gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
669440 Posts in 26932 Topics by 3918 Members - Latest Member: another June 18, 2021, 02:03:16 PM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] 3 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Van Dyke letter to NYT redux  (Read 27603 times)
Jason
Guest
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2005, 11:52:57 AM »

Isn't Brian confused at a lot of maneuvers?
Logged
I. Spaceman
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2271

Revolution Never Again


View Profile
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2005, 11:53:24 AM »

OK, well, the clip from It's OK shown in AB.
And that whole "You'll show them teabags" thing in Beautiful Dreamer, my god, that's a Mike Love moment. I think that's the reason Van and Mike don't like each other, because they are so alike.

That's because they're both great and they know they're both great.

True, and the room ain't big enough.
Logged

Nobody gives a sh*t about the Record Room
Jason
Guest
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2005, 11:53:58 AM »

Egos have to be checked at the door with Messrs Parks and Love.
Logged
the captain
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7255


View Profile
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2005, 11:56:12 AM »

Isn't Brian confused at a lot of maneuvers?

So it would seem.
Logged

Demon-Fighting Genius; Patronizing Twaddler; Argumentative, Sanctimonious Prick; Sensationalist Dullard; and Douche who (occasionally to rarely) puts songs here.

No interest in your assorted grudges and nonsense.
Jason
Guest
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2005, 11:57:34 AM »

Isn't Brian confused at a lot of maneuvers?

So it would seem.

Posts like those will give you hip cred on Male Ego.
Logged
the captain
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7255


View Profile
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2005, 11:58:17 AM »

Isn't Brian confused at a lot of maneuvers?

So it would seem.

Posts like those will give you hip cred on Male Ego.

And lynched on the Blueboard. All this is that.
Logged

Demon-Fighting Genius; Patronizing Twaddler; Argumentative, Sanctimonious Prick; Sensationalist Dullard; and Douche who (occasionally to rarely) puts songs here.

No interest in your assorted grudges and nonsense.
Jason
Guest
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2005, 11:58:56 AM »

sh*t happens.
Logged
I. Spaceman
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2271

Revolution Never Again


View Profile
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2005, 12:00:12 PM »

You guys are like me and Chris D used to be. Hogging the board, using it as a conversation-space. Just be prepared for engendered hatred.
Logged

Nobody gives a sh*t about the Record Room
Jason
Guest
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2005, 12:01:19 PM »

You guys are like me and Chris D used to be. Hogging the board, using it as a conversation-space. Just be prepared for engendered hatred.

I thrive on hatred.
Logged
the captain
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7255


View Profile
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2005, 12:02:11 PM »

You guys are like me and Chris D used to be. Hogging the board, using it as a conversation-space. Just be prepared for engendered hatred.

"And I'm so-unaccustomed to hatred," he said sarcastically.
Logged

Demon-Fighting Genius; Patronizing Twaddler; Argumentative, Sanctimonious Prick; Sensationalist Dullard; and Douche who (occasionally to rarely) puts songs here.

No interest in your assorted grudges and nonsense.
SMiLEY
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 115

Columnated Ruins Domino


View Profile
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2005, 09:17:20 AM »

Warning: It is dangerous to use the terms, "hip cred," and, "Male Ego," in the same sentence.
Logged

Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!
Joshilyn Hoisington
Honored Guest
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 3060


Aeijtzsche


View Profile
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2005, 04:35:29 PM »

Speaking of funny, this thread has been.  If birthday cake were involved somehow, I'd probably lose it.
Logged
californiasailer
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 10


View Profile
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2006, 01:06:08 PM »

I think you guys need to re-read Van Dyke's letter. He is merely clarifying a point. The writer mistakenly assumes that Brian was the source for the manifest destiny aspects of SMiLE. Van Dyke simply points out the fact that Brian gave him no such framework. I still don't see the arrogance that some of you are sensing.  Huh

i think readers should also see the piece on Smile by Scott Staton published in the New York Review of Books.  Here is the passage in "questsion":

<After releasing the brilliant Pet Sounds in 1966, a personal meditation on love and growing up that bore no trace of either surfing or hot rods, the twenty-three-year-old Wilson conceived of Smile, the highly anticipated follow-up (originally titled Dumb Angel), as his "teenage symphony to God."

