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Author Topic: Brian and Don Was - what happened?  (Read 6279 times)
Lonely Summer
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« on: January 27, 2016, 05:24:10 PM »

Okay, Don Was met Brian in the early 90's; after Landy was removed from the picture, he did the film IJWMFTT about Brian, and the accompanying album. Then that somehow lead into Was producing the album that never Was (sorry) for the group in late '95; that project fell apart for various reasons; next thing I know, Don Was was gone. But Don Was was originally working with Brian, not the Beach Boys. So why didn't Was produce an album of new material with Brian? I'm aware that Joe Thomas entered the picture sometime after the aborted Was BB's sessions; Brian did S&S with the group and Thomas; then Imagination with Joe. That whole period is still a puzzle to me. I would like to have heard more work from Brian and Don, loved the film and the soundtrack album.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 06:07:15 PM »

Everyone moved on.

But Don was quite closely involved with No Pier Pressure, as both a bass player and behind-the-scenes guy, so ...
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 09:26:58 PM »

Everyone moved on.

But Don was quite closely involved with No Pier Pressure, as both a bass player and behind-the-scenes guy, so ...
Well, playing bass on a few songs is not the same as producing a full album. I'm disappointed that all we got out of their partnership was an album of remakes. But maybe Was only worked with Brian in the hopes of getting to produce a Beach Boys album.
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c-man
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 04:04:19 AM »

Everyone moved on.

But Don was quite closely involved with No Pier Pressure, as both a bass player and behind-the-scenes guy, so ...
Well, playing bass on a few songs is not the same as producing a full album. I'm disappointed that all we got out of their partnership was an album of remakes. But maybe Was only worked with Brian in the hopes of getting to produce a Beach Boys album.

Don Was' involvement on NPP goes beyond playing bass on a few songs...he was Capitol Records' official A&R rep for the project, hence the "behind-the-scenes guy" credit from Wirestone.

Also, a few years back...maybe 2005...Don also co-hosted (with Brian) a SXSW symposium on SMiLE - if I remember right.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 04:07:28 AM by c-man » Logged
Howie Edelson
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 07:20:34 AM »

Back in 2011 I was with Don Was at the Stones In Exile premiere and he told me he had been in the studio with Brian that week.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 07:58:49 AM »

I'm not sure how much I would have liked to hear a full album of new Brian songs produced by Was as a follow-up to IJWMFTT if Was continued to use his go-to background singer guys. Good singers, but not a good fit for Brian's music. Was used the same guys on the couple of posthumous Roy Orbison tracks, and the result was the same.

I dig the musicians Was picks, guys like Benmont Tench and Jim Keltner and whatnot.

However much Was was involved on the A&R side of things on NPP, I would imagine if Brian had gone to Was and said "producer this album" (or "co-produce this album"), it would have invariably sounded somewhat different. In other words, if someone does really like Don Was and would like to hear him truly "produce" Brian, then NPP wouldn't be quite that scenario.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 07:59:59 AM by HeyJude » Logged

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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2016, 01:36:50 PM »

I'm not sure how much I would have liked to hear a full album of new Brian songs produced by Was as a follow-up to IJWMFTT if Was continued to use his go-to background singer guys. Good singers, but not a good fit for Brian's music. Was used the same guys on the couple of posthumous Roy Orbison tracks, and the result was the same.

I dig the musicians Was picks, guys like Benmont Tench and Jim Keltner and whatnot.

However much Was was involved on the A&R side of things on NPP, I would imagine if Brian had gone to Was and said "producer this album" (or "co-produce this album"), it would have invariably sounded somewhat different. In other words, if someone does really like Don Was and would like to hear him truly "produce" Brian, then NPP wouldn't be quite that scenario.

