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676400 Posts in 27291 Topics by 4032 Members - Latest Member: theangel August 10, 2022, 07:00:55 AM
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1  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson - 2022 Tour Thread (Plus Archived 2021) on: August 03, 2022, 08:12:30 AM
If they were all geniuses they would all have been able to produce successful albums. 

Iíll have more to say on this all soon, but Iíd like to point out that thereís not a lot of correlation between these guysí talent and their ability to generate and release solo albums. Dennisís lack of additional album, well, I think we can see how that didnít happen, and it wasnít for lack of talent to make the material. With the other guys, I think Carl clearly just set aside doing material (group or solo) much and did the touring thing. Arguably lazy perhaps, but I have little doubt that there are quality Carl songs we havenít heard yet. It was a similar deal with Al; he did the touring thing. Couple that with his infamous ability to over-workshop stuff for years if not decades, and I think the same thing applies. He surely has multiple albumís worth of some good material.

The reason we never got more solo albums from these guys has much more to do with lack of name recognition (and thus ability to get record deals), lethargy or laziness (or whatever one wants to call it) regarding touring and making money that way instead of schlepping in the studio, and lack of logistical/organizational skills to make things happen.

Iím not saying they all had dozens of A+ solo albums just waiting to be released. But their vocal/writing/producing talents were easily sufficient that all of these guys could have easily made a half dozen solo albums over the last 30-40 years if not for other factors including those listed above.


I think the point was more about producing successful Beach Boys records, not solo efforts, after Brian backed out of his role as producer/arranger/writer/performer in the 60's that made all the hits. Truth be told, nothing ever came close to what they did when Brian was the main guy at the helm, and the most success they did have after the 60's was Kokomo which was Terry Melcher producing. Carl did some great work for the band, but nothing ever had the same magic as when Brian was making the records, and it definitely didn't sell anywhere near what it had under Brian's direction.
2  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 28, 2022, 01:38:49 PM
Honestly Brian's entire career since 2000 has been rolled out in pretty much ideal fashion, in my opinion. Truly the amount of great music that man put into the world between ages 58 and 78 or so is just astonishing and miraculous. And then to have things like Love & Mercy being one of the greatest movies ever made about the creative process, the memoir actually being super good, all these incredible box sets. It's really unbelievable.

It holds up quite well despite all the naysaying and nitpicking when these projects were first rolled out!

All I remember with BWPS is traveling around and checking in with the local big-box stores and shops when it was released, and most if not all were reporting it was sold out.
3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 28, 2022, 09:43:36 AM
Am I the only one feeling like a thread from the old legendary Smile Shop had been miracolously teleported into this forum? Makes me feel younger!

That's true, and I think because the Smile Shop closed nearly 20 years ago at this point, there are probably many new and younger fans who have not seen or read the kind of information that used to be discussed and revealed there on a weekly basis. So it may be important to reintroduce these topics for those new fans, some of whom may not have been born when all this was originally being hashed out. And it shows again how it's important to keep all of the information available and actively discussed if there is a possibility many fans who have found Smile in the last 10 years may only know a portion of this stuff.

I would hate to see a 19 year old musician in the year 2040 or something discovering Smile, and reading an "official" history that states Brian was zonked out on drugs while making Smile and couldn't find his way through to finish it for that reason. I think some narratives would be OK with telling that story, who knows, but it would be erasing the most fascinating parts of the story from the record if anything similar were to happen.
4  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 28, 2022, 09:02:16 AM
Here are two articles I referenced in the last post, for anyone interested in Brian and his studies of religion and spirituality in 1966:





Bill Tobelman's website does a great job trying to tie all of this together with published examples and background history, I highly recommend anyone interested check it out too. It's clearly something Brian was involved with and something that inspired the music too.

5  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 28, 2022, 08:53:44 AM
Honestly I'm not sure what to believe regarding all the zen/LSD/koestler stuff. However, I am beyond grateful that Bill has compiled all these quotes together for each/every aspect of Smile for us to ruminate on. I remember ages ago Bill was getting a lot of flack for his theories from a certain sect of the fandom - and honestly I don't get why there is so much over-the-top push-back on this stuff.

I get that we want an accurate historical record, but the lengths which people go to admonish certain ideas/theories gets ridiculous...especially when there are obvious layers of complexity with Smile. There are definitely theories/rumors that are just flat-out untrue, and I think it's important to set the record straight, but there is also a lot of gray area regarding many different aspects of Smile.


