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Author Topic: Dean Torrence joining Mike's band?  (Read 6166 times)
“Big Daddy”
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2019, 08:42:59 PM »

I think Hitbound made/owned the recordings and licensed them to Realistic for distribution in Radio Shack stores and had a separate licensing deal with Premore (owned by the Solo cup company) for distribution through mail order.
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2019, 08:57:46 PM »

Interesting article that kind of goes into the business side of it.



« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 05:05:05 AM by “Big Daddy” » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2019, 09:03:32 PM »

And here’s Billboard going a little bit further in depth: https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Billboard/80s/1983/BB-1983-05-14.pdf. Too bad the Halloween album never came to light!




« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 05:05:39 AM by “Big Daddy” » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2019, 06:56:11 AM »

Cassettes?  What, no 8-track release???
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2019, 08:02:49 AM »

Interesting to see that the Mike & Dean related projects actually sort of had a purpose, and that Mike & Dean seemed fairly confident and excited for what the future held regarding Radio Shack, Hit Bound, etc.. I wasn't surprised that Dean knew all the details of the business side of things. He's really on top of all that. Imagine how things would've been different, if instead of The Beach Boys having their comeback being the 1988 #1 single Kokomo, what if Mike & Dean had scored a hit in the early 80's?
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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2019, 08:16:33 AM »

Thanks for posting those two articles, they shed all kinds of light on what these projects Mike had planned with Radio Shack were all about...and also, why they failed.

Just a side note, my opinion again: Wear a good pair of hip waders and carry a sturdy shovel before reading those articles. Man, could Mike Love sling the bullshit to sell one of his projects, or what? Mike was a master at giving the "hard sell" on stuff he thought was the next big thing.

Could (and will) comment further, but I just found it hilarious in a sad kind of way that the first article, Orange Coast from April 1983 written by Keith Tuber, starts out with the usual description and PR of Mike's project, but then Tuber himself just takes a vicious uppercut and essentially knocks out the entire project from concept to execution in his review. This excerpt is what I think the majority of fans would say and did say, which is why this stuff never got off the ground with any significant success:

"The surf is alive and well, but who cares? What Love and Torrence have done - and are planning to elaborate on - is an ambitious project that lacks meaning. When I listen to old, familiar songs, I want to hear them by the artists who made them famous."

BOOM. Exactly, Keith Tuber. And that's where Mike just didn't get it and missed the mark by light years on this one. Beyond that, the music itself sounded fake, plastic, and totally synth'ed up and drum machined out of relevance or appeal to the people who were the target audiences.


Now what is amazing in these two articles is to sift through some of Mike's comments and get to his "master plan", including a rock and roll film of some kind which involved "recording 250 songs by 50 different artists, using 20 different producers..."

250 songs, 50 different artists, 20 different producers...all re-recording classic 50's and 60's hits with a modern 80's synth-driven sonic vibe...with 20 producers...

How could it miss? FFS... LOL  This is fantasy land stuff, if there are any questions about how a project pitch meeting with Mike and any number of labels or production companies would have gone, just read the articles above and see the results.
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« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2019, 11:25:45 AM »

Tossing out theories here. Artists re-recording hits? Another project that didn’t come off?

Have we found the reason for the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame ‘shaming of artists’ rant?  LOL
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« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2019, 12:14:45 PM »

 There’s just so very much to take in here.

-   Was Mike trying to craft a wrestling-esque, ball-busting image, where he’s belittling Dean’s intelligence? Was this an attempt at a comedy type pairing? Serious question. I’m baffled, because I guess I don’t know their history together, if they had that sort of relationship, if that was a known joke by the public… because it just comes across - in a context of a “new” music duo “supergroup” of sorts - as off-putting and just plain odd to make your musical partner come across as a simpleton dumbass by the blurb.



-   One article lists the price of the Radio Shack tape as $4.95, the other lists it as costing $4.98. Hilarious that there’s no consistency; it’s either a typo by the writer(s) of the articles, or someone involved (Mike?) decided to change the price, and try and squeeze 3 more cents per out of customers per tape somewhere along the line.

