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637802 Posts in 25493 Topics by 3625 Members - Latest Member: spgass September 21, 2018, 08:47:49 AM
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Author Topic: Bruce on Friends  (Read 1869 times)
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2018, 08:08:06 AM »

Pop music wasn't as segmented as sometimes rock history would suggest, as listening to any radio broadcast of a top 40 station into the early 70's would show, along with the actual singles charts and station surveys. It was much more diverse than some histories have suggested. So yes, light pop, bubblegum, country, southern R&B, instrumentals, country, Motown, garage punk, and rock would be played on the same broadcasts in the 60's.

The tricky part always is the fact that there was a shift starting primarily around 1967 to where the heavier rock, prog, and blues-based jam artists would find a more comfortable home when FM radio started to emerge, and since FM had not taken off yet, the DJ's would be playing whatever the hell they wanted in the free-form formats. It was literally no rules in some markets, because there just weren't too many FM stations broadcasting and most cars for example still did not have an FM receiver to listen.

Add to that the emergence of stereo, and the album versus the single as the preferred medium for certain genres, and it becomes even more confusing.

So yes, Friends in a way came out at a time of upheaval in terms of how people were buying and listening to music, as the entire game was changing. And factor in how concerts were changing too, and how music was becoming even more segmented in terms of rock versus pop versus top 40 and how some artists were openly critical of Top-40 formats...it could be the topic of several books and you still wouldn't cover all the factors.

1966-69 was the timeframe when it all changed, yet some stayed the same in terms of styles, delivery methods, and the business in general.

It can be hard to put something like Friends into a context when there were multiple contexts happening and developing all within a few years.
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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
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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2018, 08:09:32 AM »

More generally, Bruce has had many a head-scratching interview.

As opposed to some other member (e.g. Al), where something is just being mis-remembered or whatever, Bruce sometimes tends to say things in interviews that seem kind of bold and entitled, and then when you think about it for a few moments, you start realizing how inaccurate and/or hypocritical the comment can be. He seems to like either laying it on THICK praising everybody, or weirdly takes this sort of faux-outsider/objective viewpoint and can be pretty critical (and that type of criticism is sometimes seemingly accurate, sometimes not, and always of questionable motive/justification).

Remember how he described the Paley sessions? His comments to Howie Edelson:

"That was a courtesy to Brian for us to be there. Brian certainly wasn't at any kind of peak in those days, but we respected his history and achievements for us to go and record with him and see what it might sound like. We were just trying to support someone who had been successful and good for us. I think if you use your ears, you'll hear that those tapes don't really lift off. It's fine -- but not fine enough."

This is a good example of something that probably actually holds a bit more water than his "Friends" assessment, but has serious objectivity/motive/sourcing issues. It's a bit like Mike questioning autotune on BB or Brian material. It's not an invalid issue to raise in general, but once it's coming from a guy who cranked autotune up to 11 on his own projects, his credibility is a huge issue.

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« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2018, 09:08:24 AM »

I don't know if this is relevant but I find it interesting that Bruce is the only Beach Boy who doesn't have a songwriting credit on Friends.  Seems like he was a bit of an outsider for the album - again, I suspect by not being initiated or into T.M.  Plus he usually did not collaborate with the others on songs - a sticking point mentioned by Mike after Bruce's firing/leaving the band after Surf's Up.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2018, 09:26:59 AM »

I don't know if this is relevant but I find it interesting that Bruce is the only Beach Boy who doesn't have a songwriting credit on Friends.  Seems like he was a bit of an outsider for the album - again, I suspect by not being initiated or into T.M.  Plus he usually did not collaborate with the others on songs - a sticking point mentioned by Mike after Bruce's firing/leaving the band after Surf's Up.

He did produce (or co-produce) Bluebirds Over The Mountain during this time...which isn't quite what I'd call a highlight. That tune just never sit well with my ears, it sounds "off" and production wise, it's taking a pretty innocuous tune to begin with and trying to make it "hard" by adding fuzz guitar. And even with that fuzz guitar, the various lead breaks during the lyrics sound out of key as often as they fit. It's only during the fadeout jam that the psych-fuzz guitar actually takes off.

So we have an example, perhaps, of what Bruce would consider less wimpy "rock"? A semi-lame cover tune from the 50's with half-cocked fuzz guitar added on top.
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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
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« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2018, 11:13:59 AM »

Bruce just seems to contradict himself all the time, as if his opinion is constantly changing. This is a little off topic, but does anyone know if he's still married? I work with his (ex?) brother-in-law, and he seems to steer the conversation away whenever I mention Bruce, but I get the impression from him that his sister is still with Bruce. However, I've heard some people on here say he's divorced. Does anyone know what his marital status is at now?
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Juice Brohnston
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« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2018, 11:29:23 AM »

More generally, Bruce has had many a head-scratching interview.

As opposed to some other member (e.g. Al), where something is just being mis-remembered or whatever, Bruce sometimes tends to say things in interviews that seem kind of bold and entitled, and then when you think about it for a few moments, you start realizing how inaccurate and/or hypocritical the comment can be. He seems to like either laying it on THICK praising everybody, or weirdly takes this sort of faux-outsider/objective viewpoint and can be pretty critical (and that type of criticism is sometimes seemingly accurate, sometimes not, and always of questionable motive/justification).

