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672387 Posts in 27078 Topics by 3979 Members - Latest Member: sloopfan3 October 17, 2021, 05:31:33 PM
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1  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Mike Love, \ on: March 01, 2019, 07:30:55 PM
Agree with the above. I doubt there was much of a relationship between the two if any at all after Rishikesh '68. 
2  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Brian Wilson '88 and "Kokomo" review/discussion w/ David Beard on WFDU on: December 09, 2018, 12:51:01 PM
ESQ's David Beard joined us again to talk about Brian Wilson's debut solo album from 1988 and The Beach Boys' work with Terry Melcher leading up to the release of "Kokomo".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyqZOV7TOdA
3  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Rocky Pamplin's THE BEACH BOYS' ENDLESS WAVE completed and published on: November 20, 2018, 03:16:34 PM
Ugh.
4  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson - 2018 Tour Thread on: November 07, 2018, 10:59:01 AM
It's always interesting when people get upset with Brian. Honestly, he shouldn't really be doing interviews. He obviously dislikes them.

There's an infamous story of when Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips filmed an unaired video interview with Brian for HBO's "Reverb" in '99 that was apparently very awkward and uncomfortable. Coyne later trashed him many times in the press afterwards, and also thinks his situation is a "put on".

Here's the text interview:
http://www.stopsmilingonline.com/story_detail.php?id=224


And here's Coyne's thoughts on Brian:

Quote
SS: From your interview with Brian Wilson, the one for HBO ? do you really think that Brian is a genius??

WC: I think genius is weird. It is something that happens. But I don't think people are born that way. I'm not in contempt of him, though. I just hate that if someone is drug-damaged, or eccentric, or possibly mad, people will let them sh*t all over themselves thinking, Isn't he [and out of respect, she] cool?"

Humans should have some sort of behavioral standards at some point in time. I don't care what you do. I don't care if you're the greatest artist. You have to be a good human first! But I don't think that people are geniuses, per se. I think anyone is capable of doing anything that could be considered "genius." I think it's a combination of persistence and some intention, and then some luck and then a little bit more luck, and then just the world being ready for what it is, and then it's considered genius. And it's a lot of accidents and a lot of timing. ...

SS: So do you view Brian more as a "pop guru?" And what about Pet Sounds? I mean, it's a great record, but I think the press has gone way overboard in recent years.

WC: Unfortunately, he's driven by that press -- how he always needs to be in the limelight of things.

SS: He's an American, though, born and raised.

WC: I think he can be a fool, because he needs people to pay attention to him. He's got the Elvis Presley syndrome. He wants everyone to say, "You're great! You're great!" I think he surrounds himself with people who are like, "Brian, the way you eat cereal ? you're a genius. Brian, the way that you wipe your ass, it's genius." I've found it off-putting at times.

But later on, I was like, "Well, if he's such a genius, why can't he talk." He's been asked about his music, like, everyday of his fucking life, so you'd think that he'd have something to say about it, besides, "Well, the Beatles are great." I know they are, Brian. Now, do you remember any of the ideas that you put into your music?

Wow! This sounds about as un-Brian as you can get. Wayne clearly had some learning to do. Talk about false impressions!
5  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / DIA/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra review/discussion w/ David Beard on: August 12, 2018, 12:33:14 PM
ESQ's David Beard was a guest on "The Vintage Rock & Pop Shop" to talk about the (somewhat controversial) 1968 single "Do It Again" and the (somewhat controversial) "The Beach Boys with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" CD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmg6b21cR08
6  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson - 2018 Tour Thread on: July 17, 2018, 08:53:33 PM
As we all know, Brian had back surgery not too long ago. At his advanced age it's going to take much longer to recuperate than it would for someone even just 10 years younger. If it's true that he was upbeat and happy performing then that would suggest that he wanted to be there regardless of the pain involved.

But he also may not have wanted to be seen going to his piano in a wheelchair, perhaps thinking that this would cause more concern than necessary.