-   it comes across as douchey for Mike to use the term “units” in an interview. He seems like a unit by saying "unit". I mean, Kurt Cobain just a decade later was mocking the term in his song “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”. Yes I know the famous quote “we’re sure to sell a million units”, yet that really is an industry term that makes anyone saying it seem like they are Johnny McCorporate to the max, and it’s just not a term I ever want to hear a musician throwing around in articles who is even remotely trying to be considered an actual artist.

-   The “Jingle Bell Rock” font totally reminds me of Cabbage Patch Kids.  Mike 'N Dean Patch Kids?




-   It’s super odd to see a BBs-related release with the World Trade Center on it.  And why the California plate on the Corvette if this is supposed to be NY? Hmm.



Anyway, what a weird, weird, artistically vapid era.
It's just kinda grody, and I don't use that term often.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 12:24:29 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2019, 01:51:17 PM »

There’s just so very much to take in here.

-   Was Mike trying to craft a wrestling-esque, ball-busting image, where he’s belittling Dean’s intelligence? Was this an attempt at a comedy type pairing? Serious question. I’m baffled, because I guess I don’t know their history together, if they had that sort of relationship, if that was a known joke by the public… because it just comes across - in a context of a “new” music duo “supergroup” of sorts - as off-putting and just plain odd to make your musical partner come across as a simpleton dumbass by the blurb.




Seems like it was a joke.
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« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2019, 01:57:19 PM »

There’s just so very much to take in here.

-   Was Mike trying to craft a wrestling-esque, ball-busting image, where he’s belittling Dean’s intelligence? Was this an attempt at a comedy type pairing? Serious question. I’m baffled, because I guess I don’t know their history together, if they had that sort of relationship, if that was a known joke by the public… because it just comes across - in a context of a “new” music duo “supergroup” of sorts - as off-putting and just plain odd to make your musical partner come across as a simpleton dumbass by the blurb.




Seems like it was a joke.

Oh I get that it's a joke. There's no question of that. I'm just wondering why they did it. It seems a little weird, unless in the context of some sort of pre-established history of one guy "playing" the bumbling fool as some sort of character. Like some movie duo. Absent that, I just wonder why this was done, and why Dean was the one playing the fool. I'm not in any way suggesting there was some bad blood, as it seems by all accounts that Mike and Dean were/are buddies. I just find it kinda weird, that's all.

It was another era, I know. It sort of is from the school of comedy akin to Mike's "Heroes & Villains" "nuclear disaster" spoken word comments (which I understand were allegedy cooked up and/or okayed by Brian)... I suppose I don't get their sense of humor or motivation. Maybe the H&V rant is actually more understandable (to awkwardly diffuse or play down tension over a flop record) when compared to the out-of-the-blue print ad making Dean seem like a simpleton fool for seemingly no reason. Just kinda weird to me.

Side note: is Mike wearing a BBs 1983 tour jacket? Members Only with embroidered BB tour logo? It looks just like the "E.E.L." creepy Landy-initialed embroidered BBs 1983 tour jacket that was for sale at Rockaway Records a few years back.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 02:04:41 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
NateRuvin
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« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2019, 09:36:03 PM »

I think "It's easy enough for Dean" is classic J&D shtick and probably something Dean suggested. Dean had a company devoted to packaging, promotion, etc... You think he wasn't on top of everything like this?? He's been pretty meticulous with almost everything he's been involved with since Phase II began, and he took over leadership of J&D. If you listen to Filet of Soul or watch J&D's TV pilot from 1966, they're constantly poking fun at each other. I know you said something about no prior history or knowledge before seeing the ad, and I guess I can see how it would seem strange, but the poking fun/buddy humor, would at least be relatable to my friend group. Maybe we're just a group of Mikes and Deans  Huh Huh Shocked Shocked LOL LOL LOL LOL

