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« Reply #100 on: February 19, 2021, 02:39:40 PM »

It looks like the official Beach Boys website has gotten a pretty big overhaul since this deal.

Looks like a new logo too.
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« Reply #101 on: February 19, 2021, 11:01:32 PM »

Coming out of the chauffeur's quarters stoned to post my thoughts while eating junk food...

I have some concerns about this deal. As I'm sure many here can relate to, the music has meant so much to me, no matter the circumstance. Even though our life stories are completely different, I just connect so much with Brian. The amount of sh*t Brian has had to deal with; he was just this kid who would wanted to make records people liked. This young guy perpetually taken advantage of, being emotionally or physically abused, laid astray at times by people of questionable intent. All Brian wanted to do was make records with friends and all he wanted from that was enjoyment. Not money. The blurb Brian gave on the back of the All Summer Long sums it up well: "I live with my piano and I love to make records that my friends like to hear. The fellas have worked so well with me - you'd never know we were brothers and cousins. Thank you for giving me the incentive to create our records."

Money ruined The Beach Boys. Once they got initial success, the pressures put on Brian amplified and multiplied with each passing year. The deeper Brian got into the business, the industry, the drug scene, the more he began to spiral. Brian was just a Hawthorne kid who wanted to make music. He worked his ass for so long and he just wanted to make people (mostly Murry) happy. In my career, I really relate to that; working so hard and being so invested in your job, you burn out. You need to pause and make (or listen to) Friends. Every time I listen to Passing By, I just think of Brian at the keys just humming and vibing; escaping reality. I relate to that. The world has been a f***ed up place and I think Brian saw that (both in his own life and in the world) and just withdrew. One reason I'm so connected to this music and Brian are due to my own anxieties, fears, depressions, the heartache, the obsessive habits. Something tells me I'm not the only one here who feels it when hearing lines like:

"I built all my goals around you that some day my love would surround you/You'll never know what we've been through for so long I thought about it and now I just can't live without it/This beautiful image I have of you"
"It kills my soul."
"Is somebody gonna tell me why she has to hide?"
"Everything is old and nothing is new. All I ever do is think of you. Memories haunt me night and day."
"There's been songs about celebration but if you ask me, I can't see why. There's too much pain, too much pain in my heart now."

That's not even bringing in all the joyous songs that bring me sheer joy, like Hushabye or Cool, Cool Water or the last 40 seconds of Wind Chimes. but back to the point; money really ruined the guys. I believe it turned Mike into what he is today; a relentless business/brand promoter. I have always tried to be fair to Mike; I admit to reading and enjoying his autobiography. With that being said, Mike has ALWAYS been wanting a way to make a buck. I wonder how much of that dates back to his father's business going under and his parents having to move out of their mansion. Is Mike still worrying something like that will befall him? He had bankruptcy once before. Maybe Mike is just a workaholic, but if you go back to wanting to connect with your audience ($)vs Cabinessence, there's Mike. Endless Summer; that's Mike. All of the Brian's Back campaign was the Loves. Stephen the "brains," Mike the showman, Stan (and Rocky) the muscle to intimidate Brian. All the songs in Hollywood movies, Mike. Club Kokomo, Mike. I'm sure Mike was on board with Steve Levine because Levine said that's the main reason the band hired him, because of Culture Club's success, and we know who in the band is always focused on success.

But money also ruined Dennis; even though he was a spendthrift, I think it opened up many indulgences that Dennis should have been cut off from. Dennis really started to fall apart after the Brian's Back campaign/POB; that's when the money was coming in like crazy from the tours. Bruce has always been about the business. Carl seemed to accept that mindset by the 1980s; though he did mention to Levine that the BB had an entourage problem. Al seems okay with making a buck, but isn't going to be out there self-promoting like Mike. Brian is Brian.

So what are my fears about this current deal?

The Beach Boys name being a touring band decades after all the original members are deceased
Tacky merchandise/hotel chains like Margaritaville
Whitewashing/oversimplification of the history of the group
Ignoring pretty much everything past 1966
Jukebox musicals, Hollywood biopics, and chain restaurants

I'm not a Beach Boys fan because of the lifestyle. I don't want a Broadway show like Jersey Boys. One, why? Give me the original music. Two, you cannot tell the Beach Boys story without it going dark. But that won't sell, so it'll be something like: Surfin', We're big! Cousin Brian did drugs, no one listens to us anymore, Cousin Dennis did drugs and died, KOKOMO!!!! and rip Cousin Carl. A Beach Boys musical with Murry in the 1st act, Rocky Pamplin in the 2nd act, and Eugene Landy in the 3rd act. And that's just about Brian. 

I think, maybe, the guys want that push for big-name recognition one last time. They all got screwed over in their careers. It wasn't just Brian. They were unfairly judged and their talents were mocked. Their entire career has been pigeonholed as fun in the sun. We all know they didn't pick the name The Beach Boys. They cannot escape their own name and this legacy/lifestyle stuff is going to be just that. Pet Sounds t-shirts at Target and Club Kokomo brand food and drink. Overexposed, commercialized

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« Reply #102 on: February 20, 2021, 12:09:17 AM »

Coming out of the chauffeur's quarters stoned to post my thoughts while eating junk food...

I have some concerns about this deal. As I'm sure many here can relate to, the music has meant so much to me, no matter the circumstance. Even though our life stories are completely different, I just connect so much with Brian. The amount of sh*t Brian has had to deal with; he was just this kid who would wanted to make records people liked. This young guy perpetually taken advantage of, being emotionally or physically abused, laid astray at times by people of questionable intent. All Brian wanted to do was make records with friends and all he wanted from that was enjoyment. Not money. The blurb Brian gave on the back of the All Summer Long sums it up well: "I live with my piano and I love to make records that my friends like to hear. The fellas have worked so well with me - you'd never know we were brothers and cousins. Thank you for giving me the incentive to create our records."

Money ruined The Beach Boys. Once they got initial success, the pressures put on Brian amplified and multiplied with each passing year. The deeper Brian got into the business, the industry, the drug scene, the more he began to spiral. Brian was just a Hawthorne kid who wanted to make music. He worked his ass for so long and he just wanted to make people (mostly Murry) happy. In my career, I really relate to that; working so hard and being so invested in your job, you burn out. You need to pause and make (or listen to) Friends. Every time I listen to Passing By, I just think of Brian at the keys just humming and vibing; escaping reality. I relate to that. The world has been a f***ed up place and I think Brian saw that (both in his own life and in the world) and just withdrew. One reason I'm so connected to this music and Brian are due to my own anxieties, fears, depressions, the heartache, the obsessive habits. Something tells me I'm not the only one here who feels it when hearing lines like:

"I built all my goals around you that some day my love would surround you/You'll never know what we've been through for so long I thought about it and now I just can't live without it/This beautiful image I have of you"
"It kills my soul."
"Is somebody gonna tell me why she has to hide?"
"Everything is old and nothing is new. All I ever do is think of you. Memories haunt me night and day."
"There's been songs about celebration but if you ask me, I can't see why. There's too much pain, too much pain in my heart now."

