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Brian (sandbox) Wilson on the Tonite Show
Old 7th January 2005
  #1
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mikey's Avatar
 

Brian (sandbox) Wilson on the Tonite Show

Did you guys see it.Now i love Brian alot and he is a great artist,a part of my childhood ect; but i almost had to turn the volume down.He did Good Vibrations which would be hard on a good day.Not only was he way off pitch but he was trying to remember the new lyrics he made up.This guy needs to stay in the studio where he is at his best.Maybe its his hearing problem but it hurt me to see him sound like that tutt
Old 7th January 2005
  #2
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Um, Hum, er, ok.....

How do I say this. I worked on "Orange Crate Art" with Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson in the early 90's Mostly assisting with some engineering. It was probably one of the top 5 greatest experiences in my career. All the stories you hear are true. He is a genius. The ideas and harmonies he has in his head are all there, and they come out with great freedom. He would sit down at the piano and play the most amazing boogie woogie parts and then come up with the most amazing harmonies that had no relation to the music he was playing. Very strange but a true gift to watch.

I also found that for whatever reason, drugs, age, abuse, that he has lost his control and requires a bit of work to get it happening. Its not bad in an Ashlee Simpson sort of way. The guy has talent he just seems to have lost his control. So we fixed it in the way that everyone fixed it in the pre-Auto Tune days. We recorded a lot of takes and punched a bunch of lines. Got it the best we could then tuned up what we could in the sampler. Very time consuming work but it was a pleasure working with one of rocks icons. Make that two of rocks icons!! Van Dyke is the most incredible person I think I have met in the music industry, and the two of them together was like your own real life rock and roll hall of fame.

Whenever I hear Brian sing on TV, and I hear the out of tune pitches it takes me back to those sessions and also makes me sad because he had it so great when he was younger. But it also reminds me that great songs and great writers overshadow some technical problems and can still send chills up my spine.

I can also say that I don't think his deafness in one ear has anything to do with it. The guy hears better out of one ear than most people do with two. He has his shnit together when it comes to that.

Anyway, yes it is painful at times to watch but given the fact that we almost lost him a number of times I still watch him and smile and forgive the pitch problems knowing that the guy has been to hell and back and is still kicking the talent level up a notch.


Michael Greene
Old 7th January 2005
  #3
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toledo3's Avatar
 

Re: Brian (sandbox) Wilson on the Tonite Show

Quote:
Originally posted by mikey
Did you guys see it.Now i love Brian alot and he is a great artist,a part of my childhood ect; but i almost had to turn the volume down.He did Good Vibrations which would be hard on a good day.Not only was he way off pitch but he was trying to remember the new lyrics he made up.This guy needs to stay in the studio where he is at his best.Maybe its his hearing problem but it hurt me to see him sound like that tutt
I saw him about 2 or 3 years ago when he was doing the "Pet Sounds" tour.

It was excellent, and flawless.,, and Brian's singing was dead on. I went to the show expecting the worst, but it was one of the best sounding concerts I have attended.

However, I would agree with you that the performance on the Leno show had some hairy moments. But, I don't think you should judge the quality of the typical show by that performance...

IMO, even with the couple iffy moments, the performance was a lot more entertaining than the majority of new bands you see on the late night shows.
Old 7th January 2005
  #4
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toledo3's Avatar
 

MJGreene,

Orange Crate Art has always been a favorite album of mine... Any stories?

Congratulations for working on that.
Old 7th January 2005
  #5
Gear Nut
 
jflush's Avatar
 

Good Vibrations will never be sang properly again. **** I miss Carl!
Old 7th January 2005
  #6
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mikey's Avatar
 

Nice to talk to you guys -Im not making fun of Brian but i just wonder now.Does he care that hes all off?He seems to be a perfectionist because all his recordings sound perfect.
But i'm a bit let down to know what your saying Michael--That you guy have edited the parts to make him sound like he can pull it off in one take.I guess thats the new way to do things for alot of artist-auto tune editing.Now i dont mined Brian doing it cause i know he is a genius that can really sing,but it buggs me to know some of these new so call great singers are using autotune tutt
Old 7th January 2005
  #7
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
But i'm a bit let down to know what your saying Michael--That you guy have edited the parts to make him sound like he can pull it off in one take
Don't be let down. The guy can sing his ass off still. You have to keep in mind that his has to be in his early 60's now and with all he has been through it is amazing that he has any voice at all. It was a whole different ball game then as far as tuning goes. I remember Van Dyke agonizing over what to do. Brian was to fragile to keep beating him up to get things perfect. It just wasn't an option then. He would wake up some days in a funk and just not come to the session. But Van Dyke wanted to portray him in the best light he could. He knew that even though it wouldn't probably be a big selling album, it would be a coming out for Brian, and people would be listening. So we took the best we could get and helped it out a little bit. I believe from what I have heard now that Brian will work and work in the studio until it is right. That is probably the most amazing thing for me to see as I have watched from the sidelines over the last 10 years is how he has recovered and come out of his dark dark hole that he was in. It is really great to see.
I just wish that the people who are stars today could see what it really means to be a star or an icon. Most of our artists today are just puppets, and we as engineers and producers end up being the people who take the strings and make them dance.

