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672450 Posts in 27078 Topics by 3981 Members - Latest Member: Toxic34 October 25, 2021, 01:12:30 AM
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Author Topic: Demos posted to Brian Wilson's website  (Read 4917 times)
Wirestone
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« Reply #50 on: July 22, 2021, 08:41:40 AM »

For that matter, those lucky old son recordings aren’t precisely demos either — fairly sure that elements from those made it to the final album as well.
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« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2021, 09:03:54 AM »

I'm especially digging those BWPS sessions. Just wow.
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« Reply #52 on: July 22, 2021, 09:34:17 AM »

While, as I've been saying, I have no problem using a descriptor for the Paley stuff other than "demos" (especially if presented in some sort of actual release), I don't think any incredulity is in order when it comes to other people calling them "demos." Brian sort of called them demos at some point, his website calls them demos now, Don Was apparently considered them demos in some fashion, Joe Thomas considered them as some form of demo.

I mean, if we're willing to say that the labeling of a fixed recording as a "demo" can change over time depending on what subsequently happens, then I think that just as easily opens the door to making it easier to call the Paley stuff demos.

When Don Was tracked vocals for "Soul.." and "Mystery" in 1995 with Brian and the Beach Boys, he was using *new* backing tracks that he (Was) had cut/produced, for *both* tracks. At that point, Paley's previous versions were very much functioning as "demos". Perhaps we can call them "studio demos" to differentiate from impromptu/solo/home demos.

If this format/pattern had continued for an entire Was-produced Beach Boys album, with Was re-cutting backing tracks to songs Brian and Andy had written, it would be pretty easy to call those previous Paley-helmed recordings "demos."

Andy Paley may have been confident that what he was cutting with Brian was 100% commercially viable and unimpeachable, and fans can certainly weigh in and feel the stuff certainly meets most general criteria for "releasable", but that doesn't mean everybody would have felt that way. Indeed, Was re-cut those two backing tracks (assuming Paley had at some point cut a backing track to "Mystery", which, if true, is a track we haven't ever heard), and subsequently others felt that one possible angle in using the *material* was to re-record it.

In terms of the semantics of the terms, Paley's tracks in some cases served as "demos", but were also recorded in such a way that they could be presented as new, finished material on a new album. It easily could have shaken out in such a way that a 1996 Beach Boys album featured some re-made Paley tracks, some Paley tracks with further overdubs, and some Paley tracks more or less as-is.

I think where we're not getting as much into the weeds is to discuss the *quality* of what Paley and Brian cut. Not the quality of the *songs*, but the quality of the recordings/performances and in some cases mixes. And while I love the material, feel it is competently recorded, and I would love for the Beach Boys to have just overdubbed their vocals onto those tracks as-is and put the album out that way, I can also see how given the commercial instincts one might have to put out material in 1995/96, even new "retro" sounding material for a 60s band, one might feel the Paley recordings were a bit too sparse or unpolished or whatever term one might use to indicate that, "hey, these are good songs but maybe somebody like Don Was or Jeff Lynne or someone can come in and keep the retro sound while making it sound a bit more modern and commercial."
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« Reply #53 on: July 22, 2021, 10:00:40 AM »

I'm aware of all that - did say 'one of'.

Other fans reading may not be as aware of the backstory or the context in which all this was happening, and there is even more to it than what's posted above.

I guess I read it and thought with Don Was' emotional involvement in working with Brian, and trying to facilitate getting the Beach Boys back together and recording with Brian in the studio, combined with his track record as a top producer with his own modern "wrecking crew" of studio pros available, he's not going to walk away from this because he couldn't re-capture the feel of the original Paley tracks. Again I'll repeat it could have been a factor, but in the context of everything that was going on, I don't see it as nearly that big of a factor as Carl vetoing the track(s) they were cutting and all attention being shifted to the Stars & Stripes project in the first half of '96. Don was basically shut down by those decisions, he had nothing left to do because the band members went in other directions.

