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671847 Posts in 27041 Topics by 3971 Members - Latest Member: kindofgreen September 21, 2021, 04:12:06 AM
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1  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New Brian music this Friday ? on: September 18, 2021, 10:08:24 AM
Just want to thank Shady for not putting the words “Don’t get excited” in the title of the thread LOL goodness, four pages of negativity about this project at the place where positivity and rational thought go to die.

A nice tidbit I picked up there though, Darian told AGD that the entirety of GOK is Brian. While I figured that Brian was doing the rhythm/backing piano, I wondered if Darian was accompanying him on another piano playing the melody. Nice to hear that it’s all Brian (obviously overdubbing the melody)! Hopefully that puts an end to the iT cAnT bE bRiAn He CaNt Do AnYtHiNg!!!! talk. Edit: also want to add that I’d love it if Darian did accompany Brian on any of these tracks, but it’s cool to know that Brian did it all, at least for GOK.

Great news about the Amazon placement!! I hope Brian is very happy about that.


Yeah, by all means, DON'T GET EXCITED!  LOL  What a farce.

It is amazing how the discussions seem to turn to conspiracy theories about Brian's involvement no matter what the man seems to do. And I wonder if the same voices who were critical of fans posting wish-lists of what they'd like to see on the Feel Flows set before it was released and calling them "entitled" because they were talking about such things and wanting the set are the same ones blasting this Brian album because it isn't what they want. Hypocrisy, much? All I can say is, yet again, what a farce. If people want that kind of conversation, have at it. I'm glad it's not here.  Smiley

It's Brian playing piano on this project. That's about all there is to say on that topic. If you dig it, great. If you don't, don't buy it. 

I'll second the notion that the cover alone makes the vinyl worth buying, I'd frame that vintage shot!
2  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New Brian music this Friday ? on: September 18, 2021, 10:01:25 AM
I'm very, very excited too...but, I'm biased because any time Brian and Darian work together on music, it's something special. I loved God Only Knows so far, the piano texture allows those rich chord voicings and changes, and that beautiful melody, to breathe and be heard on their own merits without anything else on top. It gets to the heart of the music and how it was constructed, and played by the composer.

Just wanted to point out a precedent and a parallel between Brian Wilson and George Gershwin. It was a project called "Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls". I bought the album when it came out, and it's a fascinating listen. You get to hear one of the key pieces of musical inspiration in Brian's life, "Rhapsody In Blue", as imagined and played/arranged by its composer Gershwin in the form of a piano roll. So it's a solo piano, more or less, with "overdubs" as the old piano roll technology allowed the player to stack part after part onto the roll via the punch-out holes which the player piano would read mechanically. This was Gershwin's interpretation of his tune minus the orchestration, and Rhapsody on that set is worth the price of the album alone. Absolutely beautiful, and you get to hear that music "played" by its composer.

The Gershwin Piano Rolls album was very well received, and you had fans and musicologists excited across the board to hear what are now classic songs as played and imagined by their composer, and done so on primitive media from the teens and 20's that allowed the paper rolls to be "played" and imported onto modern equipment and a state of the art grand piano which was then recorded. I think the biggest draw was being able to hear how Gershwin himself played and heard his own songs on the piano, minus the familiar arrangements and orchestrations that most listeners would recognize.

For those who don't know about the Gershwin project, here's more info: http://albumlinernotes.com/The_Piano_Rolls.html

So in this case of Brian's piano recordings, it's conceptually even better than the Gershwin project: It's not a piano roll fed into a player piano, it's his own hands playing his compositions.

Just some perspective and precedent to consider.  

Great post, Guitarfool. Listening to the Piano Rolls Rhapsody in Blue now. I’ve heard so many different versions of that song - really cool to hear how he envisioned the song himself!

One of my favorite parts of any Brian Wilson/Beach Boys documentary is when he sits down at a piano and plays - sometimes he sings along to the song, other times he just lets the piano do all the work. These were always wonderful little glimpses into Brian’s domain. And now we have a full album of him at the piano. 48 minutes of Brian playing piano for us, what a great gift to us fans!

I’m sure it has been mentioned, and probably everyone knows by now, but the date for release is November 19. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more singles out of this before it drops!

It is really cool, right? I actually bought the Gershwin Piano Rolls album specifically for his solo take on Rhapsody, and I love that version, as great as the fully orchestrated version is. I ended up enjoying the whole album, but that Rhapsody version is really special to hear.

I'm hoping people here get the same vibes with this upcoming Brian piano album too, where you hear the composer playing his music, just him and the piano. I think it's a great concept and have been waiting for something like this for a long time. Kudos to everyone involved.

FYI checking some of the online sales sites, it looks like the release dates are not the same, and I saw a date of December for the vinyl. Hopefully more info to come because I saw at least three different release dates so far.
3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: New Brian music this Friday ? on: September 17, 2021, 09:21:04 AM
I'm very, very excited too...but, I'm biased because any time Brian and Darian work together on music, it's something special. I loved God Only Knows so far, the piano texture allows those rich chord voicings and changes, and that beautiful melody, to breathe and be heard on their own merits without anything else on top. It gets to the heart of the music and how it was constructed, and played by the composer.

Just wanted to point out a precedent and a parallel between Brian Wilson and George Gershwin. It was a project called "Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls". I bought the album when it came out, and it's a fascinating listen. You get to hear one of the key pieces of musical inspiration in Brian's life, "Rhapsody In Blue", as imagined and played/arranged by its composer Gershwin in the form of a piano roll. So it's a solo piano, more or less, with "overdubs" as the old piano roll technology allowed the player to stack part after part onto the roll via the punch-out holes which the player piano would read mechanically. This was Gershwin's interpretation of his tune minus the orchestration, and Rhapsody on that set is worth the price of the album alone. Absolutely beautiful, and you get to hear that music "played" by its composer.

