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Author Topic: Top five bad career moves  (Read 5179 times)
♩♬🐸 Billy C ♯♫♩🐇
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« Reply #50 on: December 24, 2020, 08:20:26 AM »

Oh yeah I doubt... I meant it was the most uncomfortable one to *watch*
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« Reply #51 on: December 24, 2020, 08:38:09 AM »

If you really want to delve into what was going on with Brian at this time in the 90's, there are so many more facets to it than what's been made public, and maybe it's not the right place or time to get into more of those details. But for those who have read deep into this era, there have been glimpses of what else was happening via at least one published article and other things that have gotten out.

I'll just say there was more going on between Brian and Carl in a familial sense than what some in this discussion are putting on the table, and leave it at that. There were tensions that seemingly went back a long time in the history and it seemed to bubble up again, and perhaps stronger, during this era. It's an aspect of the story that may come out in more detail if and when it's decided to explore it more, but not for the current time I guess.

One thing to consider: Brian had just gotten out of an experience with a certifiably wacko doctor who nearly killed him, tried to take the money he had earned, and tried to control every part of his personal, professional, and everyday life. According to Don Was and others who were around him, once the papers were signed and Brian was free to do what he pleased, he said he wanted to get back to making music with the Beach Boys. That's on the record, and not the first time Brian would say this same thing through the years.

Go back to 94-95-96 etc, and find reports of what he was doing with music. Has anyone who was far more involved personally and musically with Brian during this time than Carl reported anything negative when it came to actually making the music? Absolutely not. In fact it was quite the opposite. Even Mike Love was on board and collaborating with Brian one on one in a way they had not done in a long time. Was had assembled a team of session players to see these songs through, Paley was collaborating with Brian and Was and cranking out literally dozens of new songs, Mike was with Brian working on lyrics and reuniting the old Wilson-Love "team" Mike always says he wants to do, and the whole machine was running.

So what happened after all of this activity? It seemed like the main negative vote against most of it was from Carl. And those episodes where Brian invited the band to come hear his new music and they blew him off just add even more bad feelings to the whole scene.

If the implication is that Brian wasn't up for it, whether personally, psychologically, musically, or otherwise, I'd ask if there are any reports of this from those who were actually making the music hands-on personally with Brian. Unless they're just bullshitting everyone, those who were in the studio and writing with him day to day seem to have far more positive reports of it than Carl, or the notion that Carl was worried about Brian's state at the time and putting the kibosh on it out of concern for Brian. It certainly didn't seem to affect him creating music and those around him didn't seem to have the same experience because they were literally cranking out new songs where even Mike was involved in writing.

Again, without going too far into it, I'd suggest there were deeper issues at play between Carl and Brian that may have been more a factor than Carl seeing Brian's state and being concerned as a justification for all of his "no" votes regarding the music and other activities. No matter what one's opinion is of the music itself, and many think there are some gems among the dozens of new songs these guys were writing and recording, the fact is Brian was working with people he trusted and who supported him, and he was doing what he wanted to do, including writing music for the Beach Boys and doing so with his cousin. And Carl seemed to be the main dissenting voice. I don't believe that dissent was coming from brotherly love, but we'll leave it at that.

And also consider how anyone would react after going through what Brian had been through for the past decade or more and suddenly seeing a wide open path to do whatever he wanted to do. The transition for anyone suddenly leaving a day-to-day life you've led for over 10 years, whether it be in the military, a certain career, incarceration, etc is not an easy one. Then factor in the medications, the quack psychology and control Landy had in place...it's like entering a new world. If Brian picked up smoking again, if he wasn't acting like some would think he should...look at what the guy had just gotten out of after a decade-plus of Landy's bullshit. Yet he could still make music, and he was doing just that at this time with people around him supporting him and making it happen.



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« Reply #52 on: December 24, 2020, 10:09:40 AM »

And Carl seemed to be the main dissenting voice. I don't believe that dissent was coming from brotherly love, but we'll leave it at that.

We certainly can just leave it at that, but from the perspective of the other side of a discussion, "I know you're wrong, but I'm not going to disclose why" isn't the most satisfying way to conclude things.  I truly do think Carl was a mensch and that his motives were guided by brotherly love, but I'm open to persuasion that I'm wrong about that if someone has something. I remember early '90s quotes from Carl along the lines that he just wanted to see Brian healthy and happy and that he didn't care if Brian ever made new music again.  When I read those comments at the time, I took them at face value.  Was I naive to do so?   I remember reading an account that coincided with the Bri-Mel wedding which I believe took place just a few months before the sessions in question.  Carl served as best man, and he made comments along the lines that he'd seen Brian "go through so much."   And, damn, he certainly had, as far as i can tell. It was 30 years of nearly non-stop mental illness, drug abuse, Landy, overeating, meds, unstable behavior, etc. etc.  Does that sound like an easy brother for Carl to have?  And then throw in the fact that your other brother was Denny?

I appreciate the argument that, well, Andy Paley, Don Was, Mike Love et al. seemed to think Brian was more than capable of getting back to work at what he was famous for, so why stop him?  And as a fan, I'm like, 'Yeah, why stop him? More music, please!"  And yet at the same time, I would completely understand it if someone like a Carl or an Audree did think, "Hey, wait a minute, Brian still isn't in a good place physically and mentally and I'm not going to facilitate or encourage more record-making when it's the very thing that, yes, Brian's extraordinarily and uniquely talented at, but has simultaneously nearly destroyed his life."   You know, that's how I likely would have felt if Brian were my family member.  And yet we see hints in this thread that this wasn't the case at all for Carl and that he had ulterior motives that had nothing to do with brotherly love.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 10:10:55 AM by juggler » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: December 24, 2020, 10:25:43 AM »

If you really want to delve into what was going on with Brian at this time in the 90's, there are so many more facets to it than what's been made public, and maybe it's not the right place or time to get into more of those details. But for those who have read deep into this era, there have been glimpses of what else was happening via at least one published article and other things that have gotten out.

