gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
640791 Posts in 25595 Topics by 3639 Members - Latest Member: treblephone December 10, 2018, 02:10:13 PM
*
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 5055 times)
Kid Presentable
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 234


View Profile
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2018, 01:24:54 AM »

3 takes.

I think that the better word for what Brian did after Smile was "retooled".  He and those around him realised that it wasn't healthy or good for him to shoulder the amount of burden that he had been dealing with.  And that they would be going in a different direction than PS/Smile regardless.  He was still top dog starting with Wild Honey, but in a more manageable sense all around.  I think this is in actuality less negative than it is often portrayed.

The concept of losing control/direction has more to do with popular music as a whole in the late 60s and his role in it.  They had generally stopped being a primarily guitar-based band shortly before Pet Sounds, and the environment after PS was even more strongly guitar-dominated.  That stuff like 20/20 and Friends weren't hits actually isn't that much of a surprise, in hindsight, even though they are fine albums.  They were a sharp break from a sharp break from a sharp break of what the BB had been established as and known for, and they weren't resonating with the culture of pop music at that time. 

Brian's real collapse didn't happen until his father died.
Logged
thorgil
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 416


GREAT post, Rab!


View Profile
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2018, 05:12:28 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

Or when the others THOUGHT they didn't need Brian anymore, while they DID need him, and facts proved exactly that. Count me the great Beach Boys songs after Love You and before TWGMTR.
Dennis was the only one among the others who was a very good songwriter, but even with him Dennis + Carl + Al + Mike + Bruce << Brian

Without the eggs laid by the Golden Goose, creatively, they lost steam in very few years.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 05:12:54 AM by thorgil » Logged

DIT, DIT, DIT, HEROES AND VILLAINS...
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2805


View Profile
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2018, 06:28:39 AM »

It kind of makes sense that the media would assume this false narrative.

You have a great mythological album that gets abandoned followed by a massive dip in popularity and relevance. If life were a perfectly coherent linear narrative, it would only make sense this coincided with Brian's pulling away from the band and his significantly deteriorating mental condition. But life is not a perfectly coherent linear narrative. But writers are compelling to shape reality into one in order to make a story more understandable.
Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2805


View Profile
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2018, 06:51:02 AM »

The concept of losing control/direction has more to do with popular music as a whole in the late 60s and his role in it.  They had generally stopped being a primarily guitar-based band shortly before Pet Sounds, and the environment after PS was even more strongly guitar-dominated.  That stuff like 20/20 and Friends weren't hits actually isn't that much of a surprise, in hindsight, even though they are fine albums.  They were a sharp break from a sharp break from a sharp break of what the BB had been established as and known for, and they weren't resonating with the culture of pop music at that time. 

I have heard this point made before and I don't particularly find it convincing. Yes, there was the guitar-rock music emerging at this time - Hendrix, Page, Clapton, etc. But so much of the real hit music was still pretty lightweight stuff, far lighter than was the Beach Boys were doing in the late 60s - Bobby Goldsboro, Herb Alpert, Gary Puckett, The Archies, The 5th Dimension, 1910 Fruitgum Company. These were light pop bands/artists who were having massive hits in the late 60s.

I think there are maybe two issues here. One is that the pop audience is fickle. There was a reason why The Monkees were one of the biggest selling bands in 1967 but dropped off substantially in 1968, despite still making good music, while The Archies had the big hit single in 1969.

And I think the problem that the Monkees faced was similar to what The Beach Boys faced. Both bands moved away from conventional pop towards something a bit more substantial. But a lot of the audience who might have appreciated substantial and mature music had unfairly written off the bands as pop fodder as a matter of principle. So the bands were kind of stuck in a void though Brian had the kind of genius where he managed to find a comfortable balance between both audiences when he produced Good Vibrations.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8333


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2018, 08:00:21 AM »

The reason why The Monkees dropped off in '68 had everything to do with the TV show not being on with new episodes after March or so that year. That's according to the band themselves. The last major hit they had was when Valleri came out in early '68 and it went top 5, just as the last new episodes were winding down. Their follow up was DW Washburn, after the new episodes had run their course, and that was not only a stiff but a misstep that the newly added music exec who told them they should record it acknowledged.

It's hard to remove the power of having a weekly TV show to promote the music from the Monkees example. And I do think releasing DW Washburn was a blunder. You can't have a novelty single like that coming out in summer '68 without a TV show and video to promote it.
Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - 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: 8333


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2018, 08:13:46 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

Or when the others THOUGHT they didn't need Brian anymore, while they DID need him, and facts proved exactly that. Count me the great Beach Boys songs after Love You and before TWGMTR.
Dennis was the only one among the others who was a very good songwriter, but even with him Dennis + Carl + Al + Mike + Bruce << Brian

Without the eggs laid by the Golden Goose, creatively, they lost steam in very few years.