I'll have to get the timeline but it could have been possible that by the time that interview with Brian appeared in a March '96 magazine article, with glowing praise and enthusiasm all around for what they were doing with Don and Andy in the studio, the decisions that scuppered the project had already been made. I just don't know the exact timeline, if anyone does, because it was all reported after the fact from private meetings among the band. But I know that when we were reading all of this enthusiastic reporting at the time, it felt like some amazing things were actually going to happen. I guess you had to be there to really get the sense of the impossible actually becoming possible while reading all that stuff and seeing reports about the band working together again and Brian back in the studio. And even enthusiasm for a new song called "Baywatch Nights" was high because it was reported as a genuine new Wilson/Love collaboration that was set to air on TV at some point.
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« Reply #54 on: July 22, 2021, 10:11:45 AM »

While, as I've been saying, I have no problem using a descriptor for the Paley stuff other than "demos" (especially if presented in some sort of actual release), I don't think any incredulity is in order when it comes to other people calling them "demos." Brian sort of called them demos at some point, his website calls them demos now, Don Was apparently considered them demos in some fashion, Joe Thomas considered them as some form of demo.

I mean, if we're willing to say that the labeling of a fixed recording as a "demo" can change over time depending on what subsequently happens, then I think that just as easily opens the door to making it easier to call the Paley stuff demos.

When Don Was tracked vocals for "Soul.." and "Mystery" in 1995 with Brian and the Beach Boys, he was using *new* backing tracks that he (Was) had cut/produced, for *both* tracks. At that point, Paley's previous versions were very much functioning as "demos". Perhaps we can call them "studio demos" to differentiate from impromptu/solo/home demos.

If this format/pattern had continued for an entire Was-produced Beach Boys album, with Was re-cutting backing tracks to songs Brian and Andy had written, it would be pretty easy to call those previous Paley-helmed recordings "demos."

Andy Paley may have been confident that what he was cutting with Brian was 100% commercially viable and unimpeachable, and fans can certainly weigh in and feel the stuff certainly meets most general criteria for "releasable", but that doesn't mean everybody would have felt that way. Indeed, Was re-cut those two backing tracks (assuming Paley had at some point cut a backing track to "Mystery", which, if true, is a track we haven't ever heard), and subsequently others felt that one possible angle in using the *material* was to re-record it.

In terms of the semantics of the terms, Paley's tracks in some cases served as "demos", but were also recorded in such a way that they could be presented as new, finished material on a new album. It easily could have shaken out in such a way that a 1996 Beach Boys album featured some re-made Paley tracks, some Paley tracks with further overdubs, and some Paley tracks more or less as-is.

I think where we're not getting as much into the weeds is to discuss the *quality* of what Paley and Brian cut. Not the quality of the *songs*, but the quality of the recordings/performances and in some cases mixes. And while I love the material, feel it is competently recorded, and I would love for the Beach Boys to have just overdubbed their vocals onto those tracks as-is and put the album out that way, I can also see how given the commercial instincts one might have to put out material in 1995/96, even new "retro" sounding material for a 60s band, one might feel the Paley recordings were a bit too sparse or unpolished or whatever term one might use to indicate that, "hey, these are good songs but maybe somebody like Don Was or Jeff Lynne or someone can come in and keep the retro sound while making it sound a bit more modern and commercial."

As I mentioned on the previous page, a major part of what Don Was wanted to do in the studio was to record very much like how Brian was recording in 65-66, with a live band in the studio, made up of studio pros ready to execute ideas on the spot, to capture that energy and also to put Brian into that type of live energy situation as well. That's a totally different production mindset than what Brian and Andy had been doing, again absolutely not to take anything away from those tracks, but when you have one or two musicians building up a song one track at a time with overdubbing, it's not going to sound the same as having the players live on the studio floor adding to the process.

