gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
641278 Posts in 25605 Topics by 3642 Members - Latest Member: BigSur91 December 17, 2018, 11:12:29 AM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Go Down Print
Author Topic: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE  (Read 5101 times)
SamMcK
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 580



View Profile
« on: March 20, 2018, 12:24:34 AM »

I'm certain many of us regard the effects of Brian's Post-SMiLE collapse of having been highly exaggerated considering he was still in creative control largely during Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends as the session tapes have shown. Sunshine Tomorrow and the inevitable Friends Outtakes cd are audible contrary evidence to the often held (and extremely frustrating) opinion that after the failure to release SMiLE in 1967 Brian quickly lost control of the group and his artistic vision plummeted.

Now I LOVE Smile, but that idea of Brian's immediate collapse happening so quickly is such an often held opinion that I wonder if it will ever change, as the incorrect narrative gets in the way of a better story in this case. 20/20 is where it can truly be argued that Brian had collapsed, (the brief time spent in the psychiatric hospital) but they had so many songs stockpiled by then that all the best compositions were still the work of Brian. For that reason (and Carl's first proper production), I Can Hear Music Is the real start of the group dynamic taking over.

But I guess my real point is that for me personally, the big collapse didn't happen for the most part in the 60s, but largely post-holland In my opinion, the likes of Break Away, This Whole World, Til I Die (especially), Let The Wind Blow, With Me Tonight, Darlin, Do It Again, Can't Wait Too Long, ect. Are equally as wonderful as any of his earlier 1964-1967 classics. I hate to bring it up since its mentioned A LOT but Mike's constant talking of the Wilson's drug addictions only exacerbates the idea of 'poor tortured Brian's' decline on an artistic level.

I'm biased but is anyone else irked by the media narrative of his decline after SMiLE, or that the group completely took over straight afterwards?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 01:49:24 AM by SamMcK » Logged
clack
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 528


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 07:48:08 AM »

Thing is, Brian did take a step back, in theory if not really in practice. The lp credits went from Produced and Arranged by Brian Wilson, to Produced by the Beach Boys, and by 'Friends' the songwriting credits were being shared by Mike, Dennis, Carl and Al.

Brian was still in creative control, but the outward signs contradicted that. Did Brian no longer want sole public responsibility for the records successes and failures?
Logged
hideyotsuburaya
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 187


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 09:43:58 AM »

Brian lost control, over the Beach Boys and their records, with the SMiLE implosion (implosion I think's the best term to describe those events then).  His creativity was fueled by that control, record after record leading up to SMiLE, and when the others (primarily Mike Love) began successfully over-riding his plans and decisions that dissipated his creative desires (it certainly took the 'edge' off them), a gradual decline over the next couple albums, until in effect the others could eventually say 'we don't need you anymore' to produce records
Logged
SamMcK
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 580



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 11:24:36 AM »

After sleeping on it and thinking about it, yeah.. I really can't disagree that him dropping out of the spotlight was more for Brian's well being than anything else. But as much as that might have been the public portrayal that Brian potentially wanted, (of him stepping back) I don't see a massive decline in the quality of his creative content straight afterwards as is so often percieved. To me I see a guy who was still putting in the effort for Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends and most often was responsible for the best material (old & new) between 1967-1971. Even after that he had Marcella and Sail On Sailor.

Yeah, there was a decline, it has to be said. But I feel like the portrayal of 'tortured Brian' after SMiLE is one that jars with all the amazing music he was largely responsible for, regardless of how invested he was. I think the whole "Brian the genius" campaign started by Derek Taylor probably proved a bigger hindrance as time went on and Brian didn't fully return to the spotlight until 1976, at which point he was clearly a very different person to the one fans and critics wanted him to be.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 11:28:53 AM by SamMcK » Logged
B.E.
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 579


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 12:10:27 PM »

SamMck, I agree with most of your post (your original post), but I'd pinpoint Brian's 'big collapse' as happening in 1970 as opposed to "largely post-Holland".  All the songs you mention have their origins in the 60s. His productivity drops off nearly completely post-Sunflower. That's when he really loses interest. Even Marcella was a rewrite of material from the 60s. Like you said, the group dynamic really emerges with I Can Hear Music and 20/20, but Brian bounced back and wrote/recorded a lot of music in late '69/early '70. He wouldn't return to anything approaching that level of productivity again until 1976.


clack, my thoughts exactly. I think the answer to that question is a resounding "yes".


hideyotsuburaya, what plans and decisions did Mike Love successfully override? I'm genuinely confused about this. I know he questioned VDP's lyrics, but other than that?
Logged
hideyotsuburaya
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 187


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 12:13:33 PM »

don't be confused, genuine or otherwise - just remember the Redwood debacle
Logged
B.E.
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 579


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 12:15:15 PM »

True, but I thought you were referring to Smile.

