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Author Topic: An Autobiography by Don Goldberg  (Read 3524 times)
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« on: August 18, 2019, 08:51:07 PM »

An autobiography by Don Goldberg is out now on amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1513649892
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 07:10:11 AM »

Evidently, he was quite the wunderkind, ""at fourteen years old I discovered Chuck Berry."
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 07:54:40 AM »

The Goldberg songs posted a few years ago were certainly interesting, mainly "Sweet and Bitter" which featured a pretty good and somewhat unique Mike lead vocal (even if it had clearly and weirdly been overdubbed many years after 1970-ish).

But I'm probably stating the obvious in wondering how good of "friends" he was or is with Brian Wilson. Seemingly nobody much had heard of Goldberg prior to those song surfacing.

There must be an undeniably interesting story for how he briefly ended up in their orb in the "Sunflower" era to work on a few songs (a story I believe he partially told somewhere back then), and I'm guessing the 138-page count on this new book probably correctly indicates that there is only so much you can stretch that story into an epic book.
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 08:35:12 AM »

It's short but an interesting read and Don comes off as a very likeable guy. Seems he was kind of the forgotten third wheel of Brian's revolving early 70s collaborators after Tandyn Almer and David Sandler.

Fun anecdotes:

- Brian staying at Arnie Geller's house for a while in 1970 because he and Marilyn weren't getting along. Wait... that's not fun. But the Radiant Radish gets talked about and that's VERY fun.

- Murry asking if Sweet and Bitter is a "Jewish folk song"

- Brian giving him a signed copy of Smiley Smile, with the note: "To Don, here lies a dead album - Brian Wilson"

- Brian telling Don Goldberg's father that Murry and Audree don't live together anymore and they only get together for sex

- Brian getting high and going on a deranged rant about how he's gonna quit the Beach Boys and start a band with Don and his friend Barry. It'll be called The Light, and Brian is the "light"

- Brian getting high and going on a deranged rant about Good Vibrations

- Don and his wife are invited over to Brian's house while they record. While they're waiting, Bruce barges into the room and yells at them to get out

- In the Country (apparently the original, correct title) almost ends up on Carl and the Passions with Don having a guest spot because of a scheme by Brian. Bruce literally hides the tape to stop it from happening

- Don asks Bruce what the chords to Disney Girls are while they're hanging around in Brian's house. Bruce's response: "Well, you have to be a really good guitar player"

- Carl on Bruce, post-leaving: "he just couldn't be nice to people"
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 08:41:47 AM »

Interesting stuff about Bruce. It seems to line up with the experiences David Marks described in his book with Jon Stebbins, when David re-entered the band's orb in the "Surf's Up" era briefly.

So it would seem the long-ago circulated BB version of "(Out) In the Country" with Al on lead post-dates the Goldberg version. Big question: If they ever officially release the BB version, will Goldberg get a songwriting credit? Will Goldberg's long-ago involvement be something that leads them to just leave such a track off any future BB sets?

I remember someone asking Alan Boyd years ago when "Sweet and Bitter" surfaced if the BBs had that, or any of the other Goldberg stuff, in the BRI vaults. I don't remember if there was a definitive answer.

Does Goldberg describe overdubbing "Sweet and Bitter" years later? When he posted the three tracks online, "Sweet and Bitter" definitely had some late 70s/early 80s-sounding overdubs.

Also, does Goldberg describe posting the stuff online in the 2010s, and/or does he describe the stuff getting yanked from YouTube?
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2019, 09:09:26 AM »

He does actually talk about visiting Alan and Mark with his tapes a few years back, and Alan mentioned the same thing in the recent Q&A. They have the session tape for Sweet and Bitter but Don managed to hold on to the master take with Mike's lead. Alan also said he "really liked what he did with that Sweet and Bitter tape" ... maybe meaning later overdubs? There's nothing directly about it in the book though.

To clarify some things: Don wrote Sweet and Bitter alone, but Brian rewrote the chorus chords. (Out) In the Country was started by Brian with the line "I can't see me falling in love" and the rest of the verse music, before Don changed that line, wrote most of the rest of the lyrics and added the chorus. Brian then wrote the bridge himself. The organ + Al lead version definitely came later - Don didn't even know about it until decades down the line when he discovered it via a bootleg. It might be from the Holland sessions after all. Seems like Brian produced all of the above.
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2019, 09:21:19 AM »


- Murry asking if Sweet and Bitter is a "Jewish folk song"

- Brian giving him a signed copy of Smiley Smile, with the note: "To Don, here lies a dead album - Brian Wilson"

- Brian telling Don Goldberg's father that Murry and Audree don't live together anymore and they only get together for sex

- Brian getting high and going on a deranged rant about how he's gonna quit the Beach Boys and start a band with Don and his friend Barry. It'll be called The Light, and Brian is the "light"

- Brian getting high and going on a deranged rant about Good Vibrations






What an unusual family.  Brow




Quote
- Don and his wife are invited over to Brian's house while they record. While they're waiting, Bruce barges into the room and yells at them to get out

- In the Country (apparently the original, correct title) almost ends up on Carl and the Passions with Don having a guest spot because of a scheme by Brian. Bruce literally hides the tape to stop it from happening

- Don asks Bruce what the chords to Disney Girls are while they're hanging around in Brian's house. Bruce's response: "Well, you have to be a really good guitar player"

- Carl on Bruce, post-leaving: "he just couldn't be nice to people"


So, I guess he doesn't like Bruce too much, eh?
Could you elaborate a little on the So Tough story? That sounds interesting.