The Gershwin Piano Rolls album was very well received, and you had fans and musicologists excited across the board to hear what are now classic songs as played and imagined by their composer, and done so on primitive media from the teens and 20's that allowed the paper rolls to be "played" and imported onto modern equipment and a state of the art grand piano which was then recorded. I think the biggest draw was being able to hear how Gershwin himself played and heard his own songs on the piano, minus the familiar arrangements and orchestrations that most listeners would recognize.

For those who don't know about the Gershwin project, here's more info: http://albumlinernotes.com/The_Piano_Rolls.html

So in this case of Brian's piano recordings, it's conceptually even better than the Gershwin project: It's not a piano roll fed into a player piano, it's his own hands playing his compositions.

Just some perspective and precedent to consider.  
4  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 16, 2021, 05:23:32 PM
I have been thinking about Manson's trip to Esalen, and how it could be a key factor in the murders. It also leads me to speculate that one true motive may not exist. It may be an accumulation of events leading up to the murders that all contributed...perhaps Esalen among them.

So, if Charlie makes the trip up there to audition, presumably for Big Sur Folk Festival,1969, who set it up? Terry,Gregg, Mama Cass?? It does make sense based on the concept of the festival, combining established acts with unknown performers. At this point, maybe Terry and Gregg have exhausted options, in terms of trying to record Charlie, and see this audition as a way of still doing their part to try and get his music career going, while also hoping to pass the buck, somewhat, if things go south.

It certainly is funny timing, and if Stephanie Schramm is to be believed, Charlie ain't happy with the results of the meeting. Does it go deeper, with Folgers connections to the Institute? Who knows.

But I think it shines light on something that is somewhat overlooked in this entire narrative. There was likely a huge disconnect in philosophy between guys like Manson and those who were immersed in the world of Hollywood entertainment, be it the music or film industries.

I spent some time with guys who were affiliated with Biker gangs and had done some pretty significant stretches in jail. Everything they did, in business, especially was completely governed by two main ideologies: never ever lie, and always follow through if you give your word on something. Failure to do either meant any retribution was justifiable. It wouldn't surprise me if Charlie adopted that same code, I think it is a theme throughout his many ramblings. In juxtaposition, and I don't mean to generalize, but I think the Universe that guys like Terry lived in, is one filled with broken promises. A casting couch mentality where people and their hopes of stardom are cast aside on a regular basis. While Terry, and others might not think twice of stringing Charlie along, while partaking in the girls, for Charlie, the moment someone says they are gonna make him a star, that's it. Follow through is absolutely expected.

So maybe Charlie loses it after the humiliation and rejection of Esalen....

I've heard that theory and I guess it's plausible, and another connection was Abigail "Gibbie" Folger's involvement and investment in Esalen, as well as Abigail's mother having been a volunteer with the Haight-Ashbury clinic that O'Neill mentions so prominently in his book, the same clinic that had the Smiths, Jolly West, and a visitor named Manson...

But like so much else, the Esalen angle hits a brick wall because those who run (and ran) the Esalen retreat and center said Charles Manson was never there, they insist Manson wasn't there, and they even lawyered up in the past when a journalist was researching a story about Manson that would have mentioned him being there. So it's literally a brick wall, when the folks from Esalen insist Manson was not a guest there and hire lawyers to insist Manson wasn't there.

Like the other Hollywood/Music Biz connections, keep in mind Esalen was funded by and had as influential members some very wealthy and connected people at that time, and they knew how to keep secrets.

Do I think Manson was there? Absolutely. Too many people, including Manson himself, have said he was there. Can it be proven if Esalen denies it? There's the rub.

Interesting to note too that the artists who played Esalen's Big Sur music festival from 68-70 were artists who Manson had connections to, including the Beach Boys.

If whoever was there at Esalen did somehow reject him and his music, and we believe Stephanie Schramm when she said Manson came out of that meeting and slapped her around in a fit of anger, and we believe it was Gregg Jacobsen who had the connections to the Big Sur fest and organizers at Esalen, who knows what the implications were on what happened later. But the Folger connection is not something to be ignored, both the mother working at the clinic and the daughter being a major benefactor and  potentially being there on-site when Manson showed up with Schramm waiting in the van.

I just think they had a way of buying privacy for the organization and the members at Esalen, for what it's worth. And some have suggested the government had a surveillance operation running there too.

And yes, I have heard interviews with Manson where he talks about the code or blood oath you're describing, and he got fired up about it because he truly did live by that code that a man's word was his bond and a sacred oath, and anyone who violated it and did not live up to their word should be punished. That's how he lived as a con for all those years, and that's how the bikers he was dealing with lived.
5  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Smile Influence on Keepin' The Summer Alive Album? on: September 16, 2021, 05:09:02 PM
Specifically on Goin' On, that vocal hook sounds so similar to the vocal snippet that plays before the string outro on the Smile Sessions version of Heroes and Villains. Is there any proven influence, or is it just a coincidence as far as we can tell?

Actually the influence is originally from Les Paul and Mary Ford's hit "How High The Moon". 10 years ago this week I made and posted this video about that vocal segment that Brian used and reused multiple times, take a listen to the audio examples and see what you think:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmdQ0jc6rQg
6  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 15, 2021, 07:19:31 PM
Just want to say that "Join The Human Race" makes some very relevant and important points in the posts above, and to say thank you for those posts. I, too, am a fan but I am also a student of history, and if there are still so many unanswered questions and such obvious proof of misconduct if not illegal activity done by the prosecution in order to secure a win in court, it goes far beyond The Beach Boys. In fact, most of this is not about Dennis or Terry or whoever else, and the bigger unanswered questions encapsulate Hollywood, the music business, and the government far beyond the scope of a single band or band members.