I'll just say there was more going on between Brian and Carl in a familial sense than what some in this discussion are putting on the table, and leave it at that. There were tensions that seemingly went back a long time in the history and it seemed to bubble up again, and perhaps stronger, during this era. It's an aspect of the story that may come out in more detail if and when it's decided to explore it more, but not for the current time I guess.

One thing to consider: Brian had just gotten out of an experience with a certifiably wacko doctor who nearly killed him, tried to take the money he had earned, and tried to control every part of his personal, professional, and everyday life. According to Don Was and others who were around him, once the papers were signed and Brian was free to do what he pleased, he said he wanted to get back to making music with the Beach Boys. That's on the record, and not the first time Brian would say this same thing through the years.

Go back to 94-95-96 etc, and find reports of what he was doing with music. Has anyone who was far more involved personally and musically with Brian during this time than Carl reported anything negative when it came to actually making the music? Absolutely not. In fact it was quite the opposite. Even Mike Love was on board and collaborating with Brian one on one in a way they had not done in a long time. Was had assembled a team of session players to see these songs through, Paley was collaborating with Brian and Was and cranking out literally dozens of new songs, Mike was with Brian working on lyrics and reuniting the old Wilson-Love "team" Mike always says he wants to do, and the whole machine was running.

So what happened after all of this activity? It seemed like the main negative vote against most of it was from Carl. And those episodes where Brian invited the band to come hear his new music and they blew him off just add even more bad feelings to the whole scene.

If the implication is that Brian wasn't up for it, whether personally, psychologically, musically, or otherwise, I'd ask if there are any reports of this from those who were actually making the music hands-on personally with Brian. Unless they're just bullshitting everyone, those who were in the studio and writing with him day to day seem to have far more positive reports of it than Carl, or the notion that Carl was worried about Brian's state at the time and putting the kibosh on it out of concern for Brian. It certainly didn't seem to affect him creating music and those around him didn't seem to have the same experience because they were literally cranking out new songs where even Mike was involved in writing.

Again, without going too far into it, I'd suggest there were deeper issues at play between Carl and Brian that may have been more a factor than Carl seeing Brian's state and being concerned as a justification for all of his "no" votes regarding the music and other activities. No matter what one's opinion is of the music itself, and many think there are some gems among the dozens of new songs these guys were writing and recording, the fact is Brian was working with people he trusted and who supported him, and he was doing what he wanted to do, including writing music for the Beach Boys and doing so with his cousin. And Carl seemed to be the main dissenting voice. I don't believe that dissent was coming from brotherly love, but we'll leave it at that.

And also consider how anyone would react after going through what Brian had been through for the past decade or more and suddenly seeing a wide open path to do whatever he wanted to do. The transition for anyone suddenly leaving a day-to-day life you've led for over 10 years, whether it be in the military, a certain career, incarceration, etc is not an easy one. Then factor in the medications, the quack psychology and control Landy had in place...it's like entering a new world. If Brian picked up smoking again, if he wasn't acting like some would think he should...look at what the guy had just gotten out of after a decade-plus of Landy's bullshit. Yet he could still make music, and he was doing just that at this time with people around him supporting him and making it happen.






Yeah you池e 100% on the money.... I just hate the fact that Brian went through all that, and seeing that clip made me want to take a piss on Landy痴 grave
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RIP Daniel Dale Johnston ( 1961-2019)
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Fear 2 Stop: eating all of Elon Musk's nightmares as he sleeps

"I've never heard such ear-pleasing screams before!"
________________________________________________
Free Feel Flows!!!!

Just to let you know, no announcements re: FEEL FLOWS will be coming via a fanzine.
If and when the project picks up steam -- I promise you guys will be first to know.





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« Reply #54 on: December 24, 2020, 12:32:36 PM »

Totally agree 100% with your sentiment Billy
As i said before, I find that video extremely disturbing
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« Reply #55 on: December 24, 2020, 01:44:10 PM »

I wonder what Al thinks (or thought at the time) about this time period. I think I remember reading here on the board that Al didn稚 know about or wasn稚 invited to some of the sessions, and I think that is extremely interesting.
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« Reply #56 on: December 24, 2020, 01:50:41 PM »

I wonder what Al thinks (or thought at the time) about this time period. I think I remember reading here on the board that Al didn稚 know about or wasn稚 invited to some of the sessions, and I think that is extremely interesting.






I think you maybe thinking about Als involvement on the SIP album where he certainly wasn't involved in the initial sessions (and was indeed suspended from the Band for a period due to his negative attitude)
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« Reply #57 on: December 24, 2020, 02:09:42 PM »

I wonder what Al thinks (or thought at the time) about this time period. I think I remember reading here on the board that Al didn稚 know about or wasn稚 invited to some of the sessions, and I think that is extremely interesting.

Yeah, I was wondering about that too.   From having read ML's book, it seems that the mid-'90s were a sort of Love-Jardine "cold war" (which nearly turned into a hot war the day Jackie Love came close to beating Al with a clothes iron).

And speaking of MLs, an interesting side note... The long version of the video features what appears to be the first ever meeting of Mike Love and the man who has played such a crucial role in the BBs' musical archive for more than 3 decades... Mark Linett.   At approximately 49:00, Mark introduces himself to Mike who asks if it's Mark's house that they're at.  I found this particularly interesting, as this was 5+ years after Mark remastered the Capitol catalogue and 2+ years after Mark worked on the "GV - 30 Years" box. 
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« Reply #58 on: December 24, 2020, 02:20:04 PM »

If you really want to delve into what was going on with Brian at this time in the 90's, there are so many more facets to it than what's been made public, and maybe it's not the right place or time to get into more of those details. But for those who have read deep into this era, there have been glimpses of what else was happening via at least one published article and other things that have gotten out.