That's not even bringing in all the joyous songs that bring me sheer joy, like Hushabye or Cool, Cool Water or the last 40 seconds of Wind Chimes. but back to the point; money really ruined the guys. I believe it turned Mike into what he is today; a relentless business/brand promoter. I have always tried to be fair to Mike; I admit to reading and enjoying his autobiography. With that being said, Mike has ALWAYS been wanting a way to make a buck. I wonder how much of that dates back to his father's business going under and his parents having to move out of their mansion. Is Mike still worrying something like that will befall him? He had bankruptcy once before. Maybe Mike is just a workaholic, but if you go back to wanting to connect with your audience ($)vs Cabinessence, there's Mike. Endless Summer; that's Mike. All of the Brian's Back campaign was the Loves. Stephen the "brains," Mike the showman, Stan (and Rocky) the muscle to intimidate Brian. All the songs in Hollywood movies, Mike. Club Kokomo, Mike. I'm sure Mike was on board with Steve Levine because Levine said that's the main reason the band hired him, because of Culture Club's success, and we know who in the band is always focused on success.

But money also ruined Dennis; even though he was a spendthrift, I think it opened up many indulgences that Dennis should have been cut off from. Dennis really started to fall apart after the Brian's Back campaign/POB; that's when the money was coming in like crazy from the tours. Bruce has always been about the business. Carl seemed to accept that mindset by the 1980s; though he did mention to Levine that the BB had an entourage problem. Al seems okay with making a buck, but isn't going to be out there self-promoting like Mike. Brian is Brian.

So what are my fears about this current deal?

The Beach Boys name being a touring band decades after all the original members are deceased
Tacky merchandise/hotel chains like Margaritaville
Whitewashing/oversimplification of the history of the group
Ignoring pretty much everything past 1966
Jukebox musicals, Hollywood biopics, and chain restaurants

I'm not a Beach Boys fan because of the lifestyle. I don't want a Broadway show like Jersey Boys. One, why? Give me the original music. Two, you cannot tell the Beach Boys story without it going dark. But that won't sell, so it'll be something like: Surfin', We're big! Cousin Brian did drugs, no one listens to us anymore, Cousin Dennis did drugs and died, KOKOMO!!!! and rip Cousin Carl. A Beach Boys musical with Murry in the 1st act, Rocky Pamplin in the 2nd act, and Eugene Landy in the 3rd act. And that's just about Brian. 

I think, maybe, the guys want that push for big-name recognition one last time. They all got screwed over in their careers. It wasn't just Brian. They were unfairly judged and their talents were mocked. Their entire career has been pigeonholed as fun in the sun. We all know they didn't pick the name The Beach Boys. They cannot escape their own name and this legacy/lifestyle stuff is going to be just that. Pet Sounds t-shirts at Target and Club Kokomo brand food and drink. Overexposed, commercialized



What’s wrong with Pet Sounds shirts at Target? You can buy Abbey Road shirts at the mall. Why shouldn’t you buy a Pet Sounds shirt?

The Beach Boys name being a touring band decades after all the original members are deceased

Me: That may happen anyway even without this deal.

Tacky merchandise/hotel chains like Margaritaville

Me: Only Al suggested the restaurant thing. After earlier attempts failed, I doubt anyone would seriously consider that. Again.

Whitewashing/oversimplification of the history of the group

Me: So, you’re worried that something that has been happening for decades will happen?

Ignoring pretty much everything past 1966

Me: BRI never owned the pre-1970 catalog. If anything, I expect the new owners to actually start pushing the 67-73 material to TV and film producers. Music from the 60’s and 70’s is still a thing for movies, but many have strayed away from the over familiar and have started discovering the more obscure stuff from that era. This deal, I think and hope, will help with that.
Jukebox musicals, Hollywood biopics, and chain restaurants

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« Reply #103 on: February 20, 2021, 12:21:02 AM »

Very thoughtful post above, Join The Human Race.   Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I do think that a number of your fears are well-grounded. There is indeed a potential for "Club Kokomo" cheesiness. And there's no guarantee that documentaries and biopics are going to be any good.  We all remember the disastrously bad "American Family" made-for-TV movie.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and it'll be interesting to see what happens.  I do think that it's useful to recognize that the status quo before this deal wasn't that great.  You mention that, for you, it's ultimately all about the original music. Period.   And I feel the same way.  But was the status quo working as well as it could with respect to the original music?  I would say no.  Not even close. If I go onto Universal Music's online store right now in February 2021, do I see what I, as a hardcore fan, think ought to be there as proper treatment of the band's musical legacy?
https://shop.udiscovermusic.com/collections/the-beach-boys

Sure, there are the obligatory Pet Sounds issues, and some greatest hits compilations, the Christmas album, and a hodge-podge of other albums issued on CD or vinyl.

But....

No Smile packages at all, no Sunflower, no Friends, no Surfer Girl, no Holland, no Love You, no career-spanning box, no Summer Days, no Summer Nights.  You get the idea.

  I mentioned in another thread about a week ago, that, based on what I'm seeing on eBay, it appears to me that most of the Smile packages (box, 2LP, 2CD) have slipped out of print.  Some of the most important, legendary recordings ever made... and they've slipped out of print?!  IMO, this is indicative that there is a lot of room for improvement with respect to doing right by the musical legacy.

Also, one other comment about Brian Wilson.  For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.
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« Reply #104 on: February 20, 2021, 03:02:26 AM »

Well, surfers are usually seen as some kind of "nature guys" and the Beach Boys, assisted by Jack Rieley, also had their part of ecological awareness, of which only Al seems to have gone through with through the decades (although: Didn't Mike warn of global warming in the SIP liner notes? I haven't read them in a long time and could be wrong.). But combined with their own understanding of spiritual music (especialy from the Wilson's side) and their connection to the ocean you could definitely brand them as a group that is in harmony with the environment and cares about it. Although the car songs may not fit at first view, I guess it would be possible to take away from the racing aspect and focus on the technical sides (the motor and gear) and in some way brand them as backers for eco-friendly cars or something like that.
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« Reply #105 on: February 20, 2021, 03:47:21 AM »

For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

This is also seen in the Smile era, when Brian was very concerned with 'brand'. I don't have the quote to hand, but it concerns the formation of Brother Records, with Brian bemoaning the fact that they had up till now ignored artwork and merchandising, but it was all going to be coming together with film, music, artwork and lifestyle under this umbrella heading of 'The Beach Boys'.

In fact I was reminded of that in the Rolling Stone article about this sale, with Olivier Chastan's quote that “The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They’re a lifestyle. They’re a consumer brand. And they’ve never really exploited that.”

That seems very similar to what Brian was saying in '67.

I understand people's concerns about the band's legacy becoming a commodity, but that is the truth of the music business. Even in that rare period in the mid to late 60's when talent and artistic statement were seemingly more valued, those attributes were still heavily tied to money, The music business is what it plainly says it is. A business. We're actually lucky to have these rare periods of l'art pour l'art  at all.

