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Author Topic: Cool interview with Steve Levine  (Read 1855 times)
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« on: May 07, 2020, 03:19:06 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XcL2-5J--s

Some cool stories told by Steve Levine.
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2020, 03:29:43 AM »

That was interesting to hear. Thank you!
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2020, 06:13:18 AM »

Towards the end he sneaks in, "My relationship with Bruce is as is" with a bit of a negative vibe... Wonder what their quarrels with each other would have been?
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2020, 06:30:51 AM »

I'm So Lonely is one of the great all-time Beach Boys tracks as far as I'm concerned. Steve did a great job on that record, all things considered.
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 09:39:35 AM »

Genuinely shocked at idea of Brian Wilson driving a Pinto in 1984/85.  Doesn't seem like a Brian kinda car at all.  LOL
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2020, 12:14:03 PM »

Genuinely shocked at idea of Brian Wilson driving a Pinto in 1984/85.  Doesn't seem like a Brian kinda car at all.  LOL

Landys goons had the better ride guaranteed.
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2020, 12:04:56 PM »

There's a tape of the raw interview session Brian did with Westwood One in 1985, presumably promoting the BB '85 album. It's a weird interview, but at one point Brian tells a story about Al getting terse with Steve Levine and making Levine cry (Brian's words, as best as I can recall), and Brian was kind of castigating Al for this, and seeming to feel bad for Levine.

I'm curious if this is the same episode that Levine describes in this new interview. Levine doesn't describe crying, but rather being angry and frustrated, and Brian comforting him (e.g. "the guys used to that to me too"). Levine refuses to describe what precipitated his reaction, but I'm curious if it was the episode Brian described back in 1985.

Sounds like Levine has some interesting stories, and even more detailed stories that I guess he doesn't want to share? He seems to value the continued cordial relationship he has with the guys, but I can't imagine he's had *that* many run-ins with them since. The only other musical thing he did with any of them was that charity single that that Brian appeared on.

It would be interesting to hear Levine talk about the album more. The sound on that album (which is an album I've grown to like more over the years) hasn't exactly aged particularly well. He got good vocals out of the guys, but the drum machines and casio keyboards aren't exactly A+ status.

The guys in the band have always been stuck in their ways, and the recording process for the '85 album was especially new and alien to them. I remember some quotes from Carl about the album, and even the diplomatic Carl seemed kind of flustered with the digital recording process.
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2020, 12:10:17 PM »

They've also posted the unedited interview with Levine, and there's a couple more minutes about meeting Brian and Landy that start here:

https://youtu.be/eCJDxRK1-Q8?t=2881
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2020, 12:25:10 PM »

Pretty sure he worked on the Like a Brother album with Carl.
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2020, 12:36:32 PM »

There's a tape of the raw interview session Brian did with Westwood One in 1985, presumably promoting the BB '85 album. It's a weird interview, but at one point Brian tells a story about Al getting terse with Steve Levine and making Levine cry (Brian's words, as best as I can recall), and Brian was kind of castigating Al for this, and seeming to feel bad for Levine.

I'm curious if this is the same episode that Levine describes in this new interview. Levine doesn't describe crying, but rather being angry and frustrated, and Brian comforting him (e.g. "the guys used to that to me too"). Levine refuses to describe what precipitated his reaction, but I'm curious if it was the episode Brian described back in 1985.

Sounds like Levine has some interesting stories, and even more detailed stories that I guess he doesn't want to share? He seems to value the continued cordial relationship he has with the guys, but I can't imagine he's had *that* many run-ins with them since. The only other musical thing he did with any of them was that charity single that that Brian appeared on.

It would be interesting to hear Levine talk about the album more. The sound on that album (which is an album I've grown to like more over the years) hasn't exactly aged particularly well. He got good vocals out of the guys, but the drum machines and casio keyboards aren't exactly A+ status.

The guys in the band have always been stuck in their ways, and the recording process for the '85 album was especially new and alien to them. I remember some quotes from Carl about the album, and even the diplomatic Carl seemed kind of flustered with the digital recording process.

Levine told both stories to Mark Dillon in 50 Sides Of The Beach Boys.
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2020, 03:15:35 PM »

There's a tape of the raw interview session Brian did with Westwood One in 1985, presumably promoting the BB '85 album. It's a weird interview, but at one point Brian tells a story about Al getting terse with Steve Levine and making Levine cry (Brian's words, as best as I can recall), and Brian was kind of castigating Al for this, and seeming to feel bad for Levine.

