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632101 Posts in 25313 Topics by 3602 Members - Latest Member: Beachboy61 May 25, 2018, 09:17:55 PM
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Author Topic: Were Al's Commercial Instincts Under Utilized?  (Read 954 times)
Juice Brohnston
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« on: May 14, 2018, 05:37:14 PM »

There's only so much 'oxygen' in the room, as they say, so Al was likely never going to steer the bus, creatively in The Beach Boys.

But a quick look back, and a case could be made, that Al has some magic when it came to being involved in the hit making side of things. Help Me Rhonda, an Al lead, was a number 1 hit of course. Al championed the recording of Sloop John B. Internationally, Cottonfields was a big hit. Lady Lynda-top 10 in UK. Even Come Go With Me, had a decent chart run.

Did the band have a hit maker that was overshadowed?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 05:37:45 PM by Juice Brohnston » Logged
SamMcK
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 02:37:05 AM »

Al was perfect for the group as a vocalist, instrumentalist and sometimes composer. But I don't think he had the same drive to push himself out there like Brian, Carl, Mike or even Dennis did. He was far too laid back for that, which is a good thing, because otherwise it may have simply been too many cooks. Do I wish Al had more leads? Hell yeah, his voice could almost perfectly emulate Brian's, and other than Carl he had the most versatile voice in the band.

That Al was so underutilised early on is another reminder of just what an embarrassment of riches the early Beach Boys was. But he was a seminal part of the recipe that made those harmonies soar like no other group!

I think in the past 10 years or so he has gained a lot of respect now that people are beginning to realise how brilliant his voice was/is. I can't think of many pensioner rock stars who still sound as good as Al does now.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 02:42:18 AM by SamMcK » Logged
KDS
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 05:45:01 AM »

I think Al could've been underused a tad as a vocalist.

But, I think the fact that he needed to pad his lone solo album with new versions of Beach Boys songs shows that he didn't quite have a stock pile of songs like Dennis did.   
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 10:07:22 AM »

When I first read the thread title, I thought it said "Weird Al's Commercial Instincts Under Utilized?"

I think Al could definitely have added more to the band throughout the years (compared to the amount he actually did)... in particular, I think there should have been more Al leads and less Mike leads on the early tunes.  I also think Al's offerings as a songwriter could have blossomed more, but he wasn't really taken seriously being the one non-family member in the band, and I get the feeling he didn't want to step on anyone's toes by trying to "push" more of his songs through.
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urbanite
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 12:42:36 PM »

How much did Al have to do with MIU?  Was Come Go With Me recorded for MIU or was it an unreleased 15 Big Ones track?
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HeyJude
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 01:06:46 PM »

Regarding Al and the "Postcards" album, he definitely *does* have a stockpile of songs that went unused on that album. I would imagine he dropped in the cover tracks to make the album more appealing in trying to net some sort of record deal/distribution, and also because he simply seemed more enamored with those tracks.

But I'd wager he has dozens of tracks that could have made it onto that album. He has even mentioned several in interviews in the last 20 years "Crumple Car" was one, and that one eventually leaked. There was one he worked on with Neil Young that he named as well (for the life of me I can't remember the title at the moment).

There are a number of titles that have been floating around for years. "Islands in the Sun", "Good Good Feelings", "Jennifer Clover", etc.

There are also probably a number of "grey area" songs like "Don't Fight the Sea" that may have been potential BB tracks but subsequently we were worked on solo.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 01:17:11 PM by HeyJude » Logged

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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 03:51:50 PM »

Regarding Al and the "Postcards" album, he definitely *does* have a stockpile of songs that went unused on that album. I would imagine he dropped in the cover tracks to make the album more appealing in trying to net some sort of record deal/distribution, and also because he simply seemed more enamored with those tracks.

But I'd wager he has dozens of tracks that could have made it onto that album. He has even mentioned several in interviews in the last 20 years "Crumple Car" was one, and that one eventually leaked. There was one he worked on with Neil Young that he named as well (for the life of me I can't remember the title at the moment).

There are a number of titles that have been floating around for years. "Islands in the Sun", "Good Good Feelings", "Jennifer Clover", etc.

There are also probably a number of "grey area" songs like "Don't Fight the Sea" that may have been potential BB tracks but subsequently we were worked on solo.