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« Reply #106 on: February 20, 2021, 03:58:20 AM »

Considering how many threads descend into "won't somebody please think of the legacy", I'd say the wishes of the board have come true.
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« Reply #107 on: February 20, 2021, 04:02:58 AM »

Seeing the 1972 band photo on the official site’s front page kinda speaks volumes.
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« Reply #108 on: February 20, 2021, 04:05:32 AM »

For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

This is also seen in the Smile era, when Brian was very concerned with 'brand'. I don't have the quote to hand, but it concerns the formation of Brother Records, with Brian bemoaning the fact that they had up till now ignored artwork and merchandising, but it was all going to be coming together with film, music, artwork and lifestyle under this umbrella heading of 'The Beach Boys'.

In fact I was reminded of that in the Rolling Stone article about this sale, with Olivier Chastan's quote that “The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They’re a lifestyle. They’re a consumer brand. And they’ve never really exploited that.”

That seems very similar to what Brian was saying in '67.

I understand people's concerns about the band's legacy becoming a commodity, but that is the truth of the music business. Even in that rare period in the mid to late 60's when talent and artistic statement where seemingly more valued, those attributes were still heavily tied to money, The music business is what it plainly says it is. A business. We're actually lucky to have these rare periods of l'art pour l'art  at all.



Very well said, and another reason why I think this is a great deal all the way around
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« Reply #109 on: February 20, 2021, 04:14:55 AM »

For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

This is also seen in the Smile era, when Brian was very concerned with 'brand'. I don't have the quote to hand, but it concerns the formation of Brother Records, with Brian bemoaning the fact that they had up till now ignored artwork and merchandising, but it was all going to be coming together with film, music, artwork and lifestyle under this umbrella heading of 'The Beach Boys'.

In fact I was reminded of that in the Rolling Stone article about this sale, with Olivier Chastan's quote that “The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They’re a lifestyle. They’re a consumer brand. And they’ve never really exploited that.”

That seems very similar to what Brian was saying in '67.

I understand people's concerns about the band's legacy becoming a commodity, but that is the truth of the music business. Even in that rare period in the mid to late 60's when talent and artistic statement where seemingly more valued, those attributes were still heavily tied to money, The music business is what it plainly says it is. A business. We're actually lucky to have these rare periods of l'art pour l'art  at all.



Very well said, and another reason why I think this is a great deal all the way around

Absolutely. And it could have been far worse.

They could have sold to Disney.
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« Reply #110 on: February 20, 2021, 05:09:46 AM »

I...kinda was afraid that was gonna happen.

If it’d have been NBC Universal, I technically would be working for the same company; I’d have pushed for a transfer and offered to help Howie and the gang out with future projects (I work dirt cheap). Ah dammit LOL
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« Reply #111 on: February 20, 2021, 08:18:11 AM »

For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

This is also seen in the Smile era, when Brian was very concerned with 'brand'. I don't have the quote to hand, but it concerns the formation of Brother Records, with Brian bemoaning the fact that they had up till now ignored artwork and merchandising, but it was all going to be coming together with film, music, artwork and lifestyle under this umbrella heading of 'The Beach Boys'.

In fact I was reminded of that in the Rolling Stone article about this sale, with Olivier Chastan's quote that “The Beach Boys, in a sense, are not just a band. They’re a lifestyle. They’re a consumer brand. And they’ve never really exploited that.”

That seems very similar to what Brian was saying in '67.

I understand people's concerns about the band's legacy becoming a commodity, but that is the truth of the music business. Even in that rare period in the mid to late 60's when talent and artistic statement were seemingly more valued, those attributes were still heavily tied to money, The music business is what it plainly says it is. A business. We're actually lucky to have these rare periods of l'art pour l'art  at all.



Yes indeed, and great call on the Brother Records history going back to 1967. It's a shame Brother as drawn up originally didn't happen as planned. Brian and Anderle were onto something with the Brother concept.

Worth noting that Frank Zappa perhaps better than anyone I've ever read nailed the whole scene you're mentioning from the mid-to-late 60's. It is ultimately a business, and always has been. But what Zappa nailed is how in the 60's the older guys in the suits were the ones bankrolling it at the labels, and if an artist was selling records or had the potential to sell records, the old guys didn't care what it was or how far out it was as long as they made money. A lot of great *art* was released as a result and it was less about focus groups and computer generated demographic trend charts. What ruined a lot was going into the 70's, the younger guys started wearing the suits then got involved in the business side of things at these labels, and everything changed.
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« Reply #112 on: February 20, 2021, 08:43:09 AM »


Also, one other comment about Brian Wilson.  For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

There may be more to that. What we know Murry did do with his sons is drill into them - relentlessly - the kind of work ethic he thought they should have. He was doing that even in 1965 on the Rhonda session tape. Fight for success, work hard and work constantly, no loafing or coasting...imagine having a drill sergeant like mentality hammering you constantly about success and hard work when you're a kid. You're going to follow those orders.

The way it worked regarding young people looking to have a career in those days often included writing letters to various people they admired or aspired to be, especially in the entertainment business and radio/TV. I know many examples of people who became superstar-level famous writing letters to various musicians, TV hosts, radio DJ's, etc asking how they can get into the business. Some even kept the original replies, if they got one, and remembered exactly what they said.

So it's totally possible that a teenage Brian being a huge Four Freshmen fan says to his dad "I want to do what the Freshmen do". And Murry would say something like "If you want that success, you have to fight for it. If you like the Freshmen, write them a letter. Write their manager a letter. Find out how they did it and then fight to do it for yourself." And that's pretty much the mentality the post-war generation worked with when it came to trying to break into a business like making music or being a TV host when they grow up.

You did touch on another issue that Brian doesn't get enough credit for - How did a kid in 1962-63 get so much power to write, produce, arrange, and perform his own music with his band on a major label? This simply didn't happen, it wasn't done in the record business. I don't see it as much that Brian was "using" Murry as he *needed* Murry because major labels didn't have kids barely out of their teens telling them what they were going to do with their music, let alone producing and writing their own material. It was still pop music for kids, it wasn't Sinatra or Nat King Cole. Kids were not listened to or taken seriously. You needed an adult involved so the guys in suits could talk business while the kids were in the other room. You needed a trusted adult in the studio so the kids wouldn't write crayon scribble on the walls. That was the mindset.

It still blows my mind how Brian got producer credit and that freedom mixed with autonomy to allow him to cut records where he wanted and how he wanted in 1963. It just wasn't done in the industry with newer acts. People credit the Beatles with breaking down that wall of not needing to record what the A&R man told them, and being able to write and release primarily original songs. They were right, and right about Buddy Holly too in a lesser sense (not all Holly's hits were written by him), but here was young Brian Wilson doing all of that. I do credit Murry because he was a hustler and would push to get what he wanted in an old-school kind of way (schmoozing various execs and DJ's, all of that hustle...), but to navigate the business in 1962-63 as a new act they needed an adult to do a lot of that kind of work. It isn't as much a case of him being used, but someone (an adult) like Murry was needed to get in the door to do a lot of these things. Murry knew the "hard sell" and used it.