Lines up with what Marilyn says in the Don Was doc I referenced earlier. "You guys think you can do better? Do it!" was the basic premise.

Same thing played out in 1988-89 with Kokomo. We heard the results when the band didn't need Brian anymore and Capitol came knocking for hit records.
Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - 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
Joel Goldenberg
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 450



View Profile
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2018, 10:06:43 AM »

I would agree that the Brian decline began after Sunflower. The main reason? Sunflower's U.S. chart position. Brian must have felt, I come back and work really hard, and this is what the people think? I wouldn't be too motivated either.
Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2805


View Profile
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2018, 10:16:38 AM »

I think his most significant pull back was during 20/20, which I believe is when he was hospitalized.

After that, it was a drawn out fading away - from writing songs on Sunflower without appearing too much on the album, to just withdrawing almost completely by Carl & The Passions.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8333


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2018, 10:27:09 AM »

No doubt he pulled back, but he was still writing. When the band turned in Holland, the label didn't hear a single so they went to Van Dyke Parks who showed up with that demo of Sail On Sailor. So it was still a case even at the time of Holland that when the band needed a hit, they went to something Brian was writing at this time.

I think chart failure may be overstated as a factor. Consider how Brian's ideas - no matter how "commercial" they may or may not have been - were being rejected by the band. He apparently didn't want them to use the chants on Cool Cool Water, but they did anyway. He didn't back the idea of doing Surf's Up when the band was going to put it out, yet he showed up out of the blue during one session to add a missing part to the song. He wrote something as magnificent as Til I Die during this time, and Mike called it a downer or something like that. He had the fairy tale, and apparently Carl compromised by doing that extra record bonus instead of putting it on the album proper. It goes on and on.

As I said previously regarding the time period around Friends and 20/20, a person can only hear the word "no" so many times before finally saying f*** it. Yet he still added his work to what the band was doing musically, and I don't think they had any choice to be honest. But for a guy who had been seeking approval and validation through his music since he was a kid, it wore him down to hear his ideas rejected so many times, whether they were smash hit record ideas or not.
Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - 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
Lee Marshall
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1624



View Profile
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2018, 11:54:29 AM »

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.

Yes that quote may exist but this situation with Smiley Smile is clearly referenced in the movie...Love and Mercy [not those made for TV joke-fests]...when Brian is alone talking about how gobsmacked he was over the demise of the SMiLE project with Murry.  I am of the opinion that Love and Mercy is considered by Brian to be the accurate 'take' on how things went down and that all previous 'things' alluding to events of significance in terms of the music and his career might be somewhat jaundiced...or staged...if not inaccurate.  That said then...I believe that there is basis for my view of what really and truly happened and how it then effected his future both immediate and long term.  If Brian appeared to be having fun with the 'bunt'  [Monty Pythons version of the word] it may well be that Brian was, and always has been, a FAR better team player than all of the others including Carl who at least wore the team colours unlike say...oh I don't know...Mike...for example.

And why did Carl and Dennis almost apologize for Smiley Smile virtually upon its release?  If all was "peace, love, doves, hare Krishna, power to the people boys and girls" why?  'Cause, obviously, it wasn't.  It may look 'groovy' in retrospect.  But in REAL TIME?  It was a giant pile of fly attractant.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 02:38:17 PM by Lee Marshall » 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.
hideyotsuburaya
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 187


View Profile
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2018, 12:26:16 PM »

I don't think there can be realistic dispute that SMILEY SMILE, WILD HONEY, and finally FRIENDS all are Brian Wilson produced Beach Boys albums, practically speaking if not nominally, but.......they are albums he produced bending more to the groups expressed desires (if not directly the labels too) of things they did not want to do and preferred instead.  No he could no longer produce the 'self-indulgent' shall we say types of works SMiLE certainly was (going to be), or even on the level of PET SOUNDS for that matter.  He lost, or forfeited that type of total control with the implosion of SMiLE.  After that, what else could be done?  The rest of the bandmembers were not (yet) to the point of taking over production reigns even to partial extent (that began with 20/20 though there is Dennis' BE STILL earlier),  so of course they had Brian continuing to produce since Capitol needed to release new product.  Brians once very creative vanguard was reduced to instances he was 'granted permission' for, hence the decline in output

Edit:  even as I say Capitol needed to release new Beach Boys product, by then in fact they'd certainly realized the newfound value of old product with a Best of Vol. 3, a 3-record deluxe set repackaging, plus Stack-O-Tracks which is both new and old at the same time.  This no-brainer strategy covers all possible marketing bases
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 12:50:33 PM by hideyotsuburaya » Logged
thorgil
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 416


GREAT post, Rab!