I'll just say there was more going on between Brian and Carl in a familial sense than what some in this discussion are putting on the table, and leave it at that. There were tensions that seemingly went back a long time in the history and it seemed to bubble up again, and perhaps stronger, during this era. It's an aspect of the story that may come out in more detail if and when it's decided to explore it more, but not for the current time I guess.

One thing to consider: Brian had just gotten out of an experience with a certifiably wacko doctor who nearly killed him, tried to take the money he had earned, and tried to control every part of his personal, professional, and everyday life. According to Don Was and others who were around him, once the papers were signed and Brian was free to do what he pleased, he said he wanted to get back to making music with the Beach Boys. That's on the record, and not the first time Brian would say this same thing through the years.

Go back to 94-95-96 etc, and find reports of what he was doing with music. Has anyone who was far more involved personally and musically with Brian during this time than Carl reported anything negative when it came to actually making the music? Absolutely not. In fact it was quite the opposite. Even Mike Love was on board and collaborating with Brian one on one in a way they had not done in a long time. Was had assembled a team of session players to see these songs through, Paley was collaborating with Brian and Was and cranking out literally dozens of new songs, Mike was with Brian working on lyrics and reuniting the old Wilson-Love "team" Mike always says he wants to do, and the whole machine was running.

So what happened after all of this activity? It seemed like the main negative vote against most of it was from Carl. And those episodes where Brian invited the band to come hear his new music and they blew him off just add even more bad feelings to the whole scene.

If the implication is that Brian wasn't up for it, whether personally, psychologically, musically, or otherwise, I'd ask if there are any reports of this from those who were actually making the music hands-on personally with Brian. Unless they're just bullshitting everyone, those who were in the studio and writing with him day to day seem to have far more positive reports of it than Carl, or the notion that Carl was worried about Brian's state at the time and putting the kibosh on it out of concern for Brian. It certainly didn't seem to affect him creating music and those around him didn't seem to have the same experience because they were literally cranking out new songs where even Mike was involved in writing.

Again, without going too far into it, I'd suggest there were deeper issues at play between Carl and Brian that may have been more a factor than Carl seeing Brian's state and being concerned as a justification for all of his "no" votes regarding the music and other activities. No matter what one's opinion is of the music itself, and many think there are some gems among the dozens of new songs these guys were writing and recording, the fact is Brian was working with people he trusted and who supported him, and he was doing what he wanted to do, including writing music for the Beach Boys and doing so with his cousin. And Carl seemed to be the main dissenting voice. I don't believe that dissent was coming from brotherly love, but we'll leave it at that.

And also consider how anyone would react after going through what Brian had been through for the past decade or more and suddenly seeing a wide open path to do whatever he wanted to do. The transition for anyone suddenly leaving a day-to-day life you've led for over 10 years, whether it be in the military, a certain career, incarceration, etc is not an easy one. Then factor in the medications, the quack psychology and control Landy had in place...it's like entering a new world. If Brian picked up smoking again, if he wasn't acting like some would think he should...look at what the guy had just gotten out of after a decade-plus of Landy's bullshit. Yet he could still make music, and he was doing just that at this time with people around him supporting him and making it happen.





My own personal opinion (based on various anecdotes I've read over the years) is that Carl was not interested in the artistry of the Beach Boys at this time. The Beach Boys were primarily a commercial entity by the '90s, and Brian has always been an artist at heart. All we need to look at are the things that the commercial entity known as The Beach Boys did release during this time - Summer in Paradise, Stars & Stripes, etc - and Carl was on board with these things. Then look at the things that failed- the Paley tracks, the Baywatch theme, the Sean O'Hagen situation. We know people like Bruce and Mike even seemed to be enthusiastic to some of these things, as you say. I don't believe Al had much of a strong voice in any particular direction honestly.

That really does leave Carl. I'm sure it was more complex than meets the eye. I personally think that it was a combination of things- Carl certainly had more commercial AOR tastes from the '80s on; that is evident in his solo material and side projects. Carl also is quoted by Sean O'Hagen as telling him that the Beach Boys were not capable of generating artistically significant material at that point (I'm paraphrasing because I cannot find this story anywhere online- it was there many years ago). And finally, we should recall that Carl and Dennis were at odds with the 15 Big Ones-era "Brian is back" charade. Of course Carl respected his brother, and supported the completion of Love You. But it's telling that Carl's final kick in the pants to the group - leaving in 1981 - resulted in IMO very MOR records. I think the elephant in the room is that Carl was not particularly sensitive to Brian's musical artistry post-'70s. I don't think we can rule out Carl not wanting to "embarrass" the group and/or Brian by releasing records that had more in common with Love You than anything else the group had released.

The proof is in the pudding- "Soul Searchin'", "Baywatch Nights", "Still a Mystery", etc. sat in the vaults while "Stars & Stripes" were released. And while I would place the blame mostly on what you might call "The Beach Boys Machine"- I don't think this is something we can blame Mike Love for.

« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 02:21:59 PM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #59 on: December 24, 2020, 02:27:46 PM »

I'm gonna vote blowing the reunion album in '95.

All the stars were aligned: Brian was functional, willing, and had great material in the waiting from the Paley sessions: they had A-list record companies and producers with sympathetic aims ready to back the project; and the marketplace had come around to the point where a neo-retro Beach Boys album full of quirky BW originals would have had a warm reception.

This was just a head-slapping missed opportunity and I seem to recall Bruce being unusually blunt (even for him) and frustrated about it at the time.

That's one of the top entries on the list, for sure. I don't know if fans who were too young or just not invested at that specific time would understand how much of a buzz there was from roughly 1993-1996 around this band, and more specific to Brian's re-emergence after ties were cut with Landy, and that included his unreleased work from the 60's.