Thanks for giving us some insight into the book!
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 09:44:41 AM »


Could you elaborate a little on the So Tough story? That sounds interesting.

Thanks for giving us some insight into the book!

No problem!

Honestly, there's not that much to it. Seems like the song was recorded as a contender for the Beach Boys, and Don wanted one of them to sing lead, but Brian encouraged him to sing his own vocals and lobbied for it going on the album like that. Carl was actually going along with the idea and even told 'Steve' (written as Desper, probably Moffit) that it was going on the record. Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Don says he doesn't know if it really would've been released regardless of Bruce doing that, but thinks that it might've inspired them doing something similar by giving Jack Rieley the lead on Tree. Evidently it was the opposite way round and he's got his timeline muddled up.
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 10:09:02 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2019, 10:36:28 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 10:52:34 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

This seems odd since Bruce was out of the band by the time of So Tough.  Why would he have even had access is weird?  It seems like they could have made him give it back.
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2019, 11:00:30 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

This seems odd since Bruce was out of the band by the time of So Tough.  Why would he have even had access is weird?  It seems like they could have made him give it back.


Bruce left during the So Tough session IIRC. His "Ten year harmony" (later retiteled as "Endless harmony") was supposed to be recorded for So Tough.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 11:04:56 AM by Rocker » Logged

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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2019, 11:01:23 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

This seems odd since Bruce was out of the band by the time of So Tough.  Why would he have even had access is weird?  It seems like they could have made him give it back.


Bruce left during the So Tough session IIRC. His "Ten years of harmony" (later retiteled as "Endless harmony") was supposed to be recorded for So Tough.


Ahhh, ok.  That makes sense then.
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 11:43:24 AM »

Bruce was still in the band, at least the touring band, through to the beginning of April 1972, so that definitely post-dated at least some of the "So Tough" sessions. I don't know how present Bruce was for the actual "So Tough" sessions, but he was in the band up until about a month before "So Tough" came out.
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2019, 11:49:00 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

And "funniest" is being generous. In a band with Brian Wilson (a guy that weirded out some of the most crazy rock luminaries of the day), Dennis Wilson (a guy who was buds with Manson for a while, and who went toe-to-toe if not surpassed the likes of Moon and Bonham while sometimes even hanging with them), and Mike Love (rightly or wrongly with the rep as one of the big a-holes in the history of rock/pop), I've long contended it may well just be that, ironically, Bruce Johnston is the weirdest of them all.
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2019, 11:55:53 AM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

And "funniest" is being generous. In a band with Brian Wilson (a guy that weirded out some of the most crazy rock luminaries of the day), Dennis Wilson (a guy who was buds with Manson for a while, and who went toe-to-toe if not surpassed the likes of Moon and Bonham while sometimes even hanging with them), and Mike Love (rightly or wrongly with the rep as one of the big a-holes in the history of rock/pop), I've long contended it may well just be that, ironically, Bruce Johnston is the weirdest of them all.

Bruce's favorite Honeys song is undoubtedly Hide Go Seek (With Tapes)
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2019, 12:00:20 PM »

He does actually talk about visiting Alan and Mark with his tapes a few years back, and Alan mentioned the same thing in the recent Q&A. They have the session tape for Sweet and Bitter but Don managed to hold on to the master take with Mike's lead. Alan also said he "really liked what he did with that Sweet and Bitter tape" ... maybe meaning later overdubs? There's nothing directly about it in the book though.

To clarify some things: Don wrote Sweet and Bitter alone, but Brian rewrote the chorus chords. (Out) In the Country was started by Brian with the line "I can't see me falling in love" and the rest of the verse music, before Don changed that line, wrote most of the rest of the lyrics and added the chorus. Brian then wrote the bridge himself. The organ + Al lead version definitely came later - Don didn't even know about it until decades down the line when he discovered it via a bootleg. It might be from the Holland sessions after all. Seems like Brian produced all of the above.

Thanks for the additional details. I do now remember a bit that Alan Boyd had commented on "Sweet and Bitter." So presumably if they wanted to issue it with Mike's lead, they'd need to use Goldberg's tape.

It's one of the best Mike leads of that era, so it deserves a release on an archival package.

Presented as a "1972" song, Goldberg's tape just sounds rather anachronistic because of what sound like late 70s/early 80s synths and whatnot. It definitely doesn't sound at all like "So Tough" recordings. But it may well be that the original 1972 backing track is too sparse or has other issues, so the Goldberg tape may be a better presentation of the song.

I'm curious if Goldberg still has the multis for his songs; they could then presumably graft Mike's lead onto the backing track that BRI still has (or just mix out the newer overdubs on Goldberg's tape).