View Profile
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2018, 09:16:00 AM »

No doubt he pulled back, but he was still writing. When the band turned in Holland, the label didn't hear a single so they went to Van Dyke Parks who showed up with that demo of Sail On Sailor. So it was still a case even at the time of Holland that when the band needed a hit, they went to something Brian was writing at this time.

I think chart failure may be overstated as a factor. Consider how Brian's ideas - no matter how "commercial" they may or may not have been - were being rejected by the band. He apparently didn't want them to use the chants on Cool Cool Water, but they did anyway. He didn't back the idea of doing Surf's Up when the band was going to put it out, yet he showed up out of the blue during one session to add a missing part to the song. He wrote something as magnificent as Til I Die during this time, and Mike called it a downer or something like that. He had the fairy tale, and apparently Carl compromised by doing that extra record bonus instead of putting it on the album proper. It goes on and on.

As I said previously regarding the time period around Friends and 20/20, a person can only hear the word "no" so many times before finally saying f*** it. Yet he still added his work to what the band was doing musically, and I don't think they had any choice to be honest. But for a guy who had been seeking approval and validation through his music since he was a kid, it wore him down to hear his ideas rejected so many times, whether they were smash hit record ideas or not.

I think you are right, Craig. It was not only Smile's "failure", but also what happened after that wore Brian down, as you say. He needed both psychological support (no wonder with a childhood like that and his other ongoing problems) and creative support (Brian has never been a wholly autonomous artist, always needs somebody to help him bring his creations to full fruition). In that period, it looks like he did not get much of either.
Sad
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 09:20:07 AM by thorgil » Logged

DIT, DIT, DIT, HEROES AND VILLAINS...
SamMcK
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 580



View Profile
« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2018, 12:11:18 PM »

As stated by other posters, (particularly hideyotsuburaya) it wasn't just enough that Brian was losing focus in creating commercial material, but you do get the clear sense that he was zoning out as the group rejected his ideas. and let's be honest, after running the ship since the beginning, and taking all that pressure on your shoulders wouldn't anyone lose interest?

It's not so much that Brian "collapsed" after SMiLE, but that his ideas got less elaborate and easier to put together, no more lengthy suites to piece together! (and really, there was no way in hell Capitol would have waited any longer in between new material in 67/68.)

But my initial reason for starting this thread is that I don't believe the portrayal of the events is as black and white as is often believed. I find it insulting the way it is often told that Brian checked out after SMiLE, considering his large role behind Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, Friends ect. and let's be honest, about 70% of the greatest late 60s/early 70s compositions were either old or new Brian tunes and fragments. (with some clear exceptions, Forever, All This Is That, Disney Girls ect.)

Yes he did lose interest in the group later on, and largely check out post-70s. But you can only say that in comparison to 1963-1967 in particular when he REALLY was doing the heavy lifting. But he knew what he was doing, he didn't just give up like is often said. I think this is a sore point for me because when I was first getting into The Beach Boys I was led to believe two things. That Brian completely lost it after SMiLE wasn't released, and that the group took over almost immediately. We now know better, but a lot of people still believe that he contributed extremely little to the later years, that myth is even mentioned in the context of Mike's 2005(?) lawsuit.

It's a frustrating situation, but I imagine it's a better story for people to believe he spent 20 years in bed afterwards doing f*ck all after SMiLE.  Sad
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 12:13:08 PM by SamMcK » Logged
♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇
The Dr. of Wilsonomics
Global Moderator
*****
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 10417


🍦🍦Doe Derangement Syndrome- It’s a Love Stain ☮☮


View Profile WWW
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2018, 12:16:50 PM »

When I was first becoming a fan of Brian way back in 1995, I bought into the whole thing about Brian giving up in 1967 because the rest of the band were assholes. Part of that came from the Landy book. Hell, when I first started trying to get into the band itself I would skip over any track with someone other than Brian singing lead. Sadly...that includes Pet Sounds. I was so offended that Brian was “forced” to give up Smile  and spent his days in bed.

Yeah, I was an idiot LOL The funny part is, I now consider his so called “start of the retreat “ to be his best work ever. I’ll put his songs from 1967-1971 over anybody else, BB or otherwise.
Logged

RIP Alexa Lestage (8 May 1995- 10 June 2018) .

https://www.gofundme.com/help-support-the-jurkowlaniecs

Quote
Lady:”Sir why you are drowning my son!!! “
Guy:“Maa’m, the ad clearly reads...SEA horse rides for a dollar “
♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇
The Dr. of Wilsonomics
Global Moderator
*****
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 10417


🍦🍦Doe Derangement Syndrome- It’s a Love Stain ☮☮


View Profile WWW
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2018, 12:26:33 PM »

3 takes.