The buzz was in the right places and with the right people. You would pick up any number of more underground leaning music publications or 'zines and you'd see references being dropped about Brian, Smile, the band in general, etc. And it was not what the touring Beach Boys were doing at that time generating the buzz - Hell, they were still touring with cheerleaders and Hula girls at that time and trying to recapture Kokomo's fluke success. Rather it was like a rediscovery or just a plain old discovery of how great some of this music truly was, both the widely known hits and the bootleg material which started to become more available thanks to more available silverdisc CDR technology and releases that didn't exist in the years prior. Tom Petty was quoted in an interview at the time saying how he drives his family crazy listening to Pet Sounds bootlegs. Billy Corgan was quoted as saying he took inspiration from Smile bootlegs to work on his own ideas with a modular track he was working up. Rivers Cuomo was using production and arranging techniques on that first Weezer "Blue Album" that sounded like he was listening to a lot of Brian's PS and Smile material...and it turned out he was indeed a big fan of BW. Todd Rundgren was reported as being involved in an interactive CD-ROM for the Smile material. Don Was came onboard and was literally all-in with Brian and wanting to bring in the Beach Boys to join the creativity. The band with all surviving members was on Letterman singing the top-ten list, and the crowd went nuts for them. As you said above, major labels, one in particular, came calling when the Beach Boys previously couldn't beg borrow or steal *any* interest from the labels in the 90's.

So what all happened...it literally blew up to where barely any of those traces of "street cred" and industry buzz courtesy of the right people chiming in made it to the public.

Carl nixed new material. The band was invited to hear new tracks Brian was working on, and they literally blew him off and didn't show. Mike seemed into it originally, and was actively writing with Brian again, but then all of that reverted back to dancing girls on stage and doing a horrible rap song featuring Mike basically singing about himself and playing word games with his name on Baywatch...as the newly reunited Beach Boys stood on the beach with Brian wearing black clothes and Chucks watching Stamos play electronic drums in the sand as Mike mugged for the camera. None of the new material was followed through. Rather, Mike went country and thought playing Nashville fan fair events was the way to go. It wasn't. Bruce for one suggested outside producers, along with Carl...none of it worked out. Mike offended one one of them right out of the gate with an off-the-cuff comment.

Blame goes all around, of course. But it's also worth remembering how all of these gaffes and blown opportunities led Brian on a path to the musicians that would surround him for the next 20+ years and led directly to the Smile tour which is still one of the greatest musical accomplishments and tours fans will ever see.
Okay, if the Beach Boys were suddenly hip again in that time period, why didn't that translate into strong albums sales for I Just Wasn't Made For These Times and Orange Crate Art? I mean, if we're talking popular in an alternative rock way, an artsy Brian Wilson way, as opposed to a commercial sell out Mike Love way, then those two albums should have attracted the young, hip people who dug the uncommercial side of the Beach Boys.

As a "hip teenager" in 1995, I can answer this question definitively - because Orange Crate Art and IJWMFTT sounded like Adult Contemporary music. I played Love You and Holland and Smiley Smile for my friends, and they all thought it was ultra cool. The Paley tracks - as produced by Brian and Andy, without potential fiddling with by anyone else like Was, Joe Thomas, etc. - would have been a hip record, 100%. No doubts in my mind at all. But subtlety matters. Brian Wilson is a producer with a rare gift ... water it down by letting others get their hands in the mix, and it doesn't hit it.

In fact, I actually listed IJWMFTT as one of the top 10 records of 1995 in my high school paper - along with an array of alternative/underground-ish records. I believe I wrote: "Even though the record is presented in a sort of Adult Contemporary production, Brian Wilson's songwriting still shines ..." or something.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2020, 02:30:35 PM by DonnyL » Logged

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« Reply #60 on: December 24, 2020, 05:08:48 PM »

I can back you up on that, Donny, although for the people I interacted with it was Imagination that brought that to a halt
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RIP Daniel Dale Johnston ( 1961-2019)
_______________________________________________________
Fear 2 Stop: eating all of Elon Musk's nightmares as he sleeps

"I've never heard such ear-pleasing screams before!"
________________________________________________
Free Feel Flows!!!!

Just to let you know, no announcements re: FEEL FLOWS will be coming via a fanzine.
If and when the project picks up steam -- I promise you guys will be first to know.





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http://fear2stop.bandcamp.com/track/tricky-treats
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« Reply #61 on: December 24, 2020, 09:03:10 PM »

I wonder what Al thinks (or thought at the time) about this time period. I think I remember reading here on the board that Al didn稚 know about or wasn稚 invited to some of the sessions, and I think that is extremely interesting.

So, there were TWO periods of Beach Boys sessions in '95, held to record new Wilson-Paley material (there was also the beginning of the S&S sessions, but I'm skipping that for the purpose of this post). The first was in March, when Brian, Mike, and Carl partially recorded (but apparently did not finish) the Baywatch Nights theme (and possibly something called "Grace Of My Heart" for possible submission to the movie of the same name - but it's unclear, to me at least, if that ever actually got put on tape). For whatever reason, Al and Bruce were not invited to participate in the recording that was actually done at this time. I suspect maybe the whole Brian-Mike-Carl dynamic was such - and with the three of them being, or course, flesh and blood family - that the thought was, "Let's see how the three of us get along, and if it works, we'll bring the other two guys in." But things fell apart, whether it be Carl walking out, or perhaps the Baywatch Nights deal falling through prematurely - who knows.

Then, the second series of sessions was in November, where "Soul Searchin'" and "You're Still A Mystery To Me" were completed (the Boys' vocals added to Don Was-produced tracks), but plans to record additional songs scrapped when Carl decided he'd had enough - apparently because he didn't believe in the material strongly enough to continue. Or possibly other Brian-Carl related reasons - again, who knows. But Al and Bruce definitely WERE part of these sessions.
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« Reply #62 on: December 24, 2020, 09:21:47 PM »

Thanks for the clarification....I壇 always thought of them as the same, and that the Baywatch Nights was the end.
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Fear 2 Stop: eating all of Elon Musk's nightmares as he sleeps

"I've never heard such ear-pleasing screams before!"
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Just to let you know, no announcements re: FEEL FLOWS will be coming via a fanzine.
If and when the project picks up steam -- I promise you guys will be first to know.