It's probably just wishful thinking on my part. Don Was' documentary seemed to coincide with a renewed appreciation of Brian's genius - guessing that the 93 BB's box set helped, too. There seemed to be reason to believe that some really great, mindblowing stuff was going to come from Brian and his collaborators in the near future. Instead, we got Imagination - nice, pretty sounding, but not exactly mind blowing. Apparently, Brian really likes working with Joe Thomas, but I still wonder how Brian would sound  working with someone pushing his artistic side a bit more. I don't know if Don Was is/was the guy for that.
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puni puni
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2016, 02:42:37 PM »

I still wonder how Brian would sound  working with someone pushing his artistic side a bit more.

They sound like Smile, Love You, Adult Child, the Cocaine sessions, and the Paley sessions.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2016, 07:54:55 PM »

I still wonder how Brian would sound  working with someone pushing his artistic side a bit more.

They sound like Smile, Love You, Adult Child, the Cocaine sessions, and the Paley sessions.
Then maybe it's better the 'artistic' stuff has been left behind.  Roll Eyes
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AndrewHickey
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2016, 03:42:22 AM »

I still wonder how Brian would sound  working with someone pushing his artistic side a bit more.

They sound like Smile, Love You, Adult Child, the Cocaine sessions, and the Paley sessions.
Then maybe it's better the 'artistic' stuff has been left behind.  Roll Eyes

Dunno. I'd take even the worst of those (the Cocaine sessions) over No Pier Pressure and That's Why God Made The Radio in a heartbeat.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 07:20:20 AM »

I still wonder how Brian would sound  working with someone pushing his artistic side a bit more.

They sound like Smile, Love You, Adult Child, the Cocaine sessions, and the Paley sessions.
Then maybe it's better the 'artistic' stuff has been left behind.  Roll Eyes

Dunno. I'd take even the worst of those (the Cocaine sessions) over No Pier Pressure and That's Why God Made The Radio in a heartbeat.

I dunno. I certainly would like to see Brian do something much more personal and sparse and organic and much less polished and homogenized. But I can't say I pull out the "Cocaine Sessions" all the time. There are a few moments of almost accidental brilliance on that tape (mainly "Oh Lord"), and beyond that it's an interesting and dark curio but kind of a meandering mess.

Even with autotune up the wazoo, some of the nicest stuff on TWGMTR is infinitely more listenable.

Also, to me anyway, "Smile" vs. "Love You/Adult Child" vs. the "Cocaine" tape vs. the Paley sessions are four very different things, so I can't see any Brian project where his "artistic side" is being pushed as being evocative of any or *all* of those other projects.

Out of those four groupings, the Paley sessions is the only time some *other* influence was pushing Brian in that direction, and I'd say select sections of those sessions sound like Paley aping Brian (and I'm not one who tries to claim Paley "ghost wrote" everything from those sessions).

Ideally, Brian would hook up and do sort of like what McCartney did with Nigel Godrich about a decade ago; work with someone who will tell you a given song you've written is sh***y. Not that McCartney's Godrich-produced album is pure brilliance, but it has at least *some* of the typical McCartney filler-style material gone (and/or relegated to b-sides; though that album also has some great b-sides).

But, Brian has to also have a producer who he likes working with and who knows the formula to keep an album project productive and get it released. For better or worse, Joe Thomas is one of the only guys that has been able to do that. Paley came close but couldn't pull it off.

When you get Brian in there with someone that is eccentric and perhaps sometimes confrontational, you end up I guess with a Jeff Beck scenario. And sometimes I wish they would all fight through that stuff and still just put the material out. While Beck was a total assclown regarding the aftermath of the 2013 tour, and his own music can often be tedious, I still think based on my own hunch and descriptions, that stuff Beck did with Brian (and Al, etc.) could be some amazing stuff musically. Obviously, Beck isn't a "producer" situation really. But any external musical force can sometimes provide interesting results.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 01:28:50 PM »

I think the most important thing in Brian's life these days is staying cool, calm, mellow; and unfortunately, to get those brilliant works of art like Smile, there's going to be some tension. If that's what it takes to get another masterpiece, it might not be worth it - not at the expense of Brian's mental health. There was some great stuff to come out of the Paley sessions, but also a lot of mediocre material.
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Phoenix
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2016, 01:38:36 PM »

I'm still waiting on that rock and roll album.