If the narrative that has existed for this many decades is wrong, and can be proven wrong, isn't there some responsibility to correct it? This was and is considered one of the most watched trials in history, and we're supposed to accept a false narrative? Hell no! (nod to Bobby Whitlock there...)

It still comes back to the simple point of people saying they will take "the truth" about this case to their grave, or simply not talk about it, yet we're also supposed to blindly believe that Bugliosi's narrative and "Helter Skelter" is that truth. And what, everything else is a nutty conspiracy? No way. If Bugliosi and "Helter Skelter" was the truth, no one would need to take anything to their grave because the truth was already published in the 70's and put into open court during the trials.

And yes, it sucks that Dennis and Mike and whoever else in their group of friends got involved in this tragic mess of events and people, but the fact is that they did, and if there are still issues regarding the case, that involvement can't be swept under the proverbial rug if the history is being written with any degree of accuracy or integrity.





7  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Jan & Dean are terrible singers on: September 15, 2021, 05:54:46 PM
I also agree on the second point. People like George, Ray Davies, even John Lennon half the time were not what is generally thought of as "exceptional" singers. But that's OK - they get the job done (especially on their own songs), and justify people like me singing my own songs!  Smiley

John Lennon, really? He's universally regarded as one of the best singers in rock history, and I have to agree. Even for studio recording, which he didn't care for, Lennon's pitch, phrasing, and diction in terms of singing rock and roll was almost perfect, and his singing voice in general was pretty much considered exceptional by most.
8  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Jan & Dean are terrible singers on: September 15, 2021, 05:44:25 PM
As someone who has been a fan of The Beach Boys for most of his life, and got into Jan & Dean only within the last few years, there is certainly no question that even at their most ragged The Boys could sing circles around Jan & Dean (and many of their other contemporary sound-alikes as well) but I would argue that Jan & Dean have plenty of passionate vocals (some of the more passionate ones are sometimes also the more out-of-tune ones) and would agree that for me, these qualities that are detractors for some are more of a personal flavor that makes their songs all the more unique. I'd say in my (unprofessional) opinion they are better-than-average singers, but maybe just didn't really care all that much. As a wise man once said, "It's just a ride..."

The point in bold is probably the key issue I have in this discussion and with Jan & Dean in general. There are people telling us how much care and attention Jan Berry gave to his studio productions, writing out each and every part for the musicians to play and mixing everything with such meticulous attention to detail, really taking the craft of recording and arranging pop or teen music into an art form.

Then you hear the out of tune vocals, and vocal tracks which sound like they really didn't care all that much, and it almost immediately destroys the other point by example.

Again the question becomes why would such care and attention be given to the instrumental tracks only to put vocals on those tracks that too often sound like they were half-assed?

9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 15, 2021, 09:31:33 AM
So I finished the book and there is a lot take away, but first, I think the Beach Boys fandom needs to confront that Dennis (and the band) were much closer to Manson than we will ever know. Reading and posting on another forum about this topic, I have noticed several fans who buy the Bugliosi "Helter Skelter" hook, line, and sinker. They seem to judge the book without having read it; that any talk is merely conspiratorial garbage and should be dismissed. I think the fandom has blinders on the life of Dennis Wilson. I love Dennis' music, but the man was completely reckless and, like all of the Wilsons (you too, Mike), in need of some mental health treatment.

I was going back through the Manson portions of Heroes and Villains after reading Chaos. There are startling revelations made in passing about Dennis. I'm not sure where Gaines got the source for this information, but he says that in addition to bonding over young, attractive girls; Dennis and Manson also had a mutual dislike of black people. There are anecdotes that people say about Dennis not being afraid of Manson, but Gaines writes that Manson sensed fear in Dennis and knew how to prey on it. Charlie took clear advantage of Dennis generosity and it seems it was willfully. Dennis even quotes Manson telling him that fear is nothing but awareness. That's some Landy-esque talk right there; just Manson used psychedelics and Landy used pharmaceuticals. Maybe Dennis did punch out Manson as Van Dyke's hearsay would have us believe, but I do feel like Manson knew how to manipulate Dennis.

Dennis and Charlie also bonded over orgiastic sex; which kind of falls in line with Dennis' "I live with 17 girls" quote. (Add Mike's claim about group sex to this as well and you start to see that this is the stuff they did.) Gaines even includes Audree discussing meeting Manson and the family and warning Dennis not to tell Murry about her visit, which of course Dennis did anyway. Gaines quotes Croxey Adams several times, who was a 15 year old girlfriend of 23 year old Dennis when the family lived with him. This stuff doesn't age well. Again, I think the fandom has a blind spot for Dennis' actions at times, because he's the charismatic Dennis. I understand why people are defensive, but the truth is that Dennis, like Melcher and many other celebrities of the time, probably had closer relations with the Family then we will ever know. Does this implicate Dennis as a murderer? Hell, no. It does show though that Dennis was vulnerable and prone to being taken advantage of. I view this timeframe as critical in the history of the BB. They have left Capitol and now need to make it big for Warner. Brian's back in the studio more after 20/20, the band's working as a whole and musically, they are really firing on all cylinders.