He envisioned the album as an affectionate critique of America's mythic past, a cartoonish representation of Manifest Destiny from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii. Like the American composer Charles Ives, whose unconventionally impressionistic work sometimes seemed to attempt to include and interpret all of American culture, Wilson made wide reference to American history and music, from the folk songs of Woody Guthrie and the familiar "You Are My Sunshine" to pop standards like "I Wanna Be Around.">

i think that since the album is bascially "Brian's baby", in the words of Van Dyke, and since Van Dyke has always made much of his role being subordinate, this loose critical reference to the American scope of the record is harmless.  Staton does give proper respect to Van Dyke, which is why Parks's letter struck me as somewhat pedantic.  and he also kind of suggests Brian had no idea about the American element of the recording, which is hard to believe.

i also think his "superioirty" or "envy" or whatever comes through in his remark in his letter about "columnaded ruins domino", which suggests that Staton didn't give him credit for the line.   In the piece, Staton says more than once that Van Dyke wrote the words to Smile, so again it seems as if Van Dyke is just looking to make a big deal out of nothing when he writes that he "wants to enjoy [having written those words] justly." 

i don't know, maybe the literate and intellectual Parks just wanted a piece of the New York Review of Books action>!

CS
Logged
SMiLEY
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 115

Columnated Ruins Domino


View Profile
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2006, 11:33:21 AM »

No.

He is responding to the assertion that Brian 'envisioned the album as an affectionate critique of America's mythic past.'

Dumb Angel had nothing to do with this. The songs that make up SMiLE evolved after Van Dyke started writing lyrics to Brian's 'feels.' I

In other words, Brian wrote the music, Van Dyke wrote the words, and Brian approved the words. Not the other way around.
Logged

Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!
Smilin Ed H
Guest
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2006, 11:44:55 AM »

One element of the myth around SMiLE that I find a little perturbing is the idea that the BB sang only surf/car/sun songs prior to this and VDP took them away from this (and by extension, I think, into the realms of aesthetic credibility). This is referred to in VDP's reply to the letter, in the article in the other VDP thread, and I've seen the man himself denigrate previous BB lyrics as, and I'm paraphrasing, "diddy-wah-diddy".  Much as I like Parks' work, personally, I think this is unfair and not a little disingenuous. I also think it's unnecessary on his part.
Logged
SMiLEY
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 115

Columnated Ruins Domino


View Profile
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2006, 11:56:19 AM »

He's also said that Asher is the best lyricist Brian ever had. Don't forget when he said those quotes, he was rightfully pretty mad at the Beach Boys.
Logged

Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!
Smilin Ed H
Guest
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2006, 11:59:42 AM »

I dunno.  Sometimes I think it depends which way the wind's blowing.
Logged
Barba Yiorgi
Smiley Smile Newbie

Offline Offline

Posts: 5


View Profile
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2006, 08:12:45 AM »

Quote
<
He envisioned the album as an affectionate critique of America's mythic past, a cartoonish representation of Manifest Destiny from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii. Like the American composer Charles Ives, whose unconventionally impressionistic work sometimes seemed to attempt to include and interpret all of American culture, Wilson made wide reference to American history and music, from the folk songs of Woody Guthrie and the familiar "You Are My Sunshine" to pop standards like "I Wanna Be Around.">