Bring on "Honeycomb"!
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2016, 11:31:42 PM »

I'm still waiting on that rock and roll album.

Bring on "Honeycomb"!
and "Proud Mary"
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SteveMC
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 07:29:59 AM »

who was don was before don was was don was?
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puni puni
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2016, 10:05:06 AM »

Also, to me anyway, "Smile" vs. "Love You/Adult Child" vs. the "Cocaine" tape vs. the Paley sessions are four very different things, so I can't see any Brian project where his "artistic side" is being pushed as being evocative of any or *all* of those other projects.

For Smile, Van Dyke Parks encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For Love You, Earle Mankey encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Cocaine sessions, Dennis Wilson encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Paley sessions, Andy Paley encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2016, 01:31:22 PM »

Also, to me anyway, "Smile" vs. "Love You/Adult Child" vs. the "Cocaine" tape vs. the Paley sessions are four very different things, so I can't see any Brian project where his "artistic side" is being pushed as being evocative of any or *all* of those other projects.

For Smile, Van Dyke Parks encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For Love You, Earle Mankey encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Cocaine sessions, Dennis Wilson encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Paley sessions, Andy Paley encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
I would never put Smile in the same sentence as Love You. The first contains beautiful, astonishing displays of musical brilliance from Brian and the Beach Boys. The latter has occasional moments of songwriting brilliance, but is undone by clunky production and awful, off-key, strained vocals.
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mojoman3061
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2016, 02:35:16 PM »


who was don was before don was was don was?

According to Wikipedia, he was Donald Fagenson.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Was
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SteveMC
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2016, 02:51:21 PM »

Thank-you.  Wink

who was don was before don was was don was?

According to Wikipedia, he was Donald Fagenson.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Was
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2016, 03:05:28 PM »


who was don was before don was was don was?

According to Wikipedia, he was Donald Fagenson.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Was

Thanks to this, I now know that Don and David Was are not brothers after all  Smiley .
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Phoenix
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2016, 03:06:20 PM »

Also, to me anyway, "Smile" vs. "Love You/Adult Child" vs. the "Cocaine" tape vs. the Paley sessions are four very different things, so I can't see any Brian project where his "artistic side" is being pushed as being evocative of any or *all* of those other projects.

For Smile, Van Dyke Parks encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For Love You, Earle Mankey encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Cocaine sessions, Dennis Wilson encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.
For the Paley sessions, Andy Paley encouraged Brian Wilson to make music that didn't sound like Top 40, and prioritized substance over commerce.

 Rock! Bow
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GhostyTMRS
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2016, 03:14:14 PM »

I would think that if the Brian of today wanted to do something that sounded like the Paley sessions (and believe you me, I love that material and wish it had all come out officially) he would do it.

Brian enjoys working with Joe Thomas and I believe Brian really wants the adult contemporary sheen Joe sparkles all over everything, hence that's what we get. Brian himself has said
"The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades" and I think he still has that competitive spirit when it comes to hit making. 
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2016, 10:42:00 PM »

I would think that if the Brian of today wanted to do something that sounded like the Paley sessions (and believe you me, I love that material and wish it had all come out officially) he would do it.

Brian enjoys working with Joe Thomas and I believe Brian really wants the adult contemporary sheen Joe sparkles all over everything, hence that's what we get. Brian himself has said
"The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades" and I think he still has that competitive spirit when it comes to hit making. 
Gee, I would hope he's gotten over that by now. A 70-something guy is NOT going to have a hit record. It's just not going to happen. What format does he fit into? Classic rock? Oldies? No, those stations only play the old stuff. That inflexibility was proven to me once and for all when the reunited Beatles couldn't even get airplay on our local oldies station. For weeks they had been hyping it, "Beatles Anthology coming in November on ABC,  the first Anthology album, the first new Beatles song in 25 years". But they didn't ever PLAY it, or any of the Anthology tracks. Okay, so Brian isn't going to get support from oldies radio. Is his new stuff going to get play on whatever top 40 is called today? Ha! You gotta be kidding! Adult contemporary? Well, there was a slight chance for that 20 years ago, but no, in 2016, Brian's music sells to the die hard fans (or what's left of them). They all rush out to buy it the week it's released, so he can at least count on a decent first week in sales, as happened with TLOS, TWGMTR and NPP. After that, sales fall off a cliff, because there's nothing to support it.
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c-man
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« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2016, 03:47:13 AM »