But then, you have Murry selling the catalog in November 1969 and Manson getting arrested in December. Mike's hospitalized February 1970 after his apple juice fast. I can't imagine the inner band drama during this time; especially after Sunflower bombed. Nothing was going right for them and now the cloud of Manson was tied to them forever. I think the fallout of Manson on the BB has been understated. It further emphasized them as persona non grata when it come to air time. It probably created or, really furthered, resentment between some members of the band. Judging by the Bellagio timeline, Brian starts doing less for the band after Sunflower's failure. A lot of the Manson stuff had a cumulative effect and I'm sure it contributed to the decline of Brian (and obviously Dennis). If Endless Summer was never released, the group could have easily faded away after Holland. By the time of Brian's Back, it seems like the band only stayed together for the money, which of course, created even more problems.  

O'Neill cites Jon Parks, Jon Stebbins, Stephen Desper, Brad Elliot, Karen Lamm, David Anderle, Alan Boyd, Stanley Shapiro, Nick Grillo, Ryan Oskenberg and Ed Roach for his notes on his Beach Boys sources. That's a pretty good array of knowledge on the band. Through Rudy Altobelli, he was given Carole Wilson's phone number, but after initially agreeing to do an interview, she backed out, saying that it's a scary thing and that anyone who knows anything won't talk. Altobelli told O'Neill that Carole had a diary of the time Dennis met Tex Watson and that she hated Melcher. She even had a picture of Dennis naked with some of the family girls around the pool. The one thing she did say to O'Neill was that there was more going with Hollywood and the Family than has been reported. He also mentions Carole pursued a romance with Jay Sebring around this time, which he said had never been reported before.

Another individual that's connected to Manson via Dennis is the mysterious Reeve Whitson, who also has connections with Hatami, Polanski, and Jay Sebring. Chaos mentions Whitson met Manson through Dennis. Has anyone ever seen that name floating around in BB circles during this time? Even just a passing reference?

Terry Melcher does not come across good in the book. The handwritten Bugliosi note of Decarlo saying he saw Melcher at Spahn after the murders is damning to the Helter Skelter narrative and also meant that Melched lied under oath. It's interesting how Melcher always slides in and out of the Beach Boys world. I also wonder what Bruce's connection was to all this being in the same band as Dennis and having that history with Terry.

Excellent post, and great info to share.

The whole thing about "the truth will never be revealed" is what keeps the whole Manson saga alive and has new readers wanting to explore further.

So "the truth" will never be spoken and will go to the grave with the people who were there, yet we're told something like the Bugliosi book and narrative is *THE TRUTH*? How can people not see the contradiction there?

I have to come back to what I shared here earlier, in how those people who had a ton of money invested in various Hollywood and music business entities potentially stood to lose millions if not billions if "the truth" ever came out and the money-making entities who were either box-office gold or blue-chip record sellers and personalities would be damaged goods if too much info came out about associations with Charlie Manson.

Money rules the day. When the facts about Hollywood actors and musicians being viewed as commodities traded and valued as if they were companies traded on the stock market, and the values rise and fall just as the future earnings are speculated and calculated based on popularity and potential sales, the whole thing makes sense.

And that's just the Hollywood/Music Biz element of the whole thing. What O'Neill also does is connect government agencies and individuals working on the outskirts of "official" government activity into the whole saga, and it gets even deeper and more bizarre.


Regarding those who are fine with putting blinders on and accepting "Helter Skelter" as the truth, just ignore 'em. The collection of blinders they have overall, not just for Manson but for other parts of the Beach Boys' story and I'm sure the JFK story too, must fill as much closet space in their own homes as Mike's hat collection in his Tahoe mansion's walk-in closet spaces. If at this point in 2021 the Warren Commission "magic bullet" theory is still being accepted and promoted as the final word and truth on the JFK case, then we're seriously f**ked as a general public who believes what they are force-fed and shamed into not accepting what these agencies tell us. Maybe it's no wonder the same Vincent Bugliosi decades after Helter Skelter also wrote a lengthy dissertation/book/lecture backing up and defending the Warren report.

Off soapbox.  Grin Smokin
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Jan & Dean are terrible singers on: September 15, 2021, 09:12:22 AM
And the topic of Jan & Dean is where my opinions part ways dramatically with what seems to be a lot of the Beach Boys' fanbase. When I listen to Jan & Dean at their best, I enjoy the music and what's in the grooves. When I watch that unsold TV pilot or TV movie from '66 where they have the full Wrecking Crew on stage with them and Hal Blaine playing a comedic foil to the cast, I really enjoy it. They cut a few really good singles, no doubt. The studio guys "played up" for Jan and turned in some classic performances.

But...(in no particular order, and just my opinions for discussion)

1. The off-key singing is one of the main elements that seems to be in direct contradiction with the notion that Jan Berry was going for a superior outcome in the art of studio recording and crafting records.

It's as if you spent hours baking the finest wedding cake you could bake, with premium ingredients and the skills of a superior baker in the kitchen, and when you deliver the cake the icing is all messed up, the groom's name is spelled wrong, and the whole cake leans to one side.

*Most* people who are non-musicians listen to the words first when hearing a record, and the words come through the vocalist(s). If it's as out of tune as some of those J&D records are, the whole impact is lost, much like the wedding cake which had the finest ingredients but the finishing touches which everyone sees first are all f**ked up and sloppy.

Why didn't Jan spend more time getting in-tune vocals that were delivered with confidence and that passion that marks a classic vocal recording? Who knows.

And if the "well, they were a comedy act" answer is offered as a reason why the vocals fell short, I'd counter with the examples of Spike Jones, Allan Sherman, Weird Al Yankovic, etc. All of them were comedy acts too, that was their entire "schtick" (as in, Spike Jones didn't cut serious records), but their bands always played in tune and their vocals were in tune and well delivered, whether on the parody recordings or on their originals.