I think that the better word for what Brian did after Smile was "retooled".  He and those around him realised that it wasn't healthy or good for him to shoulder the amount of burden that he had been dealing with.  And that they would be going in a different direction than PS/Smile regardless.  He was still top dog starting with Wild Honey, but in a more manageable sense all around.  I think this is in actuality less negative than it is often portrayed.

The concept of losing control/direction has more to do with popular music as a whole in the late 60s and his role in it.  They had generally stopped being a primarily guitar-based band shortly before Pet Sounds, and the environment after PS was even more strongly guitar-dominated.  That stuff like 20/20 and Friends weren't hits actually isn't that much of a surprise, in hindsight, even though they are fine albums.  They were a sharp break from a sharp break from a sharp break of what the BB had been established as and known for, and they weren't resonating with the culture of pop music at that time. 

Brian's real collapse didn't happen until his father died.

Pretty much, yeah. I think the fact that they WERE more piano than guitar oriented definitely hurt their commercial appeal at that time, but it also helps them stand out better (in a positive way) all these years later.

Your point about Brian being the top dog in a different way is spot on. He wasn’t necessarily pulling back, he was delegating. It worked because the other guys were ready for the challenge. He was always the master of who should sing what, and arranging, and that wasn’t any different. What DID change was the palate he was painting with.
Logged

RIP Alexa Lestage (8 May 1995- 10 June 2018) .

https://www.gofundme.com/help-support-the-jurkowlaniecs

Quote
Lady:”Sir why you are drowning my son!!! “
Guy:“Maa’m, the ad clearly reads...SEA horse rides for a dollar “
GhostyTMRS
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 721



View Profile
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2018, 03:16:32 PM »

It's also worth noting that the group's own sanctioned documentary "An American Band" pushes the narrative of Brian giving up after SMiLE. We go from the 1976 clip of Brian  talking about junking SMiLE and then we cut to the rest of the band (minus Brian) in the studio with a voiceover telling us that they had to pick themselves up and start all over. Then we jump to touring, etc with the strong implication that Brian was out of commission during these years and only resurfaces for "15 Big Ones".

"Endless Harmony" is also guilty of fudging the details and giving newbies the wrong impression.   

I remember coming to grips with the truth that Brian was responsible for SS, WH and Friends a few years into the early 1990's (it took several years just to be able to FIND those albums as it is). Indeed, there was a pretty steep learning curve between 1988 and 1995 with a ton of new information becoming available. The birth of the internet didn't hurt either.

But as others have mentioned in this thread, one can easily see where the narrative of Brian retreating in sorrow while the rest of the band cranked out SS, WH and Friends (which were considered primitive and uneven back then and a pale substitute for the kind of work Brian was capable of) would be so appealing. When I finally got around to getting those albums I liked them for all the wrong reasons, thinking the other Beach Boys had done a decent job of turning Brian's songs into something pleasant and weird (this was further bolstered by the "Produced by The Beach Boys" credit on the album). I assumed the stripped down production was the result of them being amateur record producers and not having any of Brian's gift. By the mid-90's there was far more documented histories and literature about the group than at any time before, and those old notions of Brian hating the other guys and hiding out in the bedroom fell away.

Logged
B.E.
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 576


View Profile
« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2018, 05:08:43 PM »

No doubt he pulled back, but he was still writing. When the band turned in Holland, the label didn't hear a single so they went to Van Dyke Parks who showed up with that demo of Sail On Sailor. So it was still a case even at the time of Holland that when the band needed a hit, they went to something Brian was writing at this time.

I think chart failure may be overstated as a factor. Consider how Brian's ideas - no matter how "commercial" they may or may not have been - were being rejected by the band. He apparently didn't want them to use the chants on Cool Cool Water, but they did anyway. He didn't back the idea of doing Surf's Up when the band was going to put it out, yet he showed up out of the blue during one session to add a missing part to the song. He wrote something as magnificent as Til I Die during this time, and Mike called it a downer or something like that. He had the fairy tale, and apparently Carl compromised by doing that extra record bonus instead of putting it on the album proper. It goes on and on.

As I said previously regarding the time period around Friends and 20/20, a person can only hear the word "no" so many times before finally saying f*** it. Yet he still added his work to what the band was doing musically, and I don't think they had any choice to be honest. But for a guy who had been seeking approval and validation through his music since he was a kid, it wore him down to hear his ideas rejected so many times, whether they were smash hit record ideas or not.