I think the key is "from a certain sect of the fandom". There are narratives they may want to push over others...care to speculate on a few examples? I'll give two: One, That Brian was too zonked out on drugs and it amplified his paranoia and prevented him from working methodically and thinking rationally about plans for his music, and he eventually checked out and went to bed. Two, That the other band members supported and encouraged what Brian was doing during Smile, that they loved the music, and the proof can be found in the basic fact that they sang on the music he wrote for them.

The former was presented into a court of law as a legal filing for a lawsuit after BWPS, it has been portrayed in a TV movie purported to be the "official" story of the band, and has been expressed multiple times in many ways since. Did Brian also say this? Yes, alongside at least a dozen various reasons he's given when asked what happened to Smile.

The latter was displayed most prominently when "webisodes" were created to promote the Smile box set and uploaded to YouTube. You'd think the band members interviewed were all supportive and blown away by the "new music" to hear them speak while promoting that box set.

Neither one is accurate in its completeness. The story, the facts if you will, lies somewhere in the middle, encapsulating many more factors than what some of those factions or sects wish to emphasize over others. Again, just consider why and for what purpose that would be an effort to pursue, and what or who would benefit. If the goal is telling as complete a story as possible, there should not be efforts to diminish, discredit, or otherwise simply ignore key parts of that story.

And that brings it to the element of spirituality, study, and the concept of enlightenment that Bill's site features so well. Brian *was* doing a lot of reading, a lot of studying, and a lot of exploring at this specific time. He was exploring and studying multiple religions and religious theories and philosophies, he was actively attending group studies on various pursuits involving spirituality, meditation, and philosophy, and yes that was studying meditation BEFORE meeting the Maharishi in late 1967 at the concert event. In fact, reports say that what Brian was studying was a precursor to the Maharishi becoming the face of Transcendental Meditation and before he helped it become a "brand" that would be sold worldwide using various rock stars, millionaires, and other public faces to build the brand and increase their coffers. Brian was exploring the techniques at least a full year before the Beach Boys met the Maharishi, in and around LA, with other musicians like members of the Byrds. I did a pretty full rundown of that, maybe 5-6 years ago, and put that information on this forum: I'd be happy to dig it up if anyone is interested.

And it's not hearsay or speculation: The people who were around him perhaps more than the other Beach Boys at certain times in '66 and '67 report Brian's involvement in these pursuits, and how he was exploring different forms of religious philosophy and spirituality. There is even a news clipping reporting that Brian was working on a musical "mass" for one of these groups...during Smile. I'll dig that up just for fun in this thread.

So it cannot be written off, or dismissed, because it was a factor and even an inspiration while the music was being created.

And I always like to say, for those who use the "well, the other Beach Boys sang on it" point, listen to the session tapes from Smile and tell me the guy heard on the talkback running those sessions sounds like he's zonked out on drugs and rambling unfocused on the task at hand. It's laser focus. So as much as the tape evidence can be massaged to try making the first point, so can it be used to demonstrate that the other point wasn't always the case either.

The truth all lies somewhere in the middle, sometimes more middle than others.



6  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 27, 2022, 06:44:42 PM
I've had some difficulty following this thread, but I gather that there has been some dispute over what "Love to Say Da Da" is, or was, supposed to be.

It seems that Brian is working on the song in some form in late December 1966. Dates of December 22-23 have ( I thought) been out there, and sloopjohnb72 here in this thread has mentioend December 27-28.  I certainly am not one to know whether or not it was just instrumental/piano in these days, or if Brian had already come up with the wah-wah-whoa-ah vocal pattern at this point in December.

In any case, these late December days constitute the time period during which Paul Williams of Crawdaddy magazine visited Brian at his house. Williams recounted time spent in Brian's swimming pool early in the morning of Dec. 24, 1966:

ďSo at the end of the night we went to the pool, watched by the dogs. I kept my glasses on, because standing in that pool we could see the lights of Los Angeles (or the Valley) twinkling below us like a natural wonder. The water was warm.  Brian told me enthusiastically the it was heated to exactly 98.6, body temperature. ĎSo if you get down in the water like thisí (he demonstrated) Ďand stand up, itís like being born, like the feeling of being born.í"

This suggests that to Brian's way of thinking at the time, "water" and baby" and "rebirth" go together - each are components of one whole conceptual piece; it's not either-or.  The fact that a "baby" song could morph into a "water" song would then seem to be natural and understandable . And in Brian Wilson Presents Smile, the concept is fully realized. The idea comes to full fruition in the third movement, which in my opinion is perfect, as (among other things) it makes perfect use of the "Da Da" concept and music. In those passages, BWPS fully actualizes the idea that Brian was talking to Paul Williams about that night in the swimming pool.