If anyone needs proof, listen to Jan & Dean's "Folk And Roll" album. The vocals are literally bad, and I'm not being biased, they are literally out of tune more than they're in. That record should never have come out if the vocals were rushed or done half-assed.

And that's why J&D are not the legends or as well remembered as some of their peers from the 60's. They fell just that much short on critical elements like the vocals.

Just my opinions, and I have more but most have already been expressed on this forum in past years. And I'll repeat, I also enjoy listening to them at their best, but the attempts to elevate J&D to the levels of their peers is not justified by actually listening to their releases from the 60's. They were very raw and proto-punk/garage in the 50's, and I dig that energy and vibe, but the rest falls short.

In my opinion.
11  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / RIP Norm Macdonald on: September 14, 2021, 03:18:39 PM
I can't believe it, I'm in shock. Norm - to me - was one of the funniest comedians in the business. His humor didn't appeal to everyone, but I thought he was brilliant, and unafraid to do edgy and truly funny stand-up...a lost art in today's world. Comedy lost a great one today.

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/awards/norm-macdonald-former-saturday-night-live-player-stand-comic-dies-n1279164

Some of the funniest things I have seen on TV over the past 30 years or so have come from Norm. His final stand-up routine on the last week of David Letterman's CBS show is one of the finest comedy appearances ever.

In my opinion.

RIP Norm.

One of the funniest punch lines ever delivered...the words "box office poison". Norm's and Conan's fans will know that one.  LOL

12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 10, 2021, 03:11:33 PM
And -- if it is slightly tape-speed altered, and was Reggie's idea to do that, wouldn't it be hilarious?  One minute he's speeding up the tape to make Brian sound like a 10 year old, the next he wants the guys to sound as manly as possible.

Maybe it wasn't all Reggie's idea: All the discussion about these lower register voices at this time reminded me how there was talk at this same time about changing the band name to something more "manly", like "The Beach Men" or even "The Beach", and even going back to the Wild Honey era there were reports that Brian was upset with the band being referred to as choirboys, with their trademark high-register vocal sounds.

So it would make perfect sense, and fit into the timeline, if they deliberately went for lower vocal sounds like the ones we're discussing to change that perception and maybe score a hit with a lower sound. Source of the band name topic: The Carlin book, for one.
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 10, 2021, 09:17:22 AM
Mark Lewisohn on the tale about Brian Epstein hyping Love Me Do into the British charts:

Quote
North-west sales this first Friday and Saturday – with the epicentre in Liverpool – sent Love Me Do straight into the Top Fifty, the one compiled for the following Thursday’s Record Retailer: it snuck in at 49 ... So freakish was all of this, rumours quickly took grip that Brian was hyping the chart, buying in boxes of Love Me Do to fake its position ... No one considered Brian’s membership of a committee that challenged suspicions of chart malpractice, or his resistance to faking My Bonnie into even his own shop’s published Top Twenty, or – most striking of all – the fact that, in 1962, it made no difference how many copies a shop sold of any record because the charts weren’t computed that way. Nems had been a ‘chart return’ operation for years – it still provided data to Melody Maker and also now to Record Retailer – but those papers’ weekly phone calls or printed questionnaires didn’t ask for sales figures, only for a shop’s bestselling records ranked from 1 to 30; the papers awarded thirty points to the number 1 record down to one point for the number 30, and calculated an overall national total. All the charts were produced this way, as they still were in America. Brian Epstein had no need to buy ten thousand Love Me Dos to fake it into the charts; he didn’t even need to buy one. He did buy a couple of thousand copies, because the majority of Beatles fans wanted to buy it from Nems’ three stores, and because he was the manager and agent of this band and EMI had sent him one free copy.

Interesting info! But I would challenge Lewisohn's statement about how the charting process was done in America. That's not quite right, and I'll have to follow up with more info on that when I can find it. Sales were tabulated on how many copies were ordered. I don't know when or for how long that was done, but you didn't have individual record shops saying "we sold 200 copies of Record X" every week, it was how many copies were shipped.

I think. Lol.  Cheesy

Just adding to this and what I think are some errors in Lewisohn's description: The chart systems in place at the time Lewisohn is describing were different between the US and the UK in one other major way: Radio airplay. In the US the charts also factored in regional radio airplay and individual stations' weekly surveys and airplay logs of what records their DJ's were playing. In some cases well throughout the 60's a record could be a top-5 hit in Boston but do absolutely nothing in Miami or whatever other regions were surveyed. This happened to the Beach Boys on multiple occasions, where a single like Wild Honey went top-5 in Detroit and Philly but barely cracked top-20 in other regions. So when the overall airplay was averaged out and the chart positions tabulated, Wild Honey looked like more of a slow-starter overall than it was in certain cities and areas.

In the UK, they had the government-run BBC playing the records. I don't believe any charts tabulated airplay as the US did because there was only one outlet for airplay, the BBC. If people wanted to hear rock and roll up to a certain time, they'd tune into Radio Luxembourg or later the pirate ship-based radio stations like Caroline. And those sure as hell were not being factored into chart positions in the music papers anywhere near what Billboard or Cashbox was doing in the US.

Just pointing that out to say there's more to the background than what Lewisohn suggested in that commentary, and even though it was great to read about the myth-busting regarding Brian Epstein stacking the deck with the Love Me Do single, it isn't entirely accurate to say the US and the UK did music charts the same way.
14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 10, 2021, 09:06:45 AM
Don't know if this has been posted here yet  -- but Joshilyn, these are brilliant and so important.
Keep going!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OjiGUoB_0E

Cool, with these kind of songwriters, it's pretty much almost all in the voicings.