J&D's utterly bizarre humor and fluffy lyrical content make it easy to assume these guys were just surfer dudes, but they were smart guys who really were on top of the world for those few years... There obviously can only be one Beatles or one Beach Boys in a generation, but you can't tell me that a single teenager wouldn't have given anything to live J&D's "California" lifestyle. They had hit after hit, with not only Jan & Dean becoming prototypes for so many stars that came after them, but Jan also became one of the era's greatest record producers. Mark A Moore's book "The Jan & Dean Record" states that Jan was using the group of musicians eventually called the Wrecking Crew before Phil Spector! This is the group that BW and the media constantly refer to as "Phil Spector's band" when you might as well call them "Jan Berry's band" if you were going to give them a single leader, simply going by dates. Personally, I believe that there's credit due that Jan doesn't receive. The Rock N Roll HOF is an obvious start. They should be in there, alone, for Baby Talk on Dick Clark; singing the Black R&B with a smooth West Coast flavor. Or what about performing the first Surf #1; the beginning of an era!?! Or Jan surviving his accident, DMC movie, Phase II... Damn , I really don't understand why they aren't in the HOF. So many people with less hits, and arguably less quality music, have been inducted. Was it J&D's weird (often far right wing) shock humor parody/tragedy songs (like Universal Coward and Only a Boy)? Dean thinks its because they simply didn't have anything that profound to sing about. They sang about having fun. As Beach Boys fans, we understand this. Hell, we all love Little Deuce Coupe and Surfin USA. Songs about fun and positivity aren't inherently less complex. In fact, I'd argue that Jan & Dean's "Anaheim" with it's atonal/neutral key and time signature changes, is far more musically complicated than "I'm A Loser" by The Beatles.
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« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2019, 07:49:20 AM »

Mike and Dean played the creepy 40 yr olds on spring break role well. On another note, Mike really damaged his voice during this period likely due to the extra concerts. His voice was never worse than in this time period . Partly conscious decision to try to add more nasal and part just overuse as he had a habit of yelling at shows in this era to the crowd .
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« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2019, 09:46:01 AM »

There’s just so very much to take in here.

-   Was Mike trying to craft a wrestling-esque, ball-busting image, where he’s belittling Dean’s intelligence? Was this an attempt at a comedy type pairing? Serious question. I’m baffled, because I guess I don’t know their history together, if they had that sort of relationship, if that was a known joke by the public… because it just comes across - in a context of a “new” music duo “supergroup” of sorts - as off-putting and just plain odd to make your musical partner come across as a simpleton dumbass by the blurb.




If a member of the public can't work out its a joke, then they probably won't be able to operate it.
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« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2019, 10:19:45 AM »

C.D. made some good observations on the details from those various items I posted. Yes, that looks like the Cabbage Patch Kids font! I knew it looked familiar but couldn't place it. That record label looks like something they'd give away with one of the dolls. The perils of using cut-and-paste graphics (of course, this done well before Photoshop but the same warnings existed...) comes out in the incongruity of having a Vette convertible with California plates and two dudes leaning on it being placed in front of a New York City skyline and backdrop. Yeah...that's weird.

About the Realistic stereo ad: I thought it was unusual copy to use too. It's obviously going for humor, but is Mike being self-deprecating or is he playing it straight described as "slim and trim"? Versus Dean portrayed as, what, a stumblebum, a spaced out surf dude, a simpleton who's been in the music business for several decades at that time who couldn't figure out how to connect RCA cables to a Radio Shack receiver if it were more complex than the one in the ad? It's odd, I agree with CD. Maybe they were thinking the .05% of people in 1983 seeing that ad and remembering some schtick from Jan and Dean where Dean played the dummy would have the ad trigger a memory and laughs? Who knows.

Why wasn't Mike portrayed as the simpleton instead of Dean? Hmmm...don't think too long about that one.


And you'd think Radio Shack would have given Mike a hat which fit him better than the one in the ad.
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« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2019, 10:40:59 AM »

Looking at all the materials and ads and articles from this 1983 era "Mike And Dean" activities, several other issues are jumping off the pages.

1983, 36 years ago, and the template for a lot of Mike's "solo" activities in the decades since already seem to be in place.

Start with the interview attached to the article, from the Orange Coast piece written by Keith Tuber. Mike is supposed to be promoting his Radio Shack/Hitbound projects, and two paragraphs are devoted to spelling out cousin Brian's problems. It's no different in scope than Mike's interviews over the past 5-6 years, where he's there to promote a tour or one of his releases and he goes into Brian's and the Wilson's various personal problems and issues. At some point, isn't it more dignified and I'll use the term respectful to make perhaps a one-line comment on these matters, like "my cousin Brian has been battling some issues, but I wish him the best" and leave it at that?

Instead...and this in 1983, not in the recent 6 years...Mike goes into Brian's issues with overeating, drinking too much, lack of self-control, and other points that have *nothing* to do with Mike and Dean's project. Does that sound familiar to anyone who has been following this band and their press interviews since Fall 2012? It should.