How else would a band of teenagers and guys barely out of their teens have gotten in the door at Capitol and then demanded they have control over what and how they recorded? It didn't happen in 1962.
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« Reply #113 on: February 20, 2021, 08:50:57 AM »

Considering how many threads descend into "won't somebody please think of the legacy", I'd say the wishes of the board have come true.




(Sorry, I couldn't resist)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 08:52:51 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #114 on: February 20, 2021, 09:09:06 AM »


Also, one other comment about Brian Wilson.  For a long time, I pretty much bought into the notion of the young BW as simply an innocent guy from Hawthorne who hoped to make  a few records that his friends liked.  But later, based on what I've read, I've come to the conclusion that the truth is more complex... a lot more complex.  Reading James Murphy's book Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, turned my head a bit.  When you have Brian, as high school student, paying visits to the manager of the Four Freshmen seeking advice on how he could duplicate the success of the Freshmen, you realize that his early ambitions were a bit broader than the standard narrative might suggest.  The popular narrative is that Murry used the boys to achieve his own long-dreamed-of success in the music business. And there's certainly some truth to that. But is it the whole story?  Reading about those very early days, it seems that possible that Brian was also using Murry a bit too...  Letting Murry be the "bad cop,"  the heavy who did the dirty work of fighting with Capitol, firing people, being confrontational, etc.

There may be more to that. What we know Murry did do with his sons is drill into them - relentlessly - the kind of work ethic he thought they should have. He was doing that even in 1965 on the Rhonda session tape. Fight for success, work hard and work constantly, no loafing or coasting...imagine having a drill sergeant like mentality hammering you constantly about success and hard work when you're a kid. You're going to follow those orders.

The way it worked regarding young people looking to have a career in those days often included writing letters to various people they admired or aspired to be, especially in the entertainment business and radio/TV. I know many examples of people who became superstar-level famous writing letters to various musicians, TV hosts, radio DJ's, etc asking how they can get into the business. Some even kept the original replies, if they got one, and remembered exactly what they said.

So it's totally possible that a teenage Brian being a huge Four Freshmen fan says to his dad "I want to do what the Freshmen do". And Murry would say something like "If you want that success, you have to fight for it. If you like the Freshmen, write them a letter. Write their manager a letter. Find out how they did it and then fight to do it for yourself." And that's pretty much the mentality the post-war generation worked with when it came to trying to break into a business like making music or being a TV host when they grow up.

You did touch on another issue that Brian doesn't get enough credit for - How did a kid in 1962-63 get so much power to write, produce, arrange, and perform his own music with his band on a major label? This simply didn't happen, it wasn't done in the record business. I don't see it as much that Brian was "using" Murry as he *needed* Murry because major labels didn't have kids barely out of their teens telling them what they were going to do with their music, let alone producing and writing their own material. It was still pop music for kids, it wasn't Sinatra or Nat King Cole. Kids were not listened to or taken seriously. You needed an adult involved so the guys in suits could talk business while the kids were in the other room. You needed a trusted adult in the studio so the kids wouldn't write crayon scribble on the walls. That was the mindset.

It still blows my mind how Brian got producer credit and that freedom mixed with autonomy to allow him to cut records where he wanted and how he wanted in 1963. It just wasn't done in the industry with newer acts. People credit the Beatles with breaking down that wall of not needing to record what the A&R man told them, and being able to write and release primarily original songs. They were right, and right about Buddy Holly too in a lesser sense (not all Holly's hits were written by him), but here was young Brian Wilson doing all of that. I do credit Murry because he was a hustler and would push to get what he wanted in an old-school kind of way (schmoozing various execs and DJ's, all of that hustle...), but to navigate the business in 1962-63 as a new act they needed an adult to do a lot of that kind of work. It isn't as much a case of him being used, but someone (an adult) like Murry was needed to get in the door to do a lot of these things. Murry knew the "hard sell" and used it.

How else would a band of teenagers and guys barely out of their teens have gotten in the door at Capitol and then demanded they have control over what and how they recorded? It didn't happen in 1962.

This is reflected well in the '95 Don Was documentary, when Dave Crosby talks about Brian's respect within the early to mid 60's music business. I would never diminish the impact the Beatles had on the business side, but Brian is never given the credit he is due for the doors he broke down for the next generation of artists. His struggle for creative freedom really paved the way for the business mindset of the mid 60's to the mid 70's.

What can we take from this? A lot is written about Brian from a compositional / production viewpoint, but less about the business impact he had. Notions of creative freedom are taken for granted now, but people such as Brian had to fight for that, and it's a fight that's been going on since at least the late 18th century.

Indeed, the commodification of music is a fascinating subject. Of particular interest is the transition from the pre eminent model of music publishing, which had been dominant since Elizabethan times, to that of the marketing of recorded sound. This transition was seen in much the same apocalyptic terms as the era of downloading / streaming has had on the present. New models were needed, and the business survived. It is this idea of 'new modelling', which can be seen in these legacy / intellectual property decisions being made now.

When the copyright laws concerning recorded sound were created at the beginning of the last century, no one could have conceived of artists having 60+ years careers, hence the recent copyright law changes, (not to mention the wonderful 50 year releases we've had). This has also affected the mindset of an artists' commercial legacy.

Yes, all this music could pass into public domain, and left for posterity to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Or it could be respectfully stewarded into the future, with everyone clear on the impact and importance of this catalogue. It is worth remembering that it is not long ago that the idea of mentioning the Beach Boys in the same breathe as the Beatles would have been met with ridicule and disbelief. Post 1990's fans may not appreciate this, but it is true nonetheless.

I would rather live in a world where the catalogue of this work, and it's importance, is kept alive.
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« Reply #115 on: February 20, 2021, 10:04:58 AM »

With respect to the Brother Records plan conceived by Brian Wilson and David Anderle, it would be a mistake to lump that in with mere "branding," "marketing" and "selling." It was an art-driven plan, or a creativity-driven plan; money was not the sole, or driving motivation.  The thing about art and commerce is that it's not either/or, and it's not really saying much to point out that Brian had a business mind in the  1960s, which, to his credit, he did. He made some mistakes in the '60s, but by the mid-1960s, he knew what to do and was trying to do it.  He was not the spaced-out musical dreamer (or basket case) that history seems to portray him as.  The key point is how Brian had, by the mid-1960s, come to view the relationship between art and commerce. In a nutshell, he realized that art comes first - express yourself - and then sell it.   This is in fact the only way art can survive - if your governing motivation is selling and marketing, then art gets squashed, and all you're  left with is business songs.  For the vast majority of its lifespan, the Beach Boys put commerce first, and then, at best, told themselves they could make worthwhile music that way.

Re: Brian visiting the Freshmen's manager, that's an important thing to take account of. What it shows is that he, as a young man, had drive and ambition.  This reminds you of Dylan visiting Woody Guthrie, and Frank Zappa writing letters to Edgard Varese.  Whether this sort of thing was commonplace, I don't know - I would have assumed it to be unusual behavior, indicative of a very driven person who knows what they want to do.  That's what I had assumed, but if Guitarfool has the knowledge, that's interesting and good to know.  Nevertheless, on the issue of "drive" and "ambition"...