Based on this "carrying" incident, however, perhaps a more effective way to work around this would be to do what Don Rickles did in his last years when he had difficulty walking, which would be to get onstage and seated prior to the curtain coming up.
7  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Who was the second best songwriter in the Beach Boys? on: July 13, 2018, 06:52:41 PM
Dennis by a mile. No disrespect to the others but imo Dennis should merit the #2 spot just based on his contributions to Sunflower alone.
8  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: \ on: June 21, 2018, 03:23:08 PM
Here are the contents of that extra footage:

1. Static shot of reel to reel machine as the track and backing vocals of "Belles Of Paris" is playing. Mike and Al are having a conversation off camera that's kind of hard to hear over the music but it's something about the background vocals.

2. Mike and Al coming up with lyrics to "Kona Coast". The footage is so clear you can read the lyrics and noted on Al's notepad. This is everything that's in the special and more.

3. Al at the board with the engineers and Mike standing next to him about to go into the vocal booth. They're still coming up with lyrics. Al jokes they should use "suntanned bitches are everywhere". At one point Mike comes up with another suggestion but Al reminds him that "time is money". They comically salute each other and Mike goes into the vocal booth.

4. Al goes into the recording booth with an acoustic to help Mike learn the song. They eventually realize that they're recording a verse they've already done. Laughter ensues. Good to see Al and Mike being so close and easy going. Al is kind of in charge with Mike being his comic foil. Mike makes some humorous criticisms that if, they were in print, would probably sound mean-spirited but it's clearly played for laughs and everyone is in on the joke. Almost like ball-busting.

5. Jam session for "Mike Come Back To L.A.". More of what's in the special. Carl is on drums. Billy is there. Brian and Mike are really locked in on piano and organ. Brian is having a ball. At one point someone (Carl? Billy?) does something to cause Brian to stop everyone and jump up and say "That's greeeeeaaat!" like Tony the Tiger. He tells whomever that "that's the best thing you've ever done in your whole career!". They go back to jamming and the happy accident doesn't seem to be repeatable. Brian sort of mellows out after that.

6. Recording background vocals with Beach Boys (minus Dennis), Billy, Marilyn and Diane and others. Stan Love is playing guitar (!). At one point Marilyn asks Stan to join them in singing. This goes on for a while. Brian seems to get tired or distracted after a bit. Mike is sort of aware of this and keeps giving him concerned looks, checking on him.
9  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / "Our Team" documentary + 35-40 minutes of bonus footage? on: June 20, 2018, 06:30:22 PM
Since it was Brian Wilson's birthday today, I wanted to watch something Brian/Beach Boys related this morning and remembered that someone sent me a DVD of the "Our Team" special several years ago. It's in better shape than the versions circulating on YouTube but still a bit on the blurry side. After it was over, the screen went dark and suddenly I was treated to 35-40 minutes of raw footage from the special in higher quality. This appears to be everything shot in in the studio for the special, with the exception of the Dennis session, the "Our Team" recording session and (naturally) it's missing all of the Mike narration. Much of what's here is outtake footage that didn't make the cut but is fascinating to watch and listen to. 

Has anyone else run across this in their travels?

(please don't PM me asking for a copy or a link)
10  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Album Discussion Thread on: June 19, 2018, 06:29:33 PM
It charted on the Billboard 200 this week at #165.

That sounds about right. That falls in line generally with how the Orbison album did. I expected the album would at least creep into the Top 200.

As far as the U.S. is concerned, I think there was an expectation that this set would get Elvis numbers. The first Elvis w/RPO went as high as #21 on Billboard in the U.S. The next two volumes of Elvis had lesser charter placings each time but at least they cracked the Top 100, whereas the Orbison set was a flop. The Aretha Franklin one was even more of a flop here. It might as well not even exist. One would think (hope?) that The Beach Boys were more of a commodity in the states and an RPO set with them would surely outsell the Elvis sets....but evidently that's not the case.   

I can offer no explanation for why these things chart so high in other territories (especially in the U.K.) but I doubt we'll be seeing many more of these from other artists whereas there will probably be at least one more Elvis RPO CD on the way (a Gospel set seems like a natural for this sort of treatment).

   
11  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Album Discussion Thread on: May 26, 2018, 10:31:34 PM

Itís one of two things. Either the people who put this crap out have no clue what their doing... or.. they donít give a sh*t. Well itís probably both. Thereís no way in hell anybody in The Beach Boys camp or at Capital/EMI think thereís a market for this sort of release. Last years Sunshine Tomorrow reached #145 on the charts with very good reviews. So instead of following that up with the next proper archival release which would be FRIENDS, they lose that momentum and release whatever the F*** this is.