I would think that if the Brian of today wanted to do something that sounded like the Paley sessions (and believe you me, I love that material and wish it had all come out officially) he would do it.

Brian enjoys working with Joe Thomas and I believe Brian really wants the adult contemporary sheen Joe sparkles all over everything, hence that's what we get. Brian himself has said
"The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades" and I think he still has that competitive spirit when it comes to hit making.  
Gee, I would hope he's gotten over that by now. A 70-something guy is NOT going to have a hit record. It's just not going to happen. What format does he fit into? Classic rock? Oldies? No, those stations only play the old stuff. That inflexibility was proven to me once and for all when the reunited Beatles couldn't even get airplay on our local oldies station. For weeks they had been hyping it, "Beatles Anthology coming in November on ABC,  the first Anthology album, the first new Beatles song in 25 years". But they didn't ever PLAY it, or any of the Anthology tracks. Okay, so Brian isn't going to get support from oldies radio. Is his new stuff going to get play on whatever top 40 is called today? Ha! You gotta be kidding! Adult contemporary? Well, there was a slight chance for that 20 years ago, but no, in 2016, Brian's music sells to the die hard fans (or what's left of them). They all rush out to buy it the week it's released, so he can at least count on a decent first week in sales, as happened with TLOS, TWGMTR and NPP. After that, sales fall off a cliff, because there's nothing to support it.

Tony Bennett. And, if I'm not mistaken, the way he got airplay was via duets with younger hitmakers. I'm not saying that's realistic in Brian's case, or desirable in the case of us fans, but I think that was the goal with NPP.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 03:48:41 AM by c-man » Logged
GhostyTMRS
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« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2016, 10:11:21 AM »

I would think that if the Brian of today wanted to do something that sounded like the Paley sessions (and believe you me, I love that material and wish it had all come out officially) he would do it.

Brian enjoys working with Joe Thomas and I believe Brian really wants the adult contemporary sheen Joe sparkles all over everything, hence that's what we get. Brian himself has said
"The measure of a man is how well he does in the trades" and I think he still has that competitive spirit when it comes to hit making.  
Gee, I would hope he's gotten over that by now. A 70-something guy is NOT going to have a hit record. It's just not going to happen. What format does he fit into? Classic rock? Oldies? No, those stations only play the old stuff. That inflexibility was proven to me once and for all when the reunited Beatles couldn't even get airplay on our local oldies station. For weeks they had been hyping it, "Beatles Anthology coming in November on ABC,  the first Anthology album, the first new Beatles song in 25 years". But they didn't ever PLAY it, or any of the Anthology tracks. Okay, so Brian isn't going to get support from oldies radio. Is his new stuff going to get play on whatever top 40 is called today? Ha! You gotta be kidding! Adult contemporary? Well, there was a slight chance for that 20 years ago, but no, in 2016, Brian's music sells to the die hard fans (or what's left of them). They all rush out to buy it the week it's released, so he can at least count on a decent first week in sales, as happened with TLOS, TWGMTR and NPP. After that, sales fall off a cliff, because there's nothing to support it.

Tony Bennett. And, if I'm not mistaken, the way he got airplay was via duets with younger hitmakers. I'm not saying that's realistic in Brian's case, or desirable in the case of us fans, but I think that was the goal with NPP.
.


Spot on. That's exactly why those guest artists were there.
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