--Whoa, what is up with this impression that Van Dyke is being "superior" or something because the above description peeved him? It takes nothing away from Brian  to say that that passage gives what is very likely a wrong impression.
It makes sense that he's peeved.
"an affectionate critique of America's mythic past, a cartoonish representation of Manifest Destiny from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii"--
IF THAT is not  a summation of some of VDP's abiding concerns in his life in music, I dunno what is.
Clearly, what VDP is implying is, folks, Brian was a genius composer and he had some great but vague notions about what to do for a monster-Pop Music project in the Spring-summer of '66;  but it was VDP,  his hired lyricist, in the course of trying to fit words to  melodies, who drew on his own obsessions to come up with words that would later suggest--
"an affectionate critique of America's mythic past, a cartoonish representation of Manifest Destiny from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii"--

Now of course Brian had plently of ideas, (Like maybe recording  odd cover tunes, or tracks for a comedy album or a health-food album etc.) but it's hard to  believe that the "Americana"  concept was NOT instigated by Parks in the course of writing the lyrics. After all, Parks in '66 already was a   folk musician, coffee house  bohemian armchair-historian and  Americana collector-fan who travelled in circles where this concept  would already be discussed and appreciated. Consider that  after seeing the intellectual framework   of the SMiLE project scuttled in the subsequent  12 months, Parks immediately started work on his own   to realize that vision, in the form of a series of Americana-fantasy projects, starting with the magnificent cartoon-acid-music masterpiece Song Cycle.

I think what is going on here is that VDP, in the course of seeing the accolades mount for the now completed project, wants to stake out the portion of SMiLE turf that he feels the most emotionally and intellectually bound up in. Make no mistake, Parks  seems to want us to know-- of course the project was a collaboration--but the "critique of American history"  was his critique,  and the Americana concept, the references to Charles Ives and Carl Stallings (Warner Brothers cartoon composer) et cetera are postcards from HIS musical homeland, as is evident  in Song Cycle and forty subsequent years of composing, arranging & performing.
Logged
mike thornton
Guest
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2006, 10:38:03 AM »

i think that's a fair summation.
Logged
SMiLEY
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 115

Columnated Ruins Domino


View Profile
« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2006, 11:10:18 AM »

The nail has been hit squarely on the head. Nice post.
Logged

Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!
californiasailer
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 10


View Profile
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2006, 02:02:31 PM »

i agree with the summation as well.  still, there's no changing the fact that in interviews and the like van dyke has always presented smile as being predominantly the work of brian wilson ("brian's baby").  and his line in his letter, where he states "i wrote 'columnaded ruins domino' and want to enjoy it justly", implies that the reviewer didn't identify him as a lyricist and somehow suggested that Brian was working alone, which is not the case at all if anyone reads the proper piece.  but i wholeheartedly agree that van dyke had everything to do with the lyrical articulation of the americana theme.  at the same time, however, the beach boys were resolutely AMERICAN well before van dyke came on the scene, and the whole thematic question, i think, proceeds from that nature of their music.  and the intimation, by van dyke and others in this thread, that brian was completely uninvolved with the "conception" of the american scope of the record also strikes me as both unlikely and a little silly. 
Logged
californiasailer
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 10


View Profile
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2006, 02:21:32 PM »

also, i hate to keep going on (although this topic is hot i gather because this question is fundamental to the SMILE collaboration), but this quote of Parks in the reply also made me think a sec:

 "we just kind of wanted to investigate...American images.... Everyone was hung up and obsessed with everything totally British. So we decided to take a gauche route that we took, which was to explore American slang, and that's what we got." Parks's liberal use of the word "we" to describe Brian Wilson and himself implies that they shared an understanding of the album's thematic direction.

i wonder what the big deal is, if in this interview Van Dyke is all about identifying the American preoccupation (of which "manifest destiny" and "Plymouth rock" can be seen as extensions) as being *shared* by Brian and him -- he doesn't at all say that the preoccupation with American themes was his own.  other people seem to be trying to rationalize the collaboration on his behalf (that he came up with everything American), when he should be held to the words he has spoken and the way he presents *their* "exploration of American slang".  let's face it, if Van Dyke had always wanted to say he was given free reign to come up with the theme of SMILE before, he shouldn't have said different and then waited until 2005 to right the record.  if anyone has good Van Dyke quotes from the past that demonstrate otherwise they should post them up. 