This is just my opinion, but I also think Don Was may have been playing that card in a very sly way in order to get the other Beach Boys on board with the project. Specifically, Mike has been saying for a long time how he wanted to write again with Brian in a room alone with a piano, and get back to making records like they did in the golden era of 1965, and here was Don Was offering something that would fit the bill. He had Mike and Brian working together on songs, he had a studio setup resembling how Brian did it in 65-66, and for a brief time it felt like fences were being mended and the Beach Boys were going to be working on original music together again.
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« Reply #55 on: July 22, 2021, 12:46:51 PM »

Regarding Don Was's feeling about Paley's recordings versus his (Was), and Was's reasons for not continuing work on the project, I don't even know that we have a super clear picture.

I've certainly never had the impression Was walked away because he thought he "couldn't improve upon" Paley's recording work. (If there are interviews, I'd certainly be interested in reading them). I'm not even sure Was walked away so much as the various potential brewing group projects simply fizzled and then "Stars and Stripes" got the green light.

I do recall the one story about Was re-recording a backing track, and then slowly re-integrating Paley elements to the point where it was going to be the original Paley track. I think Was recognized in that case that he wasn't getting an improvement on Paley's track. But I'm not sure Was felt this was across the board.

I think just nothing effusively energetic was coming from the Beach Boys concerning working with Paley and/or Was in any particular configuration. We have the account of singer Cindy Lee Berryhill who described a lot of passive aggressive weirdness during the group vocal sessions for one or both tracks. Was and Paley are both there apparently. Mike asks who even wrote the material, Mike is being snarky, Brian surprisingly is being snarky right back to Mike.

Bruce Johnston would later describe that it was a "favor" for the band to work on those Brian/Andy tracks, seeming to feel the material wasn't that strong.

Carl's position on the material has been debated. We've established he didn't like the Was backing track for "Soul Searchin'", and this was rectified without Carl's knowledge (while Carl was still alive) by the first attempt to graft the Was vocals back onto the Paley backing track. Presumably he would have had a chance to hear this at some point had things gone better.

I recall Mike saying in the Carlin book that he was something like willing, but not enthusiastic to work on the material. In other interviews, I believe he has expressed a stronger liking for the material.

Al has said he liked the material.

Add to that all of the weird political/business/financial stuff that always goes along with these projects, and it's not that surprising that it all kind of fizzled.

It's interesting that Usher in the 80s and Paley (and to some degree Was) in the 90s couldn't make this format work, to bring in material worked on by Brian and one outsider for the band to work on.

Who eventually made this similar format work? Joe Thomas in 2011/12. What was the difference? Well, there were a lot of factors of course, but one factor was that Thomas also brought cash and organization to the table; he brought the full machine to make it all happen front-to-back. Thomas was able to secure funds and make the reunion project, including an album, happen. Whatever misgivings any member might have had about it being predominantly a Brian-and-one-outside-writer Beach Boys album were quelled by enough advance cash and ready-to-go deals to make it all happen. It's no fault of Usher and Paley that they did not have these types of resources (nor probably a willingness to be *the guy* in charge of the project).
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« Reply #56 on: July 22, 2021, 01:29:33 PM »


I recall Mike saying in the Carlin book that he was something like willing, but not enthusiastic to work on the material. In other interviews, I believe he has expressed a stronger liking for the material.




IIRC Mike offered or agreed to write new lyrics for "Chain Reaction of Love".
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« Reply #57 on: September 20, 2021, 08:42:27 AM »

Pretty wild to finally hear "Terry She Needs Me", since I knew they'd taken a stab at this song in 1987/88 for Brian's debut album, but I don't think it had ever circulated before this. Clearly, they didn't get very far in 1987/8! Still neat to hear.

IMO, "Sandy/Sherry She Needs Me" is the most inexplicable abandoned track in the Beach Boys' 1960s catalog. A gorgeous composition never quite brought to the finish line (even if "She Says That She Needs Me" gets close).
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« Reply #58 on: September 24, 2021, 07:51:56 AM »

Regarding "You're Still a Mystery", who sings the "it's happening again, I thought you were my friend" sections? 
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