There's a lot of stuff to discuss re: Feel Flows music and production. I've been humbly thinking of suggesting a new thread about it. Just a tiny example: the sound of the backing vocals excerpt of "Break Away". Are these slowed down?

More accurately, some of those vocals were recorded with the tape running fast, and so played back at "normal" speed they sound lower and slower.

And that in itself is not a new technique at all, even though as of 1969 in pop and rock music the Beatles had been doing it perhaps most obviously since the song Rain, where they played the backing track much faster then slowed it down to change the texture - but hardly any listeners would have noticed, much like what the BB's were doing. And the pioneer of all this in popular music, Les Paul, was doing these things in the 40's. I just mention all that because it's always important to know the lineage and that a lot of these things were innovative as they were applied but were not new techniques.

Actually the most fascinating history on vari-speeding comes from the World War 1 era! Spies would record coded messages on primitive wire-type recorders, speed up the recording to where it was completely unintelligible, broadcast the message over short wave, and the recipients would record it over the air then slow it down to transcribe the message. World War 1, mind you. That's crazy stuff. But not relevant to Feel Flows, so I'll say sorry for the off-topic.
15  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 10, 2021, 08:55:09 AM
Just for those curious, here is the article and interview with Dennis from December 1968 where he talks about Manson and the girls:




So this relationship was public, at least to those who read this paper, in December 1968. No one was hiding the associations as of this time, and obviously by December 1968 the relationship between all these people was still happening.

Interesting to note the description of the "dance" Dennis learned from Charlie which he called The Inhibition. Others can fill in more info, but the description of that dance is similar to exercises taught and practiced by some religions that parallels hypnosis techniques, in fact the technique of focusing on each limb and part of the body as each part relaxes deeper and deeper is one of the common techniques used in clinical hypnosis in general. Add a psychedelic drug like LSD to that process, add the Scientology practices Charles Manson supposedly learned from people he was serving time with in prison, and there is one of the formulas for how Charlie would run those group meditation sessions. And it was either Bobby or Charlie himself who said Charlie would only pretend to take the drug he was giving out during his group meditations so he could remain in control of the hypnosis (or meditation, call it whatever).

It just opens up more questions as to the how's and the what's of the entire saga beginning when Manson was in jail until his release on parole in Spring 1967 and his subsequent travels between the San Francisco area and the LA area...while he was on parole...and those connections are where the Chaos book delves deeper into the backstory and the figures and organizations involved.

It sounds less and less like a "nutty conspiracy theory" when it's all put together, and it becomes even more relevant to read things like this Dennis article when books like Chaos trace similar hypnosis and LSD based experiments to the government, the military, and the CIA in the 50's and throughout the 60's. Government agencies were running tests and experiments focused on group hypnosis, post-hypnotic suggestion, and the use of drugs like LSD to further the effects and outcomes of these group experiments, then suddenly here's an ex-con fresh out of prison who shows up and starts doing similar things, and is given multiple free passes by his parole agent, and the authorities in general, even though he's on parole and has no money or source of income to speak of.

Again, you couldn't make this kind of sh*t up if you tried.

That's why getting more information through sources like O'Neill seems like a more worthwhile pursuit rather than writing the whole thing off and saying "Helter Skelter" is the final word on the case. 

16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 09, 2021, 02:33:51 PM
Mark Lewisohn on the tale about Brian Epstein hyping Love Me Do into the British charts:

Quote
North-west sales this first Friday and Saturday – with the epicentre in Liverpool – sent Love Me Do straight into the Top Fifty, the one compiled for the following Thursday’s Record Retailer: it snuck in at 49 ... So freakish was all of this, rumours quickly took grip that Brian was hyping the chart, buying in boxes of Love Me Do to fake its position ... No one considered Brian’s membership of a committee that challenged suspicions of chart malpractice, or his resistance to faking My Bonnie into even his own shop’s published Top Twenty, or – most striking of all – the fact that, in 1962, it made no difference how many copies a shop sold of any record because the charts weren’t computed that way. Nems had been a ‘chart return’ operation for years – it still provided data to Melody Maker and also now to Record Retailer – but those papers’ weekly phone calls or printed questionnaires didn’t ask for sales figures, only for a shop’s bestselling records ranked from 1 to 30; the papers awarded thirty points to the number 1 record down to one point for the number 30, and calculated an overall national total. All the charts were produced this way, as they still were in America. Brian Epstein had no need to buy ten thousand Love Me Dos to fake it into the charts; he didn’t even need to buy one. He did buy a couple of thousand copies, because the majority of Beatles fans wanted to buy it from Nems’ three stores, and because he was the manager and agent of this band and EMI had sent him one free copy.

Interesting info! But I would challenge Lewisohn's statement about how the charting process was done in America. That's not quite right, and I'll have to follow up with more info on that when I can find it. Sales were tabulated on how many copies were ordered. I don't know when or for how long that was done, but you didn't have individual record shops saying "we sold 200 copies of Record X" every week, it was how many copies were shipped.

I think. Lol.  Cheesy
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 09, 2021, 08:11:54 AM
This isn't the actual Billboard Top 200 albums chart, but something based (I assume) on sales rather than airplay and streams -- no doubt making it more favourable to a release like FF. Still cool though.

It's billboards own "top album sales" chart. Really the only billboard chart that matters

I think selling 10,000 copies in one week of a set that goes for up to $125 is great; this are good numbers for a multi-disc archival BB set.