So it's totally possible that a teenage Brian being a huge Four Freshmen fan says to his dad "I want to do what the Freshmen do". And Murry would say something like "If you want that success, you have to fight for it. If you like the Freshmen, write them a letter. Write their manager a letter. Find out how they did it and then fight to do it for yourself." 

...this father-advises-son scenario is possible, but I don't think it's to be assumed. That is, Brian could have done this on his own. If I recall, the first I heard mention of this incident was Charles Granata's Pet Sounds book, where the former Freshmen manager is quoted, and if I recall he says nothing about Murry being involved. And from what we know about Murry, he would have been there, at the office, glued to Brian, had he known about this visit.

Basically, my point is that the idea that Brian needed Murry so much because (i) Brian was a shy introvert; (ii) Murry had the "drive" that Brian didn't have; (iii) Murry (and others in the organization) had the business-mindedness that Brian didn't have... all that is sketchy, if not outright wrong.  Which is the sort of thing I was getting at earlier in the thread where I commented (or was trying to say) that that the new business deal will have no impact on the transmission of the real Beach Boy story - its significance - to the public.  There's a ton of stuff that hasn't been dealt with in sufficient detail, and it's simply impossible for a "monetizing" business organization to do anything with it, except ignore it, deny it, or downplay (suppress) it for sake of profit.  Which of course is what the Beach Boys organization had already been doing quite successfully on its own.  I would be happy to be proven wrong by Azoff/Iconic, though.

And on that - I hope interested fans and Beach Boy-watchers don't get too excited about the Beach Boys' image being improved, or being recognized as "great." People have been trying to do that on-and-off for more than half a century. Brian Wilson himself was the first to try - with the help of people like Tony Asher and Van Dyke Parks.  Shortly thereafter (or at the same time) Derek Taylor was hired to help out.   Then David Anderle. Later, Jack Rieley tried. Warner Brothers seems to have been convinced that the group could be something it wasn't.   Later, members of the press have tried: Paul Williams, Timothy White, etc. You have well-meaning stewards of the music (the tapes, etc. ) who respect the music and do their best to help, and there have been (and apparently continue to be) journalists who find themselves inside the organization, trying to transmit good music to the public, to help improve things.  Now we have Irving Azoff's company to swoop in, and finally do what heretofore could not be done. I don't see anything of that sort happening, but would be happy to be proven wrong.
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« Reply #116 on: February 20, 2021, 10:11:48 AM »

Greg, the point you made about the Beatles and Beach Boys related to fans who weren't around in the 90's is something I've been writing and talking about for years. I go back to the years 1992-1994, roughly, and it was truly a Jekyll and Hyde scene, surreal if not kind of sad. I had taken that deep dive into a Beach Boys obsession, the timing was right because the PS reissue was still making waves and available, the 2-fers were in  the stores, in '93 the box set had come out with all of that glorious Smile material, etc.

Yet when I (and others I'm sure) were trying to share the pure joy of that music, you'd see the Beach Boys being represented differently than what that music would suggest. Summer In Paradise in the same bins as the Today/Summer Days 2-fer. Video of concerts with hula girls, cheerleaders, and Mike pretending to play a tenor sax next to clips of the original band kicking ass on the TAMI Show or the Sullivan appearances. The same band who did "California Girls" and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" doing a song originally written as a rap duet with Bart Simpson. It seemed like two different bands. In some ways it still does.

I think something was needed to make things more cohesive moving forward, and I'm hopeful this new deal is going to help in that regard. One of the reasons why The Beach Boys as a brand entity has been misunderstood and overlooked by so many is because there were too many entities out there labeled "The Beach Boys".

Dare I say it, when you say "The Beatles", it's one brand identity that everyone knows. There aren't multiple versions and variations of "The Beatles" in the marketplace, even though their image, music and sound changed drastically as a band.
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« Reply #117 on: February 20, 2021, 10:50:19 AM »

Greg, the point you made about the Beatles and Beach Boys related to fans who weren't around in the 90's is something I've been writing and talking about for years. I go back to the years 1992-1994, roughly, and it was truly a Jekyll and Hyde scene, surreal if not kind of sad. I had taken that deep dive into a Beach Boys obsession, the timing was right because the PS reissue was still making waves and available, the 2-fers were in  the stores, in '93 the box set had come out with all of that glorious Smile material, etc.

Yet when I (and others I'm sure) were trying to share the pure joy of that music, you'd see the Beach Boys being represented differently than what that music would suggest. Summer In Paradise in the same bins as the Today/Summer Days 2-fer. Video of concerts with hula girls, cheerleaders, and Mike pretending to play a tenor sax next to clips of the original band kicking ass on the TAMI Show or the Sullivan appearances. The same band who did "California Girls" and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" doing a song originally written as a rap duet with Bart Simpson. It seemed like two different bands. In some ways it still does.

I think something was needed to make things more cohesive moving forward, and I'm hopeful this new deal is going to help in that regard. One of the reasons why The Beach Boys as a brand entity has been misunderstood and overlooked by so many is because there were too many entities out there labeled "The Beach Boys".

Dare I say it, when you say "The Beatles", it's one brand identity that everyone knows. There aren't multiple versions and variations of "The Beatles" in the marketplace, even though their image, music and sound changed drastically as a band.

Absolutely. Why is it that one has no trouble reconciling 'Please Please Me' with 'Don't Let me Down', whilst recognising the value of 'Catch a Wave' when compared to 'Surf's Up' necessitates one become an apologist?

I think that schism has been part of the Beach Boys since the beginning, despite the fact that for every 'Surfing USA', there has always been a 'Lonely Sea'. For every (A) side of Today!, there has always been a (B) side.

And as easy as that is to simplify as a battle between Mike's positivity and Brian's melancholy, (read commercialism vs art), I think that schism cam be traced to Brian alone. He entered wholeheartedly into the commercialism of 'The Beach Boys', whilst always needing an outlet for his more esoteric work. Feel free to correct me, but I think Brian alone created the schizoid nature of 'The Beach Boys', which can be directly traced back to his strict upbringing telling him  to 'succeed' in direct conflict with his intellectual and emotional need to 'create'.

It's easy to forget that under the 'Beach Boys' label, the whole mythology of 'California Cool' was created. Then Brian spent the years from '65 onwards trying to escape his own creation.

Any attempt to embrace the legacy of 'The Beach Boys' needs to embrace the entire catalogue, and reconcile it into one powerful body of work like 'The Beatles'. I think this is something Brian never succeeded in doing due to his own inner narratives.
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« Reply #118 on: February 20, 2021, 12:02:24 PM »

The new merch looks good
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Seriously, there was a Beach Boys Love You condom?!  Amazing.
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« Reply #119 on: February 20, 2021, 12:12:47 PM »

Looking at the new website - wondering why 15 Big Ones might have been skipped over in this section.
There's a few later things missing too.
??
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« Reply #120 on: February 20, 2021, 01:10:00 PM »

Greg, the point you made about the Beatles and Beach Boys related to fans who weren't around in the 90's is something I've been writing and talking about for years. I go back to the years 1992-1994, roughly, and it was truly a Jekyll and Hyde scene, surreal if not kind of sad. I had taken that deep dive into a Beach Boys obsession, the timing was right because the PS reissue was still making waves and available, the 2-fers were in  the stores, in '93 the box set had come out with all of that glorious Smile material, etc.