I'm curious if this is the same episode that Levine describes in this new interview. Levine doesn't describe crying, but rather being angry and frustrated, and Brian comforting him (e.g. "the guys used to that to me too"). Levine refuses to describe what precipitated his reaction, but I'm curious if it was the episode Brian described back in 1985.

Sounds like Levine has some interesting stories, and even more detailed stories that I guess he doesn't want to share? He seems to value the continued cordial relationship he has with the guys, but I can't imagine he's had *that* many run-ins with them since. The only other musical thing he did with any of them was that charity single that that Brian appeared on.

It would be interesting to hear Levine talk about the album more. The sound on that album (which is an album I've grown to like more over the years) hasn't exactly aged particularly well. He got good vocals out of the guys, but the drum machines and casio keyboards aren't exactly A+ status.

The guys in the band have always been stuck in their ways, and the recording process for the '85 album was especially new and alien to them. I remember some quotes from Carl about the album, and even the diplomatic Carl seemed kind of flustered with the digital recording process.

Levine told both stories to Mark Dillon in 50 Sides Of The Beach Boys.

Ah, okay. I have the book. Packed away most likely. Interested in how much detail Levine provided; I honestly can't remember. Presumably he's in the book talking about Getcha Back?
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2020, 03:34:02 AM »

Someone do an in-depth interview with Steve Levine about the Beach Boys!!!
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2020, 07:17:24 AM »


Levine told both stories to Mark Dillon in 50 Sides Of The Beach Boys.

Yeah...in that book, Steve says Al later apologized for that incident, which is good to hear. Everyone's human!  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2020, 08:52:50 AM »

There's a tape of the raw interview session Brian did with Westwood One in 1985, presumably promoting the BB '85 album. It's a weird interview, but at one point Brian tells a story about Al getting terse with Steve Levine and making Levine cry (Brian's words, as best as I can recall), and Brian was kind of castigating Al for this, and seeming to feel bad for Levine.

I'm curious if this is the same episode that Levine describes in this new interview. Levine doesn't describe crying, but rather being angry and frustrated, and Brian comforting him (e.g. "the guys used to that to me too"). Levine refuses to describe what precipitated his reaction, but I'm curious if it was the episode Brian described back in 1985.

Sounds like Levine has some interesting stories, and even more detailed stories that I guess he doesn't want to share? He seems to value the continued cordial relationship he has with the guys, but I can't imagine he's had *that* many run-ins with them since. The only other musical thing he did with any of them was that charity single that that Brian appeared on.

It would be interesting to hear Levine talk about the album more. The sound on that album (which is an album I've grown to like more over the years) hasn't exactly aged particularly well. He got good vocals out of the guys, but the drum machines and casio keyboards aren't exactly A+ status.

The guys in the band have always been stuck in their ways, and the recording process for the '85 album was especially new and alien to them. I remember some quotes from Carl about the album, and even the diplomatic Carl seemed kind of flustered with the digital recording process.

Levine told both stories to Mark Dillon in 50 Sides Of The Beach Boys.

Ah, okay. I have the book. Packed away most likely. Interested in how much detail Levine provided; I honestly can't remember. Presumably he's in the book talking about Getcha Back?

Yes, that was the one song from that album that Mark devoted a chapter too. Most of the chapter was devoted more to the album than the song.
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2020, 09:42:59 AM »

Genuinely shocked at idea of Brian Wilson driving a Pinto in 1984/85.  Doesn't seem like a Brian kinda car at all.  LOL

It is generally shocking! Especially during that time period, those cars were already a huge joke, and it was half a decade after they had last been produced. The movie Top Secret in 1984 was already doing jokes about them blowing up!

I wonder if this was a loaner car, or a car that Brian actually owned. It seems to remind me of when Landy would take the bigger, more luxurious property for himself and leave Brian the table scraps in terms of their living situation. Was this some disgusting attempt by Landy to put Brian in his place, while Landy drove a flashy Mustang or something? Weird!
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2020, 10:06:46 AM »

That’s a great interview. Way too brief, but great
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2020, 03:06:07 PM »

Genuinely shocked at idea of Brian Wilson driving a Pinto in 1984/85.  Doesn't seem like a Brian kinda car at all.  LOL

It is generally shocking! Especially during that time period, those cars were already a huge joke, and it was half a decade after they had last been produced. The movie Top Secret in 1984 was already doing jokes about them blowing up!