Plus it seems that Al, perhaps even more so than Brian Wilson at times, has the "keep tinkering" thing happening, where he's not happy enough with a mix to release it.
Part of me wonders if he got that trait from Brian having been that way during SMiLE, if Al's really that much of a perfectionist just on his own, or if perhaps Al just felt his released work had to measure up to the high standards set by the band in their great years.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 10:33:45 PM »

When I first read the thread title, I thought it said "Weird Al's Commercial Instincts Under Utilized?"

I think Al could definitely have added more to the band throughout the years (compared to the amount he actually did)... in particular, I think there should have been more Al leads and less Mike leads on the early tunes.  I also think Al's offerings as a songwriter could have blossomed more, but he wasn't really taken seriously being the one non-family member in the band, and I get the feeling he didn't want to step on anyone's toes by trying to "push" more of his songs through.
I would have to agree that, yes, Weird Al's commercial instincts have been under utilized.
For example, Pancreas should have been a single. Any BW fan would immediately recognize it as the great Smile era tribute it is.
 LOL
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HeyJude
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 06:12:03 AM »

Regarding Al and the "Postcards" album, he definitely *does* have a stockpile of songs that went unused on that album. I would imagine he dropped in the cover tracks to make the album more appealing in trying to net some sort of record deal/distribution, and also because he simply seemed more enamored with those tracks.

But I'd wager he has dozens of tracks that could have made it onto that album. He has even mentioned several in interviews in the last 20 years "Crumple Car" was one, and that one eventually leaked. There was one he worked on with Neil Young that he named as well (for the life of me I can't remember the title at the moment).

There are a number of titles that have been floating around for years. "Islands in the Sun", "Good Good Feelings", "Jennifer Clover", etc.

There are also probably a number of "grey area" songs like "Don't Fight the Sea" that may have been potential BB tracks but subsequently we were worked on solo.

Plus it seems that Al, perhaps even more so than Brian Wilson at times, has the "keep tinkering" thing happening, where he's not happy enough with a mix to release it.
Part of me wonders if he got that trait from Brian having been that way during SMiLE, if Al's really that much of a perfectionist just on his own, or if perhaps Al just felt his released work had to measure up to the high standards set by the band in their great years.

Al definitely has had a penchant for "over tinkering" with stuff over the years. I think he has even admitted to this in a few interviews, at least in terms of taking so long to get something out. Not sure where it comes from; I think it's just one of his idiosyncrasies. Certainly, there was a period of time through the early 80s where, as part of the group, he and the band had no problem putting music out at a pretty quick clip (an album per year usually).

Al easily has enough material for a probably pretty good additional solo album; he probably needs an outside producer to get behind such a project. Not even so much for the technical or even musical side of things, but just a sort of A&R type person to pick and choose tracks and tell Al when something is "finished." 
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Juice Brohnston
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 06:23:06 AM »

Regarding Al and the "Postcards" album, he definitely *does* have a stockpile of songs that went unused on that album. I would imagine he dropped in the cover tracks to make the album more appealing in trying to net some sort of record deal/distribution, and also because he simply seemed more enamored with those tracks.

But I'd wager he has dozens of tracks that could have made it onto that album. He has even mentioned several in interviews in the last 20 years "Crumple Car" was one, and that one eventually leaked. There was one he worked on with Neil Young that he named as well (for the life of me I can't remember the title at the moment).

There are a number of titles that have been floating around for years. "Islands in the Sun", "Good Good Feelings", "Jennifer Clover", etc.

There are also probably a number of "grey area" songs like "Don't Fight the Sea" that may have been potential BB tracks but subsequently we were worked on solo.

Plus it seems that Al, perhaps even more so than Brian Wilson at times, has the "keep tinkering" thing happening, where he's not happy enough with a mix to release it.
Part of me wonders if he got that trait from Brian having been that way during SMiLE, if Al's really that much of a perfectionist just on his own, or if perhaps Al just felt his released work had to measure up to the high standards set by the band in their great years.

Al definitely has had a penchant for "over tinkering" with stuff over the years. I think he has even admitted to this in a few interviews, at least in terms of taking so long to get something out. Not sure where it comes from; I think it's just one of his idiosyncrasies. Certainly, there was a period of time through the early 80s where, as part of the group, he and the band had no problem putting music out at a pretty quick clip (an album per year usually).