Edit: By the way, I like what you said about Brian's creativity being fueled by his control of their records. I've always felt that. It speaks to why he took his name off the production credit. And why he's got a greater affinity for 15 Big Ones than most.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 03:01:38 PM by B.E. » Logged
hideyotsuburaya
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 187


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 12:40:10 PM »

questioned VanDyke's lyrics?  More like rebelled against them, causing him (VDP) to forfeit the project and all the time spent on it.  (I think that the classic Beach Boys historical primer has it that Parks left not once but twice).  Danny Hutton said that Brian told him then point blank he cannot fight Mike (about him continuing to produce an album for Redwood, not just a 45) and it's hardly a stretch to imagine Brian also telling Van that too.  Brian needed a lyricist but an ally just as much it seems, both lost needlessly because VanDykes lyrics were the edgy part of SMiLE (it took Mike a little while but he was to realize that)

"Edit Edit: By the way, I like what you said about Brian's creativity being fueled by his control of their records" - that's not 'rocket science' as they say
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 12:42:08 PM by hideyotsuburaya » Logged
clack
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 528


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 12:50:49 PM »

Brian was still in complete control for 'Smiley Smile', and near-complete control for WH and 'Friends'. He was still the sole producer, though not credited as such.  

My speculation is that, beginning with WH, he began to allow the others in the band more input in the arrangements, but even there he maintained final say.

There was no post-SMiLE collapse. There was a gradual decline in involvement, which however began only post-Friends.
Logged
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1625



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2018, 01:01:26 PM »

Brian lost more control than imagined here...at least by the person who kicked this thread into gear.  Smiley Smile was not the album Brian wanted and 'they', the other guys, had a far greater hand in its outcome than Brian did.  He rather felt like they took the project away from him and "GOOD GAWWWWD!!!...look what they DID to it!!!"

After all that?  His commitment wouldn't have been anywhere near as targeted or as focused again.  I don't think Brian ever really trusted 'the group' again.  With no foundation to stand on...he slowly sank from sight and sound.  His barking dog of a cousin had successfully chased all of the future creativity and conspirators out of the yard and the internal factions were established...not as concretely as they would soon become...but the poisonous 'drip' had been injected into the patient and, over time, it would take its toll ... ... ... and its victims.
Logged

"Add Some...Music...To Your Day.  I do.  It's the only way to fly.  Well...what was I gonna put here?  An apple a day keeps the doctor away?  Hum me a few bars."   Lee Marshall [2014]

Donald  TRUMP!  ...  Is TOAST.  "What a disaster."  "Overrated?"... ... ..."BIG LEAGUE."  "Lots of people are saying it"  "I will tell you that."   Collusion, Money Laundering, Treason.   B'Bye Dirty Donnie!!!  Adios!!!  Bon Voyage!!!  Toodles!!!  Move yourself...SPANKY!!!  Jail awaits.  It's NO "Witch Hunt". There IS Collusion...and worse.  The Russian Mafia!!  Conspiracies!!  Fraud!!  This racist is goin' down...and soon.  Good Riddance.  And take the kids.
wjcrerar
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 102


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 01:37:28 PM »

Brian lost more control than imagined here...at least by the person who kicked this thread into gear.  Smiley Smile was not the album Brian wanted and 'they', the other guys, had a far greater hand in its outcome than Brian did.  He rather felt like they took the project away from him and "GOOD GAWWWWD!!!...look what they DID to it!!!"

After all that?  His commitment wouldn't have been anywhere near as targeted or as focused again.  I don't think Brian ever really trusted 'the group' again.  With no foundation to stand on...he slowly sank from sight and sound.  His barking dog of a cousin had successfully chased all of the future creativity and conspirators out of the yard and the internal factions were established...not as concretely as they would soon become...but the poisonous 'drip' had been injected into the patient and, over time, it would take its toll ... ... ... and its victims.

Sorry, but this has absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever. Direct from Brian in 1968: "We had so much fun. The Smiley Smile era was so great, it was unbelievable. Personally, spiritually, everything."