We all know there have been concerts that have been recorded. Made in California hello! How bout releasing them in the entire show, and not just 1 song!


There clearly IS someone at Capitol/UMe who think there's a market for this CD; they're putting it out!

I'm sure it's due to the success (much more so in the UK than the US) of the Orbison CD, which hit #2 on the UK charts, as well as the success of other assembly line Patrick/Reedman projects that has made Capitol and BRI interested enough to sign off on this.

And remember, they're just signing off on this stuff. It's an easy extra paycheck. I would imagine, considering it's mostly EMI-owned masters (a couple of post-1969 tracks on there), BRI probably didn't even have to pony up any money to do the project. It was all Capitol/EMI/UMe.

Someone probably showed the BBs the other recent albums of this ilk, and they thought "sure, let's jump on the bandwagon", and had to do *zero* work on this other than listen to it (maybe) and sign off on it. To them, it's probably akin to another "Sounds of Summer" style repackaging.

Which gets us to why comparing such a set to "Sunshine Tomorrow" probably isn't a worthy comparison. This new 2018 orchestral CD will no doubt be marketed much more like another "Greatest Hits" set, and will probably (unfortunately) outpace "Sunshine Tomorrow" in sales and chart position (at least in the UK anyway).

I'm not saying this set is what *I* wanted, but the reason it's happening is not surprising at all. I don't think this CD will crack the Top 10 or 20 (or maybe even 50) in the US. It will probably chart in the US if given enough promotion, and will chart higher (though probably not #2) in the UK.

My only hope is that BRI is still also looking deeply into archival releases. Starting with 1968 copyright extension material, but also stuff *well beyond* that. An FTD/Dick's Picks sort of thing for the archives would be easy to do and would enhance their legacy among rock journalists that matter even more than orchestra overdubs onto "Fun Fun Fun."

Just want to add/correct that not only did the Roy Orbison album hit #2, two of the Elvis albums hit #1 in the UK (and the third hit #6).

EDIT: I'd love a Beach Boys series similar to FTD. As the Elvis fan I am, FTD is awesome and eye-opening.

Also, I'm worried this may not be forgotten after 2 years because supposedly the Elvis RPO songs are among the first songs chosen (supposedly) when asking devices such as the Amazon Alexa for an Elvis playlist.

Indeed, the Elvis orchestral remakes albums are the most commercially successful. With the Christmas album, that makes a whopping three of these RPO concoctions so far and with no end in sight.

The same problems remain IMO. The cuts where Elvis was already using an orchestra anyway are tolerable. The 50's era rock and roll cuts with the orchestra overdubbed on top are an abomination.

...and yet someone must be buying them. If these same "someones" fork out a small fortune for this Beach Boys edition I would think a second volume would be announced soon after (shudder).

12  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Album Discussion Thread on: May 25, 2018, 04:38:59 PM
Now having listened to the RPO version of "Good Vibrations"...well...it sounds just like their version of "Fun, Fun, Fun"...like someone playing the record while the orchestra just playis along to it.

If anything, this makes me appreciate the Hollyridge Strings. At least there was some kind of merit to that.

Nobody's a bigger "rah rah" objective supporter of all of the guys than me, but there's a reason I'm skipping this.
13  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Album Discussion Thread on: May 10, 2018, 02:53:35 PM
Ugh. A symphony orchestra playing along to the record of "Fun, Fun, Fun". I'll pass.