Yet when I (and others I'm sure) were trying to share the pure joy of that music, you'd see the Beach Boys being represented differently than what that music would suggest. Summer In Paradise in the same bins as the Today/Summer Days 2-fer. Video of concerts with hula girls, cheerleaders, and Mike pretending to play a tenor sax next to clips of the original band kicking ass on the TAMI Show or the Sullivan appearances. The same band who did "California Girls" and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" doing a song originally written as a rap duet with Bart Simpson. It seemed like two different bands. In some ways it still does.

I think something was needed to make things more cohesive moving forward, and I'm hopeful this new deal is going to help in that regard. One of the reasons why The Beach Boys as a brand entity has been misunderstood and overlooked by so many is because there were too many entities out there labeled "The Beach Boys".

Dare I say it, when you say "The Beatles", it's one brand identity that everyone knows. There aren't multiple versions and variations of "The Beatles" in the marketplace, even though their image, music and sound changed drastically as a band.

Absolutely. Why is it that one has no trouble reconciling 'Please Please Me' with 'Don't Let me Down', whilst recognising the value of 'Catch a Wave' when compared to 'Surf's Up' necessitates one become an apologist?

I think that schism has been part of the Beach Boys since the beginning, despite the fact that for every 'Surfing USA', there has always been a 'Lonely Sea'. For every (A) side of Today!, there has always been a (B) side.

And as easy as that is to simplify as a battle between Mike's positivity and Brian's melancholy, (read commercialism vs art), I think that schism cam be traced to Brian alone. He entered wholeheartedly into the commercialism of 'The Beach Boys', whilst always needing an outlet for his more esoteric work. Feel free to correct me, but I think Brian alone created the schizoid nature of 'The Beach Boys', which can be directly traced back to his strict upbringing telling him  to 'succeed' in direct conflict with his intellectual and emotional need to 'create'.

It's easy to forget that under the 'Beach Boys' label, the whole mythology of 'California Cool' was created. Then Brian spent the years from '65 onwards trying to escape his own creation.

Any attempt to embrace the legacy of 'The Beach Boys' needs to embrace the entire catalogue, and reconcile it into one powerful body of work like 'The Beatles'. I think this is something Brian never succeeded in doing due to his own inner narratives.

We're on the same page, but I do disagree with some of those points. The Beatles were a true team of 4, along with their other inner circle outside and inside the studio. There was no one who could tell them "you cannot do that" after 1963. And they all basically vowed to not repeat themselves on every subsequent effort, and try new things in songwriting and sound. They changed after 1963 from album to album. When those elements above ceased to be the order of the day, and individual efforts started to become more important to those individuals than the band, they were done.

Brian specifically was told by his father and other band members "you cannot do this, you'll alienate our fans" on *Good Vibrations*, of all songs. One of the greatest singles of all time, done by a band with a successful track record, and that "inner circle" of his brothers, cousin, and father were doubting it.

Did anyone tell Lennon "you can't do" Tomorrow Never Knows or Strawberry Fields? No - They worked to make it happen. Did anyone tell McCartney "you can't do" a single that lasts over 7 minutes? No - They changed the record-cutting process to enable that single to come out as recorded on 45rpm. Did anyone tell Harrison "you can't do" Indian music with Indian musicians featured on a pop record? No. It came out and influenced others to go outside Western music for inspiration.

Those are just some examples where some groundbreaking music and unorthodox sounds could easily have been shot down or vetoed, by the band and management, no one did that to The Beatles.

One of the keys to understanding Brian Wilson is he seeks out and all but needs people around him to support what he's doing, in 60's lingo to "get on his trip" and be supportive. A lot of that came from the house he grew up in where he was always being told he needed to be better, his work wasn't good enough, etc. And when he's putting records on the top-40 charts barely out of his teens, his dad is there hectoring him and hassling him over production, singing, writing, the whole deal. Then a few years later his bandmates start doing similar things. He did indeed want to go further in his music - he inspired The Beatles to do that and other things in their own career, like drop out of regular touring to make the studio recordings and songs that much more complex and better - but there were nagging voices telling him you can't do that.

I know some will argue that didn't happen, and The Beach Boys were all peace, love, and big hugs all around, but it simply wasn't the case. Just as early as a few weeks ago Steve Levine and Brian found common ground with each other discussing the hassles they had to deal with as producers, in Brian's case telling Steve about the resistance he was met with on Pet Sounds from his bandmates. If some want to whitewash that part of the history off the books, they can try but that's what happened and those are the facts.

Finding a way to have Catch A Wave and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" has been difficult, but not impossible. I once had a songwriting class with a professor who was a major early Beatles and Beach Boys fan. One class, he walked in and went right to the upright piano, then started banging out the intro to "Catch A Wave", singing along and the people in the class who didn't know the song were amazed. He then broke down the chords, how Brian changed keys, and explained just how far-out doing such a change on a *surf* record really was in 1963-64. It was fascinating and fun, and those people in the class got an appreciation for just how good Brian's music really was, even beyond the stalwarts like God Only Knows. This was in the early 90's.

So it can be done, it's just a tall order to change perceptions.

What I think can't be done is to put utter crap that this band released up on the same shelf as their best work. Play someone "Summer Of Love" and gauge the reaction...and then put that next to the classics. It's almost impossible to square that up, it isn't like playing a surf hit from '63 next to 'Til I Die or something, and I think attempts to square up the dreck with the good stuff will be laughable if not harmful to the overall plan. It would be like introducing the music of Brian Wilson to someone by playing "Smart Girls". It's ridiculous and does not represent the man's music overall. You can't try to force it into the same bag without coming off as trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.

And again I think one of the key issues in making a cohesive brand identity is to limit how many different entities are either labeled or sold as "The Beach Boys" no matter what licenses are available. It doesn't make sense to cause the confusion where people watching a PBS holiday concert see Mike Love and Mark McGrath performing at a Beach Boys concert, billed as The Beach Boys, doing a Beach Boys classic from 1968, and it's a Mike Love solo project being promoted. That is not the way to market a cohesive brand when people are hearing a Beach Boys classic at a show billed as The Beach Boys but it isn't a Beach Boys project. Hell, even one of the articles I just saw and clicked on this past week was news about the Beach Boys, and the lead photo on the story page was Mark McGrath and John Stamos at one of Mike's drive-in gigs or something - not a Beach Boy in sight!

That can't happen if cohesiveness is the goal.
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« Reply #121 on: February 20, 2021, 02:23:38 PM »

Greg, the point you made about the Beatles and Beach Boys related to fans who weren't around in the 90's is something I've been writing and talking about for years. I go back to the years 1992-1994, roughly, and it was truly a Jekyll and Hyde scene, surreal if not kind of sad. I had taken that deep dive into a Beach Boys obsession, the timing was right because the PS reissue was still making waves and available, the 2-fers were in  the stores, in '93 the box set had come out with all of that glorious Smile material, etc.