And the irony must have been lost on Mike that while he's telling the fans and readers who he's trying to reach to promote his project about Brian's excessive drinking and lack of self-control...

...Mike himself was signed on to play gigs at Spring Break hotspots, sponsored by Budweiser beer, complete with a rewrite of a Beach Boys classic to promote Budweiser beer, and would be playing for college audiences who were mostly going to these Spring Break hotspots to drink excessively, eat excessively, party until they're shitfaced, throwing personal responsibility mostly out the hotel sliding-door balcony...and Mike is onstage leading them in singalongs to the Budweiser anthem while hoisting cans of Bud at them from the stage. While making it a point to mention cousin Brian's issues with excessive drinking and excessive behavior. Then there is also that print ad suggesting Mike is "trim and fit" versus, I guess, the example of his cousin?

Hypocrisy, or just an innate lack of perspective beyond self-aggrandizement and making money?

Whatever the case, there was the template for Mike's interviews already in place back in 1983. As has been said before, this stuff is not new to people who have been following this band, nor did it happen in a vacuum. It's similar patterns repeating from year to year. More on that to follow.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:43:42 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2019, 10:56:55 AM »

I think "It's easy enough for Dean" is classic J&D shtick and probably something Dean suggested. Dean had a company devoted to packaging, promotion, etc... You think he wasn't on top of everything like this?? He's been pretty meticulous with almost everything he's been involved with since Phase II began, and he took over leadership of J&D. If you listen to Filet of Soul or watch J&D's TV pilot from 1966, they're constantly poking fun at each other. I know you said something about no prior history or knowledge before seeing the ad, and I guess I can see how it would seem strange, but the poking fun/buddy humor, would at least be relatable to my friend group. Maybe we're just a group of Mikes and Deans  Huh Huh Shocked Shocked LOL LOL LOL LOL

Yeah, I honestly don't know much about J&D and their history beyond just some slight surface stuff.  If the poking fun at each other thing was an innate part of their shtick, then I guess it makes a little more sense.

Although, like GF pointed out -and funny enough I had also independently thought this too - why is Mike not here (nor ever) on the receiving end of being the dumb clod in the "one guy is cool, the other is a dummy" type of scenario, and it's always the other way around?

And yes, come to think of it, I guess there was always a ball-busting shtick with The BBs, going back to the early spoken word tracks. I suppose this ad is just an extension of  "Cassius Love vs Sonny Wilson". Maybe it just seems odder to see two 40+ year old dudes acting that way though.

I guess this ad is the print ad version of their updated cover version, "Cassius Love vs Sonny Torrence". I suppose their marketing people were trying to make sure that customers who didn't see themselves as technically skilled/proficient would have a spokesperson who they could relate to, and someone had to be the dummy. But, as GF had also pointed out, I also thought it odd to see Mike playing up his "thin" waistline, because Mike had just made excessive comments about his cousin's weight in the press. It's eyeroll city.  Roll Eyes

(Side note: I tried to get into J&D out of curiosity, and because I've heard BBs fans who rave about them being underrated, but after giving some of their stuff a chance a bit, nothing's really clicked with me enough to explore further - I welcome suggestions of songs/albums if anyone thinks I'm missing out on something good).
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 11:05:08 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: February 19, 2019, 11:16:24 AM »

The perils of using cut-and-paste graphics (of course, this done well before Photoshop but the same warnings existed...) comes out in the incongruity of having a Vette convertible with California plates and two dudes leaning on it being placed in front of a New York City skyline and backdrop. Yeah...that's weird.
 

Did that Vette in the pic belong to Mike? I wonder. I know just a few years later, The BBs (I'm guessing via Mike, who probably pushed for tie-ins more than his BB mates) had that big Vette tie-in with Still Cruisin', where Chevy gave away 35 Corvettes to 1 person. If I didn't know better, I'd think Mike was trying to do an homage to the Shut Down Vol. II album cover here, trying hard to strike as cool a pose as Denny had in front of Denny's own Vette.



And you'd think Radio Shack would have given Mike a hat which fit him better than the one in the ad.