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« Reply #63 on: December 24, 2020, 10:36:02 PM »


My own personal opinion (based on various anecdotes I've read over the years) is that Carl was not interested in the artistry of the Beach Boys at this time. The Beach Boys were primarily a commercial entity by the '90s, and Brian has always been an artist at heart. All we need to look at are the things that the commercial entity known as The Beach Boys did release during this time - Summer in Paradise, Stars & Stripes, etc - and Carl was on board with these things. Then look at the things that failed- the Paley tracks, the Baywatch theme, the Sean O'Hagen situation. We know people like Bruce and Mike even seemed to be enthusiastic to some of these things, as you say. I don't believe Al had much of a strong voice in any particular direction honestly.

That really does leave Carl. I'm sure it was more complex than meets the eye. I personally think that it was a combination of things- Carl certainly had more commercial AOR tastes from the '80s on; that is evident in his solo material and side projects. Carl also is quoted by Sean O'Hagen as telling him that the Beach Boys were not capable of generating artistically significant material at that point (I'm paraphrasing because I cannot find this story anywhere online- it was there many years ago). And finally, we should recall that Carl and Dennis were at odds with the 15 Big Ones-era "Brian is back" charade. Of course Carl respected his brother, and supported the completion of Love You. But it's telling that Carl's final kick in the pants to the group - leaving in 1981 - resulted in IMO very MOR records. I think the elephant in the room is that Carl was not particularly sensitive to Brian's musical artistry post-'70s. I don't think we can rule out Carl not wanting to "embarrass" the group and/or Brian by releasing records that had more in common with Love You than anything else the group had released.

The proof is in the pudding- "Soul Searchin'", "Baywatch Nights", "Still a Mystery", etc. sat in the vaults while "Stars & Stripes" were released. And while I would place the blame mostly on what you might call "The Beach Boys Machine"- I don't think this is something we can blame Mike Love for.


I wonder if Carl ever sought or was offered career advice from his father in law (beginning in 1987), crooner Dean Martin, and if so, what Mr. Martin may have suggested.

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« Reply #64 on: December 24, 2020, 11:03:28 PM »

If comments Brian was making about his brother in 1988-91 are to be believed, I think he was angry with Carl for trying to get Landy out of his life. Now, by the time of the Wilson/Paley or Wilson/Was sessions, Landy was long gone, but is it possible that Brian still harbored some resentment towards Carl for the actions he took to get rid of Landy? Even post separation, Brian sometimes had good things to say about the doctor.
It's also possible that Carl, having seen Brian take up with the wrong people many times in the past, look at his new group of collaborators with some suspicion, like, "are they here because they truly love and respect my brother, or are they just hoping to make a lot of $$$?"
I don't understand the comment that Carl's taste in music in the 80s/90s was very AOR or MOR. If you're talking about the kind of music the group was making after he returned to the group in 1982, only the 1985 album really has his imprint. And this idea that, with Brian in charge, they were suddenly going to be avant garde or something, I don't get that, either. The music Brian was creating in the 90's wasn't left field, off the wall stuff; some of it did have a quirky element to it - Saturday Morning in the City comes to mind - but a lot of it was just classic Brian Wilson songwriting - Gettin' In Over My Head, You're Still a Mystery, Soul Searchin'.
That's something I've puzzled over for  a long time - the idea that Brian was this very "out there" songwriter/producer being held back by a group of square guys. All I can do is look at the stuff that's come out under his name. IJWMFTT, OCA, Imagination, all of those were much more likely to gain airplay on AC radio that underground or college stations. That's a path he's stayed on throughout his solo career.
I'm still waiting for the day when Brian goes on stage in ripped jeans and a baseball cap, and plays angry grunge music. Strap on his old bass guitar, and scream about how "I Love to Hate Mike Love"!  LOL LOL
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« Reply #65 on: December 24, 2020, 11:54:24 PM »

Just listen to the Wilson-Beckley-Lamm album, and you'll hear where Carl's head was at musically - as nice as it is to hear his voice, it's pretty bland stuff. Almost all of Carl's songs from '79 on are very MOR/AC-ish - sometimes they're quite sublime (e.g. "Where I Belong"), but he's definitely going for a "contemporary" sound (although, by the time of Wilson-Beckley-Lamm, that style really wasn't contemporary anymore).

Brian's stuff since '76, on the other hand - including the mid-'90s work he did with Andy Paley - definitely did NOT fit in with what was considered "mainstream", and I think that's why it didn't interest Carl. Of course it wasn't "grunge", and of course it wasn't "avant-garde" - but it would've gone over very well, I think, with the then-hip Ben Folds Five crowd, y'know?

What happened instead, is the group went the route of what they thought was going to get them hits - going country with a slew of guest stars ('cause it worked for The Eagles), produced by the king of MOR slickness Joe Thomas....and guess what? Brian's camp thought Thomas was just what HE needed to get HIM some solo hits! Unfortunately for both of them, there was just no way either side was going to get the kind of huge commercial success that Michael Bolton or Celine Dion were enjoying, no matter how hard they tried...that ship had sailed. Meanwhile, what little chance they had of ANY kind of "success" (street-cred critical acclaim) was blown when they shelved the Paley stuff and went for the fluff.
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« Reply #66 on: December 25, 2020, 11:07:21 AM »

Maybe Carl's motivations should be looked at from a slightly askew perspective... if Carl did indeed say that "the BBs were not capable at that time of producing artistically relevant content" or whatnot.... maybe that's not a dig on the BBs.  He was right.  They were not.  Not at all, not even close.  What would make anyone think otherwise, by 1995, if they paid attention to their timeline?
On the other hand, that doesn't mean that Brian Wilson was not capable of creating artistically relevant content.... nor Carl Wilson, frankly... but perhaps this was a moment of realism from Carl at this moment, as someone who was better than probably anyone else at understanding the "big picture" of a 35 year old band of 50-somethings and what could possibly be best for all parties.
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« Reply #67 on: December 25, 2020, 11:15:22 AM »