Yet when I (and others I'm sure) were trying to share the pure joy of that music, you'd see the Beach Boys being represented differently than what that music would suggest. Summer In Paradise in the same bins as the Today/Summer Days 2-fer. Video of concerts with hula girls, cheerleaders, and Mike pretending to play a tenor sax next to clips of the original band kicking ass on the TAMI Show or the Sullivan appearances. The same band who did "California Girls" and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" doing a song originally written as a rap duet with Bart Simpson. It seemed like two different bands. In some ways it still does.

I think something was needed to make things more cohesive moving forward, and I'm hopeful this new deal is going to help in that regard. One of the reasons why The Beach Boys as a brand entity has been misunderstood and overlooked by so many is because there were too many entities out there labeled "The Beach Boys".

Dare I say it, when you say "The Beatles", it's one brand identity that everyone knows. There aren't multiple versions and variations of "The Beatles" in the marketplace, even though their image, music and sound changed drastically as a band.

Absolutely. Why is it that one has no trouble reconciling 'Please Please Me' with 'Don't Let me Down', whilst recognising the value of 'Catch a Wave' when compared to 'Surf's Up' necessitates one become an apologist?

I think that schism has been part of the Beach Boys since the beginning, despite the fact that for every 'Surfing USA', there has always been a 'Lonely Sea'. For every (A) side of Today!, there has always been a (B) side.

And as easy as that is to simplify as a battle between Mike's positivity and Brian's melancholy, (read commercialism vs art), I think that schism cam be traced to Brian alone. He entered wholeheartedly into the commercialism of 'The Beach Boys', whilst always needing an outlet for his more esoteric work. Feel free to correct me, but I think Brian alone created the schizoid nature of 'The Beach Boys', which can be directly traced back to his strict upbringing telling him  to 'succeed' in direct conflict with his intellectual and emotional need to 'create'.

It's easy to forget that under the 'Beach Boys' label, the whole mythology of 'California Cool' was created. Then Brian spent the years from '65 onwards trying to escape his own creation.

Any attempt to embrace the legacy of 'The Beach Boys' needs to embrace the entire catalogue, and reconcile it into one powerful body of work like 'The Beatles'. I think this is something Brian never succeeded in doing due to his own inner narratives.

We're on the same page, but I do disagree with some of those points. The Beatles were a true team of 4, along with their other inner circle outside and inside the studio. There was no one who could tell them "you cannot do that" after 1963. And they all basically vowed to not repeat themselves on every subsequent effort, and try new things in songwriting and sound. They changed after 1963 from album to album. When those elements above ceased to be the order of the day, and individual efforts started to become more important to those individuals than the band, they were done.

Brian specifically was told by his father and other band members "you cannot do this, you'll alienate our fans" on *Good Vibrations*, of all songs. One of the greatest singles of all time, done by a band with a successful track record, and that "inner circle" of his brothers, cousin, and father were doubting it.

Did anyone tell Lennon "you can't do" Tomorrow Never Knows or Strawberry Fields? No - They worked to make it happen. Did anyone tell McCartney "you can't do" a single that lasts over 7 minutes? No - They changed the record-cutting process to enable that single to come out as recorded on 45rpm. Did anyone tell Harrison "you can't do" Indian music with Indian musicians featured on a pop record? No. It came out and influenced others to go outside Western music for inspiration.

Those are just some examples where some groundbreaking music and unorthodox sounds could easily have been shot down or vetoed, by the band and management, no one did that to The Beatles.

One of the keys to understanding Brian Wilson is he seeks out and all but needs people around him to support what he's doing, in 60's lingo to "get on his trip" and be supportive. A lot of that came from the house he grew up in where he was always being told he needed to be better, his work wasn't good enough, etc. And when he's putting records on the top-40 charts barely out of his teens, his dad is there hectoring him and hassling him over production, singing, writing, the whole deal. Then a few years later his bandmates start doing similar things. He did indeed want to go further in his music - he inspired The Beatles to do that and other things in their own career, like drop out of regular touring to make the studio recordings and songs that much more complex and better - but there were nagging voices telling him you can't do that.

I know some will argue that didn't happen, and The Beach Boys were all peace, love, and big hugs all around, but it simply wasn't the case. Just as early as a few weeks ago Steve Levine and Brian found common ground with each other discussing the hassles they had to deal with as producers, in Brian's case telling Steve about the resistance he was met with on Pet Sounds from his bandmates. If some want to whitewash that part of the history off the books, they can try but that's what happened and those are the facts.

Finding a way to have Catch A Wave and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" has been difficult, but not impossible. I once had a songwriting class with a professor who was a major early Beatles and Beach Boys fan. One class, he walked in and went right to the upright piano, then started banging out the intro to "Catch A Wave", singing along and the people in the class who didn't know the song were amazed. He then broke down the chords, how Brian changed keys, and explained just how far-out doing such a change on a *surf* record really was in 1963-64. It was fascinating and fun, and those people in the class got an appreciation for just how good Brian's music really was, even beyond the stalwarts like God Only Knows. This was in the early 90's.

So it can be done, it's just a tall order to change perceptions.

What I think can't be done is to put utter crap that this band released up on the same shelf as their best work. Play someone "Summer Of Love" and gauge the reaction...and then put that next to the classics. It's almost impossible to square that up, it isn't like playing a surf hit from '63 next to 'Til I Die or something, and I think attempts to square up the dreck with the good stuff will be laughable if not harmful to the overall plan. It would be like introducing the music of Brian Wilson to someone by playing "Smart Girls". It's ridiculous and does not represent the man's music overall. You can't try to force it into the same bag without coming off as trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.

And again I think one of the key issues in making a cohesive brand identity is to limit how many different entities are either labeled or sold as "The Beach Boys" no matter what licenses are available. It doesn't make sense to cause the confusion where people watching a PBS holiday concert see Mike Love and Mark McGrath performing at a Beach Boys concert, billed as The Beach Boys, doing a Beach Boys classic from 1968, and it's a Mike Love solo project being promoted. That is not the way to market a cohesive brand when people are hearing a Beach Boys classic at a show billed as The Beach Boys but it isn't a Beach Boys project. Hell, even one of the articles I just saw and clicked on this past week was news about the Beach Boys, and the lead photo on the story page was Mark McGrath and John Stamos at one of Mike's drive-in gigs or something - not a Beach Boy in sight!

That can't happen if cohesiveness is the goal.

At some point, I think it would be a very good thing if your points above were echoed in some sort of official documentary by some music historians, or perhaps even by members of the band themselves. Not some homemade fan documentary, but something on the level of the Duplass brothers. Maybe some sort of reassessment of the band and a more honest take on their career will come about as a result either directly or indirectly of this new deal.