Al easily has enough material for a probably pretty good additional solo album; he probably needs an outside producer to get behind such a project. Not even so much for the technical or even musical side of things, but just a sort of A&R type person to pick and choose tracks and tell Al when something is "finished." 
Another album from Al would be most welcome!
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HeyJude
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 06:39:39 AM »

I recall an interview from the last few years where Al basically admitted he wasn't up to the stress or effort of trying to do another solo album. But then in a more recent interview I recall he was warmer to the idea.

Certainly it would make sense to put something new out if he plans to keep doing the solo club tours.

He really has to be into it for the sake of doing it. I truly think he needs an outside producer to go through his stuff and start piecing together another album. There's probably enough finished material to just put another album out as-is, though I certainly wouldn't mind if Al did some new recording/overdubbing/mixing to give a hypothetical album a bit of a unifying sound.
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Juice Brohnston
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 07:09:31 AM »

I recall an interview from the last few years where Al basically admitted he wasn't up to the stress or effort of trying to do another solo album. But then in a more recent interview I recall he was warmer to the idea.

Certainly it would make sense to put something new out if he plans to keep doing the solo club tours.

He really has to be into it for the sake of doing it. I truly think he needs an outside producer to go through his stuff and start piecing together another album. There's probably enough finished material to just put another album out as-is, though I certainly wouldn't mind if Al did some new recording/overdubbing/mixing to give a hypothetical album a bit of a unifying sound.

Being in the studio with Brian in recent years, one would hope he could, at the very least bank some ideas, maybe get a little motivation from being around the process.
Does Red Barn help or hinder the process? You know, maybe it's like having a home gym that never gets used, lol. Some people need to leave the house in order to get a workout in.
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KDS
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 07:19:19 AM »

Regarding Al and the "Postcards" album, he definitely *does* have a stockpile of songs that went unused on that album. I would imagine he dropped in the cover tracks to make the album more appealing in trying to net some sort of record deal/distribution, and also because he simply seemed more enamored with those tracks.

But I'd wager he has dozens of tracks that could have made it onto that album. He has even mentioned several in interviews in the last 20 years "Crumple Car" was one, and that one eventually leaked. There was one he worked on with Neil Young that he named as well (for the life of me I can't remember the title at the moment).

There are a number of titles that have been floating around for years. "Islands in the Sun", "Good Good Feelings", "Jennifer Clover", etc.

There are also probably a number of "grey area" songs like "Don't Fight the Sea" that may have been potential BB tracks but subsequently we were worked on solo.

Plus it seems that Al, perhaps even more so than Brian Wilson at times, has the "keep tinkering" thing happening, where he's not happy enough with a mix to release it.
Part of me wonders if he got that trait from Brian having been that way during SMiLE, if Al's really that much of a perfectionist just on his own, or if perhaps Al just felt his released work had to measure up to the high standards set by the band in their great years.

Al definitely has had a penchant for "over tinkering" with stuff over the years. I think he has even admitted to this in a few interviews, at least in terms of taking so long to get something out. Not sure where it comes from; I think it's just one of his idiosyncrasies. Certainly, there was a period of time through the early 80s where, as part of the group, he and the band had no problem putting music out at a pretty quick clip (an album per year usually).

Al easily has enough material for a probably pretty good additional solo album; he probably needs an outside producer to get behind such a project. Not even so much for the technical or even musical side of things, but just a sort of A&R type person to pick and choose tracks and tell Al when something is "finished." 
Another album from Al would be most welcome!

I'd even take a live recording of one of his storyteller shows. 
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"There is no right nor wrong in art, only preference." - Steve Desper
Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »

How much did Al have to do with MIU?  Was Come Go With Me recorded for MIU or was it an unreleased 15 Big Ones track?
On the 1991 Caribou CD, Come Go With Me is the latter. Everywhere else, as far as I know, it's the former. As for the album, I guess he was the defacto producer with Ron Altbach.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #14 on: Today at 08:40:55 PM »

Al is a monster producer. Postcards sounds fantastic. I wish Al would produce or co-produce the next BW disc. There, I said it.
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