the road.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 06:16:50 AM »

As others such as Jon Stebbins have pointed out, back in the day Kowalski was an excellent drummer. As in, back in the 70s.

It was in the 80s that it started getting bad. I think most any concert recording (especially soundboard recordings with clear drums) from the late 80s into the 90s displays the sub-par drumming.

The drumming mars an otherwise pretty awesome late 1993 Paramount Theater NYC recording from the "Boxed Set" tour.

He tended to drop fills and stuff like that. When he stayed literally in a 4/4 hi-hat/snare pattern, it wasn't *that* bad. Still not great, and still some issues with speeding up and slowing down, but not too awful. It was as soon as he made *any* moves around the kit that it started sounded *very* sloppy. It's kind of hard to describe. It's like the drumming is getting away from him. Like he's trying to do fills and move around the kit, but he's losing the beat all the time and can't fit all the moves into whatever section he's trying to fit them into.

Ironically, one of the messier songs tended to be the show opener, "California Girls." I remember a lot of dropping the ball in the segues between the chorus and verses, etc.

I'm loathe to speculate too much or get too personal, but when you *watch* footage of him drumming, he seems *VERY* stiff. I tend to wonder if he actually had some sort of physical ailment (back problems, shoulder/elbow problems, etc.) that was causing some of this.

Stiff is what I'd call the drumming more than anything else. Stiff to the point that trying move around the kit often sounded very sloppy.

Other than Carl sounding like "Elmer Fudd on valium" on the Australia '78 tour or, maybe, Adrian Baker's falsetto stuff on the 1981 tour, Kowalski's drumming was by far the most glaringly sub-par element of BB live shows I've ever heard. Even when Dennis was loaded in the late 70s and early 80s, he sounded better. I truly can't explain why Carl didn't have an issue with Kowalski's drumming, at least by the late 80s or early 90s. I'd say maybe he simply felt some loyalty to the long-time members, but that certainly didn't stop him from saying goodbye to Ed Carter and Billy Hinsche in 1995.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 07:43:19 AM »

And why were Ed and Billy let go ?
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DonnyL
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2018, 10:48:37 AM »

Isn't Kowalski the drummer on Live in London?
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 01:32:45 PM »

Sounds more like Dennis' drumming style than Kowalski's. According to "The Beach Boys In Concert" book, Kowalski augmented their live sound on percussion for that tour.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 01:46:01 PM »

Isn't Kowalski the drummer on Live in London?
As metal flake suggested, Dennis is the drummer on Live in London, with Kowalski on percussion. Kowalski is the drummer on the 71 Central Park concert, right after Dennis had injured his hand but before Ricky was hired.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 01:48:13 PM by Jon Stebbins » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 01:46:45 PM »

I don't hear any problems with Kowalski's drumming in the late 60s/early 70s. You can also see/hear him drum on the 1978 Australian tour.

It was upon his return in the 80s that it seemed like there were problems.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 01:59:31 PM »

Ah must have been the percussion credit that confused me.
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 05:30:42 PM »

And why were Ed and Billy let go ?


I think in at least one case it was at least mutual, if not entirely the individual's choice, just based on what I've read. I can't say for certain, but I get the impression that the Mike/Al divide that had developed may have led one or both to decide it was time to go. And I don't think it was a surprise, as I recall reading in ESQ the year before that at least one longtime touring member would likely be retiring in the near future.
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c-man
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 05:34:08 PM »


I'm loathe to speculate too much or get too personal, but when you *watch* footage of him drumming, he seems *VERY* stiff. I tend to wonder if he actually had some sort of physical ailment (back problems, shoulder/elbow problems, etc.) that was causing some of this.


I was about four rows from the (revolving) stage at a 1991 concert. I was really impressed by Mike K's drumming (my impression may have been boosted by being THAT close to the band for the first time in my life). But immediately afterwards, as the crowd was leaving, I spied Mr. K. heading into a little side room to receive a massage from a professional therapist. So I would tend to believe your theory!
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Needleinthehay
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 05:50:46 PM »

Quote from: HeyJude link=topic=25739.msg628396#msg628396 date=1516285010.

Other than Carl sounding like "Elmer Fudd on valium" on the Australia '78 tour or, maybe, Adrian Baker's falsetto stuff on the 1981 tour, Kowalski's drumming was by far the most glaringly sub-par element of BB live shows I've ever heard. Even when Dennis was loaded in the late 70s and early 80s, he sounded better. I truly can't explain why Carl didn't have an issue with Kowalski's drumming, at least by the late 80s or early 90s. I'd say maybe he simply felt some loyalty to the long-time members, but that certainly didn't stop him from saying goodbye to Ed Carter and Billy Hinsche in 1995.