but, adversely, and seriously -- i don't think one whit of recognition or credit should be taken from Van Dyke. 
Logged
Barba Yiorgi
Smiley Smile Newbie

Offline Offline

Posts: 5


View Profile
« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2006, 03:26:04 PM »

i agree with the summation as well.  still, there's no changing the fact that in interviews and the like van dyke has always presented smile as being predominantly the work of brian wilson ...
  but i wholeheartedly agree that van dyke had everything to do with the lyrical articulation of the americana theme.  at the same time, however, the beach boys were resolutely AMERICAN well before van dyke came on the scene, and the whole thematic question, i think, proceeds from that nature of their music.  and the intimation, by van dyke and others in this thread, that brian was completely uninvolved with the "conception" of the american scope of the record also strikes me as both unlikely and a little silly. 

Hmmm. Well we're on the same page but here's the thing-
First off I don't think saying "the beach boys were resolutely AMERICAN " is necessarily relevant here cause in the mid sixties, the Beach Boys  did not come across as any more "American"  than the Four Seasons or Bob Dylan or The Supremes, to pick at random acts that they shared the charts with at that time. The whole "America's Band" thing , I think we'd agree, was a much, much  later image.

Now,  there WAS a fair amount of fear/consternation aimed at the British Invasion acts and I think that's what Van Dyke refers to in a lot of these interviews.  The established Top 40 artists in the States were a little worried. Foreign acts were all over the map. Spector was worried, the Wilsons, the A&R guys, everyone was thinking "what the hell is up with these Brits owning the charts all of a sudden?"  The year before (in '65)  the U.S had "answered back" in the form of Folk-Rock-- The Byrds, The Lovin'Spoonful. The Turtles, Sonny & Cher- a flash-in-the-pan  which had provided  a paycheck for more than a few of the starving pseudo-intellectual stoned folkies that Van Dyke hung with, like his pal David Crosby, who graciously introduced him to  one of those worried Top 40 chartbusters, a certain Brian Wilson.  Wilson wanted someone with the hippie anti-establishment folk-rock juice that he lacked, to help  him in his desire to "catch up " with the Brits.

After Parks came on board, being a conceptual punster, he clearly saw the irony in a "surf music band" trying to get Meaningful so as to continue the Folk-Rock  backlash against the endlessly inventive but commercially vulnerable Beatles, (this is now june or so of 66. pre-Revolver)  and encouraged Brian's already dry-witty tendencies. Parks' first batch of lyrics- for the tune Surf's Up--  established this ironic idea:  a "surf's up" tidal wave  triumphing with the charm of a New World "children's song"  over the Opera House decadence of the  Old World. Brian was knocked out by the idea  that he had inspired something so Artistic  and Heavy,  and probably encouraged Parks  to press ahead in a similar vein. So Parks gladly wrote more stuff around his personal historic/asthetic passions, implying  an "americana" framework  that I seriously do not think Brian would have ever come up with on his own, but which he nonetheless embraced wholeheartedly.
Anyway, that's my take on why Parks wants  credit for his lyrics suggesting some grand Americana concept, if there IS any grand Americana concept (and reviewers will always be inclined to create one even if the composers were actually "whistling in the dark").
Logged
Bill Tobelman
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 533



View Profile WWW
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2006, 04:37:45 PM »

Above post said;
Quote
First off I don't think saying "the beach boys were resolutely AMERICAN " is necessarily relevant here cause in the mid sixties, the Beach Boys  did not come across as any more "American"  than the Four Seasons or Bob Dylan or The Supremes, to pick at random acts that they shared the charts with at that time.

The following passage from Brian's "biography" may help show where Brian's and Van Dyke's heads were at concerning the "American" thing.