Maybe Carl's motivations should be looked at from a slightly askew perspective... if Carl did indeed say that "the BBs were not capable at that time of producing artistically relevant content" or whatnot.... maybe that's not a dig on the BBs.  He was right.  They were not.  Not at all, not even close.  What would make anyone think otherwise, by 1995, if they paid attention to their timeline?
On the other hand, that doesn't mean that Brian Wilson was not capable of creating artistically relevant content.... nor Carl Wilson, frankly... but perhaps this was a moment of realism from Carl at this moment, as someone who was better than probably anyone else at understanding the "big picture" of a 35 year old band of 50-somethings and what could possibly be best for all parties.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I take Carl saying that about "the Beach Boys" as including Brian. Like, he was judging "artistic relevancy" by a standard that included widespread mainstream success (radio-friendly, Grammy-worthy), not "hip cult status".
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« Reply #68 on: December 25, 2020, 01:03:25 PM »

Maybe Carl's motivations should be looked at from a slightly askew perspective... if Carl did indeed say that "the BBs were not capable at that time of producing artistically relevant content" or whatnot.... maybe that's not a dig on the BBs.  He was right.  They were not.  Not at all, not even close.  What would make anyone think otherwise, by 1995, if they paid attention to their timeline?
On the other hand, that doesn't mean that Brian Wilson was not capable of creating artistically relevant content.... nor Carl Wilson, frankly... but perhaps this was a moment of realism from Carl at this moment, as someone who was better than probably anyone else at understanding the "big picture" of a 35 year old band of 50-somethings and what could possibly be best for all parties.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I take Carl saying that about "the Beach Boys" as including Brian. Like, he was judging "artistic relevancy" by a standard that included widespread mainstream success (radio-friendly, Grammy-worthy), not "hip cult status".
I don't believe ANY of the Beach Boys were looking at "hip cult status" as a goal for the band. For one thing, hip cult status doesn't pay the bills. What's the difference between a straight pop or rock album that sells 200,000 copies and a hip cult status album that sells 200,000 copies? For you guys, the hippest of the hip, it would be "status, man - people won't laugh at me when i walk down the street; they'll gaze in awe and say 'there goes a f---ing genius!'". For a band with a long history of hit records, it wouldn't mean squat. By the 80's, it had been established that, with our without hit records, the Beach Boys would continue to be a big draw as a touring band. I'm always seeing "Kokomo" referred to as a comeback record for the group, but the truth is, they hadn't been away. They were very visible throughout the 80's - the 4th of July concerts, appearing on various tv shows, touring every year, doing the state fairs, etc. Oldies radio was very big in the 80's and 90's, so you were going to hear their music one way or another, it was everywhere.
I don't believe Brian or Carl or Mike were sitting around listening to college radio stations, trying to find out what was hip. We know what Brian was listening to: Be My Baby.
Artistically expressive? I'm sure Carl felt the Beckley/Lamm/Wilson was artistically expressive. It gave him a chance to deal with some mature themes in his music. Those guys weren't trying to write about "love gained and lost between the ages of 15 and 25". The production style or even the songwriting style may not have appealed to a hip audience, but listen to the words on songs like "I Wish For You", "They're Only Words" or "Like A Brother". That's writing coming from life's experiences.
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« Reply #69 on: December 25, 2020, 01:44:29 PM »

I don't know the context of Carl's "not capable" remark, and was unfamiliar with it until this thread.  It is pretty much consistent with the overall impression, though, that I gleaned from Carl's various interviews and comments from the late '80s to mid-'90s. Carl loved the music and loved performing for the fans, but at the same time there was also an unmistakable ambivalence about the entire Beach Boys enterprise.  He wasn't seeking super-stardom for the group and wasn't chasing the next hit or trying to compete with anybody.  Let's face it. The man was shouldering more than his share of burdens....  Brian's horrific Landy situation (which ultimately involved courts, lawyers, government agencies, etc.), Dennis' death, an elderly mother, Audree .  Anyone think all that was easy on him?  

Carl was also realistic, maybe too realistic.  Perhaps the most talented pure musician in the group, Carl knew damned well what they had done in their peak period... and how extraordinary that music was and how extraodinarily unlikely anyone, including the BBs themselves, were to reach that plateau again.  I'm a huge fan of Al Jardine, and think he's a thoroughly decent, talented guy, but there's an interview with him from 1994 in which claims that "Under the Boardwalk" on SIP "might be the best thing we've ever done" (that's an exact quote).  I read that at the time, a period when I was first getting into Pet Sounds, Smile, etc., and I thought, "What planet are you living on?  How can a member of a band have such a wrong-headed view of his own band's work?"  Similarly, that was a period when ML was basking in the afterglow of Kokomo and regularly declaring it the best thing the BBs had ever done, etc.     My point is that you never heard this kind of nonsense out of Carl.  He knew that they had done something very special musically that first decade and was under no illusions that they were still operating at that level.
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« Reply #70 on: December 25, 2020, 01:55:59 PM »