I can understand the enthusiasm on the part of all the guys (except David who wasn't asked, I guess) considering how well the Elvis and Orbison sets sold in Britain, but I'd be shocked if it even charted on these shores. The last one, the "Aretha Franklin sings along to the RPO" CD, sank without a trace here.  
14  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Lydia Cornell interview: working at Caribou Ranch, dating Dennis Wilson and more on: April 08, 2018, 10:20:13 AM
This might be of interest to Beach Boys fans. I interviewed actress Lydia Cornell from TV's "Too Close For Comfort". Prior to being cast in the show, she worked in many capacities at Caribou Ranch and even dated Dennis Wilson. She talks about that and much more here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5oMhiJ33PY
15  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Band -vs- Brand documentary coming soon. on: April 06, 2018, 04:20:32 PM
While I don't believe that the Beach Boys are featured in this documentary, it will address (among other things) the phenomenon of touring bands with only one (or in some cases no) original members.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GELk8TfTkTY
16  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 22, 2018, 06:28:48 PM
No doubt he pulled back, but he was still writing. When the band turned in Holland, the label didn't hear a single so they went to Van Dyke Parks who showed up with that demo of Sail On Sailor. So it was still a case even at the time of Holland that when the band needed a hit, they went to something Brian was writing at this time.

I think chart failure may be overstated as a factor. Consider how Brian's ideas - no matter how "commercial" they may or may not have been - were being rejected by the band. He apparently didn't want them to use the chants on Cool Cool Water, but they did anyway. He didn't back the idea of doing Surf's Up when the band was going to put it out, yet he showed up out of the blue during one session to add a missing part to the song. He wrote something as magnificent as Til I Die during this time, and Mike called it a downer or something like that. He had the fairy tale, and apparently Carl compromised by doing that extra record bonus instead of putting it on the album proper. It goes on and on.

As I said previously regarding the time period around Friends and 20/20, a person can only hear the word "no" so many times before finally saying f*** it. Yet he still added his work to what the band was doing musically, and I don't think they had any choice to be honest. But for a guy who had been seeking approval and validation through his music since he was a kid, it wore him down to hear his ideas rejected so many times, whether they were smash hit record ideas or not.

I think you are right, Craig. It was not only Smile's "failure", but also what happened after that wore Brian down, as you say. He needed both psychological support (no wonder with a childhood like that and his other ongoing problems) and creative support (Brian has never been a wholly autonomous artist, always needs somebody to help him bring his creations to full fruition). In that period, it looks like he did not get much of either.
Sad

It's likely that one factor or another is overstated, but certainly in this case both are true, right? Brian has often defined success by chart placement. I recently re-listened to the radio interview he gave in support of Shyin' Away and there were numerous interesting remarks that I think are relevant to this discussion. He was asked about the Beach Boys newfound success and responded that the concerts went over well but the records weren't selling. He later offered up that he missed their "successful recordings". That he missed the feeling of a good chart record. He also couldn't understand why Shyin' Away and records like it (his contemporary music?) weren't hit records. He was also asked if there was a time in the group's history that he gave up the reins of control, and he said yes but he really didn't know why. I get that he is on the radio and I know why he was, so that could inform his answers, but I kind of believe him when he simply says, "I don't know". Ultimately, Brian didn't really know what was happening to him or how to deal with it properly. Here's an excerpt from his book discussing his struggle with depression during this period of his life:

"... I would be in the middle of a perfectly good day, with no bad news for miles around, and I would get depressed. I would go to bed and wouldn't get out for days. Sometimes it was simple depression, and sometimes it was other things, too - the voices in my head, or the sense that the world wasn't spinning right. It felt like a big cloud moved over me after I junked Smile. Even when we moved past it, I wasn't okay with things. The idea of the record kept weighing me down. I could feel it on me whenever I started to get too far into hope and possibility. I would write a really cool tune, start the recording process, call the guys in, then suddenly lose interest and walk away from whatever I was doing. I started making up excuses like I didn't feel good or I had a sore throat, anything I could come up with to avoid confronting my own work. I was afraid of failing, afraid my dad was right, afraid I couldn't live up to the example that Phil Spector set for me. It was the depression creeping up on me that would eventually go over me completely, take away my spirit, and paralyze me for so many years."

 Cry

To circle back around: In Brian's own words, "Smiley Smile bombed" and (presumably) Surfs Up-Holland "weren't selling". What would that mean for Friends and Sunflower? Brian seemed motivated upon signing w/Reprise and was quite heavily involved in the Sunflower sessions (more so than the final track listing would suggest). Obviously, neither of you were suggesting that chart failure wasn't a factor. I just happen to think, particularly with Sunflower, and possibly, Friends, that it must have been devastating (if not in the moment, then upon reflection). And while the group did reject Brian's ideas numerous times (sometimes in particularly harmful ways), I think there were probably many more times that they were supportive and encouraging (at least during those home studio years). They wanted Brian to contribute material, to produce. Brian couldn't for his own reasons.

