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667123 Posts in 26783 Topics by 3878 Members - Latest Member: beatlesyoshi March 07, 2021, 12:58:33 PM
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Author Topic: My Safari with The Beach Boys: The Orgins of Weekend and Mary Ann  (Read 1277 times)
Mike ORourke
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« on: February 10, 2021, 03:20:07 PM »

Greetings everyone! I hope this is the right place to post this, as most old people, I'm not very familiar with anything other than magnetic tape, and pencils.  

       Due to Covid creating time on everyone's hands,  my son, Matt and I decided to expose myself (no, not that way) and reveal my study of the Beach Boys music, and my contacts with them.  
I have had requests to present my original versions of the songs Jeffrey Foskett released on his "Thru My Window" Album.  It started, for me it started, with a Phone call from Carl Wilson...

https://mikeorourke.bandcamp.com/track/carl-wilson-phone-message-from-1988


For years prior,  I had been expiermenting, dissecting, and recording the 1963-1966 Beach Boy Sound.  In the early 80's there were no computers, no song lyrics printed on the internet, or isolated tracks on youtube of their music.  The best you could do was to play their albums over and over again, to discern information.  

I made cassettes of my Beach Boy expeirments.  I would send them to concert venues that they played, even dropping my record "Weekend and Mary Ann" at Brian Wilson's house in L.A. (the one with his psychedelic painted mail box).  He had moved out several weeks prior.  

Apparently one of my cassettes got through to Carl at Caesars Palace in 1988.  We made contact and I was invited to attend the Beach Boys performances at Caesars, icluding my birthday where my wife and I were comped to the Beach Boys' guest booth in the showroom.  During the performance I made my way to the more exciting area of the stage sound booth. By the way Carl Wilson was a very generous gentleman.  The next time my wife and I saw him at Caesars' he remember my wife's name, only being introduced once.  Carl had that gift to remember people's names amongst other great qualities.  Even though I only knew him in passing, it seemed like he regarded my wife and I as close friends.  What a loss.  

During this period, Jeffrey Foskett also showed an interest in my tapes, since the Beach Boys were no longer producing music in this fashion.  Jeff approached me with a deal that he would aquire my record label "New Surf" and other songs of mine to record.  There has been some confusion on the orgins of these songs as they appeard on the internet labeled as performed by "Good Vibrations"  I had a Trio I named "Good Vibrations" but they did not appear on these records, nor did Jeffrey Foskett.   These are the Yellow and Blue 45's that are the subject of the curiosity.  

Jeffrey re-recorded "Weekend" and "Mary Ann" and a bunch of other songs of mine, for his album "Thru My Window"
He had high hopes for a Japanese market, where there would be a divison of royalties.  I hope he did good with it, but other than $800 for "Mary Ann" in the movie "Bring it On: All or Nothing" as brief background music, I failed to recieve anything above that.  Jeffrey Foskett then went on to other soruces for his music.

To answer the requests for my original performaces, my Son and I, unearthed my old Teac A2340, a box of memrobilia and 7 inch reels and transfered them digitally for you to have.  I have uploaded them to bandcamp for your ears and to download them.
There is also info on each song if you'd like to read further.  We will be continuing to upload other songs that were recorded by Jeffrey Foskett, and more of my original compositions, and Beach Boy cover songs as time permits, and the Teac stays working, so continue to check my bandcamp page. Thanks.  

 I hope you enjoy them, and appreciate how much I appreciate the Beach Boys records 63-66.
 https://mikeorourke.bandcamp.com/album/quintessence-the-dodechedron-music-of-the-spheres

The Beach Boys'  regular gigs at Ceasars were drawing to a close in late 1990, and I was contacted by Jeffrey Foskett that Carl wanted me to attened a Beach Boy rehearsal at Disney Studios in Burbank.  They had arranged a flight to Burbank, where I was picked up by Jeff at the Burbank Airport.  We preceeded to the studio as I'm inquring "what am I doing here?" He replied, "They need more people on the stage"?  

It was a full sound studio with all their equipment, I met Bruce Johnston first, who noticed my wedding ring and said "I've got the same ring, you're not here to take my job are you??"  making me very curious as to what is going on.  Al Jardine was there, he said "Hi" and the 3 of us discussed their music.  Carl was very late, and I had to return to Las Vegas for my nightly gig.  I sang Mike Love's lead to "California Girls" and a couple of other songs.  They took my picture for a badge and I had to leave. I was driven back to the airport.  They said they would be in touch.  

In Novermber 1990 back at Caesars, I had my regular spot in the sound booth on stage right, towards the end of the show, I heard someone backstage, Chaz somebody, calling my name.  He said "Carl wants you on stage"  I said "huh??"  I went to stage left and they were getting ready to do their encore of "Fun Fun Fun". I asked Carl what he wants me to do, and he was not specific on which part.  I asked him if I could play also.  His guitar tech set me up with an old Stratocaster and plugged in Carl's amp.  They started the song and there I was, playing the introduction double tracking Carl's lead guitar.  I sang one of the background parts on the same mic with Carl Wilson, Wow.  I even got a free pick to take away!