Excellent reference.

The lineage is indeed more than plausible, it lines up very well to where Brian's mind was at, at that time. One of the themes in the movie "Seconds", if not the main theme, is that of "rebirth". In Seconds, the movie that freaked Brian out in Fall '66 because he saw his life play out in the plot, it's a secret corporation which provides a rebirth for those who want and can afford it. For Brian, it's said he experienced a "rebirth" during one of his LSD trips earlier. No dirty laundry, it's been mentioned for many years. It led in ways to the conception of his "Teenage Symphony To God". I wish Bill Tobelman could chime in, I really miss his insights and writings.

All of this begs the question: If this information has been published and on the record for how many years, and the quote is one which other fans have read before and are reminded of thanks to the posting above, why was there such a pushback to the notion that "DaDa" was not connected to the "water" concept? The logic of it adds up, the timeline and connection to Brian's mindset at the time adds up, and on a visceral level it just seems to fit.

And it brings out my opinion which I was meaning to post anyway, after Don Malcom's two excellent posts and insights: The full story of Smile cannot be found in, and cannot be told solely on, the basis of AFM contracts, corporate memos and documents, and reels of tape and their boxes. The majority of what happened was not recorded on those formats, and encompasses much more. I hope ideas and opinions that have merit, and are based in fact, are not dismissed as overtly and sometimes as harshly as they were earlier in this discussion.

7  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 25, 2022, 06:46:44 PM
Wasnít there talk back in the mid 90s of a SMiLE computer program where you could mix your own, kinda like Todd Rundgren did, or am I having a moment?

"(Don) Was and Todd Rundgren have been encouraging him to convert all the 36-odd hours of Smile pieces to CD-ROM. "That would preserve the mystique, and be the only honest way to present it - Brian saying to the world 'I don't know how to finish it; You do it."

Pulse! magazine, November 1995, Brian and Van Dyke on the cover.
8  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 25, 2022, 10:34:05 AM
Craig, thank you for that post -- I think part of what's going on here is that we are trying to cover too much ground, so we are sort of running into talking about the same thing in different ways.  Category errors, perhaps.

In any case, let me attempt to clarify -- I do not think that the classic Dumb Angel/Smile material sounds similar to the Smiley material.  What I object to is attempting to use that difference in sound as evidence for Smiley being a quarantined project from what Brian "really wanted to be doing."  Does that make sense?

What listeners perceive is super, super interesting to me, and makes for ultra-fecund soil within which to plant some seeds of discovery, but their perceptions of the sound have no bearing on what Brian was doing.  Which, as you'll know, I believe to have been an intentional move towards the Smiley Sound all along from late 66 into the summer of 67.

Make sense, even if you disagree?

That makes sense, I do see where you're coming from! It's just some of the theories and conclusions you have are different than my own, which I respect and agree to disagree when necessary.

What I will suggest in terms of perceptions and reactions from listeners: From quite a few reports of him doing this, specifically prior to 1967, when Brian was working in the studio on a new song, he would often pull in random people to listen to what he had recorded and get their opinions. It was everyone from other musicians who were at the studio, other producers, and even random fans or people who happened to be in the area, and Brian wanted to know what they thought of the music. Even in the Vosse "Teen Set" article and the Jules article on Smile, there were reports of people like Henry Lewy being pulled in to listen, and being blown away by what they were hearing.

If he had been doing this regularly (and I'll say now I don't have access to copy and repost here where these reports came from, you'll just have to trust my memory), it suggests Brian was concerned with how listeners would react to and perceive his music. What those reports don't mention is if he made any changes to his mixes or music based on those reactions, unfortunately that's yet another key factor that just gets lost with time. I think Brian always wanted to hear and see reactions to his music (especially if they made people happy or excited), and needed validation like that to keep going.

And that has to also lead to another issue to consider, the one about Brian feeling his ideas were being stolen by other producers and artists before he had a chance to release them. Maybe Brian was being too open in pulling various people into the studio to hear his works-in-progress, and he felt like his ideas were being stolen by those who could use them to their advantage. The home studio also solved that: He and the group were totally isolated at the house, but who knows if Brian didn't pull others in to listen to Smiley when they were mixing and assembling at Heider's studio.
9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 25, 2022, 10:04:26 AM
This is cool, I think we are actually getting into some very meaty stuff here.  I've been running Beach Boys PhD ideas by a bunch of profs around the country over the last few months, and in so doing I am discovering that there is an increasing attempt by scholars of popular music to develop a methodology to study "sound" -- to examine the interface between the sound of a record and the listening experience.  It's really juicy stuff, and this topic is a perfect candidate for some addition to the "Sound studies" genre.  The sound of Smile vis-a-vis the sound of Smiley Smile is definitely something worth getting into.