It's probably one size fits all, with those little plastic snap fit tabs in the back. But yeah. I wonder if Mike still has that Radio Shack hat deep in his closet. Pretty sure that's the same hat he sang on the anti-corporate tune "Imagine", of all songs, while wearing. I guess it was Mike's version of Brian's Fire Hat phase.  

In an alternate Twilight Zone universe, Mike goes back in time to wrestle creative control of the band from Brian circa 1966, and gives the studio musicians all red Radio Shack hats to wear.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 11:35:59 AM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: February 19, 2019, 12:28:59 PM »

 Jan & Dean's comedy bits were an integral part of their act between 1959 and 1966...  THE T.A.M.I. SHOW, Dean's liner notes to Golden Hits Vol. 2, all the liner notes to the Jan & Dean Anthology album, both TV pilots, Schlock Rod... Bucket T... Little Old Lady from Pasadena... Anaheim, Azuza... Horace the Swingin' School Bus Driver... Submarine Races... One Piece Topless Bathing Suit... Hang On Sloopy... Folk City... all of JAN & DEAN MEET BATMAN (both versions), all of FILET OF SOUL... and all of their concert appearances, all of their radio promos and, especially, DEAD MAN'S CURVE, which showed just how dark they were willing to go.  Dean calls it their "FARGO." They were billed as the Laurel & Hardy of rock & roll and their public personas were very much like Stan and Ollie.  Jan was "Ollie" and Dean was Stanley, the "dumb one."  And like Stan Laurel, Dean was actually the brains behind their comedy presentation.  Jan was equally adept at brilliant musical satires so subversive that they actually became hit records.  It's still astounding that he crafted such a deft send-up of drag racing songs like Little Old Lady From Pasadena and it became a number 3 hit with record buyers (including a hell of a lot of gear heads).

I suspect neither one of them would ever claim to have created something as brilliant as PET SOUNDS.  That wasn't the game to these guys.   You want a laugh, check out the way they gleefully savage their own work on FILET OF SOUL - and poke fun not only at Beatlemania but their own willingness to exploit it for fun and profit.

In the Radio Shack ad, the line about Dean is a throwback to his stage persona. 

Look at their work through the prism of their humor and you see what they were all about.  Farm team isn't really the best analogy.  If you think of The Beach Boys as the champion riders at the rodeo, Jan & Dean were the rodeo clowns.  They got plenty of laughs - and they were damned skilled at wrangling angry bulls when the stakes were high.
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« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2019, 12:56:21 PM »

Jan & Dean's comedy bits were an integral part of their act between 1959 and 1966...  THE T.A.M.I. SHOW, Dean's liner notes to Golden Hits Vol. 2, all the liner notes to the Jan & Dean Anthology album, both TV pilots, Schlock Rod... Bucket T... Little Old Lady from Pasadena... Anaheim, Azuza... Horace the Swingin' School Bus Driver... Submarine Races... One Piece Topless Bathing Suit... Hang On Sloopy... Folk City... all of JAN & DEAN MEET BATMAN (both versions), all of FILET OF SOUL... and all of their concert appearances, all of their radio promos and, especially, DEAD MAN'S CURVE, which showed just how dark they were willing to go.  Dean calls it their "FARGO." They were billed as the Laurel & Hardy of rock & roll and their public personas were very much like Stan and Ollie.  Jan was "Ollie" and Dean was Stanley, the "dumb one."  And like Stan Laurel, Dean was actually the brains behind their comedy presentation.  Jan was equally adept at brilliant musical satires so subversive that they actually became hit records.  It's still astounding that he crafted such a deft send-up of drag racing songs like Little Old Lady From Pasadena and it became a number 3 hit with record buyers (including a hell of a lot of gear heads).

I suspect neither one of them would ever claim to have created something as brilliant as PET SOUNDS.  That wasn't the game to these guys.   You want a laugh, check out the way they gleefully savage their own work on FILET OF SOUL - and poke fun not only at Beatlemania but their own willingness to exploit it for fun and profit.

In the Radio Shack ad, the line about Dean is a throwback to his stage persona. 

Look at their work through the prism of their humor and you see what they were all about.  Farm team isn't really the best analogy.  If you think of The Beach Boys as the champion riders at the rodeo, Jan & Dean were the rodeo clowns.  They got plenty of laughs - and they were damned skilled at wrangling angry bulls when the stakes were high.