In terms of the industry, the "main" album chart is this one:

https://www.billboard.com/charts/billboard-200

This is the main "Top 200" chart, which counts actual unit sales as well as uses a formula to equate streams to sales. I think it's 1,250 streams from a paid subscription service that equal 1 sold unit, and 3,750 streams from ad-supported services equal 1 sold unit.

I'm pretty sure they count each disc in a boxset towards the total sold count which is why some companies like including a bonus disc to boost sales figures.   If I'm correct, the total number of boxset sales would be approx. 2,000 which seems more realistic.

I"m curious if it could work like that.

The albums sales chart includes both digital and physical full album purchases. The digital edition has no "discs", so I don't think a digital edition would count as multiple units. Also, this figure would presumably include other SKUs for the set such as the vinyl edition, and possibly the 2-CD version.

There may be some more convoluted formulas they use; I'm not sure. But I don't think the set has sold only 2,000 units across all physical and digital SKUs.


Do these sales figures include orders that haven’t shipped yet?



The way "charts" are calculated and listed is so convoluted as of 2021, I doubt there are many even in the record business who could give a straight answer as to how it's done. When you're dealing with releases that have 3 or 4 types of media per release, including digital streaming and downloading, how in the hell could anyone tabulate all of it into one cohesive figure in order to form a "chart" of any kind?

It's absurd.

In previous decades I believe chart placement in terms of weekly sales was almost entirely based on how many orders were placed by the record shops to stock their shelves. Not by how many customers came into a shop and bought a copy of a record. Then they'd factor in airplay on the radio in different regions, and get their Hot 100 singles or Top 200 Album lists. So it could be rigged, and it was rigged, as in the famous case of Brian Epstein ordering something like 40,000 copies of "Love Me Do" for his NEMS record shop so the Beatles' debut single would appear on the UK singles charts.

I think most artists just take chart placement as the marketing opportunity it has become, and celebrate whatever number is listed by whatever convoluted formula "The Business" uses to calculate these things. I mean, seriously, does anyone think the numbers of the modern Top-40 type of genres are anywhere near accurate when you get a new unknown rapper with the prefix "Lil'" generating upwards of 10 million views in a week or two on YouTube, or some new unknown tatted-up country Bro with a designer trucker hat and ripped flannel shirt scoring similar numbers?
18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 09, 2021, 07:59:18 AM
O'Neill's book brings to light so many "you can't make this stuff up"  details. Even if you don't care for Joe Rogan, his podcast with O'Neill is remarkable. Hearing this stuff from the author himself is very enlightening with some jaw-dropping details.

Whatever opinions exist of Joe Rogan, you're right, that podcast episode is pretty remarkable and is one of the most compelling long-form interviews I've seen in recent years. I'd suggest anyone with even a passing interest in the Manson story give it a chance and watch it, you'll never view the case and the people involved the same way again.

19  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 09, 2021, 07:56:04 AM
Definitely worth checking out!

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,27900.0.html
20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Here's a little web-series about some Feel Flows era tunes on: September 09, 2021, 07:54:45 AM
Very nice! I just had a suggestion related to the Slip On Through installment: With your classical background I think it would be educational and interesting to connect some of the classical composition techniques to the way the band and in this case Dennis and Brian would use them in their own work.

With Slip On Through, the use of a bass "pedal" or pedal bass figure, or if it fits better a "basso ostinado" or ground bass from centuries prior is what Dennis uses on the track. It's a relatively easy way for anyone with even limited piano skills to create some very interesting chord voicings where the triads move on top but the bass note or even bass figure stays the same.

I'm just suggesting this because when I was new to learning the theory concepts and listening mostly to rock music from the 60's, I'd always enjoy seeing a term like "ostinado" used to describe a track I knew, and I'd go and research what that terminology was and how it worked musically with songs I knew and could relate to more than some 400 year old examples.  Grin

I thought it would be neat if you could relate some of those terms and the traditional theory terminology to the BB's examples and draw that connecting line, because it didn't happen in a vacuum and it's always fascinating to hear how composers find new ways to use techniques that are centuries old and keep them fresh and unique.
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: A Sunflower Birthday Celebration! A new Youtube video to mark the occasion on: September 09, 2021, 07:32:26 AM
I just saw this video from the current tour of the band doing 'All I Wanna Do' and it struck me that the background projection was very much in the same mold as the video I made last year for the song. Is it just a coincidence? What do you all think of the similarity?

Here's the concert:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuugIq60Npg

Here's the video I did:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKPZFb48zko

I see a similarity too, it's hard to miss. Since your video came out a year ago, maybe someone in Mike's crew saw it and used the same graphic style for that concert background in 2021. Is Noven Jaisi still making cut-and-paste videos like that for Mike? I like your original better whatever the case.

Regarding the new video Mike is using, I'm a little confused why they'd use a Guy Webster "vegetables" photo of Brian, David Anderle, and Michael Vosse in the background imagery for a song that came several years after the Smile era. Hmmm.
22  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: 'CHAOS' The new Manson book on: September 04, 2021, 03:08:16 PM
Thanks Craig for your posts on this topic. I was on the "other forum" engaging in some interesting debate, but was not getting very far considering the sort of anti-"conspiracy"/anti-Manson blinders some of the posts there seem to reveal.

To me, it seems just as bad to throw out skepticism in the spirit of "that's just some crazy conspiracy theory" as it is to see crazy conspiracy theories everywhere.

I wanted to chime in on the "maybe they were just friends" angle. I think this is something that gets thrown aside. If we think about people in the '60s in this scene, things were pretty different. We have stories like the ones from Bob Burchman, we have people like Steve Kalinich getting involved- these were guys who were unknown and the Beach Boys began working with, simply because they liked then and liked their poetry, etc. I don't see why we can't put Manson at least somewhat into this boat.