I think we're getting into an area where everyone is seeing that sometimes elusive middle ground in these issues, rather than segmenting one side of the opinions definitely different from the other, and that's a good place to be.

With all due respect, and I do say this respectfully please understand, I brought up this exact issue of the overall sound of the two projects being vastly different pages ago, and was challenged on it pretty strongly. I won't repost the quotes because it would take too long and clog the discussion pages. But this notion of the interface between the sound of a record and the listening experience is something I was first introduced to as a clinical topic in the early 90's by a professor who had the nickname "Golden Ears", and was an engineer and an acoustics consultant and designer for live venues and studios. At that time the raging debate was still analog versus digital, where the CD format had dominated the commercial music market and some were saying the methods of digital mastering were inferior versus analog and vinyl LP's due to the overall perceptions of the listeners and the overall listening experience. This was obviously before the mp3 revolution, before the "Californication" issues about mastering too hot in digital, digital online streaming, and the like: So the concept or topic itself is nothing new, but yes indeed it does get directly into the issue of Smile versus Smiley Smile and how listeners perceive each one when listened to in comparison.

I suggested numerous times to do either a casual unscientific "focus group" style listening session with fans and (adding this element now) as a control group, people who do not know the music as well. Play 30-40 minutes of "Smile" music, even the extent of the Smile material on the '93 box set would suffice, and then play the same people Smiley Smile. Then gauge their reactions and perceptions of both examples.

My opinion, and editorialization of potential results, was that the majority of those listeners would say they sound vastly different from each other. I'd opine further that they might think they sounded like totally different projects coming from the same creator, which was the point I was hinting at, at that time in the discussion. Part of my reasoning involved more of the technology aspect and the basic fact that one was recorded in professional studios and the other was mostly recorded in an ad hoc home studio that included a living room as the main live room, an empty pool as an echo chamber, a shower stall as a vocal booth, and a mixing console designed for radio broadcasting rather than studio recording. And also factor in a more dry and less full overall vocal sound, whether in existing group or solo vocals from Smile (another point I was challenged on) or the overall Smiley Smile vocal mix. They sound different on a purely visceral level.

And at a base level, purely visceral reaction I've had since first hearing Smiley Smile, the two always just sounded drastically different from each other. And I feel that was by design, but perhaps the reasons behind that "by design" concept are what's in dispute.

And at that point, I think the reactions of listeners to the music does carry more weight than what was suggested earlier. No matter what the construction, or the timeline, or any theories as to an undercurrent pushing the creators one way or another, that purely visceral, gut-level reaction is important as a factor in developing historical theories about a project or projects.

There were studies at least a decade ago or even more that brought in a psychological element to the issues, where the methods of mixing had changed to the point where even a piece of music that could be described as "pleasing" or "soothing" could have the opposite effect on listeners due to the way in which it was EQ'ed, mixed, and mastered. And there were similar looks at certain genres of music and how those genres were mixed as a stylistic "general rule", where instead of separation everything got lumped into the same sonic space...think of seeing a table full of food laid out for a meal, then taking both arms and squishing everything on that table together in the middle of the table. That's one of the audio equivalents of how certain genres were being mixed and mastered, and there were studies that found listening to those sounds organized that way caused feelings of tension, unease, nervousness, etc.

It's a fascinating topic that doesn't get much "press", but if academia in general is now catching up and actively engaging in even more studies of this kind, hopefully it will lead to some interesting developments in the fields of music, acoustics, psychology, and whatever else is encompassed by the topic.

I do think the comparison of Smile music versus Smiley Smile music, in terms of the interface between the sound of a recording and the experience of listening to that recording would add a lot to similar discussions here, and maybe help understand why listeners perceive the two projects as sounding so different, and perhaps put more context and research into the debates over the two being separate entities or a linear continuation from one to the other.
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 09:15:17 PM
No more or less than any other musician does, I suppose.

I can point to the Bossa Nova songs he was writing in '68, the "modular" tape edit-based songwriting in '66, the many incarnations of the "Shortnin Bread" riff he was playing with in the 70's, and his obsession with recording Proud Mary in the 90's and 2000's.