Thanks for that info, Steve, that makes a lot of sense then. Out of context it seems much odder, but in context it's clearly a throwback like you're saying.
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« Reply #44 on: February 19, 2019, 04:54:18 PM »

GF, "Thats why god made the radio(shack) should have been on c50.... Wink
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« Reply #45 on: February 19, 2019, 06:22:28 PM »

GF, "Thats why god made the radio(shack) should have been on c50.... Wink

 LOL
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« Reply #46 on: February 19, 2019, 07:17:24 PM »

GF, "Thats why god made the radio(shack) should have been on c50.... Wink

 LOL LOL LOL

If it's a red hat, would Mike have worn it only on Mondays? Or maybe Radio Shack gave him some other colors too for the rest of the weekdays.
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« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2019, 07:49:10 PM »

Steve's summary of J&D's humor was perfect. It was definitely an integral part of their studio albums and stage performances. I'd actually go far enough to say they were an early example of Rock n Roll artists pushing conventional boundaries. There haven't been many (if any) Rock acts that can be put in the same sentence as Laurel & Hardy. I agree that given the way things played out, J&D never made anything on the level of Pet Sounds. Sure, COS and SFARD could have been salvaged into something that could've competed with the Psychedelic records of the era, but nothing on those records have the emotional weight of anything on Pet Sounds, with the exception being Dean's "Like A Summer Rain". Terrific track. Haunting lead vocal. J&D probably would have continued to go farther and farther down the comedy path, as they were already doing in 1966 with Filet of Soul, Batman, and their proposed TV show. However, I do think with the amazing albums coming out left and right from all sorts of Pop acts (Beatles, Beach Boys, Zombies, Byrds) Jan's competitive spirit would've kicked in, driving him to whatever a 1967 psychedelic era J&D record could have been. J&D's transition from R&B to the California Sound was very smooth. They brought in the California sound and phased out the R&B sound simultaneously on the albums Golden Hits Vol 1, J&D Take Linda Surfing, and Surf City and other Swingin States. Jan also lent their songs to a Classical style with his Pop Symphony album. They experimented with an array of genres like Folk (I Found A Girl and Folk City LP) and Psychedelia (albeit with a J&D twist, including Pop/Rock standards and a Big Band style horn section-signature Jan Berry!-on Filet Of Soul) ... I think Jan had a good ear for trends . He was already working on Blowin My Mind before the accident, which features a Psychedelic/Sunshine Pop style backing track, with some versions even featuring sitar and fuzz guitar. Sounds that fit perfectly with the times. I don't think J&D had any interest in leaving music alltogether to pursue their school-related careers, and they would've changed with the times, as they already had been doing since the Surf sound of the early 60's transitioned into the Psychedelic/Hard Rock styles of music that would define the later half of the 60's.
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Jim V.
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« Reply #48 on: February 19, 2019, 09:49:05 PM »

I've been meaning to post on here for a while but things kept getting in the way. I know the thread is about Mike and Dean, but it's also strayed off here and there to general Jan and Dean type stuff. And I dunno, but I just wanna throw a few thoughts out there and see what y'all think.

First of all, Jan. Seemed like he had it all. Good looks, musical talent, kinda funny (we'll get back to that later). But once I learned about Jan and Dean, I started getting rubbed the wrong way by a bit about him. I'd say a lot of it comes from the fact that he was out there writing songs like "The Universal Coward" and "Only a Boy" which, for all intents and purposes, were pro-war. Which, you know, that was his prerogative. However, when I learned that he was trying to find any excuse so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam after he got drafted, I lost a shitload of respect for the man. Because in my world, the kinda person that does was he was trying to do is a called a fuckin' CHICKEN HAWK. It was fine for other people to go fight wars and for parents to lose their children, our wives to lose their sons for something Jan Berry believed in, but it wasn't good enough for Jan Berry himself to have the balls to go and fight for what he claimed he believed in. Carl Wilson is a totally different story because he had a religious reason as a nonviolent person who apparently did not support the war, so I never though twice about the kind of man he was. Not the same feeling for me in Jan's case. Now the shitty thing is, apparently all this draft stuff was weighing on Jan's mind when the fateful accident happened. And don't get me wrong, I think what happened was a horrible horrible moment in rock 'n roll history, and really just a horrible moment, for a smart, good looking rock and roll star who could've been a doctor or maybe changed with the times and kept Jan and Dean in the thick of things in the rock scene. But alas, what happened happened. And nothing can change that unfortunately.