Remember how he described the Paley sessions? His comments to Howie Edelson:

"That was a courtesy to Brian for us to be there. Brian certainly wasn't at any kind of peak in those days, but we respected his history and achievements for us to go and record with him and see what it might sound like. We were just trying to support someone who had been successful and good for us. I think if you use your ears, you'll hear that those tapes don't really lift off. It's fine -- but not fine enough."

This is a good example of something that probably actually holds a bit more water than his "Friends" assessment, but has serious objectivity/motive/sourcing issues. It's a bit like Mike questioning autotune on BB or Brian material. It's not an invalid issue to raise in general, but once it's coming from a guy who cranked autotune up to 11 on his own projects, his credibility is a huge issue.



Yes, this does seem to sum up Bruce in a nutshell. I still think it's interesting to hear what he has to say on any level though. It's sometimes contradictory, but that is a trait not exclusive to him, by any means.

I think sometimes he'll take the conversation in a specific direction, while other time's he'll kinda go with the flow. Also self deprecation is often present.  I think he might have a point about the Friends material in that it may have been a tough fit with the older stuff at the time. Friends is an incredible album...definitely chill.

And I have always felt he does play somewhat of a dual role of Insider/Observer when it comes to the band.

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« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2018, 02:21:03 PM »

In reply to Chocolate Shake Man, I'd say that the people who were buying Paul Mauriat or Bobby Goldsboro records in 1968 were not the "cool" people that rock bands were trying to reach.  Those people were more likely to be the PARENTS of the cool people that rock bands were trying to reach.  Maybe Bruce feels that "Friends" was a draw for kids' parents.  Lol! Cheesy
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2018, 06:27:10 PM »

In reply to Chocolate Shake Man, I'd say that the people who were buying Paul Mauriat or Bobby Goldsboro records in 1968 were not the "cool" people that rock bands were trying to reach.  Those people were more likely to be the PARENTS of the cool people that rock bands were trying to reach.  Maybe Bruce feels that "Friends" was a draw for kids' parents.  Lol! Cheesy

For reference, this was the survey sent out by the hottest station in Los Angeles if not the country, KHJ, the week "Friends" was released. Notice the diversity of styles and artists. *This* was the audience bands like the BB's were trying to reach, with one of the most influential stations at that time used as a microcosm of the rest of the country:





Images/scans courtesy of the KHJ blog site...amazing resource, all credit to them.

I added both sides to show the absolutely bizarre combination of advertising the Doors' Hollywood Bowl gig in the same publication featuring Tiny Tim on the cover. And dig how many genres of music are represented in the chart listing.

And this was the week Friends was released!
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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
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« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2018, 06:36:13 PM »

FYI - Here is the KHJ survey showing the highest chart position Do It Again reached on KHJ/Los Angeles, #3. Roughly 5-6 weeks after the Friends album came out. Worth noting again for the variety of music and styles that were sharing the charts that week.

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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
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« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2018, 06:56:04 PM »

Last one for the discussion: This is the week "Friends" (the single) reached its highest position on the KHJ charts, #20. By the next week, it was gone.

I'm adding these just to show the context in which this music appeared, and what was surrounding it, relative to the discussion about Bruce's comments. The focus on KHJ is because not only was KHJ the BB's "home" station in LA and the station they would most likely have tuned in and playing in their cars or homes on any random day or night, but also because KHJ was the anchor of the Drake-Chennault stations nationwide, where a record KHJ would play first or promote would be picked up by Drake stations across the US, and put into their rotations too. Then, other stations in those markets, the competitors to the Drake-Chennault stations, would often follow suit.

Consider the songs on these charts would have more than likely been heard as the band members would tune in to their radios to hear what was popular or just to listen to the current hits of the day in LA.



Consider too that Friends was not all that out of place sound-wise considering what was going top ten at this exact time. And KHJ was absolutely not an adult station - This was what the kids listened to in LA.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2018, 06:57:43 PM by guitarfool2002 » 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
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2018, 07:07:43 PM »

All of that in the space of a few months....
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2018, 07:37:30 PM »

I love this stuff. These old surveys are like a time capsule, and the aircheck recordings when available are even better. For all of the rock history tomes that have come out, and all the documentaries and whatnot, if someone wanted to know some of what the summer of '68 really sounded like on the radio, these are the source.

Imagine a chart like June 26th example: One slice of it, you had Shorty Long, Jacky, Ray Charles, Wayne Newton, and The Turtles sharing the same real estate on that list. Not just another world, but another universe in terms of musical diversity and the falsehoods we've been told about the era and its music.

Factor in the "hitbound" premiere list on that same survey - Fans of Sunshine Pop will spot a Curt Boettcher production, Mrs. Bluebird by Eternity's Children...one of the great "lost" Sunshine Pop records. Very cool record...imagine hearing it new on the radio after Classical Gas... Smiley

I seriously love this stuff.
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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
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