Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Boys on Dennis & Carl
For these interviews, I spoke with MIke, Bruce and Al on the phone and their engineers sent us a CD of the interviews, which we then edited. Brian was special because we spent an afternoon at his house and he was just so great - very open, generous and VERY funny. He obviously loved his brothers very much and it's great to hear him talking about Carl "singing his god-damned butt off." If Carl and Dennis were around today, it would be interesting to see what would have happened. Would there still be a Beach Boys? Or, maybe more interrestingly, perhaps there would have been a group featuring the Wilson brothers. To think about what these three guys could do together is mind-boggling. Especially when you think how much Dennis and Carl grew as musicians and composers in the seventies. Lindsey Buckingham, who most of us know is a huge Beach Boys fan, once remarked that "Dennis was halfway to being Brian in the studio when he died" (I'm paraphrasing). The song Lindsey wrote about Dennis and his brothers (DW Suite from his 1984 "Go Insane" album) is both chilling and beautiful.
I'd love to know what you think about what would have happened if Dennis and Carl were still alive today.
Once again, thank you to Brian, Mike, Al and Bruce for your great cooperation and enthusiasm for the project. Hopefully we've helped extend the band's legacy just a little bit to the young fans who get their music on the Web. You guys are going to be around forever and you've made the world a better place.
Friday, June 15, 2007
We Have a Winner - A Proposed 3rd Beach Boys Compilation
OK, there were some really good entries, so we will be awarding CDs to the following two people. We will also send these two proposed track lists to the Beach Boys Product Manager at Capitol, so maybe there's a chance you might have influence over a new collection. OK, Hal Blaine drumroll, please ...
1) Cliffy for "Your Summer Dream"
Cliffy was actually the first one to submit his track list, and it's a great one. I thought mine was pretty good, but Cliffy's was better. First of all, he was very smart to come up with a very commercial title (Your Summer Dream) that conjures up nice visuals, and no doubt Capitol could market this well. Also, it's got a really nice, varied set of songs that are both obscure and well-known, but all strong. My only objection would be the inclusion of "Crocodile Rock" which was recorded well after the group's heyday, and it's too closely associated with Elton John.
Cliffy does get points for including "Drive-In" because I believe Brian wanted this track in "The Warmth of the Sun" CD, but didn't quite make the cut. It is a great track, and Brian performs this on his current tour. Interestingly, Brian performs a whole bunch of songs from the new CD, so if you get a chance to see him live, take it. Cliffy also has "Add Some Music To Your Day" and "This Whole World" which are both phenomenal tracks from the Sunflower album that for some reason, didn't make the "Warmth" cut.
Good job, Cliffy - we'll let you know you're a winner!
2) Wes Clark for "Aren't You Glad"
OK, not the greatest title, because it's a little obscure for the casual fan. But, this is a great tracklist that has great, commercial songs that aren't too obscure for the average listener. There were some really cool submissions that might be better than this for hardcore fans, but remember, we're talking about a commercial release that Capitol can wrap its arms around. A few were excellent for another "Hawthorne" type release, but again, we're looking for sale here.
Wes cheated a little bit with the bonus tracks, but that's OK. "Honkin' Down The Highway" is just an awesome track and it should be on a compilation. Brian's (literally) driving arrangement and the lead singing is just out of this world. Couldn't you just picture it opening a movie with the lead driving his car down the 101? The other song picks are great too, and they cover the Boys complete career. Nice job.
Thanks to everyone for their submissions - they were all great in their own way. Again, congratulations to Cliffy and Wes, We'll send you e-mails requesting your mailing addresses so we can send you out copies of "The Warmth Of The Sun."
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
The Boys Have Another Top 40 Hit ...
The selection of songs on this album is so strong, and it's hard to make any complaints, but I would have liked to seen a few others make the cut - even at the expense of others. For instance, I would love to see Brian's 1970 tour de force, "This Whole World" as well as "Darlin'" to name a few. What would I cut to get these in there? I probably would have to choose "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and "California Dreamin.'" "Fools" IS a great track - a real wall of sound production and Brian sounds as soulful as he ever did - he just nailed the vocal. Still, it seems a little out of place before "Surf's Up." "California Dreamin'" was a good group effort, but it really IS the Mamas and the Papas, and I don't think Brian is even on it. Maybe Capitol felt the 80s needed to be represented.
In a post to come, I will choose a tracklist for a proposed third volume of Beach Boys classics totaling thirty tracks. It will be interesting to see if Capitol would even think about this. Well, if the new "Warmth" sells well and there's money to be made, then I wouldn't be surprised. How unbelievable that thirty more songs could actually make a very strong new album? Who else could do this? Maybe Elvis - I don't know. The Beatles? I don't know, maybe - but they didn't record nearly as many tracks as the Beach Boys did. Of course Frank Sinatra could, but he didn't write his own songs, and he's not of the Rock 'n Roll era.
OK: Let's have a contest. Respond to this post and choose thirty tracks you think should appear on a follow-up to "The Warmth Of The Sun." You even have to name the album, as I've done here. Then, we'll vote and whoever wins, get's a free copy of the "Warmth" CD. Let me know what you think:
THE BEACH BOYS: THIS WHOLE WORLD
1) Lonely Sea
3) Girls On The Beach
4) Salt Lake City
5) Girl Don't Tell Me
6) Spirit Of America
7) In The Parking Lot
8) You Still Believe In Me
9) Here Today
10) Caroline, No
11) Gettin' Hungry
12) Let The Wind Blow
13) Wake The World
14) Be Still
15) Busy Doin' Nothin'
16) Time To Get Alone
18) This Whole World
19) Add Some Music To Your Day
20) All I Wanna Do
21) Long Promised Road
22) Funky Pretty
24) Lady Lynda
25) She's Got Rhythm
26) Just Once In My Life
27) Let Us Go On This Way
28) Honkin' Down The Highway
29) Goin' On
30) Where I Belong
Damn - I think there could be a fourth volume after this ...