Maybe Carl's motivations should be looked at from a slightly askew perspective... if Carl did indeed say that "the BBs were not capable at that time of producing artistically relevant content" or whatnot.... maybe that's not a dig on the BBs.  He was right.  They were not.  Not at all, not even close.  What would make anyone think otherwise, by 1995, if they paid attention to their timeline?
On the other hand, that doesn't mean that Brian Wilson was not capable of creating artistically relevant content.... nor Carl Wilson, frankly... but perhaps this was a moment of realism from Carl at this moment, as someone who was better than probably anyone else at understanding the "big picture" of a 35 year old band of 50-somethings and what could possibly be best for all parties.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I take Carl saying that about "the Beach Boys" as including Brian. Like, he was judging "artistic relevancy" by a standard that included widespread mainstream success (radio-friendly, Grammy-worthy), not "hip cult status".
I don't believe ANY of the Beach Boys were looking at "hip cult status" as a goal for the band. For one thing, hip cult status doesn't pay the bills. What's the difference between a straight pop or rock album that sells 200,000 copies and a hip cult status album that sells 200,000 copies? For you guys, the hippest of the hip, it would be "status, man - people won't laugh at me when i walk down the street; they'll gaze in awe and say 'there goes a f---ing genius!'". For a band with a long history of hit records, it wouldn't mean squat. By the 80's, it had been established that, with our without hit records, the Beach Boys would continue to be a big draw as a touring band. I'm always seeing "Kokomo" referred to as a comeback record for the group, but the truth is, they hadn't been away. They were very visible throughout the 80's - the 4th of July concerts, appearing on various tv shows, touring every year, doing the state fairs, etc. Oldies radio was very big in the 80's and 90's, so you were going to hear their music one way or another, it was everywhere.
I don't believe Brian or Carl or Mike were sitting around listening to college radio stations, trying to find out what was hip. We know what Brian was listening to: Be My Baby.
Artistically expressive? I'm sure Carl felt the Beckley/Lamm/Wilson was artistically expressive. It gave him a chance to deal with some mature themes in his music. Those guys weren't trying to write about "love gained and lost between the ages of 15 and 25". The production style or even the songwriting style may not have appealed to a hip audience, but listen to the words on songs like "I Wish For You", "They're Only Words" or "Like A Brother". That's writing coming from life's experiences.

Well it's short-sighted, isn't it? The idea is not chasing some hip-cult status (and I would argue that's exactly what Bruce had in mind with the Sean O'Hagen deal by the way).

I think maybe you're on a tangent that is conflating my points with something else. I'm really talking about the facts here ("proof is in the pudding")- The Beach Boys (including Carl) signed off on and supported records like Still Cruisin', "Problem Child", Summer in Paradise, Stars & Stripes, Status Quo remake, Full House, Home Improvement etc. etc etc ... while at the same time- Brian Wilson was making very "Brian Wilson"-sounding music and this was ultimately not supported to completion by the group- with particularly notable stories surrounding Carl's lack of support.

I'm certainly not indicating that the group was thinking about "hip cred" and that should have been their focus. Several of us are simply pointing out that there was an absolute brew of newfound respect and admiration growing at this time for Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys are legitimate artists. This was among the kind of hip/underground "alternative" scene of the '90s.

No one is saying the group should have catered to this scene (though clearly, they were aware of it to some degree w/ Sean O'Hagen etc.). What I am saying is had they supported Brian Wilson as a leader, it's quite possible (even likely IMO) that the resulting work would have been critically appraised in it's time, and I believe would have been significantly more commercially successful as a result of the "buzz". What I think is probably indisputably true is that the Paley material has aged well, and everything the group actually did release has not. And it's not a case of hindsight being 20/20- those of use who were there at the time knew what was going on, even as a teenager in my case. I read about the Paley stuff as early as maybe 1997(?)- Dominique Priore was raving about it- and finally heard in around 1999. I thought Imagination was terrible and was so disappointed. Stars & Stripes was an absolute joke.

And I think we are kidding ourselves if we don't accept that there seems to be a lot to suggest the reason for these things playing out as they did had a lot to do with Carl. My personal take is not that he was driving the bad stuff- but by this time, he probably considered the Beach Boys to be a commercial enterprise, not an artistic one. And the commercial decisions made were done so with regard to short-tern, tried and true formulas which were out of date by the time the group did it.
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« Reply #71 on: December 25, 2020, 02:07:02 PM »

I don't know the context of Carl's "not capable" remark, and was unfamiliar with it until this thread.  It is pretty much consistent with the overall impression, though, that I gleaned from Carl's various interviews and comments from the late '80s to mid-'90s. Carl loved the music and loved performing for the fans, but at the same time there was also an unmistakable ambivalence about the entire Beach Boys enterprise.  He wasn't seeking super-stardom for the group and wasn't chasing the next hit or trying to compete with anybody.  Let's face it. The man was shouldering more than his share of burdens....  Brian's horrific Landy situation (which ultimately involved courts, lawyers, government agencies, etc.), Dennis' death, an elderly mother, Audree .  Anyone think all that was easy on him?  

Carl was also realistic, maybe too realistic.  Perhaps the most talented pure musician in the group, Carl knew damned well what they had done in their peak period... and how extraordinary that music was and how extraodinarily unlikely anyone, including the BBs themselves, were to reach that plateau again.  I'm a huge fan of Al Jardine, and think he's a thoroughly decent, talented guy, but there's an interview with him from 1994 in which claims that "Under the Boardwalk" on SIP "might be the best thing we've ever done" (that's an exact quote).  I read that at the time, a period when I was first getting into Pet Sounds, Smile, etc., and I thought, "What planet are you living on?  How can a member of a band have such a wrong-headed view of his own band's work?"  Similarly, that was a period when ML was basking in the afterglow of Kokomo and regularly declaring it the best thing the BBs had ever done, etc.     My point is that you never heard this kind of nonsense out of Carl.  He knew that they had done something very special musically that first decade and was under no illusions that they were still operating at that level.

^ YES. I think you and I are really on the same page here, and I also think it's fairly obvious.

I'm not trying to paint Carl as a villain in this- but I do think that he is probably one of the biggest reasons that the Beach Boys didn't make one last, great record. And who are we to say we know better than Carl? Maybe it would not have turned out well.

