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Author Topic: Aspects of Brian's life LEFT OUT in documentaries  (Read 12044 times)
punkinhead
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« on: August 08, 2012, 02:28:19 PM »

What parts of Brian's life do you find important or essential enough to include on a biography/documentary? There's some stuff mentioned like the Hamburger sessions (on the A&E bio), work with Andy Paley (in IJWMFTT, I think), and parts of the Stars and Stripes era (EH).

I think more can be said and shown on there, I think Gary Usher's second stent with Brian should be mentioned. the S&S Vol.1 doesn't really get into the politics of things, like gettin together to do an album with Don Was or the guy from the High Lamas. Maybe more about Brian's work with VDP on OCA (a bit on IJWMFTT) and his work on BW88/Imagination, especially Rio Grande. Heck, even the Imagination doc doesn't get read far into it, IMO. No mention of Sweet Insanity (except on the MAXIMUM Audio-CD doc). Slightly off topic, I feel SIP, BB85, & Still Cruisin' (besides Kokomo) aren't highlighted in any BB docs. Also, So Tough isn't really mentioned on any either.

I also think BW docs act like Brian never did anything after Smile, which is far beyond false. His work on Wild Honey & Friends is worth mentioning alone. The letdown of the Little Girl I Once Knew is mentionable.
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 04:40:44 PM »

I also think there's some other things that should be highlighted in docs such as:

-Bambu (I can't remember how much is in that DW doc from BBC, I only saw it once)
-more detail on DW songs on BB albums (same)
-details on Jack Rieley's entrance/presence/leaving
-Mt. Vernon and Fairway
-Brian's side projects, particularly American Spring (I know some was covered on the BW Songwriters Doc and the Honeys usually get a mention)
-Brian's friendship with Jan and Dean (more than just Surf City was with Brian, Dean's Vegetables, Dean's work on their album/artwork)
-details on the album covers
-Adult Child
-Mike's solo album(s)
-Mike's plea for Dave to come back on board in the early 70s
-Murry's work with Brian on Breakaway
-BB work in the late 80s to mid 90s (side projects and one off songs)
-More on the Blondie/Ricky affair

I know I'm prolly asking for too much. Any other details I'm leaving out?
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~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
-Mikie

"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 04:51:38 PM »

This is why books are much better for detailed accounts of artists with long careers than visual documentaries.
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 04:52:53 PM »

You're looking at a several volume Anthology type of documentary and not a simple 1-2 hour documentary for the common fan to ingest in one sitting.  Many of those topics are not crucial to the BB history and would only benefit the hardcore fan.  It'd be nice to get something like this but I don't see anyone in the band anxious to tackle these topics any time soon.
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2012, 05:52:04 PM »

I would love to see everything on punkinhead's list get more coverage in documentaries and the like. No question. But if I force myself to be realistic ("Awwwww, mom, no fun!"), I have to let go of many of those footnotes. But let push come to shove, and I won't back down from one wave:

It's fully reasonable and just to make any effort possible to attempt to change one accepted form of whitewashing that gets reinforced over and over: the myth that, after Smile fizzled, Brian and the other guys stagnated until 1974.

IMO there's one legacy that needs to be re-evaluated: the quality and importance of the 1967-1972 work.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful, truly I don't, but I feel that this re-evaluation will never take place until the Baby Boomers pass on. Not blaming them for circumstance, but as has been discussed somewhat in another thread, the shift that took place in '67, with Smiley Smile, counter-culture, the emergence of The Guitar, Jann Wenner, and what-not - that was seismic. A few more generations will probably have to pass before the post-Pet Sounds music gets its due, if it ever does.

(But if it doesn't, well, there's no shame in surfboards.)

So if I had to pick one thing it would be that: Please Mr. and Ms. Future Documentary Makers, kindly pay heed to these years more - listen to them - respond, report, respect.
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 06:39:40 PM »

I would love to see everything on punkinhead's list get more coverage in documentaries and the like. No question. But if I force myself to be realistic ("Awwwww, mom, no fun!"), I have to let go of many of those footnotes. But let push come to shove, and I won't back down from one wave:

It's fully reasonable and just to make any effort possible to attempt to change one accepted form of whitewashing that gets reinforced over and over: the myth that, after Smile fizzled, Brian and the other guys stagnated until 1974.