I wonder if this was a loaner car, or a car that Brian actually owned. It seems to remind me of when Landy would take the bigger, more luxurious property for himself and leave Brian the table scraps in terms of their living situation. Was this some disgusting attempt by Landy to put Brian in his place, while Landy drove a flash Mustang or something? Weird!

That does seem like a plausible scenario... i.e., the Pinto belonging to Landy or one of his flunkies with them making Brian drive it before "earning" the right to more respectable wheels. Sounds like it could have been a lost scene of Love & Mercy, which incidentally Levine seems to consider a dead-on accurate portrayal of Landy.
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2020, 05:21:23 PM »

Towards the end he sneaks in, "My relationship with Bruce is as is" with a bit of a negative vibe... Wonder what their quarrels with each other would have been?

Based on first hand knowledge Bruce seems to turn directions on people at the drop of a hat, without rhyme or reason. I know of at least three occasions on the C50 tour, and there are plenty of other stories here.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Levine didn’t get along with him
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2020, 09:17:13 AM »

For all the flack that the 85' album gets, its always been in my top 10. I agree that the production hasn't aged significantly well, even in comparison to other 80's acts. And, the vocals in spots, particularly the openings of "It's Getting Late," "Crack At Your Love," and all of "It's Just A Matter Of Time" can be over-processed.

But, for me, personally, excluding "I'm So Lonely" and "California Calling," this is a very solid album.

I've always loved "Crack At Your Love," "Maybe I Don't Know," "Passing Friend," and "Where I Belong" in particular. "Getcha Back" was a great single and the "deluxe," now standard version with "Male Ego" gives it a fun, little nudge at the end.

It might just be nostalgia and remembering the excitement of tracking this album down in a pre-twofer world, but I revisit this album often.

In my opinion, its a work that Steve Levine should be very proud of and it was great (and a little sad) hearing stories from him around its recording.
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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2020, 12:35:41 PM »

Towards the end he sneaks in, "My relationship with Bruce is as is" with a bit of a negative vibe... Wonder what their quarrels with each other would have been?

Based on first hand knowledge Bruce seems to turn directions on people at the drop of a hat, without rhyme or reason. I know of at least three occasions on the C50 tour, and there are plenty of other stories here.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Levine didn’t get along with him


Yes it is rather interesting BUT let's not forget that it was Bruce who gave Steve his first decent gig in the 70's engineering the Band Sailor (who Bruce was producing).
I met Steve a number of years ago (at David Marks Book Launch) , had a good long chat with him (obviously mainly about the 85 Album and of course Culture Club) - Really nice and honest guy
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2020, 01:00:40 PM »

For all the flack that the 85' album gets, its always been in my top 10. I agree that the production hasn't aged significantly well, even in comparison to other 80's acts. And, the vocals in spots, particularly the openings of "It's Getting Late," "Crack At Your Love," and all of "It's Just A Matter Of Time" can be over-processed.

But, for me, personally, excluding "I'm So Lonely" and "California Calling," this is a very solid album.

I've always loved "Crack At Your Love," "Maybe I Don't Know," "Passing Friend," and "Where I Belong" in particular. "Getcha Back" was a great single and the "deluxe," now standard version with "Male Ego" gives it a fun, little nudge at the end.

It might just be nostalgia and remembering the excitement of tracking this album down in a pre-twofer world, but I revisit this album often.

In my opinion, its a work that Steve Levine should be very proud of and it was great (and a little sad) hearing stories from him around its recording.
I agree that it's a solid album, although I disagree on what the low points are. "Crack At Your Love" is my least favorite song on the album; "I'm So Lonely" is really the showcase piece for Brian on this album, and although it's nowhere near as strong as the stuff on his solo debut, it does contain a bit of that BW magic. All of Carl's songs on the album are excellent. And I love the Stevie Wonder song.
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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2020, 01:59:09 PM »

For all the flack that the 85' album gets, its always been in my top 10. I agree that the production hasn't aged significantly well, even in comparison to other 80's acts. And, the vocals in spots, particularly the openings of "It's Getting Late," "Crack At Your Love," and all of "It's Just A Matter Of Time" can be over-processed.