I think you are right, Craig. It was not only Smile's "failure", but also what happened after that wore Brian down, as you say. He needed both psychological support (no wonder with a childhood like that and his other ongoing problems) and creative support (Brian has never been a wholly autonomous artist, always needs somebody to help him bring his creations to full fruition). In that period, it looks like he did not get much of either.
Sad

It's likely that one factor or another is overstated, but certainly in this case both are true, right? Brian has often defined success by chart placement. I recently re-listened to the radio interview he gave in support of Shyin' Away and there were numerous interesting remarks that I think are relevant to this discussion. He was asked about the Beach Boys newfound success and responded that the concerts went over well but the records weren't selling. He later offered up that he missed their "successful recordings". That he missed the feeling of a good chart record. He also couldn't understand why Shyin' Away and records like it (his contemporary music?) weren't hit records. He was also asked if there was a time in the group's history that he gave up the reins of control, and he said yes but he really didn't know why. I get that he is on the radio and I know why he was, so that could inform his answers, but I kind of believe him when he simply says, "I don't know". Ultimately, Brian didn't really know what was happening to him or how to deal with it properly. Here's an excerpt from his book discussing his struggle with depression during this period of his life:

"... I would be in the middle of a perfectly good day, with no bad news for miles around, and I would get depressed. I would go to bed and wouldn't get out for days. Sometimes it was simple depression, and sometimes it was other things, too - the voices in my head, or the sense that the world wasn't spinning right. It felt like a big cloud moved over me after I junked Smile. Even when we moved past it, I wasn't okay with things. The idea of the record kept weighing me down. I could feel it on me whenever I started to get too far into hope and possibility. I would write a really cool tune, start the recording process, call the guys in, then suddenly lose interest and walk away from whatever I was doing. I started making up excuses like I didn't feel good or I had a sore throat, anything I could come up with to avoid confronting my own work. I was afraid of failing, afraid my dad was right, afraid I couldn't live up to the example that Phil Spector set for me. It was the depression creeping up on me that would eventually go over me completely, take away my spirit, and paralyze me for so many years."

 Cry

To circle back around: In Brian's own words, "Smiley Smile bombed" and (presumably) Surfs Up-Holland "weren't selling". What would that mean for Friends and Sunflower? Brian seemed motivated upon signing w/Reprise and was quite heavily involved in the Sunflower sessions (more so than the final track listing would suggest). Obviously, neither of you were suggesting that chart failure wasn't a factor. I just happen to think, particularly with Sunflower, and possibly, Friends, that it must have been devastating (if not in the moment, then upon reflection). And while the group did reject Brian's ideas numerous times (sometimes in particularly harmful ways), I think there were probably many more times that they were supportive and encouraging (at least during those home studio years). They wanted Brian to contribute material, to produce. Brian couldn't for his own reasons.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8333


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2018, 06:27:18 PM »

I hesitate to do so but the Redwood saga has to be mentioned in this context, especially BE's post about the band being supportive and encouraging.

Brian took it on his own initiative more or less to try setting up a record label for the band in order to expand their focus and likely too with the notion in mind that this thing may not last forever. At the same time he had David Anderle, Nick Grillo, and others doing the mechanics and the behind the scenes numbers crunching (which led to a rift with Capitol over royalties not paid that Brian and the band eventually won), he also had Carl and Dennis doing various experiments and trial runs in the studio.

Why would they be doing that? Why would Brian be showing them the ropes in a more hands-on way? Mostly because he was setting up a label for the band which would allow the band members to scout and produce outside artists and eventually have a release vehicle with some muscle in the form of Capitol. And, they could still make Beach Boys records.

It was the Apple Corp. template that the Beatles used for the same purposes a year or so later.

And repeating myself, I know, but it's a key point in my opinion. Brian was doing exactly what "Brother" was being formed to do, work with outside artists who had some promise, and produce material for them which would generate more revenue for the Brother venture.

Were the actions of the band in that regard encouraging and supportive? This was very early on in the Brother development, and almost right out of the gate after only one album and a live project that was still in the plans when Brian worked with Redwood, he got cut off from doing it.

By the band.

It's opinion, I know, and perhaps solely my own, but that had to hurt like hell.

Again, something Brian wanted to do, something he was pouring effort into doing, something with merit and potential, and something being done for *Brother Records*, NOT *Brian Wilson Records*, was met with resistance and basically killed by the band, including his own brother and cousin.

Like the examples I posted earlier, that's one of quite a few cases where Brian was invested in something at this time and he got backlash rather than support.