As far as Smile, he was stylistically all over the map, covering many styles of American popular music which I think was part of the album's concept. It's hard to say he was fixated on anything because Smile has Dixieland, Great American Songbook, jazz, avant garde, doo wop, pop, psychedelia, humor...I don't even know how I'd categorize music like Cabinessence or Child Is Father or Surf's Up enough to label it a particular style or genre!

Interesting.  See, I see patterns of obsession everywhere with Brian, so I guess I'm predisposed to thinking of more minimal productions as an obsession.  The kinds of obsessions I take note of are on a much smaller scale, normally, than the scale of an entire production.  Things like the way he would get obsessed with a certain piano, or a certain keyboard, or a certain instrument, or a certain player.  His transition from hiring Ray Pohlman to play bass on Pet Sounds to hiring Bill Pitman all the time for the bigger Smile stuff strikes me as an example of one of these micro-obsessions.  That's one example of many.  But my point is that I don't think that what Brian did was ever coincidental, the man cannot help but follow his gut, often to his own detriment.  So if I see a pattern, I tend to give it some weight.  If others see Brian as a less deliberate producer, so be it, but have trouble seeing him that way.

That makes sense, definitely. I just don't see Brian's musical obsessions as being too far different from any other musician or band as they progress through their career. They do something for awhile, feature a sound or style or particular instrument, then they move on. Very few bands or artists end up doing the same thing over and over, except maybe AC/DC because they're great at what they do.

What always caught my ear about Smile was the diversity of musical styles on display, and how it really is impossible to label a lot of it as any one genre or style. That made Smile pretty unique and still does.

And yes, the Baldwin organ was an obsession, I have to agree! Then that quickly, it was gone.
11  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 09:09:35 PM
100%, 50%, 0%.

For simplicity's sake, let's say that these are the portions of material recorded for the projects Pet Sounds, Smile, and Smiley Smile, that can be called "big productions", however we want to classify that. It seems that we all have some sort of agreeance on what that means, and these numbers are actually pretty close.

This series of values is something that we call "strictly decreasing". This is not something that can be argued. Our interpretation of it, of course, is subjective. But take any selection of, say, 3 months from 1966-1967, and you will find a lower proportion of these "big productions" compared to what came before. Even within the Smile period, the shift from the Looks and the Cabin Essences into the Vega-Tables and the Cantinas is very, very apparent. This is objective. You can make the claim that, although Brian's production style slowly changed from one thing to another, it was all coincidental, and Brian never looked past each individual section as a production. That is a claim that can be made, and I disagree with it, but it is something that can be argued.

What cannot be argued is that Brian's productions slowly approached minimalism throughout this period. That is a fact, not an opinion.

I'll ask for a clarification; In an earlier reply, you said this:


Sure: Heroes on Smiley has the same number of sections, and some parts of the song have more instruments than sections in the Cantina edit. Both edits use the main "wall of sound" verse section, although the cantina edit only uses 2.5 of these verses, while the June edit uses 3. The part 2 bridge section (Cantina, then Chorus) goes from piano and mandolin to electric harpsichord, piano, various percussion, and organ. Children Were Raised goes from just a piano to electric harpsichord and organ. The "flow" of both edit is very musical, which doesn't make either version a more difficult performance. And neither version of the song, nor any song on Smiley Smile, was played on the fall 1967 tour.

Compare how Wonderful was "stripped down" from Smile to Smiley: Instead of 2 keyboards playing similar parts, we have 4 different textures (piano, organ, melodica, and celeste) all playing against each other, and a bridge section in a completely different tempo which comes after a long pause. No version of Wonderful was added to the live set.

Going from April Vegetables to June Vegetables: Instead of a single piano and bass, it's now a bass and carefully tuned containers of water. A very simple song, not made much simpler. In October 1966, it was just a piano. The April verse shows up at the end anyways, with yet another keyboard. No version of Vegetables was added to the live set.

If Brian was trying to make it easy for the guys to do these songs, and that was the entire reason for scrapping the album called "Smile" (after accidentally predicting the future in a press release anyways), he wasn't doing a good job... and they didn't even end up performing them.

I'm trying to understand how the point earlier was that Brian actually made some of the Smile songs more complex productions when he remade them for Smiley Smile, and how that would match what you're suggesting as fact that he was moving toward minimalism. If he actually loaded more instruments and parts onto these songs and made them more complex than they had been, how does that equal a move toward minimalism?
12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:58:11 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

OK, so let me ask you this.  Do you think of Brian as a guy who went through musical phases, or fads?  Do you think of him as a guy who gets obsessed with certain musical or production things, fixated on them, even?