The evidence is right there on the session tapes and from the mouths of the band themselves that it was Brian's album through and through, and he was as in control as the sole producer as he always had been. Believing otherwise at this point is wilful ignorance.
Logged
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 04:07:13 PM »

While Brian was fully in control of Smiley, WH and Friends, he was very clearly stepping back in terms of his lead vocal duties. Brian's lead vocals practically dominate Pet Sounds and the SMiLE era tracks. One could argue that he became the group's primary lead vocalist during this time (singles be damned). That situation abruptly ends with Smiley Smile. Brian is still singing lead on some tracks but not to the degree that he once had been. He's handing more lead vocals off to Carl.
The stripped down production of SS and WH was a conscious move away from what he had done before 65-66, but it also meant that there was less heavy lifting for Brian to do in the studio. When you see the other guys popping up with writing credits, I think you're seeing Brian just trying to make the recording situation a lot less hectic for himself and more creatively stimulating for the other guys.
The old tired warhorse of a theory that he washed his hands of The Beach Boys and was at war with them following SMiLE is a nice pipe dream but it ain't reality as the tapes prove.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 04:26:38 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
SMiLE Brian
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8053



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 04:28:46 PM »

Nearly the exact words in the 2005 lawsuit! Grin
Logged

And production aside, Iíd so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 04:35:40 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2018, 04:43:35 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 04:52:38 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.

Then we ran in entirely different circles back then because that definitely WAS the narrative I was taught and firmly believed in as a teenager. It's an easy one to believe in too when you hear the SMiLE tracks (on bootleg tapes at the time) and then hear the versions on Smiley Smile. If you're told that "this is The Beach Boys trying to do the SMiLE stuff on their own" it's easy to see where that narrative (wrong as it is) could make sense to someone. We also pointed to "Pale and Precious" as a Brian tribute (and "Season Cycle" from XTC's Skylarking) but it was never in the context of Smiley, WH and Friends but always in the context of the promise SMiLE (which was everything).
 
I remember when someone played me "Rio Grande" for the first time and said "See? This is what a real Brian Wilson production sounds like!!!".
 
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 05:05:17 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.

Then we ran in entirely different circles back then because that definitely WAS the narrative I was taught and firmly believed in as a teenager. It's an easy one to believe in too when you hear the SMiLE tracks (on bootleg tapes at the time) and then hear the versions on Smiley Smile. If you're told that "this is The Beach Boys trying to do the SMiLE stuff on their own" it's easy to see where that narrative (wrong as it is) could make sense to someone. We also pointed to "Pale and Precious" as a Brian tribute (and "Season Cycle" from XTC's Skylarking) but it was never in the context of Smiley, WH and Friends but always in the context of the promise SMiLE (which was everything).
 
I remember when someone played me "Rio Grande" for the first time and said "See? This is what a real Brian Wilson production sounds like!!!".
 

That may be so, for your experience, but the majority of the Smile "fan mixes" made on cassette in those days before the floodgates opened for new Smile fragments consisted of at least half Smiley tracks, and people were digging them in that context. Again speaking of Domenic Priore, he even published a Smile fan mix tracklist in the old Pulse magazine back in '92 or so, and that was a pretty cool template for a DIY Smile fan mix before the internet and more vault leaks changed the whole game.

There was a pretty strong underground cult of fans who were doing what I said (and did), and getting people who had no idea that music existed to listen to Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, and both albums had and developed even stronger a certain cult following especially among musicians. Even then, yes there may have been the notion of "compromise" with Smile versus Smiley Smile, but most people took Smiley and Wild Honey even then as Brian's work, compromised or not, and appreciated it as such.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 05:15:03 PM »

A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 05:15:44 PM »

It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.

Then we ran in entirely different circles back then because that definitely WAS the narrative I was taught and firmly believed in as a teenager. It's an easy one to believe in too when you hear the SMiLE tracks (on bootleg tapes at the time) and then hear the versions on Smiley Smile. If you're told that "this is The Beach Boys trying to do the SMiLE stuff on their own" it's easy to see where that narrative (wrong as it is) could make sense to someone. We also pointed to "Pale and Precious" as a Brian tribute (and "Season Cycle" from XTC's Skylarking) but it was never in the context of Smiley, WH and Friends but always in the context of the promise SMiLE (which was everything).
 
I remember when someone played me "Rio Grande" for the first time and said "See? This is what a real Brian Wilson production sounds like!!!".
 