I'd have said f*** it too, but Brian continued making music with and for the Beach Boys the whole time into 1968, in spite of this and as his ideas got rejected time and time again. That is a key point to consider as well.
Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - 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 #43 on: March 22, 2018, 06:28:48 PM »

No doubt he pulled back, but he was still writing. When the band turned in Holland, the label didn't hear a single so they went to Van Dyke Parks who showed up with that demo of Sail On Sailor. So it was still a case even at the time of Holland that when the band needed a hit, they went to something Brian was writing at this time.

I think chart failure may be overstated as a factor. Consider how Brian's ideas - no matter how "commercial" they may or may not have been - were being rejected by the band. He apparently didn't want them to use the chants on Cool Cool Water, but they did anyway. He didn't back the idea of doing Surf's Up when the band was going to put it out, yet he showed up out of the blue during one session to add a missing part to the song. He wrote something as magnificent as Til I Die during this time, and Mike called it a downer or something like that. He had the fairy tale, and apparently Carl compromised by doing that extra record bonus instead of putting it on the album proper. It goes on and on.

As I said previously regarding the time period around Friends and 20/20, a person can only hear the word "no" so many times before finally saying f*** it. Yet he still added his work to what the band was doing musically, and I don't think they had any choice to be honest. But for a guy who had been seeking approval and validation through his music since he was a kid, it wore him down to hear his ideas rejected so many times, whether they were smash hit record ideas or not.

I think you are right, Craig. It was not only Smile's "failure", but also what happened after that wore Brian down, as you say. He needed both psychological support (no wonder with a childhood like that and his other ongoing problems) and creative support (Brian has never been a wholly autonomous artist, always needs somebody to help him bring his creations to full fruition). In that period, it looks like he did not get much of either.
Sad

It's likely that one factor or another is overstated, but certainly in this case both are true, right? Brian has often defined success by chart placement. I recently re-listened to the radio interview he gave in support of Shyin' Away and there were numerous interesting remarks that I think are relevant to this discussion. He was asked about the Beach Boys newfound success and responded that the concerts went over well but the records weren't selling. He later offered up that he missed their "successful recordings". That he missed the feeling of a good chart record. He also couldn't understand why Shyin' Away and records like it (his contemporary music?) weren't hit records. He was also asked if there was a time in the group's history that he gave up the reins of control, and he said yes but he really didn't know why. I get that he is on the radio and I know why he was, so that could inform his answers, but I kind of believe him when he simply says, "I don't know". Ultimately, Brian didn't really know what was happening to him or how to deal with it properly. Here's an excerpt from his book discussing his struggle with depression during this period of his life:

"... I would be in the middle of a perfectly good day, with no bad news for miles around, and I would get depressed. I would go to bed and wouldn't get out for days. Sometimes it was simple depression, and sometimes it was other things, too - the voices in my head, or the sense that the world wasn't spinning right. It felt like a big cloud moved over me after I junked Smile. Even when we moved past it, I wasn't okay with things. The idea of the record kept weighing me down. I could feel it on me whenever I started to get too far into hope and possibility. I would write a really cool tune, start the recording process, call the guys in, then suddenly lose interest and walk away from whatever I was doing. I started making up excuses like I didn't feel good or I had a sore throat, anything I could come up with to avoid confronting my own work. I was afraid of failing, afraid my dad was right, afraid I couldn't live up to the example that Phil Spector set for me. It was the depression creeping up on me that would eventually go over me completely, take away my spirit, and paralyze me for so many years."

 Cry

To circle back around: In Brian's own words, "Smiley Smile bombed" and (presumably) Surfs Up-Holland "weren't selling". What would that mean for Friends and Sunflower? Brian seemed motivated upon signing w/Reprise and was quite heavily involved in the Sunflower sessions (more so than the final track listing would suggest). Obviously, neither of you were suggesting that chart failure wasn't a factor. I just happen to think, particularly with Sunflower, and possibly, Friends, that it must have been devastating (if not in the moment, then upon reflection). And while the group did reject Brian's ideas numerous times (sometimes in particularly harmful ways), I think there were probably many more times that they were supportive and encouraging (at least during those home studio years). They wanted Brian to contribute material, to produce. Brian couldn't for his own reasons.