IMO there's one legacy that needs to be re-evaluated: the quality and importance of the 1967-1972 work.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful, truly I don't, but I feel that this re-evaluation will never take place until the Baby Boomers pass on. Not blaming them for circumstance, but as has been discussed somewhat in another thread, the shift that took place in '67, with Smiley Smile, counter-culture, the emergence of The Guitar, Jann Wenner, and what-not - that was seismic. A few more generations will probably have to pass before the post-Pet Sounds music gets its due, if it ever does.

(But if it doesn't, well, there's no shame in surfboards.)

So if I had to pick one thing it would be that: Please Mr. and Ms. Future Documentary Makers, kindly pay heed to these years more - listen to them - respond, report, respect.

Hear hear.
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 09:53:11 PM »

To me the most glaring omission in the documentaries is Brian's family life.  They never, ever discuss his relationship with Marilyn, and they honestly never hardly even mention his children, outside of just stating in passing that he had two daughters.  We get this image of Brian as the absent parent (and I've heard Carnie talk about it a little bit on a couple things)... but there had to still be a relationship there, even if it was a bad one, between Carnie, Wendy, Marilyn, and Brian.  They were a family. 

I don't even know if I've ever seen an interviewer ask Brian about his girls, or Marilyn.  I've seen him mention them in generic ways and of course I've seen them together a few times in interviews...

I suppose you could make the point that it's a bit off topic if it's a music documentary, but our families make us who we are.  Brian may have been an insane drug addict, but he still had a wife and children and I'm sure loved them and they loved him.  Diane was his musical secretary, right?  I've never seen that talked about anywhere.  Or of course any of the other, more sensational stuff. 
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 11:16:38 PM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2012, 11:58:25 PM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.

Your book certainly does that time period justice.

Folks, you're in for a treat when it is released!
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2012, 12:01:15 AM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.

Your book certainly does that time period justice.

Folks, you're in for a treat when it is released!

Shut up Billy! Don't rub it in! You're making me jealous
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2012, 12:12:28 AM »

The late 60s point is spot on. There is an argument to be made -- and this board has made it splendidly over the last few years -- that the real decline in the Boys' work did not start until several years into the 70s, and that they were fully engaged, fully creative, for many albums that were almost wholly ignored.

What I would like would be a book that honestly depicted Brian's personal life and relationships from the introduction of Landy the second time through the present. I understand why no one wants to do this -- the political land mines are huge, and everyone has an agenda. But we know next to nothing about Brian's actual life during this time. I feel like we've only begun to get a sense of it over the last few years (BWPS onward), but even that is incredibly sanitized.

The thing is, everyone gets that Brian is probably zoned out a lot of the time. Everyone understands that "produced by Brian Wilson" doesn't mean the same thing in 2012 (or 2004) that it did in 1964. It's okay. Let us see and hear about the guy. And if the Rolling Stone article about the band on tour is any indication, Brian is much cannier than we may believe. But some of the people who would know that -- Melinda, or Gloria, or some of the band members -- are really the souls of discretion.

Still, the resurgence of Brian as a creative force from the 80s to today -- or, rather, his battle to be a creative person amidst incredible personal and business turmoil -- is quite a story. And his continued output (and its undeniably quirky quality, even if helped along by platoons of co-writers and band member) worthy of some serious consideration. But that hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2012, 10:26:54 AM »

This is why books are much better for detailed accounts of artists with long careers than visual documentaries.
good call
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"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2012, 10:31:43 AM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.

Your book certainly does that time period justice.

Folks, you're in for a treat when it is released!
I was about to ask what book this is, but seeing how it's not released yet, I wouldn't know. What will the book cover if I may ask?
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~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
-Mikie

"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2012, 10:33:14 AM »

To me the most glaring omission in the documentaries is Brian's family life.  They never, ever discuss his relationship with Marilyn, and they honestly never hardly even mention his children, outside of just stating in passing that he had two daughters.  We get this image of Brian as the absent parent (and I've heard Carnie talk about it a little bit on a couple things)... but there had to still be a relationship there, even if it was a bad one, between Carnie, Wendy, Marilyn, and Brian.  They were a family. 

I don't even know if I've ever seen an interviewer ask Brian about his girls, or Marilyn.  I've seen him mention them in generic ways and of course I've seen them together a few times in interviews...