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Pitchfork Media "The Warmth of the Sun" Review
Consider the taxonomy of the Beach Boys compilation. First, you have cheapies like Beach Boys Greatest Hits Vols. 1, 2 and 3, each gathering a dozen or so singles into a succinct package. With such a deep collection of quality hits, the Beach Boys could continue to repackage these in various combinations forever. Various permutations can still be found on cassette in gas stations from coast-to-coast.
Then there's Endless Summer, from 1974, the prototype for the expanded compilation that gathers hits but also attempts to position the band as an iconic snapshot of a bygone era. It's hard to convey now how massive that double-LP set was during the remainder of that decade. Widely considered all the Beach Boys anyone ever needed, Endless Summer charted for three straight years and launched the idea of the band as a touring oldies act-- a nostalgic fantasyland you could revisit where Vietnam never happened and baby boomers never had to face the responsibilities of parenthood. Everything on the record predated Pet Sounds, before things got heavy and complicated. Even #1 single "Good Vibrations", widely considered the band's (and sometimes pop music's) peak, had to wait for the CD reissue in the 80s to come along for the carefree ride. In 2003, a new set, Sound of Summer, properly updated the "Only Beach Boys You Ever Need" comp for the era of the 80-minute CD, and (again) went multi-platinum.
Read the whole article:
Friday, May 25, 2007
Enter VH1's Contest to See the Beach Boys ((LIVE ))
OK, it's true that Brian and Al are on their own, but you'd be suprised to see "The Beach Boys" that Mike Love and Bruce Johnston head up. They're really good and how could you not like the music? I saw them last year at Mohegan Sun, and I was really surprised at how packed the house was and the age range of the crowd. We brought our 7 year old twins and they loved it. Mohegan Sun is a great place, there's so much to do there, so if I were you, I'd definitely enter the contest - it doesn't cost anything, and you'll probably "still dig the sounds..."
(Click on the "VH1 Beach Boys Contest link under the "Links" category at right).
Monday, May 21, 2007
"The Warmth of the Sun" Rises Tomorrow ... and More ...
It's all about the music, and this collection is perhaps the finestever compilation that explores the entire - and some of the best - music arc of the Beach Boys. It's fantastic to see more obscure (but essential) tracks like "All This Is That," "'Til I Die," "Disney Girls" and "Please Let Me Wonder," etc. on one album. Sure, we all know they're great songs and we cherish them, but it's fun to think that these songs will be heard for the first time by many people buying this collection. They're in for a treat and a set like this will further the Beach Boys appeal, and thus their relevance and lasting appeal. I think it's safe to say that there will continue to be compilations long after we're gone - it's just how they'll be delivered. Maybe you'll just be able to download songs right to your brain - or in Brian's music case- right to your heart.
We hope you like Episode 3 of this podcast series. Al takes the lead on this one, as he, Brian, Mike and Bruce discuss "Little Honda, "409" and "It's OK." We spliced in a little piano Brian played for us after the car sound effect and before the track begins. Kinda cool that Brian plays songs on his piano in their original key. It's fun to hear the guys talk about "409" and how they got the car sound from Brian's tape recorder - and upset their neighbors. Al talks about Brian wanting a "dirty" sound for "Little Honda" and Brian calls it one of his favorites. Bruce has something to say about the environment on this one. MIke talks about his and Brian's "It's OK" and how he tries to bring positivity to his music, Al didn't want to talk about it (draw your own conclusions). Brian's not "OK" with this song even though he likes the bass line, Dennis' "fade tag" and the lyrics (you'd think that would be enough) - but in the end it "doesn't bring pleasant memories to me" - again, draw your own conclusions. Bruce calls it Mike at his "nasal finest." All in all, a cool episode, but they get even better.
Friday, May 18, 2007
The Beach Boys Have Another Hit ...
The new series not only features brand-new interviews with Brian, Mike, Al and Bruce, but you'll be able to hear the six stereo remixes that are required listening for all Beach Boys fans. The second episode (now available) has the Boys talking about three of their earliest hits: "All Summer Long," "Catch A Wave" and "Hawaii." Brian opens up the episode (as he will with future ones) playing a few bars of one of the three songs featured. I have to admit it was pretty cool asking Brian to play snippets of songs at his piano in his music room - and he sounded great. My associate, Joe, opened up the top of Brian's grand and put the microphone right in there to get a great sound. After Brian played us 8 or 9 tracks, we (selfishly) asked him to play "God Only Knows," and Brian nailed it - and played nearly the whole thing. It was pretty astonishing to hear the composer play it just for us, and of course, Brian was only happy to oblige. As Bruce told us, "Brian's cool."
Back to this episode: It's funny how people see differently about things - especially 45 years later. While Al loves the music track to "All Summer Long," he doesn't care as much for the vocals, calling them "pitchy." He attributes this to the Boys always being so busy, on the road, etc. and perhaps they just didn't have the time to make it perfect. Brian, however, calls it one of the Boys classic vocal performances. This is a good episode, but they get better. Just as Brian is in concert, he gets better as gets going, and next week's episode featuring "Little Honda," "409" and "It's OK" is pretty cool. Listen for Brian on "It's OK" - it sounds like everything wasn't...