Quote
One night while we were working, Dennis came to the house, complaining that the Beach Boys' stage outfits, the candy-striped shirts and straight-legged slacks that my dad had picked out in the band's infancy, had elicited ridicule in some of London's hipper circles. I sympathized, while Van Dyke immediately interpreted Dennis's tale on a much broader level. He saw it as a small example of the shame the U.S. was suffering throughout the world as a result of the Vietnam War.
"We should hit it head-on," he said.
"I like it," I said. "I don't know much about it, but my instincts tell me you're right."
Popping some speed, Van Dyke and I stayed up the rest of the night and wrote "Surf's Up," a song whose title was so utterly cliche and square that it couldn't be anything but hip.

If I'm reading the above correctly, Van Dyke Parks equates the Beach Boys' image (the stage outfits) with the United States of America.

The Beach Boys cannot escape the fact that they are American, and therefore, you may as well BE American because people are going to view you as American no matter what you do.

That's why we have the Americana thing in SMiLE, because, it's a Beach Boys album and Van Dyke Parks is thinking that the Beach Boys are inescapably American.

Logged

"Connect, Always Connect..." - Arthur Koestler

"No discovery has ever been made by logical deduction..." - Arthur Koestler
Barba Yiorgi
Smiley Smile Newbie

Offline Offline

Posts: 5


View Profile
« Reply #49 on: January 05, 2006, 09:16:48 PM »

The following passage from Brian's "biography" may help show where Brian's and Van Dyke's heads were at concerning the "American" thing.

Quote
One night while we were working, Dennis came to the house, complaining that the Beach Boys' stage outfits, the candy-striped shirts and straight-legged slacks that my dad had picked out in the band's infancy, had elicited ridicule in some of London's hipper circles. I sympathized, while Van Dyke immediately interpreted Dennis's tale on a much broader level. He saw it as a small example of the shame the U.S. was suffering throughout the world as a result of the Vietnam War.
"We should hit it head-on," he said.
"I like it," I said. "I don't know much about it, but my instincts tell me you're right."
Popping some speed, Van Dyke and I stayed up the rest of the night and wrote "Surf's Up," a song whose title was so utterly cliche and square that it couldn't be anything but hip.

If I'm reading the above correctly, Van Dyke Parks equates the Beach Boys' image (the stage outfits) with the United States of America.

Yup- great find there. Even if it's semi-apocryphal (do we know who actually wrote that bio?) it sounds plausible. Yeah Parks probably did equate the Boys with America-- even if, at that point in time, it was a novel idea.

I mean I still maintain that the average fan (which was certainly NOT Parks) did not necessarily see the Beach Boys  as a particularly "American" pop group. In 1966, it was still a world where "Americanism" was represented in popular culture by Pat Boone,  Guy Lombardo,  maybe Georgie Jessel (now forgotten) wearing his uniform... the Beach Boys were a rock and roll group , and a in 1966 there were still millions of mainstream Americans over 30 years old who assumed that all rock and roll was, by definition, Unamerican.
So Parks  was once again, way ahead of his time  in recognizing  the essential "American-ness"  of the whole Murry-directed  collegiate candy-stripe-shirt-cum-surfer-hodad image thing. He saw the Beach Boys as ambassadors of a culture that he thought was doing something horrible, and he wanted to play a role in redeeming that culture, by injecting some hip, cosmopolitan world-view  into Brian's baroque-bubblegum universe. Brian may of heard his ramblings, thought "I never saw us that way, I don't know anything about Vietnam, but now that you mention it..."

The theme of redeeming a shamed America has played a role in all of Parks' work- especially in the form of redeeming the specifically Southern cultural forms like the maligned minstrelsy (see "Jump!") that Parks identified with as a Southerner (with all the attendant guilt etc.).
It probably played a role in his early involvement in the Folk scene, in his embrace of Calypso, and in his attempts to collaborate with rock musicians.
Logged
gfx
Pages: 1 [2] 3 Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.215 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!