No more or less than any other musician does, I suppose.

I can point to the Bossa Nova songs he was writing in '68, the "modular" tape edit-based songwriting in '66, the many incarnations of the "Shortnin Bread" riff he was playing with in the 70's, and his obsession with recording Proud Mary in the 90's and 2000's.

As far as Smile, he was stylistically all over the map, covering many styles of American popular music which I think was part of the album's concept. It's hard to say he was fixated on anything because Smile has Dixieland, Great American Songbook, jazz, avant garde, doo wop, pop, psychedelia, humor...I don't even know how I'd categorize music like Cabinessence or Child Is Father or Surf's Up enough to label it a particular style or genre!
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:47:46 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.

Honestly? I think itís impossible to know the correct answer , because circumstances made it inevitable. Thatís how I look at it. Since we can never know the exact *why*, in this case, motivations become murkier. Itíd help to know the order the songs were written to even have a chance to definitively prove what the intent was, but thereís too much we donít know.  

Heres a question Iíve always hadÖwhat happened between the last session being cancelled and the June sessions? Were the musicians ever told there would be no further sessions? You would think that question wouldíve been asked in one single interview over the years

That is a good question that was never asked! I'd also add why was there absolutely no follow up, none at all, in any other music press outlet after Derek Taylor's "scrapped" comment was published? It's as if no one noticed that he basically wrote the obituary for one of the most anticipated albums of the year,  and no one even referenced addressed the comment. Very, very odd!
14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:43:49 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?

It should also be noted that the Hawaii shows were a unique recording experience, during which the Beach Boys were producing material for the next album to follow Smiley Smile. Are you suggesting that the Baldwin may have been introduced as a permanent instrument?

We know that this is not the case. Brian was requested to go, and he insisted on bringing that big ol' thing. Because it was his instrument that he wanted to play. We're talking about the same guy who would rent a piano from Sunset Sound and have it moved by professional piano movers a few blocks down the street to Western, because he liked the sound of Sunset's detuned tack, and the room sound of Western.

I'm suggesting they spent a lot of money to ship the Baldwin because they were recording a live album and that pretty unique sound was a key element of their "new sound" which would be introduced fully on their new album a few weeks later. I speculate that if "Smiley Smile" had caught on in "Good Vibrations" fashion, shot into the top 5 and the Heroes or Gettin Hungry singles had gone top 5, I wouldn't doubt a Baldwin organ would go on tour with them. But none of that happened, and they didn't tour behind Smiley at all.

It just seems like a lot of money to spend but I guess money was no object. Likewise I also often wonder why so much was spent with Wally Heider to get a custom made board (literally finished the night before it was shipped to Hawaii) and one of the most high tech live recording setups to capture what we hear on the Hawaii tapes.
15  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:35:49 PM
We can agree to disagree, as we will, apparently, have to.  But I will never understand why you can't just say, "Ok, it's possible" to the idea that a guy who snapped a long string of big productions might have been exploring moving in a smaller-scale direction.  Heck, I'll go so far as to say that it's possible that Smile has an official RIP date.  Very, very unlikely, but possible.  

Brian primarily created big productions in 1965 and 1966.
The frequency of smaller productions increases as 1966 moves into 1967.
Therefore, it's possible that he was exploring smaller productions.

What is wrong with that syllogism?

It's possible, I just don't agree as much with that assertion that it was part of something on a larger scale, like an undercurrent or even a full riptide that was moving him in this direction. I think it was a guy doing what he thought his songs needed at any given time as any producer would do. I think the difference is I take those examples as individual examples and you're tying them into a larger movement, I don't see music production in those terms.
16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:28:56 PM
Since the Baldwin organ was mentioned, I think it's worth noting how the band spent a lot of money to crate and ship Brian's Baldwin organ to Hawaii for those August '67 shows. Not suggesting anything other than by doing that, they were putting what was perhaps one of the main sonic hooks of Smiley Smile on stage in Hawaii, and perhaps (just perhaps...) trying to give their setlist of old hits the "Smiley sound".

They could easily have rented an Hammond or any other organ in Hawaii with far less cost and difficulty, why specifically spend that much to ship the Baldwin there unless it was going for a certain sound and vibe that would be on their proposed live album a few months later?
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:22:44 PM
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure at this point that I fundamentally agree with sloopjohnb72, Joshilyn, *and* guitarfool.