Now the crazy thing to me is, as much as I like a bit of what we'll call "phase 1" Jan & Dean music, the stuff that I actually really dig from Jan is the stuff he did during the '70s and early '80s. Originals like "Fun City" and "Totally Wild" and covers like "Don't You Just Know It" and "Little Queenie" are a heck of a lot better than they have any right being, given the circumstances. In fact, I think Jan's career trajectory would be given a bit more love if perhaps a nice compilation was made covering this stuff. I have one called Fun City that was done on K-Tel I think, but really it seems like that one could improved on.

So then we have Dean, I think he was definitely the Mike Love of the group. Whereas, apparently Mike started getting a like prickly about the music or the lyrics around Pet Sounds and SMiLE apparently Dean was pissing and moaning as early as "I Found a Girl" or "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" during his duos career. Apparently these songs weren't "fun" enough or something. Compared to Dean, Mike seems positively progressive in a musical sense! Man. But then when Jan is out of commission (post accident but pre Carnival of Sound sessions) he goes and makes a kinda nice, kinda contemporary little album entitled Save For A Rainy Day, which honestly might be the best non compilation album ever released under the Jan & Dean name. So what was it? Just jealousy? Who knows. But now, regardless of any of that, post Jan's death, Dean in my opinion has been a horrible steward of the Jan & Dean legacy. It doesn't even seem like he's tried to push them as a group of any artistic merit, while at the same time whining that they aren't in the RRHOF.  But yeah, ever since "phase 2" (late '70s through Jan's death) there was no attention paid on stage to any of the, shall we say, non car or surf songs as far as I know. You'd never see anything like "Jennie Lee", "Baby Talk", "I Found a Girl", "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" or anything else. It was just the old standbys. And I know you could say it woulda been heard to do the early doo-wop cuts, I think Jan coulda given "You Really Know How..." a decent shot in the later days and done it kinda well. And I think the blame for most of this has to go to Dean. I don't think he cares much about anything other than money. I remember reading something with him around 2012 where he said he didn't think he would probably do any new music because of the "political stuff" and the "economy" and blah blah. Sounded like he was another angry old white guy even though I'm sure he's got more than enough $$. Plus who the f*** gives a sh*t about solo Dean Torrence music in 2019? Give me a break. So yeah, unless I'm proven wrong, Dean to me is a money hungry douche who wrote a few nice songs, and who had a falsetto better than I think some give him credit for.

And while we are on somewhat maybe....controversial....opinions, I'll say this. Both sides of the Jan and Dean debate are annoying. The side of Beach Boys fandom who think they (The Beach Boys and their fans) are the cool kids and think that Jan & Dean and their fans are dumb jocks and whatever I just think is stupid. Brian Wilson thought they were decent enough to work with for like 4 or 5 years so they musta been somewhat worthwhile. And that's what they are to me. Somewhat worthwhile. They are good for a few singles. Get their 10 song Greatest Hits and you're fine. And the people that claim that Jan was anywhere near Spector or especially Brian are out of their minds. I know he was supposed "first" to use certain musicians or whatever, but who cares. There was a guy who first played quarterback in like 1920, but that doesn't mean he's better than Tom Brady. So stop bothering to try comparing Jan to Brian. They aren't close. In the same year Brian did Pet Sounds and The Beatles put out Revolver, we got Batman from Jan. And I'm not hating, it's funny. But if he was really there like some of his fans say he was, then why was he recording oldies before the accident? So in conclusion, Jan's music is alright. Don't let the self-proclaimed "cool kids" change your mind if you dig some of it. But also be realistic and don't compare him to BW. Just my opinion.

Anyways, that is all. Haha. I take this stuff just WAY too seriously!