That may be so, for your experience, but the majority of the Smile "fan mixes" made on cassette in those days before the floodgates opened for new Smile fragments consisted of at least half Smiley tracks, and people were digging them in that context. Again speaking of Domenic Priore, he even published a Smile fan mix tracklist in the old Pulse magazine back in '92 or so, and that was a pretty cool template for a DIY Smile fan mix before the internet and more vault leaks changed the whole game.

There was a pretty strong underground cult of fans who were doing what I said (and did), and getting people who had no idea that music existed to listen to Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, and both albums had and developed even stronger a certain cult following especially among musicians. Even then, yes there may have been the notion of "compromise" with Smile versus Smiley Smile, but most people took Smiley and Wild Honey even then as Brian's work, compromised or not, and appreciated it as such.

I don't doubt that was your experience but it certainly wasn't mine and I was DEEP into that underground Brian cult.  While I and my friends heard SS, WH and Friends (in piecemeal fashion....those LP's were very hard to come by in the 1980's) it was not in the larger context of Brian's artistic vision but rather "hey, check out these weird tracks The Beach Boys did" and enjoyed in an Ed Wood kind of way.
In fact, the first time I had heard any of those tracks was completely out of their original context and on the "Sunshine Dream" cassette.        
Logged
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 05:22:18 PM »

A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 05:39:30 PM »

A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   

That's funny you mention "So", a friend and I literally wore out that cassette when it came out. Wore it out, and my own dubbed copy. I went back recently to listen to some of the choice tracks with my older ears, and tracks like Sledgehammer and others really do not suffer from that 80's-itis in terms of sounding dated. They're just damn fine tracks, and Sledgehammer still grooves like nobody's business. If anything...I also went back to Gabriel's older solo material, and listened to a favorite from those years "Games Without Frontiers". Now THAT sounded dated, even though I still dig the song. But the sounds dragged it down a few pegs, whereas the choice cuts from "So" didn't sound nearly as dated as I thought.

BW 88 did sound like a lot of everything else at the time, in some ways, and that's what kind of killed it for me - That was what was behind my comment about labels expecting records to sound like, it was just what they thought a hit should sound like. But consider at that same time there were successful albums like "Appetite For Destruction", that La's album with There She Goes as the lead single, Michael Penn with that terrific single No Myth, even Elvis Costello's hit Veronica, and I could name more...but none of them have that 80's-itis sound quality that drags down BW 88 and other albums like it, the Macca album is a great example of it. Touches of it were on those I mention, yes, but not fully washed out in that sound like I think BW's album suffers from.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2018, 05:52:57 PM »

A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   

That's funny you mention "So", a friend and I literally wore out that cassette when it came out. Wore it out, and my own dubbed copy. I went back recently to listen to some of the choice tracks with my older ears, and tracks like Sledgehammer and others really do not suffer from that 80's-itis in terms of sounding dated. They're just damn fine tracks, and Sledgehammer still grooves like nobody's business. If anything...I also went back to Gabriel's older solo material, and listened to a favorite from those years "Games Without Frontiers". Now THAT sounded dated, even though I still dig the song. But the sounds dragged it down a few pegs, whereas the choice cuts from "So" didn't sound nearly as dated as I thought.

BW 88 did sound like a lot of everything else at the time, in some ways, and that's what kind of killed it for me - That was what was behind my comment about labels expecting records to sound like, it was just what they thought a hit should sound like. But consider at that same time there were successful albums like "Appetite For Destruction", that La's album with There She Goes as the lead single, Michael Penn with that terrific single No Myth, even Elvis Costello's hit Veronica, and I could name more...but none of them have that 80's-itis sound quality that drags down BW 88 and other albums like it, the Macca album is a great example of it. Touches of it were on those I mention, yes, but not fully washed out in that sound like I think BW's album suffers from.

We can split hairs on the production of BW 88 (I actually think GnR's AFD sounds more dated) but you have to admit that at that time BW 88 was heralded as THE comeback nobody expected, and I agreed with the critics that it was the best Beach Boys-releated release since Sunflower. While Landy was considered controversial even then, he was praised for getting Brian in shape and actively writing and recording. Like a lot of Brian fanatics at the time, I completely bought into the idea that Landy was a positive in Brian's life....mainly because Brian kept saying this in every interview.