Funny you should mention this because I remember when Brian was promoting his first solo album on David Letterman's show, Dave asked how long it had been since he had appeared on a record (sounds like Dave bought the old narrative too). Brian says "About 3 years ago with The Beach Boys but nothing happened with it" (presumably he's referring to either BB85 or the "California Dreaming'" single). When asked about his solo album, Brian immediately starts talking about how it's doing chart wise, saying it's not doing "real well" but says "The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades". That line always struck me because it's the sort of music business insider axiom one would expect out of a grizzled captain of industry...and then I remembered, oh yeah, Brian IS a grizzled captain of industry.
This is in stark contrast to several pre-release interviews about the album where Brian predicts skyrocketing sales and several smash hit singles. It's tempting to write that kind of thing off as Landyspeak but I agree that Brian (perhaps until recently when age has become a big factor) defined success via chart placement.  I can imagine him being devastated when the music didn't connect on a mass level. 
17  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 22, 2018, 03:16:32 PM
It's also worth noting that the group's own sanctioned documentary "An American Band" pushes the narrative of Brian giving up after SMiLE. We go from the 1976 clip of Brian  talking about junking SMiLE and then we cut to the rest of the band (minus Brian) in the studio with a voiceover telling us that they had to pick themselves up and start all over. Then we jump to touring, etc with the strong implication that Brian was out of commission during these years and only resurfaces for "15 Big Ones".

"Endless Harmony" is also guilty of fudging the details and giving newbies the wrong impression.   

I remember coming to grips with the truth that Brian was responsible for SS, WH and Friends a few years into the early 1990's (it took several years just to be able to FIND those albums as it is). Indeed, there was a pretty steep learning curve between 1988 and 1995 with a ton of new information becoming available. The birth of the internet didn't hurt either.

But as others have mentioned in this thread, one can easily see where the narrative of Brian retreating in sorrow while the rest of the band cranked out SS, WH and Friends (which were considered primitive and uneven back then and a pale substitute for the kind of work Brian was capable of) would be so appealing. When I finally got around to getting those albums I liked them for all the wrong reasons, thinking the other Beach Boys had done a decent job of turning Brian's songs into something pleasant and weird (this was further bolstered by the "Produced by The Beach Boys" credit on the album). I assumed the stripped down production was the result of them being amateur record producers and not having any of Brian's gift. By the mid-90's there was far more documented histories and literature about the group than at any time before, and those old notions of Brian hating the other guys and hiding out in the bedroom fell away.

18  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 05:52:57 PM
A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   

That's funny you mention "So", a friend and I literally wore out that cassette when it came out. Wore it out, and my own dubbed copy. I went back recently to listen to some of the choice tracks with my older ears, and tracks like Sledgehammer and others really do not suffer from that 80's-itis in terms of sounding dated. They're just damn fine tracks, and Sledgehammer still grooves like nobody's business. If anything...I also went back to Gabriel's older solo material, and listened to a favorite from those years "Games Without Frontiers". Now THAT sounded dated, even though I still dig the song. But the sounds dragged it down a few pegs, whereas the choice cuts from "So" didn't sound nearly as dated as I thought.

BW 88 did sound like a lot of everything else at the time, in some ways, and that's what kind of killed it for me - That was what was behind my comment about labels expecting records to sound like, it was just what they thought a hit should sound like. But consider at that same time there were successful albums like "Appetite For Destruction", that La's album with There She Goes as the lead single, Michael Penn with that terrific single No Myth, even Elvis Costello's hit Veronica, and I could name more...but none of them have that 80's-itis sound quality that drags down BW 88 and other albums like it, the Macca album is a great example of it. Touches of it were on those I mention, yes, but not fully washed out in that sound like I think BW's album suffers from.

We can split hairs on the production of BW 88 (I actually think GnR's AFD sounds more dated) but you have to admit that at that time BW 88 was heralded as THE comeback nobody expected, and I agreed with the critics that it was the best Beach Boys-releated release since Sunflower. While Landy was considered controversial even then, he was praised for getting Brian in shape and actively writing and recording. Like a lot of Brian fanatics at the time, I completely bought into the idea that Landy was a positive in Brian's life....mainly because Brian kept saying this in every interview.