[EDIT]: Forgot to address the "funny" thing. I think their sense of humor is highly, highly overrated. I know humor is subjective and what I find funny may not be what you find funny, but I always hear about how they were the "original punks" or some garbage. And that's just what it is...garbage. Their humor has a tinge of anti-humor to it, which I can dig, but besides that I think they weren't much different from many of the other mid '60s rock acts. Like if Jan and Dean's humor was "punk" then surely The Beatles was. And The Who's. And Brian's well....Brian's was just different. Haha. But yeah I think the punk mantle just kinda got given to them to give them more props just because the stock of their group has fallen heavily since the '60s and especially since the '80s. Which is sad, but they weren't the cream of the crop. They had a few nice songs, but that was it. And NOW, finally I am done with this for real!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:07:52 PM by Jim V. » Logged
NateRuvin
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« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2019, 10:25:31 AM »

Jim V,

While you were thorough in your analysis and obviously know your stuff, I disagree with you on some points.

As for Jan and the war, I can understand your frustration. Here's a Mark A Moore (J&D historian) quote from the J&D board that should clear everything up. "Both sides were fair game. I mean, we're talking about Jan & Dean here. "In my view, the personal political leanings of J&D in 1965-66 are of little consequence. Universal Coward poked fun at the anti-war movement -- and Eve of Destruction was -- to quote a phrase I've used before -- delivered with exaggerated angst... According to Roger Christian -- who was as close to Jan as anyone -- the establishment viewed Only A Boy as an anti-war song -- because it was soliciting sympathy for a kid (a soldier) who's life had been snuffed out before it really began."

As for Dean's feelings about J&D's music, I'd say it's much more complicated than you make it out to be. Jan was 100% in control from 1963-1966 with the production of those records. He had total say over every note committed to tape. Dean was merely the sideman. I remember Dean saying something like "You either did it Jan's way or you didn't do it. I was just happy to do it." But many people close to the situation have expressed that Dean would have liked more creative input during Phase I. Perhaps his dislike of some of Jan's work was similar to Mike's alleged dislike of Brian's--- the fear of not being needed anymore. I'm sure it was frightening, in a way, for guys like Mike and Dean (talented, but not mega hit producers) to watch their peers grow into Singer/Songwriter/Instrumentalist/Producer/Arrangers while Mike and Dean were singers and lyricists at most, with limited instrumental proficiency. Both Mike and Dean helped bring their respective groups to fame, but it was Jan and Brian who were the masterminds. Jan and Brian could have used anyone. (Jan, did, with Arnie in 1958) Mike and Dean were probably scared that their careers were at stake. With that in mind, it's much easier to wrap your head around why they would have negative feelings towards a song or an era of artistic growth (SMiLE for Mike, Folk N Roll for Dean)  To simply sum up Dean as a money hungry douche, when you don't know the guy is a little absurd. I met Dean and he couldn't be more gracious. We talked about Jan's arranging skills his great use of harmony. Dean isn't oblivious to all this. He appreciates the artistic side of the music. In retrospect, maybe it was wise of him to think kids were going to buy You Really Know How To Hurt a Guy as an A side single in 1965 or that 2019 audiences would rather hear him sing "Do It Again" than "Horace, Swinging School Bus Driver"

My personal opinion is that J&D are more than "somewhat worthwhile". I think there's a lot to be learned about production and arranging from J&D's songs. Many classic tunes like Anaheim and Honolulu Lulu were pretty innovative with their layers of vocal harmonies, three or four guitars, two basses, two drum kits, keys, horns, etc.. Those songs sound powerful no matter the medium. Especially in mono. Jan also used a lot of compression and limiting on those songs. I think these production techniques and aesthetics are why he often gets compared to Brian Wilson and Phil Spector, aside from the obvious genre/regional overlaps.

As for the humor, to each his own. I find it laugh out loud funny. There must have been something memorable about their humor, if people still remember it 50+ years on.

Thanks for acknowledging the tribal nature between BBs and J&D fans. There definitely is a middle ground. You can appreciate one group, without diminishing your love for the other. Actually the opposite happens. I think hearing the differences between the groups made me appreciate each other more. J&D's (often times off-key) crooning has made me appreciate the BBs immaculate pitch and intonation. Brian's sometimes thin-sounding surf-era arrangements have made me appreciate Jan's powerful dual-drum tracks. Both bands compliment each other perfectly. Brian's music can often be categorized as introspective and personal, whereas Jan's leaned towards the goofy side. That's why hearing Little Old Lady at a BBs show or Sail On Sailor at a J&D show, doesn't upset me and actually, when played well, brings a smile to my face. Fortunately, J&D and The BBs have always had great musicians, so I'm rarely left in disappointment.
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