Brian gradually incorporated more and more minimalistic experiments into his working methods over the course of Smile into Smiley Smile, *because he thought it served the material well*, and this gradually laid the foundation for Smiley Smile. AND when the band got back from Europe there was some kind of, at the very least, heavy conversation about what direction the band would go in, which very quickly led Brian to go *all in* on this more minimalistic (but *not* necessarily less musically sophisticated) aesthetic, one which could accommodate a more congenial working method with the Beach Boys, without Brian actually giving up control over the production process.

Make of that what you will, but I'm not seeing some massive incompatibility in yall's perspectives, I'm really not!

I wish I could have said it that way!  Smiley
18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:21:37 PM
That's Not Me doesn't stand out particularly to me as something minimalist compared to other Pet Sounds tracks, besides the knowledge that it was completely put together by The Boys. Consider the instrumentation:

Hammond C-3 organ
Electric guitar
Electric 12-string guitar
Another electric 12-string guitar
Electric bass
Another electric bass
Drums
Tambourine
Another tambourine
Castanets amplified through a Leslie speaker

Really, it's just something that didn't require the wrecking crew, as it's the only song on the album that features purely rhythm instruments, with no horns or strings. Compare this to the instrumentation of Vega-Tables:

Piano

Purely rhythm instruments, no strings, woodwinds, or horns. Exactly. It could be said "That's Not Me" was a sign Brian was looking to return to his 1964 production methods, but that would be silly. Kind of like pulling out "Vega-Tables" and writing "piano".

Sorry I just don't agree with the "shift to minimalism" theory based on your examples, and I see it as nothing more or less than Brian choosing what type of arrangement fit each song the best as all producers do. Agree to disagree.
19  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:17:42 PM
Yes, but...

When all of the songs on Pet Sounds are heavily orchestrated, and then half of the songs on Smile are heavily orchestrated, and then even those initially orchestrated songs are redone in a minimalistic fashion, do you see that there is, objectively, a general movement to more minimalistic recording?

No, I do not see any implications beyond Brian deciding to remake, rerecord, and change his mind on certain tracks. And perhaps after hearing the fuller arrangements he decided they didn't work for those songs as well as a more sparse sound would serve them. You say objectively as if it's fact, but ultimately that's just your opinion, isn't it?
20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:12:30 PM
I also was thinking of "That's Not Me" in the same way, how it stands out from the rest of Pet Sounds by featuring the core group of musicians as the Beach Boys' own self-contained band, 3 of them actually, with none of the more full ensemble sounds and more complex arranging style heard on all the other tracks surrounding it. Was that decision anything beyond Brian thinking that less dense core group sound would serve that particular song better than having horns, woodwinds, and strings on the track?
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 08:05:21 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.

I'm just calling it as I see it! If he thought those songs would be better served by a more sparse arrangement, that's exactly what he worked up for them and recorded. I just don't see any bigger implications behind those decisions that are made with basically any song in the production process. Was "Yesterday" anything beyond the Beatles and their producer thinking the song would be better served by a string quartet and guitar accompaniment rather than the standard "Beatles" lineup heard on all the songs that surrounded it?

Well... if half of the Help album consisted of tracks with 1 or 2 instruments, and then the entirety of Rubber Soul reflected that noticeably different change in style, I think you might have a comparison.

It's the basic concept of serving each individual song in my opinion, not everything done while recording an album has to fit into an overarching pattern or suggest something other than that's what fit the song best.
22  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 07:56:13 PM
Quote
I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.

To me that feels like too zoomed-in of a perspective.

I'm not looking this up right now, so I could be wrong, but I believe the last time Brian used 3 people to do a basic track was probably I'm So Young on Today?  (Not counting IBAMOM, obviously, which has a lot in common with Smiley anyway, and the a capella stuff.)  So there is a pattern of Brian hearing big ensembles on like, 25 straight productions with the previous exceptions noted.  You are unwilling to even consider that a person who had done a big string of big productions who then starts doing some smaller productions might be entertaining the idea of doing smaller productions?  I'm having trouble understanding what your resistance is to this.

I'm just calling it as I see it! If he thought those songs would be better served by a more sparse arrangement, that's exactly what he worked up for them and recorded. I just don't see any bigger implications behind those decisions that are made with basically any song in the production process. Was "Yesterday" anything beyond the Beatles and their producer thinking the song would be better served by a string quartet and guitar accompaniment rather than the standard "Beatles" lineup heard on all the songs that surrounded it?
23  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 07:49:21 PM
Ok, I think we are somehow talking past each other -- help me understand what's going on here, Craig.