Fast forward all these years later and to younger fans BW 88 is tainted by the presence of Landy, the "80's production complaint", etc.
Just goes to show you how perceptions differ over the years. Same with SS, WH and Friends now that we know what we know.
19  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 05:22:18 PM
A further point about "Rio Grande", I think at that time and the years after that specific track may have been emblematic of what fans knew Brian was *still* capable of doing musically. I say still because apart from some cameos with the Beach Boys doing whatever he did, there was a sense that he was fried, that he was done for in a musical sense, and the tabloid-style press coverage of him throughout the 80's didn't do any favors. Unfortunately that track (to me) fell victim to what were some overbearing production sounds that were trendy in studios at that time and which labels almost required artists to use and sound like in terms of a major release. It hampered the music, to me. But so did a sense of too many cooks on that project, and of course Landy.

But I do think Rio Grande was one of those diamonds in the rough that gave fans hope that not only was Brian still capable of writing music like that, harkening back to the Smile experimentation with song form and storytelling in that kind of song construction, but also that we would get more of that from him in the future.

I agree wholeheartedly with this (I wanted a whole album like that!) but I can't agree about the production. It sounded like most everything else at the time. To me it sounded very contemporary but with a retro-feel. I mean, Paul McCartney's "Press To Play" album was more screamingly synthetic sounding than BW 88 (same with Peter Gabriel's "So" and other highly praised records)...and I thought that way even then.
I admit to being an "old man from the 80's" on this issue.   
20  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 05:15:44 PM
It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.

Then we ran in entirely different circles back then because that definitely WAS the narrative I was taught and firmly believed in as a teenager. It's an easy one to believe in too when you hear the SMiLE tracks (on bootleg tapes at the time) and then hear the versions on Smiley Smile. If you're told that "this is The Beach Boys trying to do the SMiLE stuff on their own" it's easy to see where that narrative (wrong as it is) could make sense to someone. We also pointed to "Pale and Precious" as a Brian tribute (and "Season Cycle" from XTC's Skylarking) but it was never in the context of Smiley, WH and Friends but always in the context of the promise SMiLE (which was everything).
 
I remember when someone played me "Rio Grande" for the first time and said "See? This is what a real Brian Wilson production sounds like!!!".
 

That may be so, for your experience, but the majority of the Smile "fan mixes" made on cassette in those days before the floodgates opened for new Smile fragments consisted of at least half Smiley tracks, and people were digging them in that context. Again speaking of Domenic Priore, he even published a Smile fan mix tracklist in the old Pulse magazine back in '92 or so, and that was a pretty cool template for a DIY Smile fan mix before the internet and more vault leaks changed the whole game.

There was a pretty strong underground cult of fans who were doing what I said (and did), and getting people who had no idea that music existed to listen to Smiley Smile and Wild Honey, and both albums had and developed even stronger a certain cult following especially among musicians. Even then, yes there may have been the notion of "compromise" with Smile versus Smiley Smile, but most people took Smiley and Wild Honey even then as Brian's work, compromised or not, and appreciated it as such.

I don't doubt that was your experience but it certainly wasn't mine and I was DEEP into that underground Brian cult.  While I and my friends heard SS, WH and Friends (in piecemeal fashion....those LP's were very hard to come by in the 1980's) it was not in the larger context of Brian's artistic vision but rather "hey, check out these weird tracks The Beach Boys did" and enjoyed in an Ed Wood kind of way.
In fact, the first time I had heard any of those tracks was completely out of their original context and on the "Sunshine Dream" cassette.        
21  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 04:52:38 PM
It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   

Hmm, I don't recall that narrative and I was one of the cult members at that same time. If anything we were trying to introduce skeptics to the joys of Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, etc and lending out copies of those albums, telling people about the XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear tribute track, and sharing copies of Dom Priore's LLVS which said nothing like that - in fact pages are full of praise for Smiley, WH, even Leid In Hawaii at a time when those albums were all but off the radar and the "Beach Boys" were doing soundtracks full of 80's production fetish sounds.