Fast forward all these years later and to younger fans BW 88 is tainted by the presence of Landy, the "80's production complaint", etc.
Just goes to show you how perceptions differ over the years. Same with SS, WH and Friends now that we know what we know.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2018, 05:58:02 PM »

Getting back to the notion of Brian "checking out" after Smile, I think there is validity in saying he did check out in a sense, and I'd go back to Marilyn's comments in the Don Was doc for some more of the rationale behind that where she was very specific on her reasons why he made certain decisions after Smile. I think there was a sense of being fed up with the conflicts and challenges from his own band and family, and he would not be making music like Smile (or even Pet Sounds) for or with the band moving forward, or nowhere near the same percentage of that kind of music and recording methods moving forward. But immediately after, he did not stop making that kind of music, in fact he took some of the Smile methods to what he was doing for Redwood and on other assorted tracks like Can't Wait Too Long, Cool Cool Water, etc all done later in '67. And the use of session players never stopped, in fact it amped up a bit for the Friends sessions.

As far as the notion Brian checked out entirely after Smile, of course that's nonsense as the tapes show. But he did check out in some ways for reasons beyond the artistic or anything having to do with becoming drug-addled to the point where he couldn't work any more. He just stopped trying to top Good Vibrations and make music like Smile with or for The Beach Boys, and it probably traces back to whatever happened inside the group around May and June 1967.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8358


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2018, 06:08:43 PM »

A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   

That's funny you mention "So", a friend and I literally wore out that cassette when it came out. Wore it out, and my own dubbed copy. I went back recently to listen to some of the choice tracks with my older ears, and tracks like Sledgehammer and others really do not suffer from that 80's-itis in terms of sounding dated. They're just damn fine tracks, and Sledgehammer still grooves like nobody's business. If anything...I also went back to Gabriel's older solo material, and listened to a favorite from those years "Games Without Frontiers". Now THAT sounded dated, even though I still dig the song. But the sounds dragged it down a few pegs, whereas the choice cuts from "So" didn't sound nearly as dated as I thought.

BW 88 did sound like a lot of everything else at the time, in some ways, and that's what kind of killed it for me - That was what was behind my comment about labels expecting records to sound like, it was just what they thought a hit should sound like. But consider at that same time there were successful albums like "Appetite For Destruction", that La's album with There She Goes as the lead single, Michael Penn with that terrific single No Myth, even Elvis Costello's hit Veronica, and I could name more...but none of them have that 80's-itis sound quality that drags down BW 88 and other albums like it, the Macca album is a great example of it. Touches of it were on those I mention, yes, but not fully washed out in that sound like I think BW's album suffers from.

We can split hairs on the production of BW 88 (I actually think GnR's AFD sounds more dated) but you have to admit that at that time BW 88 was heralded as THE comeback nobody expected, and I agreed with the critics that it was the best Beach Boys-releated release since Sunflower. While Landy was considered controversial even then, he was praised for getting Brian in shape and actively writing and recording. Like a lot of Brian fanatics at the time, I completely bought into the idea that Landy was a positive in Brian's life....mainly because Brian kept saying this in every interview.

Fast forward all these years later and to younger fans BW 88 is tainted by the presence of Landy, the "80's production complaint", etc.
Just goes to show you how perceptions differ over the years. Same with SS, WH and Friends now that we know what we know.

"Appetite..." if anything has gone on to become one of the best selling rock albums of all time. You would be amazed how many kids under 15 love that album (I see it every week), and the same singles that were spun off it back in 88-89 are now in heavy rotation on a lot of classic rock format radio stations. It feels to me like Dark Side or Sgt Pepper or Sticky Fingers or any of the other classics from when I was a kid discovering music, if it sounded too dated the new generations would not be embracing it as much as they have. And it's not in a retro kind of way either, these kids digging "Appetite" truly dig the sounds on that record.

Funny too, at the time it came out that album literally changed the way rock sounded. It was a return to the way bands like Aerosmith and the Stones cut records with two guitars and heavy drums, and Slash all but single-handedly resurrected the wah-wah pedal after it got relegated to the graveyard of cheesy sounds from the past, and the stuff of game show music and bad porn films. That album sold more Dunlop Cry-Baby wah pedals than probably anything else had in years. And listeners found that they liked scruffy looking guys plugging Les Pauls into Marshall amps over guys with teased hair and massive rackmount digital effects units. It was the old Aerosmith/Stones/Thin Lizzy sound back on the charts and MTV.
Logged

ďSome people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I donít look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. Itís just wrong thinking in my opinion and I donít mind saying that.Ē - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
gfx
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.252 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!