Another example I think is interesting is Mike Love's association with Craig Smith/Maitreya Kali. This guy was just about as out there as Manson, if not more so at one point. Yet Mike was hanging out with him and considered a pretty good friend. Even into 1971, there's a story that Craig was visiting Brian's house. By all accounts, Craig Smith was behaving very very strangely, and was apparently pretty unstable by this time. And this is post-Manson ... yet here's this guy hanging out at Brian's.

We should also consider the behavior of the group themselves at this time. Dennis was probably pretty out there himself, and think about those stories from Mike in the Steven Gaines book, around 1970 when he was fasting. Not to mention Brian. I think in the context of these guys who ... might have been considered pretty weird- Manson was another weird dude hanging out (up to a certain point).

As someone who is generally considered to be a weird guy myself, it doesn't seem that weird to me.

Thank you Donny. I haven't been following other discussions, but it never fails that some will try to either erase or dismiss the entire history of Manson, and try to peg those who want to discuss and learn more details as conspiracy nuts or worse. It comes down to a truly tragic story all around where lives were lost, however the fact that a guy who is described as "pure evil" managed to get in the social circles of some of Hollywood's and the LA music scene's elite, and did so even without ever becoming a recording artist or actor or anything close. And he surely didn't have the money which would buy access into those circles either, he was an ex-con and a grifter.

So if people don't find that interesting, and want to erase or whitewash the whole thing, they're missing out on a lot of deep-dive history of the LA scene from 1967-1969, which for me is fascinating no matter who the subjects are. I like learning more about it, and ignore the critics.

It's hard not to think that Dennis and Charlie just got along as friends, as did maybe others who associated with Charlie. Take away all the salacious stuff and maybe these people just enjoyed hanging out with each other. It wouldn't be a crime to admit that if that were the case, yet there was a mad rush to distance anyone from him as soon as things went tragically bad. Which is natural, of course, given reputations and earning potential in Hollywood and the music biz, but still...it's not like Charlie wasn't hanging out with them regularly. 
23  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: A newbie to the Beach Boys----advice needed on: September 04, 2021, 02:56:16 PM
It's like the Gaines book - Some don't like the information Gaines published, so there are attempts to write the whole thing off as tabloid writing or publishing false information. Yet Gaines had his sources and they weren't making the stuff up.

My issue with the Gaines book is that he was perfectly happy to dish the dirt, but couldn't be bothered to balance it out. Example: Discussing all of Carl's substance abuse issues, but never mentioning that Carl had cleaned up his act afterward. The book is unbalanced and therefore unreliable, imo.

Brian has publically disavowed the WIBN book (also in court, iirc), and it was denounced as a scam by notable rock critics and authors at the time it was published. It's a biography, NOT an autobiography -- and that's the scam.

I'm not going to discuss this topic further. Please continue your discussion.

That's perfectly fine to object to the way Gaines presented the information in his book and to suggest it's not balanced. But, when some people write it off as pure fiction, or insinuate that Gaines just made things up instead of reporting details that were told to him by sources very, very close to the band and its members, that's just not right and it comes off as either petty criticism (attack the author as a liar instead of confront the information he wrote), or people who don't want some of that information to be part of the narrative.

And I'd suggest some other band books, like those written by or about some of the band members, are also biased in that they omit key pieces of information that would change both the narrative and perceptions, and fell far short of "setting the record straight". In some of those cases, nothing was balanced out either.

The issue wasn't the WIBN book, that was roundly and overwhelmingly dismissed as Landy's fantasy fiction and lawsuits against the book were won handily, in fact I don't think that any party who filed a suit against the book lost their case.

The same cannot be said of "I Am Brian Wilson".

24  Smiley Smile Stuff / Welcome to the Smiley Smile board / Re: Ask the Moderators on: September 04, 2021, 02:49:30 PM
Hi, my name is Jeanne Thornton, and I'm the author of a novel called Summer Fun, recently out from Soho Press. The book is about a transgender woman living in New Mexico in the early 2000s who's writing obsessive fan letters to a reclusive musician named B--, leader of a fictional 1960s band from California called the Get Happies, who largely vanished from the public eye after failing to complete a masterpiece psychedelic album called "Summer Fun." As a very big fan of an ACTUAL California band from the 1960s that folks here have certainly heard of, I think there is some obvious relevance to this forum, and I suspect that people here might enjoy it.

But I also don't want to be weird in how I post about my book. Is there any guidance from moderators? I'm not sure what the policy is for things like this and where/if this might be okay to post.

Thank you for any guidance you can provide, and thank you for moderating a forum that I've enjoyed lurking for some time!

Hello Jeanne, and welcome! Since your book is inspired by the music and the musicians we all talk about here, I say go ahead and post about it on the "General On Topic Discussions" forum. And maybe it would be interesting to members here if you would like to mention any specific references to or from the Beach Boys' own story and how it may have inspired the plot or characters in your book. I think it sounds like a very interesting story and would definitely like to hear more! 
25  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Feel Flows box set on: September 01, 2021, 09:36:58 AM
Speaking of Take A Load Off Your Feet...that live track from the '93 "unplugged" set is killing me with those organ fills! It sounds like they invited Al Kooper to play organ that night and told him "just play what you played for Dylan"  LOL Smokin

I would love some more complete releases of that '93 unplugged material, that was a total curveball for the live band at that time, and there are some terrific performances to be heard from various shows on that tour. That's when those cuts were even deeper than they would seem now.
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