I suppose you could make the point that it's a bit off topic if it's a music documentary, but our families make us who we are.  Brian may have been an insane drug addict, but he still had a wife and children and I'm sure loved them and they loved him.  Diane was his musical secretary, right?  I've never seen that talked about anywhere.  Or of course any of the other, more sensational stuff. 
Yeah, Diane doesn't really ever talk about that side of the work, just more of the Honeys or Brian as a wife/parent.
I've seen Auntie Dee Dee on the recent Wilson Phillips show. She was such a beauty back in the day. BTW, Marilyn's birthday was celebrated on there recently too.
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"Someone needs to tell Adrian Baker that imitation isn't innovation." -The Real Beach Boy

~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
-Mikie

"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2012, 10:37:57 AM »

Agree with inclusion of Mt. Vernon & Fairway and Blondie/Ricky musical contributions to the BBs' canon, specially the former. Plus I would add Al's life, his friendship with Brian, some recollections of their friends about how those 2 chums got along in the 60s-80s; piles of footage of Pet Sounds Sessions; lots of rare photographs as slide-show; detailed family tree of Wilsons/Loves/Korthofs etc.
Is there more footage of the Pet Sounds era we're not seeing?
I'd like to demand more footage from the documentaries shot for MIU/LA/KTSA.

And Al, his songwriting should get some light too. I know some say he's unoriginal but I think the stuff he wrote of vintage California (California Saga/Lookin' Down the Coast/Santa Ana Winds/Don't Fight the Sea) is worth mentioning.

Heck, even a spotlight on their soundtrack song additons would be nice from the late 70s to the early 90s. (Almost Summer/It's a Beautiful Day/Chasin' the Sky/Let's Go to Heaven in my Car/Doin' Time on Planet Earth/Problem Child/Daddy's Little Girl) and so on.
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"Someone needs to tell Adrian Baker that imitation isn't innovation." -The Real Beach Boy

~post of the century~
"Well, you reached out to me too, David, and I'd be more than happy to fill Bgas's shoes. You don't need him anyway - some of us have the same items in our collections as he does and we're also much better writers. Spoiled brat....."
-Mikie

"in this online beach boy community, I've found that you're either correct or corrected. Which in my mind is all in good fun to show ones knowledge of their favorite band."- punkinhead
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2012, 10:49:09 AM »

"Chasin' The Sky was an expression of a folk song by Randy Bishop, inspired by the cinematic poem Up The Creek..."
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« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2012, 12:30:43 PM »

What I would like would be a book that honestly depicted Brian's personal life and relationships from the introduction of Landy the second time through the present. I understand why no one wants to do this -- the political land mines are huge, and everyone has an agenda. But we know next to nothing about Brian's actual life during this time. I feel like we've only begun to get a sense of it over the last few years (BWPS onward), but even that is incredibly sanitized.

The thing is, everyone gets that Brian is probably zoned out a lot of the time. Everyone understands that "produced by Brian Wilson" doesn't mean the same thing in 2012 (or 2004) that it did in 1964. It's okay. Let us see and hear about the guy. And if the Rolling Stone article about the band on tour is any indication, Brian is much cannier than we may believe. But some of the people who would know that -- Melinda, or Gloria, or some of the band members -- are really the souls of discretion.

Still, the resurgence of Brian as a creative force from the 80s to today -- or, rather, his battle to be a creative person amidst incredible personal and business turmoil -- is quite a story. And his continued output (and its undeniably quirky quality, even if helped along by platoons of co-writers and band member) worthy of some serious consideration. But that hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.

Agreed. There is certainly a need for an indepth book on Brian's solo career, from say, 1985 to the present, charting the full, complex story of this imo fascinating period of BB history. Yes, partly a 'who actually wrote this, produced that song/ album' kind of thing, but also giving some deeper insight into Brian's personal story over this period, ie. the behind-the-scenes story of the touring career; what really happened with Carl that scuppered the mid-'90s Paley sessions becoming the new Beach Boys album; deeper, balanced analysis of the development and merits of the unreleased music ie, Sweet Insanity, Wilson/Paley sessions and beyond; an overview of the business workings over the period; revealing something of Brian's psychological history through this era and how it affected his music/ career at various points.

I think it's clear that the only time much of this will emerge is after the man is gone, which I fully respect, as I guess most of us wouldn't like our personal stuff/ dirty laundry aired in some book or doc (not a sensationalist, 'tell-all' thing, but more of a balanced, honest, fairly sympathetic account) while we were still up and about  Smiley .