But, for me, personally, excluding "I'm So Lonely" and "California Calling," this is a very solid album.

I've always loved "Crack At Your Love," "Maybe I Don't Know," "Passing Friend," and "Where I Belong" in particular. "Getcha Back" was a great single and the "deluxe," now standard version with "Male Ego" gives it a fun, little nudge at the end.

It might just be nostalgia and remembering the excitement of tracking this album down in a pre-twofer world, but I revisit this album often.

In my opinion, its a work that Steve Levine should be very proud of and it was great (and a little sad) hearing stories from him around its recording.
I agree that it's a solid album, although I disagree on what the low points are. "Crack At Your Love" is my least favorite song on the album; "I'm So Lonely" is really the showcase piece for Brian on this album, and although it's nowhere near as strong as the stuff on his solo debut, it does contain a bit of that BW magic. All of Carl's songs on the album are excellent. And I love the Stevie Wonder song.

I agree about all of Carl's songs and "I Do Love You." I just always feel like the harmony vocals on those three songs that I mentioned feel "muddy" kind of. I'm not sure, exactly of the word that I'm going for.
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« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2020, 02:43:52 AM »

For all the flack that the 85' album gets, its always been in my top 10. I agree that the production hasn't aged significantly well, even in comparison to other 80's acts. And, the vocals in spots, particularly the openings of "It's Getting Late," "Crack At Your Love," and all of "It's Just A Matter Of Time" can be over-processed.

But, for me, personally, excluding "I'm So Lonely" and "California Calling," this is a very solid album.

I've always loved "Crack At Your Love," "Maybe I Don't Know," "Passing Friend," and "Where I Belong" in particular. "Getcha Back" was a great single and the "deluxe," now standard version with "Male Ego" gives it a fun, little nudge at the end.

It might just be nostalgia and remembering the excitement of tracking this album down in a pre-twofer world, but I revisit this album often.

In my opinion, its a work that Steve Levine should be very proud of and it was great (and a little sad) hearing stories from him around its recording.
I agree that it's a solid album, although I disagree on what the low points are. "Crack At Your Love" is my least favorite song on the album; "I'm So Lonely" is really the showcase piece for Brian on this album, and although it's nowhere near as strong as the stuff on his solo debut, it does contain a bit of that BW magic. All of Carl's songs on the album are excellent. And I love the Stevie Wonder song.



I agree with that. I am a fan of that album and play it regularly.
Regarding "I'm so lonely", that is well put. It's certainly not the greatest song ever written, but still a nice look into Brian's soul (just as his recent "I'm feeling sad"). The production does indeed sound like a updated Brian production.
I always liked the part in "Crack at your love" when they sing the title in unison before the ending. And Al's singing is great.
"Getcha back" often gets critisized because of the similarities to Springsteen's "Hungry heart", but it still is a very good single imo and tells a good story. Carl's contributions are are the highlights. And I also love "She believes in love again". The singing of all the guys is great but especially Carl and Al stick out to me.
Again, the album is not one for the ages but it is quite strong imo and I really enjoy listening to it. It's also good to have an album with Brian and the Boys while he was still early in his second Landy treatment. When Landy was "finished" Brian suffered a lot of damage because of the treatment.
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« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2020, 03:47:25 AM »

For me, BB85 lacks the excellence of both their 60s output and some of their 70s records but it's easy to tell this was a serious attempt at putting out some quality material. It's very MOR - pretty uninventive and there is no sonic experimentation whatsoever. The production is a vast improvement over KTSA and everybody's singing is really good. Brian obviously saved most of his better songs for his own project but the songwriting here is quite pleasant, just not incredibly exciting. This is a good listen from time to time.

Thanks for sharing that interview!
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« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2020, 06:29:33 PM »

I love Steve's production on BB85 and it's an album I treasure. Some people may refer to the vocal sounds and other sounds on this album as 'over-processed' but to me they are nicely textured and I always wished humans could naturally sing with that sound. I play this album more than Pet Sounds or Sunflower. To me it's the Sunflower of the 80s.
I am disappointed reading about Al's behavior at one point during the sessions. That just doesn't go with the image I've always had of Al. Thinking of Al making Levine CRY with his behavior would be like if I saw Brian Wilson slam dancing in a mosh pit at a punk rock concert. It just defies nature.
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