If anything the narrative and direct responses I got from more people after playing them Smile boots, Smiley, WH, etc was a sense of almost the incredulous when they'd see or hear something new at that time by the "Beach Boys" and wondered if it was the same guys still making that music. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.

Answering SmileBrian's comment, yes that is pretty much a summary of the wording that was in Mike's lawsuit.

Then we ran in entirely different circles back then because that definitely WAS the narrative I was taught and firmly believed in as a teenager. It's an easy one to believe in too when you hear the SMiLE tracks (on bootleg tapes at the time) and then hear the versions on Smiley Smile. If you're told that "this is The Beach Boys trying to do the SMiLE stuff on their own" it's easy to see where that narrative (wrong as it is) could make sense to someone. We also pointed to "Pale and Precious" as a Brian tribute (and "Season Cycle" from XTC's Skylarking) but it was never in the context of Smiley, WH and Friends but always in the context of the promise SMiLE (which was everything).
 
I remember when someone played me "Rio Grande" for the first time and said "See? This is what a real Brian Wilson production sounds like!!!".
 
22  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 04:35:40 PM
It also isn't reality that after 1967 Brian retreated to his bed and did nothing musically but lay there and collect royalty checks, as the tapes prove. Same with the notion that the Smile sessions were a drug-fueled mess of a Bacchanale where everyone was zonked out of their minds, surrounded by drug pushers, hangers-on, and leeches.

It's amazing how such nonsense got published or even accepted to where it got repeated for decades after the fact when the truth is on all those tapes.

Well, for the longest time the narrative went as follows:

"After the collapse of SMiLE, the Beach Boys forced Brian into participating in these crappy albums like Smiley Smile, Wild Honey and Friends. You can tell Brian's heart wasn't in it because the production, the songs, the lyrics, etc. are all woefully inferior to what we had on Pet Sounds and SMiLE".

This was certainly the going narrative in the 1980's when I was getting heavily into The Beach Boys. Those albums were held up as evidence #1 that without Brian at the helm The Beach Boys couldn't produce anything decent, an opinion held by the "hipster hardcore Brian Wilson cult" of 1988 (myself included). The critical reassessment of those records had yet to take place.  Now we know that Brian WAS at the helm. A lot of hardcore Brian fanatics have had to do quite a bit of soul searching.   
23  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: The Media Narrative of Brian's creative collapse Post-SMiLE on: March 20, 2018, 04:07:13 PM
While Brian was fully in control of Smiley, WH and Friends, he was very clearly stepping back in terms of his lead vocal duties. Brian's lead vocals practically dominate Pet Sounds and the SMiLE era tracks. One could argue that he became the group's primary lead vocalist during this time (singles be damned). That situation abruptly ends with Smiley Smile. Brian is still singing lead on some tracks but not to the degree that he once had been. He's handing more lead vocals off to Carl.
The stripped down production of SS and WH was a conscious move away from what he had done before 65-66, but it also meant that there was less heavy lifting for Brian to do in the studio. When you see the other guys popping up with writing credits, I think you're seeing Brian just trying to make the recording situation a lot less hectic for himself and more creatively stimulating for the other guys.
The old tired warhorse of a theory that he washed his hands of The Beach Boys and was at war with them following SMiLE is a nice pipe dream but it ain't reality as the tapes prove.
24  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / "Friends" LP review/discussion with ESQ's David Beard on: March 18, 2018, 12:51:33 PM
ESQ's David Beard joined me today to discuss/review The Beach Boys' 1968 "Friends" album: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWAzmjExV9o
25  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Beach Boys session at Abbey Road 2018 on: February 19, 2018, 03:03:21 PM
The Roy Orbison one sold ridiculously well in the UK - been in the Top 100 since release, spent 8 weeks in the Top 10, and is available in all the supermarkets.

Still I can't see a Beach Boys one having half as much promotion or sales.

Yeah, and the Elvis ones (all three volumes) were smash hits.

Who's buying these things when the original recordings are sitting right there next to it on the shelf?
People who are so burnt out on the originals they they're trying to recapture the freshness they experienced the first time?
People who say "Y'know, Don't Be Cruel really could've used an oboe. I've said this all along and now I'm vindicated!"?
The people who bought those Hooked On Classics albums?   
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