One also wonders- was this a fear of success too? I personally think Carl probably was fine w Stars & Stripes, Problem Child, etc ... because as you say, he knew no one was going to compare these things to Pet Sounds, or even Holland. But the minute you have a new "Brian is Back" ... you're right back to 15 Big Ones Part II. I really do think that Carl was simply not interested in going there, and probably held Brian to a different standard than Mike and the current Beach Boys. So when he says the Paley stuff is not strong enough- he wasn't comparing it to Summer in Paradise ... he was comparing it to Brian and the group's best work perhaps?

Things to think about anyway.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 02:08:01 PM by DonnyL » Logged

Lonely Summer
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« Reply #72 on: December 25, 2020, 11:06:25 PM »

Maybe Carl's motivations should be looked at from a slightly askew perspective... if Carl did indeed say that "the BBs were not capable at that time of producing artistically relevant content" or whatnot.... maybe that's not a dig on the BBs.  He was right.  They were not.  Not at all, not even close.  What would make anyone think otherwise, by 1995, if they paid attention to their timeline?
On the other hand, that doesn't mean that Brian Wilson was not capable of creating artistically relevant content.... nor Carl Wilson, frankly... but perhaps this was a moment of realism from Carl at this moment, as someone who was better than probably anyone else at understanding the "big picture" of a 35 year old band of 50-somethings and what could possibly be best for all parties.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I take Carl saying that about "the Beach Boys" as including Brian. Like, he was judging "artistic relevancy" by a standard that included widespread mainstream success (radio-friendly, Grammy-worthy), not "hip cult status".
I don't believe ANY of the Beach Boys were looking at "hip cult status" as a goal for the band. For one thing, hip cult status doesn't pay the bills. What's the difference between a straight pop or rock album that sells 200,000 copies and a hip cult status album that sells 200,000 copies? For you guys, the hippest of the hip, it would be "status, man - people won't laugh at me when i walk down the street; they'll gaze in awe and say 'there goes a f---ing genius!'". For a band with a long history of hit records, it wouldn't mean squat. By the 80's, it had been established that, with our without hit records, the Beach Boys would continue to be a big draw as a touring band. I'm always seeing "Kokomo" referred to as a comeback record for the group, but the truth is, they hadn't been away. They were very visible throughout the 80's - the 4th of July concerts, appearing on various tv shows, touring every year, doing the state fairs, etc. Oldies radio was very big in the 80's and 90's, so you were going to hear their music one way or another, it was everywhere.
I don't believe Brian or Carl or Mike were sitting around listening to college radio stations, trying to find out what was hip. We know what Brian was listening to: Be My Baby.
Artistically expressive? I'm sure Carl felt the Beckley/Lamm/Wilson was artistically expressive. It gave him a chance to deal with some mature themes in his music. Those guys weren't trying to write about "love gained and lost between the ages of 15 and 25". The production style or even the songwriting style may not have appealed to a hip audience, but listen to the words on songs like "I Wish For You", "They're Only Words" or "Like A Brother". That's writing coming from life's experiences.

Well it's short-sighted, isn't it? The idea is not chasing some hip-cult status (and I would argue that's exactly what Bruce had in mind with the Sean O'Hagen deal by the way).

I think maybe you're on a tangent that is conflating my points with something else. I'm really talking about the facts here ("proof is in the pudding")- The Beach Boys (including Carl) signed off on and supported records like Still Cruisin', "Problem Child", Summer in Paradise, Stars & Stripes, Status Quo remake, Full House, Home Improvement etc. etc etc ... while at the same time- Brian Wilson was making very "Brian Wilson"-sounding music and this was ultimately not supported to completion by the group- with particularly notable stories surrounding Carl's lack of support.

I'm certainly not indicating that the group was thinking about "hip cred" and that should have been their focus. Several of us are simply pointing out that there was an absolute brew of newfound respect and admiration growing at this time for Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys are legitimate artists. This was among the kind of hip/underground "alternative" scene of the '90s.

No one is saying the group should have catered to this scene (though clearly, they were aware of it to some degree w/ Sean O'Hagen etc.). What I am saying is had they supported Brian Wilson as a leader, it's quite possible (even likely IMO) that the resulting work would have been critically appraised in it's time, and I believe would have been significantly more commercially successful as a result of the "buzz". What I think is probably indisputably true is that the Paley material has aged well, and everything the group actually did release has not. And it's not a case of hindsight being 20/20- those of use who were there at the time knew what was going on, even as a teenager in my case. I read about the Paley stuff as early as maybe 1997(?)- Dominique Priore was raving about it- and finally heard in around 1999. I thought Imagination was terrible and was so disappointed. Stars & Stripes was an absolute joke.

And I think we are kidding ourselves if we don't accept that there seems to be a lot to suggest the reason for these things playing out as they did had a lot to do with Carl. My personal take is not that he was driving the bad stuff- but by this time, he probably considered the Beach Boys to be a commercial enterprise, not an artistic one. And the commercial decisions made were done so with regard to short-tern, tried and true formulas which were out of date by the time the group did it.
I think you hit it on the head there, particularly that Carl was not looking at the Beach Boys as a place to express himself artistically in the 90's. That's why we got the BLW project - that was a place where he could create and not worry about Mike or somebody saying it wasn't commercial enough.
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« Reply #73 on: December 27, 2020, 10:43:54 AM »

For whatever reason Carl had given up on them by the early 90s. He resisted doing the 93 tour because he didn稚 think they would sound good .Al pushed that one . Al and Brian were on board with a Pet Sounds anniversary tour in 96 that he also nixed because they couldn稚  handle it vocally . He had a ton of songs from the 70s that he never performed ever again for some reason only he would know . Heck Al pushed him to do SOS in 95. He was satisfied singing GOK , GV, and Darlin and calling it a night every tour .
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« Reply #74 on: December 28, 2020, 10:42:18 AM »

Hawaiian shirts on stage
Shorts on stage
Cheerleaders
Full House Episodes
Bruce switching from bass/keyboards to clapper/mic technician
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