As far as the chances of "So Tough" being issued with some random dude singing one of the songs, I have trouble believing all of the other band members (nor potentially the label) would have gone along with that. I know they had done the track with Rieley singing, but he was the band's manager and could more easily push that sort of stuff through. But you have to wonder if Warner would have looked at "So Tough" and thought "Okay, so there's only 8 or 9 songs on this, and you have seven or eight fully capable lead vocalists in the band, yet you've had a random guy from outside of the band sing one of the songs?"

We also know other instances of a vaguely similar nature were met with the band steamrolling (rightly or wrongly) over outside interlopers. Billy Hinsche's lead on "Honkin' Down the Highway" wasn't used. Bob Burchman has his harrowing tale of being steamrolled on "It's About Time", and Ed Carter's "Surfer Suzie" got shelved supposedly/allegedly because he wouldn't fork over credit and/or royalties, or some such thing.

Knowing Brian, and how crazy things were in that era, Goldberg's song and vocal ending up on "So Tough" isn't like a 100% impossibility in my mind. But I'd lean more towards "unlikely" than "likely" under any circumstance I can think of. It sounds like Goldberg rightly was aware there was a good chance the track wouldn't actually make the cut, with or without Bruce allegedly "hiding" the tape.
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2019, 02:28:13 PM »



 Bruce clearly wasn't enamoured with the idea and sabotaged it by hiding the tape before they could add finishing touches.

Now I can't get a picture out of my mind of Bruce - dressed as The Hamburglar - sneaking around and hiding a tape, then wiping down the area to erase fingerprints. It's no wonder Bruce left. I wonder where he hid the tapes?

Talk about dysfunction. Reminds me of the type of dysfunctional stuff that happened later in the 70s, with Brian's fridge being padlocked.

More evidence for my theory that Bruce is actually the funniest Beach Boy, just by being a dick in the most incomprehensible ways possible. Marilyn got really upset about it and even made Bruce phone him to apologise.

And "funniest" is being generous. In a band with Brian Wilson (a guy that weirded out some of the most crazy rock luminaries of the day), Dennis Wilson (a guy who was buds with Manson for a while, and who went toe-to-toe if not surpassed the likes of Moon and Bonham while sometimes even hanging with them), and Mike Love (rightly or wrongly with the rep as one of the big a-holes in the history of rock/pop), I've long contended it may well just be that, ironically, Bruce Johnston is the weirdest of them all.

That's a SEVERE understatement.
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2019, 04:31:43 PM »


Knowing Brian, and how crazy things were in that era, Goldberg's song and vocal ending up on "So Tough" isn't like a 100% impossibility in my mind. 

True. Brian's tag fade to OITC did make it onto So Tough. The melody was repurposed for He Come Down (the"I believe it" phrase).
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2019, 06:31:40 PM »

Although Brian didn't cowrite Sweet & Bitter, he apparently changed the chords over the lines "We're still in love, can't you see it's meant to be..."  Originally, Don Goldberg just played an E7 throughout, but Brian spiced it up with the chords Bm / G / E7
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« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2019, 10:34:32 PM »

Looking forward to reading this for sure. The combustibility of the band in the 1970-72 period is actually a key aspect of what happened to them, and any first-hand accounts relating to that are incredibly valuable. Bruce's behavior in this time frame is certainly bizarre, but by 1972 he must have realized that he was swimming upstream with his schmaltzmeister material. He probably saw Don Goldberg's stuff as another way for his songs to be further marginalized.
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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2019, 04:38:54 AM »

This sounds like a very interesting book. I actually really like all of the Don Goldberg tracks that I've heard. Sweet and Bitter is one of my favorite Mike leads. I honestly don't think Don is much of a singer, but the full version of "In The Country" would have been cool to hear with Al or Carl singing lead. Or even Brian doing a non falsetto type of lead. The thing that confuses me the most about the song is how the full band version and the commonly booted version are so vastly different. This whole story gives me an interesting "What if?" question. Imagine that Don Goldberg had replaced Bruce in the group, and the whole history with Blondie and Ricki(that might not be the right spelling lol) had never happened.
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2019, 09:14:56 AM »

Any interesting/rare pictures in it?
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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2019, 09:33:17 AM »

What was going on in the time frame between the documented sessions for SO TOUGH has got to be pretty fraught, what with all these folks doing separate things and some kind of internecine warfare afoot, leading to Bruce's departure and the official inclusion of Blondie and Ricky. It seemed that Carl wound up making the final decisions on all this; his closeness with the Flame, coupled with Dennis' hand injury, would seem to be the decisive factors in all that. Having not yet read Goldberg's book, I don't know if there is anything there beyond the surreptitious "side door" effort to get "In the Country" onto SO TOUGH, but I'd doubt anyone was ready to actually put him into the band.

We could certainly use a much more comprehensive glimpse at what went down in the winter of 1971 through the spring of 1972--a LOT of stuff went down in that time frame, and the sequence of events and specific issues involved remain pretty murky...
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2019, 04:03:27 PM »

Be interesting to get a real history of the band around this time. Carl's relationship with Bruce., Al's relationship with Carl at this time. So many things that we could learn from
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