There needs to be a bit of a reckoning of coming to terms with not only the different sides of the band, but  admitting that some of the output was objectively awful. And getting into the deeps schisms of identity. I think it's a good first step that Irving Azoff spoke about the brand falling from the heights of Mount Rushmore, because that does actually admit that they fell from grace - and that is a completely accurate statement and a tragic one. The reasons are complex but I hope there can be some honesty in approaching those reasons without whitewashing, even if it means some members don't wind up looking all that great in the process. In fact, it's objectively necessary for that to be the case in order for there to be any honesty in the story.

Somebody earlier in this thread mentioned how the band/brand has never really been truly honest and that there's always been historical whitewashing of stuff in order to appease the egos of certain members of the band, in my view namely Mike. I hope that at some point there can be a proper in-depth documentary that talks real talk about some of the mistakes that the band has made over the years, and how ego and greed got in the way of art.

I know the goal of this type of massive monetary deal is not to "bring honesty" to the brand, but it's to monetize the brand. But I think somewhere along the line a balance can be struck, although I'm not sure if any of that is going to be in the lifetimes of the members of the band. It may be quite a long while before any real, objective documentary or book gets into the nitty-gritty of these issues that befell the band at the cost of not only great music, but at the cost of the mental health and physical health of the band members.

I think for fans to realize and understand the complexity of this band, and in order to grasp the full story and gain a greater appreciation for the great music that they made, an examination of why they took as many wrong turns as they took is just as important from a historical perspective. There's plenty of brand damage to be undone and to be unraveled.

The one thought that keeps crossing my mind, is why couldn't this have happened one year earlier before Mike inflicted so much damage on the brand in the year 2020? It's almost like they had to fall to this level of unprecedented dysfunction with the trophy hunting show and all of the Trump garbage in order to get them to realize how this was jeopardizing the brand. Or maybe the timing was just coincidental.

It's just pretty funny how most everybody, including myself, is happy at the idea that harebrained ideas like those shows probably won't continue to happen going forward under the brand name, yet for this restriction to happen mere months after a bunch of that awful negative stuff really makes me wish the timing could've been different. I still think that Mike crapped in the soup with regards to a potential forthcoming 60th anniversary reunion with his antics in 2020,  but that said I am trying to remain remain hopeful that this giant deal will effectively amount to damage control so that such things don't get any worse. And I am very excited for what this might bring with regards to future vault releases, first and foremost.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:46:24 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
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« Reply #122 on: February 20, 2021, 05:35:05 PM »

Side note...  I was just reading a piece about how Azoff is building a new $250 million arena on I-10 near Palm Springs.
https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/entertainment/music/2021/02/20/music-mogul-irving-azoff-return-live-music-california-desert/4515241001/

Set for opening in late 2022, he's promising "a big opening month" perhaps including the Eagles playing for 3 nights.
Hmmm... just wondering... perhaps a similar stint for the reunited BBs at Azoff's new digs? 
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« Reply #123 on: February 20, 2021, 08:13:20 PM »


Did anyone tell Lennon "you can't do" Tomorrow Never Knows or Strawberry Fields? No - They worked to make it happen. Did anyone tell McCartney "you can't do" a single that lasts over 7 minutes? No - They changed the record-cutting process to enable that single to come out as recorded on 45rpm. Did anyone tell Harrison "you can't do" Indian music with Indian musicians featured on a pop record? No. It came out and influenced others to go outside Western music for inspiration.


Did anyone tell Ringo "you can't write a song about an octopus!"? No... Well... actually, yes, somebody probably did tell him that.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 08:51:11 AM by Toursiveu » Logged
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« Reply #124 on: February 21, 2021, 12:26:10 AM »

We're on the same page, but I do disagree with some of those points

That's fine, and normally I would welcome any debate, especially with a seasoned text smith such as yourself!

However in this case I must concede that it was a lack of clarity in my argument which was to blame.

You are absolutely right that the early to mid period Beatles presented a united front, and was a supportive unit which relied on a healthy competitive dynamic to push them to ever greater heights.. You are also right that when this was no longer the case, they dissolved. This decision not only ties their story into a neat bundle, but also spares us any possible (probable?) decline in the quality and relevance of their work.

From there, your argument that any defence in favour of the Beach Boys work involve us not only having to reconcile 'Catch a Wave' with  'Surf's Up', but to reconcile  'Summer in Paradise' with 'All Summer Long'. I hadn't considered this in my post and you are right that it makes unifying this catalogue nearly impossible without careful curation or, failing that, a large dose of cognitive dissonance. However, my initial point that the early Beach Boys' work is not as highly valued as the early Beatles work is, I feel not only true, but also unfair, (though I am aware some may disagree with this).

Moving back to the support structure of the respective bands, I at no point meant to imply that the internal dynamic of The Beach Boys was, as you say peace, love, and big hugs. Anyone arguing this would be disregarding years of testimony and evidence to the contrary. I think what I take umbrage to is this narrative, which incidentally stems directly from Mike in the Endless Harmony doc, that Love supplied the positive (read extrovert) aspect and Brian the melancholic (read introvert). Such a simple, black and white narrative is similar to the one that states that Lennon wrote the rockers, and McCartney the ballads. Both positions are not only demonstrably untrue, but are also damaging and pernicious when it comes to discussing legacy. Consider that Mike often strawmans us by conflating positivity with  commercial success, and melancholy with commercial failure. Anyone who accuses pre-Smile Brian of not understanding what makes a commercial hit is simply wrong, but this fallacy allows Mike to become the architect of their success.

I much prefer the nuanced position that the introverted and the extroverted side of the Beach Boys, this fascinating yin yan which pervades all of their best work' stems predominantly from Brian's character. Brian. as the ultimate arbiter of what went on the classic period LPs, expresses this inner argument time and time again. That this inner battle resulted from his damaged upbringing and his complicated relationship with his bandmates is of course pertinent, but it only takes us so far in explaining the music.

And it is music, rather than lyrics which best demonstrates this 'light and dark' aspect to his work. Pet Sounds, a work which Mike, regardless of his many arguments in favour of, would probably describe as introspective. Lyrically his argument would hold water. However, the almost painful emotion expressed in the backing track of 'Don't Talk'  is counterbalanced by the absolute joy of life that in the track for 'Wouldn't it be Nice?' That this interaction between mood often happens within a single song, take the track for 'I'm Waiting for the Day', or 'Good Vibrations', is one of the things that gives this music its power. It is not just a case of major key vs minor key, or up-tempo vs slow. This light and dark is built into the composition and arrangements in a masterful way. I'm sure someone like Joshilyn Hoisington could explain how Brian does this far better than me!

Apologies for the waffle, which is probably no clearer than my preceding post. My main point is that this yin yan nature of the Beach Boys is far more pronounced than in other bands. Partly it is their strong, early branding in conflict with their later attempts to distance themselves from it (before returning to it). Partly it is conflict within and around the band. Mostly however, I feel it comes from Brian himself, who expertly built his inner conflicts into the fabric of his work, at the compositional level. In this regard I don't think it's any mistake that he's sometimes referred to as 'the Mozart of pop'
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 01:22:23 AM by Greg Parry » Logged
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