You said:

Quote
But there is none

In response to the idea that there could be "proof" that Smiley grew out of Smile in a non-linear and semi-organic way.

To that, I said:

Quote
Likewise, there is no proof that Smile was scrapped at a discrete point in time and Smiley was started as a completely fresh project.  Can you concede that?

You said:

Quote
no concession

But now you've just said:

Quote
There is no onus on me to prove anything further since neither your opinion nor mine is "fact", they're our own opinions based on our perception of the evidence we've each seen and heard and processed.

Which to me reads as a concession that there is no "proof" that Smiley was scrapped at a discrete point in time.  Can you clear that up for me?


I said my *opinion" is what it is, I've spelled it out numerous times already, and the only fact is there's no factual proof for either point of the argument. It's all opinion. I don't concede what I made clear was an opinion if I don't agree with the one being offered in return. I happen to think work on Smile ended around the first week of June for good, and you think it was something else. We disagree, simple as that.
24  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 07:38:39 PM
Quote
if we're judging the elements of the music in order to shape opinions and possibly reach conclusions - comes down to a purely subjective opinion

That's false, though, categorically.  There is obviously latitude for interpretation, but I think that something like:

Wonderful Session 1 - Musicians Present:

Brian Wilson
Lyle Ritz

Wind Chimes Session 2 - Musicians present:

Van Dyke Parks
Chuck Berghofer
Brian

I'm in Great Shape - Musicians Present:

Jay Migliori
Van Dyke Parks
Dorothy Victor
Brian


compared to a similar breakdown of the Smiley material is objectively illustrative of the beginnings of a minimalist impulse.  Is it not?

I see it as a composer, arranger, and producer doing what he thought best suited the material at hand and what he thought would work for each song. One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard top producers and engineers give to students and at various clinics and interviews is always make decisions which serve the song, not the other way around. If Brian heard those arrangements for those songs, I think it's just that with no other implications; You may see it as a move toward minimalism, and I don't share that opinion, so we can agree to disagree. If he didn't hear a 14 piece ensemble on "Wonderful" or any of the other tracks, or he didn't want the "Good Vibrations sound" on every song he wrote, that was Brian doing what he thought best served the song.
25  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: SMiLE was ready in 1967 - discuss on: July 24, 2022, 07:30:52 PM
Yeah, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree.  And I do apologize for not being able to tell you that I think your arguments are bad and that you're argumentative with more tact.  It just feels like you pick on me sometimes.  But if you say it's all in good faith, then I will believe you.

Quote
but no concession

Well, then I think the onus is on you to prove it, isn't it?  Prove that Smile had a fixed end date.

It's all in good faith, and I'm sorry if you feel that way or if it came off that way because it's not the case at all, in fact quite the opposite. I enjoy discussing and engaging in debates with people who know the topic well and can make rational arguments. I didn't make personal comments directed at others as they were directed at me at all throughout all of this, and was disappointed to see that enter a discussion like this. But hopefully that's done and the discussions can continue.

There is no onus on me to prove anything further since neither your opinion nor mine is "fact", they're our own opinions based on our perception of the evidence we've each seen and heard and processed. There seems to be no "smoking gun" piece of evidence that could definitively prove either side, it's all perception of the evidence and personal opinion. For me, a large part is Carl saying within weeks of the album's release "we started from scratch", a quote which you do not weigh as heavily. I've likewise seen no convincing proof of there not being a definite shift from Smile to Smiley, all I see are opinions because that's all it is! I already laid out multiple times my reasons why I think that way, and exactly when the shift happened. I think it was between when the Beach Boys returned from Europe, that week after sessions were held at the pro studios Brian had been using, when things changed. I don't know how many times I can repeat that. But that's my opinion. Such changes simply do not happen that fast to cause what was an entire change in direction, mindset, and working method without a catalyst.

Here's another opinion: I think something similarly happened in late December 1966 when it was reported by some that a major blow-up happened within the band/family. No details exist, just a report of this happening. How did it affect the music and Smile overall? That's up to everyone to decide, because there are no details as to exactly what happened, just reports that something did. And some would say the focus which was there for the project in the Fall of 66 was lost as they entered 1967.

And that's how I feel about May/June 1967 as well, it's my opinion after weighing what came before and what came after that week.

And again my apologies if what I said at any point came off the wrong way, I have and always had respect for you and your work. Cheers to a good debate!
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