The next night I was asked to repeat the encore.  This was the end of their Vegas engagements.  I had an address for Carl in Fallbrook, CA and sent a few more songs and I continued to stay in touch through Elliot Lott who told me I was "on the roster".    Jeffrey Foskett was no longer with the Beach Boys during my onstage performances at Caesars and I never heard from any of them again.  I assume I didn't pass the audition.  But I continue to write and record in this style.  

Thanks for your interest,
Mike O'Rourke


For a few more pictures of more items we uncovered click here: https://imgur.com/a/Xpezb3p



« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 09:27:59 PM by Mike ORourke » Logged
Bedroom Tapes
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 06:21:32 PM »

Gave it a listen, great work there!  I almost always enjoy Beach Boys soundalikes too.
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juggler
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2021, 12:43:23 AM »

Listened to your tracks.  Wow.  What a treat.  It's no mystery why the tape earned a call from Carl.
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Tony S
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2021, 06:51:17 AM »

Great stuff. And BTW Thru My Window is absolutley a great collection of music...the most Beach Boys sounding collective material I have ever heard....and very strong recordnings and vocals.
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2021, 09:18:05 AM »

Fascinating, great story! Thanks for posting that and the photos! Love the Carl phone message too.

Production/recording question: How did you nail that 62/63 era Carl/David guitar tone on tracks like Keepin The Summer Alive? You *nailed* it! I think for people who are interested in replicating those classic tones, a rundown of how you did that on the TEAC would be very interesting to read. What always struck me about that early BB's guitar sound, perhaps even more with the tracks done at the Tower than Western, was how it sounded like a mix between a DI running straight into the board combined with the Fender amps, because there was almost a semi-acoustic tone with the treble frequencies of those strings, and it cuts through the mix...yet from most accounts all the guitars were simply going through Fender amps and mic'ed up. There is such a different character and texture to those early BB's guitar sounds that is almost identifiable, even a trademark, that other "surf" bands did not have, and it's something that gets somewhat ignored in the history and discussions.

Just wanted to say again you nailed that sound, and it would be cool to hear how you did that. Thanks!
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
Mike ORourke
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2021, 04:09:49 PM »

Hi Everybody,

This is Matt, Mike's son, I'm kind of the middle man since like my dad said, all he knows is tape and pencils, so this whole Internet Message Board is absolutely foreign to him.   Grin

Firstly, Thank you for the replies and comments!

As foreign as the internet is to him, working with the old reels and TEAC is foreign me, so learning about the process of all of this has been quite amazing.   I have grown up in the digital age and used D.A.W.'s to record everything.  To transfer everything we are taking the outputs of the TEAC into channels of my interface, pressing play on the TEAC and record in protools, and to quote him, "with no other technology jazz applied".  

I will ask him about how he went about achieving the classic Beach Boy guitar sound, and his recording process.  Hopefully I can pry it out of him  Grin

There is a lot of material to sort through and organize, so if there is anything you'd want me to upload in particular, let me know.  Everything from Beach Boy covers, more of the Foskett stuff, to his other Beach Boy inspired originals and so on.  

Once again,
Thank you for your interest in this, and I will be continuing to upload to the bandcamp we set up, and will be checking back here!

Nice to meet you all,
Matt.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 05:19:37 PM by Mike ORourke » Logged
kwan_dk
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2021, 07:30:34 AM »

Matt, thank you to both your father and you for sharing these wonderful recordings with us. They are really, really good and very well-written. As someone who has enjoyed Jeffrey Foskett's albums for years but never really bothered to check the writing credits assuming he wrote all the songs himself, I'm amazed to learn that your father basically provided Jeff with ready-made Beach Boys soundalike classics. What were some of my favorite Foskett songs turn out to simply be something Jeff re-recorded and put hos own vocals on, it would appear - and since I've always found his recordings a little too polished and synthetic, I prefer these original versions, which I didn't know existed. Again, thank you very much for sharing these and I have purchased the album via Bandcamp.

I for one would much prefer to hear more of Mike's original songs from this period - Beach Boys soundalikes or similarly inspired like the Spector-type song on the album on Bandcamp. There are so many Beach Boys cover versions floating around, ranging from pretty bad to excellent, but ORIGINAL songs done with a convincing Beach Boys sound like Mike's are more scarce, I think. So I'd much rather hear more of this than faithful re-creations of classic Beach Boys hits.