I also definitely think it's time for a book that deals with the Beach Boys as a band more equally, including lengthy, biographical articles on the lives and music (Beach Boys contributions, solo careers, outside collaborations) of Mike, Carl, Al and Bruce in more depth than we've seen in the past, as well as info on Brian and Dennis, of whom we already know quite a lot. The Beach Boys FAQ Book by John Stebbins does this to an extent, but I feel the Boys as a group deserve more recognition/ coverage than they've often received in the past.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2012, 01:17:14 PM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.

Your book certainly does that time period justice.

Folks, you're in for a treat when it is released!

I've given up on hoping for Mike's book to EVER come out! Which sucks, because behind the remasters and the box set, that is the one Beach Boys related thing that I want more than anything!
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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2012, 01:18:32 PM »

I also definitely think it's time for a book that deals with the Beach Boys as a band more equally, including lengthy, biographical articles on the lives and music (Beach Boys contributions, solo careers, outside collaborations) of Mike, Carl, Al and Bruce in more depth than we've seen in the past, as well as info on Brian and Dennis, of whom we already know quite a lot. The Beach Boys FAQ Book by John Stebbins does this to an extent, but I feel the Boys as a group deserve more recognition/ coverage than they've often received in the past.

See reply #8.

Jim - Don't give up, there are good reasons to be excited and the wait shouldn't be too much longer.
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« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »

They never get Brian of 1967-71 right. They make him almost like 1975 or 1982 Brian on the whole.

Your book certainly does that time period justice.

Folks, you're in for a treat when it is released!

Shut up Billy! Don't rub it in! You're making me jealous



Seriously, though, Mike did a great job. I have a feeling when all is said and done, it'll be up there will Jon's book, and also Mark's (which I have not read, but want to get. Damn limited funds lol)
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« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2012, 06:39:25 PM »

I would say the biggest enigma, the most glaring hole in the band's story, the biggest mystery, is...

Carl Wilson.

The guy that held it together, the guy that kept quiet and made peace, the guy that held it all in, the guy whose whole life was an affable mask...and yet, he for all intents and purposes this less dramatic, slightly less charismatic younger brother LED THE FRIGGIN' BAND, either by himself or with help, from 1965 on.  Beloved, by all accounts, by everyone who knew him, but an intensely private man.  The few "insider" stories I have heard of him hint at a man with a devilish, slightly cynical, sense of humor and a world view borne of disappointment tinged with acceptance.  Of all the guys, his is the personality we knew the least, and his talents were so prodigious and his instinct for understatement so ingrained we almost take it for granted.  The guy's overall impact on the band was equal to anyone else's, perhaps even Brian's, taking the whole career as a whole.  He alone was involved in every facet of the band from almost the beginning until the day he died.  And yet compared to the others we know almost zip about what made him tick.

As for the Beach Boys' '67-71 work, I think that reappraisal is already well underway, and it's a logical step.  It took a long time for Brian to be appreciated for his '66 triumphs, and now that that road is thoroughly traveled, it makes sense to look around for the next thing to obsess over.  And there's plenty of "there" there.  I just note how many people of late have taken to talking about WILD HONEY and SMILEY SMILE on their own merits, as opposed to being NOTSMiLE.
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« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2012, 08:29:50 PM »

Yesss! You're spot on, Adam!
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« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2012, 12:38:01 AM »

Don't worry I am submitting it next month and I think my chances are good that it will come out. Once sold I have to write a 2011-2012 chapter (been writing my Elvis book this year) but it's 99 percent ready. Billy and Amanda did a great job on it with editing and layout. It has been a long wait (I have been working on this idea on and off since 1994!) but I hope it will be worth it.

I Can Hear Music is a biography, but the music is center stage. I am a big record collector so any music ever issued on vinyl is covered in depth (every single group song), but the main thing is all the original releases. CD's are part of the book too of course but AGD did a great job on that so I felt free to explore the vinyl side of things. A lot is out there and it's my chance to discuss the original mixes and presentation and try to give a feel of the times.. Still there is a lot of info for any sort of collector or fan. I landed some really cool interviews and asked the kind of questions they haven't been served with dozens of times before. I think it's very group oriented compared to what's come before the recent 50 Sides and FAQ book's and I try to see everyone's side of things. I'm a fan but I try to be fair in what worked and didn't. I also made it a point not to echo what others have written before when it comes to my evaluations.