Funny you should mention this because I remember when Brian was promoting his first solo album on David Letterman's show, Dave asked how long it had been since he had appeared on a record (sounds like Dave bought the old narrative too). Brian says "About 3 years ago with The Beach Boys but nothing happened with it" (presumably he's referring to either BB85 or the "California Dreaming'" single). When asked about his solo album, Brian immediately starts talking about how it's doing chart wise, saying it's not doing "real well" but says "The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades". That line always struck me because it's the sort of music business insider axiom one would expect out of a grizzled captain of industry...and then I remembered, oh yeah, Brian IS a grizzled captain of industry.
This is in stark contrast to several pre-release interviews about the album where Brian predicts skyrocketing sales and several smash hit singles. It's tempting to write that kind of thing off as Landyspeak but I agree that Brian (perhaps until recently when age has become a big factor) defined success via chart placement.  I can imagine him being devastated when the music didn't connect on a mass level. 
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8333


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2018, 06:53:45 PM »

I can't think of a single artist, whether it be a musician, actor, director, playwright, author, etc who does not do exactly the same kind of pre-release pumping up of one's self and the art they've created. To do otherwise would be like an athlete saying before a game "I'm gonna lose". No team or player does that, they do whatever they do as a pre-game psych-up. Everyone who is making art of all kinds wants some level of mass success and that connection with an audience. Everyone who creates art wants as many people to experience it as possible. Brian is no different. He felt the same about No Pier Pressure. Exactly the same.

A related point to consider would be how the failure of "Summer In Paradise" and any number of Mike Love's other efforts that tanked have been addressed after the fact. Mike barely mentions them in any kind of official way, in interviews, books, whatever. In fact those losses and failures are pretty much whitewashed off the record. Summer In Paradise wasn't even listed in some official BB discographies. I wonder how Mike handles that kind of failure. And it's relevant because he has used on numerous occasions including slagging off on TWGMTR and the BW 88 album the lack of a "hit single" or some other mention of chart success. So it seems to eat at him too, yet he uses it to take a shot at others while seeming to ignore all the projects of his which stiffed in sometimes epic ways.
Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - 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
B.E.
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 576


View Profile
« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2018, 07:04:30 PM »

guitarfool2002, I agree nearly completely with your post (Reply #42). I alluded to incidents like Redwood in my post. The only thing I'd change is that other than the month(s) Brian was hospitalized in '68, I'd say he continued working with and for the Beach Boys, significantly, into early 1970 (as opposed to only '68). That's a minor point, though. Look, I'm on Brian's side, and I'm a newer fan trying to figure out what I think went down, but there's a difference between a person saying "f*ck it" and doing their own thing, and saying "f*ck it" and living that excerpt I posted. That's not really a choice.

Funny you should mention this because I remember when Brian was promoting his first solo album on David Letterman's show, Dave asked how long it had been since he had appeared on a record (sounds like Dave bought the old narrative too). Brian says "About 3 years ago with The Beach Boys but nothing happened with it" (presumably he's referring to either BB85 or the "California Dreaming'" single). When asked about his solo album, Brian immediately starts talking about how it's doing chart wise, saying it's not doing "real well" but says "The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades". That line always struck me because it's the sort of music business insider axiom one would expect out of a grizzled captain of industry...and then I remembered, oh yeah, Brian IS a grizzled captain of industry.
This is in stark contrast to several pre-release interviews about the album where Brian predicts skyrocketing sales and several smash hit singles. It's tempting to write that kind of thing off as Landyspeak but I agree that Brian (perhaps until recently when age has become a big factor) defined success via chart placement.  I can imagine him being devastated when the music didn't connect on a mass level. 

Yeah, I remember that. I think at some point he began to take a more healthy approach and recognize critical success and the sheer love of his fans, but even he admits it took him a long time to understand just how much his music meant to people. Even in recent years he'll mention chart success and getting another #1 - but that also reminds me of how Carl would often thank Brian live in concert for the music he had written. Perhaps, he knew that Brian needed to hear and understand that.
Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2805


View Profile
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2018, 07:52:56 PM »

guitarfool2002, I agree nearly completely with your post (Reply #42). I alluded to incidents like Redwood in my post. The only thing I'd change is that other than the month(s) Brian was hospitalized in '68, I'd say he continued working with and for the Beach Boys, significantly, into early 1970 (as opposed to only '68).

When exactly was Brian hospitalized? I think it's significant to note that throughout the early part of 1968, Brian was a powerhouse, writing most of Friends, and on its heels writes and records Do It Again, I Went to Sleep, Sail Plane Song, All I Wanna Do, Walkin' and produces We're Together Again, Walk On By, and Ol' Man River. Then, after June, there's very little that Brian contributes to the band for the rest of the year. After that, the 20/20 album mostly becomes a Dennis show, they do I Can Hear Music, and they dust off and work out old Brian gems: Been Way Too Long, Our Prayer, Cabin Essence, Time to Get Alone.