Speaking of Beach Boys soundalike songs, I'm a member of a Danish group, Surf School Dropouts, who dabbles in this as well: our two Beach Boys-inspired albums and some EPs are on Spotify and Bandcamp: https://surfschooldropouts.bandcamp.com

... unlike Mike, we've had the benefit of modern technology and recording possibilities at our disposal. With this in mind, and speaking from my experience writing songs with a Beach Boys feel, coming up with convincing harmonies and going for the Beach Boys sound when recording, I'm very impressed by the songs on Mike's Bandcamp profile. I hope you, Matt, will let your father know and that you will help him share more music with us. Preferably, more of his great originals.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 07:33:31 AM by kwan_dk » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2021, 06:40:28 PM »

Obviously Mike wasn't credited on the album Foskett released. I spoke to Foskett at a Beach Boys convention in New Jersey when the album was released; he basically said the non-cover songs were his songs.  
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 06:45:41 PM by Competition Clutch » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2021, 07:54:55 PM »

Obviously Mike wasn't credited on the album Foskett released. I spoke to Foskett at a Beach Boys convention in New Jersey when the album was released; he basically said the non-cover songs were his songs.  

I believe that Mr. O'Rourke *was* credited on the Japanese pressing of Thru My Window... along with Jeff, Cindi & Katie Foskett.  With that said, after hearing Mike's original tracks, the Thru My Window album credits... are... ahem... interesting. Undecided
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 07:56:38 PM by juggler » Logged
Mike ORourke
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2021, 05:18:36 PM »

Thanks for the nice responses, and the understanding of the Jeff Foskett situation regarding my original songs.  There's more of those coming, but we had requests for more of my originals of this sound that have never been revealed.  

https://mikeorourke.bandcamp.com/album/californias-callin-me

They're all back from the 80's and 90's using the authentic equipment to attain this sound.  I hope you enjoy them.   If you want to read more about each one, you can click on the "info" link next to each song.  More Coming as Matt brushes off the dust and mixes them down.  

To answer the question of the guitar sound, it's just about using the right equipment, and being able to "hear" how it was done, and reproduce it.  Here's a picture of my 1964 Jagur.  It's been in storage for decades.  

https://imgur.com/a/xXUo86J

Thanks,
Mike

« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 05:19:15 PM by Mike ORourke » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2021, 06:49:22 PM »

That's a beautiful guitar Mike, 3-color sunburst Jag with the red color still brilliant after all those years. Very, very cool. Is the rubber/foam flip up mute on the bridge still intact? Guessing it is!  Smiley

I think what I was most curious about is the way you recorded and mixed to get that guitar sound. If you don't want to reveal any secrets that's cool too! But in all of my own experiences running a studio and going through all kinds of tones, your recordings nailed it perhaps better than any other attempts I've heard, whether it was a BB cover band, an attempt to pay tribute to the BB's, or even a soundalike project. Yours was head and shoulders above the rest, and I've heard a lot and also know the formula. And if someone goes out and gets a Strat or Jag, puts it through a vintage brown tolex piggyback Fender amp, and maybe even an old Fender reverb tank, it still isn't the same sound they captured on tape that we hear on the records, and not as close as what was captured on your recordings too. That's the element I was asking about, but again it's cool if you don't want to reveal any secrets.  Smiley

Thanks for sharing - Very, very interesting and enjoyable all around!

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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
kwan_dk
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2021, 12:53:20 AM »

Again, thank you for sharing these new songs. I really love them - and of course already cherish 'She's So Fine', 'Go Go Mario' and 'On the Beach' always having believed these to be Foskett originals. Glad to learn about the true origins of these great songs. Top-notch songwriting, Mike!

Please, keep them coming! We're all ears, :-)
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Mike ORourke
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2021, 05:43:43 PM »

Hello, Mike O'Rourke again.

How about a few more of my songs produced in a United Western Studio fashion.  It's all gone now including the style, I wish it weren't so. 

https://mikeorourke.bandcamp.com/album/only-semi-perfect

I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I did making them. 

Thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2021, 09:29:25 PM »

Paging Irving Azoff...

I nominate Mike O to produce the Beach Boys' next album.  Cool
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Mike ORourke
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2021, 06:55:38 PM »

"Something's Better Than Nothing"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3B8VEQlpjk

Beach Boy covers and others

Here are some of the tracks I made to accompany my duo "Deuce Coupe" playing throughout Las Vegas.  Beginning in 1992 and since, they have evolved many, many times.  The original 4 track recordings of drums, guitar, piano, and background vocals were transferred to a mini disc player for stage use.  We would sing and play along adding guitar, bass, and lead vocals live on stage.  This process worked well for many years, building up eventually 200+ song impressions. 

Later I had to add bass guitar, horns, and more vocals forced to play as a single to keep on working.  It was peculiar for me playing alone on stage, I mean all of this sound coming from one guy?  People who didn't know what was going on seemed to enjoy it. Those who did know were complimentary.

Creating this format in this way, was more fun than programming a synthasized sequenced plastic sound.  Nothing store bought on these. 

Finally, I've added my live stage parts to them, just recenetly, so they can be called complete and presented for your ears.  I did not doctor them and I left in the mistakes, imbalances and vocal cracks.  I hope you'll enjoy them, all 26 of them. 

Thanks, so much. 

Oh by the way, these were done on Tascam 4 track cassettes from beginning to end. 
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