There are sections on solo releases, bootlegs. comps, and guest appearances but the meat of the book is the story of the group and how each of their singles and albums were put together.
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« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2012, 12:41:18 PM »

I would say the biggest enigma, the most glaring hole in the band's story, the biggest mystery, is...

Carl Wilson.

The guy that held it together, the guy that kept quiet and made peace, the guy that held it all in, the guy whose whole life was an affable mask...and yet, he for all intents and purposes this less dramatic, slightly less charismatic younger brother LED THE FRIGGIN' BAND, either by himself or with help, from 1965 on.  Beloved, by all accounts, by everyone who knew him, but an intensely private man.  The few "insider" stories I have heard of him hint at a man with a devilish, slightly cynical, sense of humor and a world view borne of disappointment tinged with acceptance.  Of all the guys, his is the personality we knew the least, and his talents were so prodigious and his instinct for understatement so ingrained we almost take it for granted.  The guy's overall impact on the band was equal to anyone else's, perhaps even Brian's, taking the whole career as a whole.  He alone was involved in every facet of the band from almost the beginning until the day he died.  And yet compared to the others we know almost zip about what made him tick.

As for the Beach Boys' '67-71 work, I think that reappraisal is already well underway, and it's a logical step.  It took a long time for Brian to be appreciated for his '66 triumphs, and now that that road is thoroughly traveled, it makes sense to look around for the next thing to obsess over.  And there's plenty of "there" there.  I just note how many people of late have taken to talking about WILD HONEY and SMILEY SMILE on their own merits, as opposed to being NOTSMiLE.

Agree with this absolutely. Judging only from what I've read here and in the many BB's books and from the very few substantial video interviews that are out there, Carl seems to have been every bit as complex and contradictory a figure as his two brothers. A highly intelligent and apparently spiritual man, subtle (a smile or little joke about the group from him in interviews sometimes speaks volumes imo), vigilant and protective over his brother Brian and the band's reputation as a whole. Leader of the live band for many years, at times seeming to be Brian Wilson's representative on Earth  Grin, at least in terms of maintaining strong elements of the original arrangements in concert and in being 'true' to his brother's musical visions in general.

Probably the best and most versatile singer in the whole group, he never quite seemed to come into his own as an original solo artist or prolific songwriter imo (like Dennis did if only fairly briefly in the '70s), but seemed able to understand and deal with the changing dynamics within the group through the years (tho even Carl left briefly in the early '80s of course), he then (from the outside at least) seemed to grow weary of carrying most of the artistic ambition and diplomatic skills in the group through the '80s and '90s and began to seemingly 'go with the flow' more, leading to such ill-advised projects as Summer in Paradise and Stars and Stripes. He often seems quiet, cautious and long-suffering in his later interviews imo and I think the stress of being the main glue that held the dysfunctional family of the Beach Boys together for nearly 30 years took its toll on him in his final years. And it is of course highly telling that the group effectively disbanded for 13 years after his passing.

Carl seemed to be seeking (and at times achieving in the early '70s) a new artistic direction for the band in the '70s and occasionally beyond and yet from the accounts I've seen, he was the main figure that ended the possibility of the imo overall excellent Brian songs from the Wilson/Paley sessions forming the basis of a new Beach Boys album around 1995-96. This seems such a paradox to me, though the fact he was becoming seriously unwell around the same time may have been a factor. Even so, one would think that if Carl really loved the Wilson/Paley songs, he could've asked Brian and the band to wait until he (Carl) hopefully got well again, or Carl could even have given his blessing for them to record mostly without him and he could chip in as when he felt able.

I think a case could be made for an indepth biography of the man if his family, close friends and musical collaborators were willing to cooperate. It would probably be less a dramatic and action-packed story than the biogs of Brian and Dennis, but could be highly revealing of Carl himself and the inner workings of the group as a whole.

Such is the enigma of Carl Wilson ...

On a related note, add me to the list of those who would love Mike Love to write/ ghost write his memoirs. If he opened up more fully and gave an honest, balanced account of his life, times and role in the bands history, he could have one hell of a rock memoir on his hands, similar to that of Keith Richards. Obviously such a tome would have to be called 'Looking Back With Love'  Cheesy .

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« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2012, 04:44:20 PM »

The time between Landy's departure and the Don Was documentary. Those were mysterious days.
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"His lyrical ability has never been touched by anyone, except for Mike Love."

-Brian Wilson on Van Dyke Parks (2015)
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