Then 1969 starts off as being yet another Dennis show: Forever, San Miguel, Got to Know the Woman, Celebrate the News. In March of 1969, they pull together a few songs Brian had demoed before June 1968: Loop de Loop and All I Wanna Do. Then, at the very end of March, the band records the first new song Brian had written for the band since Walkin' nine months earlier. Then another five months go by before the band works on another song written by Brian: Soulful Old Man Sunshine. Finally in October of 1969, the band starts to record a new crop of Brian songs: Games Two Can Play, Add Some Music, When Girls Get Together, Our Sweet Love, Til I Die, At My Window, Where Is She?.

But until then there had been a 15 month period in which the band recorded about 20 new songs with only two of them written by Brian. So something is definitely going on in that year-plus. It's also worth noting too that that burst of creativity in 1969 was more of an aberration than anything. In 1970, Brian only really contributes 3 new songs: I Just Got My Pay, Help is on the Way, and My Solution. He adds a bit to Cool Cool Water and Take a Load Off. But ultimately Brian really pulls back from contributing to the band, which is a remarkable thing to say when you consider that he had already gone through a 15 month dry spell.
Logged
B.E.
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 576


View Profile
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2018, 08:23:13 PM »

guitarfool2002, I agree nearly completely with your post (Reply #42). I alluded to incidents like Redwood in my post. The only thing I'd change is that other than the month(s) Brian was hospitalized in '68, I'd say he continued working with and for the Beach Boys, significantly, into early 1970 (as opposed to only '68).

When exactly was Brian hospitalized? I think it's significant to note that throughout the early part of 1968, Brian was a powerhouse, writing most of Friends, and on its heels writes and records Do It Again, I Went to Sleep, Sail Plane Song, All I Wanna Do, Walkin' and produces We're Together Again, Walk On By, and Ol' Man River. Then, after June, there's very little that Brian contributes to the band for the rest of the year. After that, the 20/20 album mostly becomes a Dennis show, they do I Can Hear Music, and they dust off and work out old Brian gems: Been Way Too Long, Our Prayer, Cabin Essence, Time to Get Alone.

Then 1969 starts off as being yet another Dennis show: Forever, San Miguel, Got to Know the Woman, Celebrate the News. In March of 1969, they pull together a few songs Brian had demoed before June 1968: Loop de Loop and All I Wanna Do. Then, at the very end of March, the band records the first new song Brian had written for the band since Walkin' nine months earlier. Then another five months go by before the band works on another song written by Brian: Soulful Old Man Sunshine. Finally in October of 1969, the band starts to record a new crop of Brian songs: Games Two Can Play, Add Some Music, When Girls Get Together, Our Sweet Love, Til I Die, At My Window, Where Is She?.

But until then there had been a 15 month period in which the band recorded about 20 new songs with only two of them written by Brian. So something is definitely going on in that year-plus. It's also worth noting too that that burst of creativity in 1969 was more of an aberration than anything. In 1970, Brian only really contributes 3 new songs: I Just Got My Pay, Help is on the Way, and My Solution. He adds a bit to Cool Cool Water and Take a Load Off. But ultimately Brian really pulls back from contributing to the band, which is a remarkable thing to say when you consider that he had already gone through a 15 month dry spell.

I don't know. I just vaguely remember previous discussions here speculating that perhaps he was hospitalized for a month or two in the summer ?? Again, I don't know. You can frame his creative burst in late '69 -early '70 (and he did contribute to other songs he didn't write) as an aberration, but I assume at least some of the songs he recorded then may have been written earlier in the year or even in 1968. I don't think we have any real way of knowing. But you're right, he was seemingly absent for a prolonged period of time prior to recording Sunflower material. Personally, I just remember discovering the "contender songs" and being blown away as a younger fan that Brian was that involved at that time. Both as a result of that false narrative that inspired this thread and the final track listing of Sunflower, which is fantastic, but not as Brian-infused as it could have been.

Edit: Also, to add to your list of songs, I believe Good Time was written and recorded during this period.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 08:48:59 PM by B.E. » Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2805


View Profile
« Reply #48 on: March 23, 2018, 04:02:05 AM »

You're right. Add that to the 1970 list, so we have 4 new songs from Brian that year.
Logged
clack
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 528


View Profile
« Reply #49 on: March 23, 2018, 08:00:08 AM »

I'm on the the band's side with that whole Redwood situation.

The band is floundering and in need of a hit. Mike co-writes a potential hit, 'Darlin', and Brian decides to give it away. Now, if the Beach Boys go under, Brian will survive as a producer/arranger behind-the-scenes guy. That indeed may be his ultimate ambition.

But what happens to Mike, Al, Carl and Dennis? Do they get regular jobs? Sell real estate? Open up a surf shop?
Logged
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 0.369 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!