Cant forget brians “dont worry baby” singing summer 1981 as a contender for worst
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 05:51:41 PM by Needleinthehay » Logged
HeyJude
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2018, 07:28:43 AM »

Quote from: HeyJude link=topic=25739.msg628396#msg628396 date=1516285010.

Other than Carl sounding like "Elmer Fudd on valium" on the Australia '78 tour or, maybe, Adrian Baker's falsetto stuff on the 1981 tour, Kowalski's drumming was by far the most glaringly sub-par element of BB live shows I've ever heard. Even when Dennis was loaded in the late 70s and early 80s, he sounded better. I truly can't explain why Carl didn't have an issue with Kowalski's drumming, at least by the late 80s or early 90s. I'd say maybe he simply felt some loyalty to the long-time members, but that certainly didn't stop him from saying goodbye to Ed Carter and Billy Hinsche in 1995.

Cant forget brians “dont worry baby” singing summer 1981 as a contender for worst

Yes, for sure, there were individual songs/moments in the show that were among the worst. Brian on DWB in 1981, Mike singing "Imagine" in 1983, etc.

But in terms of something sounding bad from the beginning to the end of a given show, Kowalski's drumming was a serious problem. If someone came in during the show and butchered a lead or biffed something on *a* song, at least they could move on to something else and hopefully redeem the show to some degree. So, for instance, Brian actually often sounded pretty okay on the 1981 and 82 tours singing "God Only Knows" or "Sloop John B."
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2018, 07:56:18 AM »

I always thought Bobby F. was a better drummer than Mike personally. I think it was another example of being overwhelmed by other stuff: the Brian situation, his mom's health, his health to push for any change.  By the 90s Carl had become pro status quo ( not to be confused with their awful appearance with the band Status Quo) even as the quality dipped because it just wasn't worth it personally for him to fight it.  Mike saw the opportunity and being the shrewd businessman he always has been jumped in and took control.
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 10:39:33 AM »

Shrewd businessman? Where's the proof in terms of success for the band just before and after Kokomo and prior to Carl's passing beyond the obligatory tours? The releases and even public appearances (TV, etc) helmed by Mike's leadership were nothing short of an embarrassment with only the legacy of the back catalog of classic hits and some renewed interest in Brian's post-Landy comeback and reappearance to save face when necessary. And in that tough period in the early 80's prior to Dennis' passing, Mike must have been hard-up or something because he was selling out on bizarre projects ranging from a "Be True To Your Bud" tour of college campuses and releases on Radio Shack's label with Dean Torrance that saw Mike serenading a Christmas song to a woman holding a sheep on TV and Dean and Mike riding a sleigh.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2018, 11:43:28 AM »

And yet another interesting thread descends into "Let's all sh*t on Mike love because...why the hell not?". All this Mike hatred is turning into a sick obsession.
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2018, 11:50:29 AM »

And yet another interesting thread descends into "Let's all sh*t on Mike love because...why the hell not?". All this Mike hatred is turning into a sick obsession.

Already five posts today about Mike.  There's a lot of irony in saying good on Brian and Al for moving on.    
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 11:51:01 AM by The Cincinnati Kid » Logged
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2018, 11:53:38 AM »

And yet another interesting thread descends into "Let's all sh*t on Mike love because...why the hell not?". All this Mike hatred is turning into a sick obsession.

So I'm not allowed to reply with my opinions when someone calls Mike Love a "shrewd businessman" if I disagree with that statement? Because it's Mike?

Let me know.
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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2018, 11:54:31 AM »

And yet another interesting thread descends into "Let's all sh*t on Mike love because...why the hell not?". All this Mike hatred is turning into a sick obsession.

Already five posts today about Mike.  There's a lot of irony in saying good on Brian and Al for moving on.    

Tough sh*t, Kid. It's an open forum.
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2018, 11:56:30 AM »

Mike is diversive figure in so many areas...
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2018, 05:44:48 PM »


I'm loathe to speculate too much or get too personal, but when you *watch* footage of him drumming, he seems *VERY* stiff. I tend to wonder if he actually had some sort of physical ailment (back problems, shoulder/elbow problems, etc.) that was causing some of this.


I was about four rows from the (revolving) stage at a 1991 concert. I was really impressed by Mike K's drumming (my impression may have been boosted by being THAT close to the band for the first time in my life). But immediately afterwards, as the crowd was leaving, I spied Mr. K. heading into a little side room to receive a massage from a professional therapist. So I would tend to believe your theory!

I can't remember who it was at the moment, but I think somebody told me he had arthritis in his shoulder.
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2018, 05:52:48 PM »

And yet another interesting thread descends into "Let's all sh*t on Mike love because...why the hell not?". All this Mike hatred is turning into a sick obsession.

Already five posts today about Mike.  There's a lot of irony in saying good on Brian and Al for moving on.    

Tough sh*t, Kid. It's an open forum.
Mod skills 101, ladies and gentlemen.
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