Michael Greene
Old 7th January 2005
  #8
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jflush's Avatar
 

Michael,
What are your thoughts on Smile? Do you like the new versions of the old songs? How do you think this album sounds as a whole? Do you have any good Mike Love stories? heh
Old 7th January 2005
  #9
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Orange Crate Art has always been a favorite album of mine... Any stories?
Thanks, Like I said it was a big high point in my career just to be involved in any way.

I have a bunch of great stories but out of respect to Brian and Van Dyke I don't feel right about sharing them in an open forum. Sorry to bait and run but Brian has come so far from where he was that it really wouldn't be fair to put anything out there that might put him in a bad light.

One thing that I will say is it amazed me how many people worked on that record. I still read articles and hear stories from people that worked on that whom I never met and never knew about and who never got properly credited. The album took over 3 years of off and on work. Must have been recorded in over 20 studios, and was probably mixed by at least 4-5 people that I know of. Ed Cherney ended up doing the final mix if I remember correct but a bunch of people were given a shot at it at different stages of the project. The thing just kept evolving into a much bigger thing than I think anyone ever imagined. I just cringe at the thought of how many times those tapes were run over the heads. Its a surprise that there was any high end on the tape to mix by the time it came to final mix.

Michael Greene
Old 7th January 2005
  #10
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
What are your thoughts on Smile? Do you like the new versions of the old songs? How do you think this album sounds as a whole? Do you have any good Mike Love stories?
Well not that my opinion matters much but it has great interest to me because Van Dyke would talk about working with Brian on it from time to time. It was always something that was out there and I thought must be amazing but was never able to hear. I have the album and I can say I think it is very cool, but to me so much of those songs is not only in the songwriting but also in the aural estetics (sic) of how they sound. Keep in mind I am young (36) but when I listen to a Beach Boys record or Doors or something else from the "California 60's" it takes me back to those rooms and the uniqueness of how they sound. The sonic texture of the new Smile is nice but my ears want to hear it being more vintage and more period. It just makes it more intersting to me personally.
Maybe because how and what they did then was groundbreaking. Everything was new and now days you can do all that with much less effort and stress. Everything sounds so much the same at times that I wish someone would just pull off another "Jellyfish" kind of record and go very retro.

Whats your take on it? How do you feel about it in todays world?

As for Mike Love, I never met the guy. He wasn't on "Orange Crate Art" and even as I was working on it Van Dyke had to goto court and testify about songwriting credits and issues because Mike was suing Brian for credits and back royalties. My understanding is they have made up off and on in the past but are on the outs again because of issues with the Beach Boys name and what Mike Love is doing with the band. I say whatever. The best Beach Boys tunes and productions were done when Brian was in charge and haven't really done anything for me since.

Just my humble, personal opinions.

Michael Greene
Old 7th January 2005
  #11
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thermos's Avatar
I didn't hear this performance, but have to say that I think its amazing that he can even pull something off like smile these days. His performances on that sound excellent considering (i know there was a lot of editing). And aural asthetics aside that album is WAAAAAAAAAY better than anything anyone could even concieve of now. Whether or not the new one sounds proper (like the old one), it is truly a thoroughly complete, totally unique artistic piece. Totally revolutionary and fresh despite the fact it should have been released 40 years ago. I do have a bootleg of the original and it is super sweet to hear carl sing "Cabin Essence."
Old 7th January 2005
  #12
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max cooper's Avatar
 

So many "giants" have checked out early, it's great that Brian's not only here but doing what he loves to do, which seems like the most important thing to me. It makes one hopeful.
Old 8th January 2005
  #13
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Voyle Gilmore, who signed the Beach Boys to Capitol, once told me that as far as he's concerned, Brian Wilson IS the Beach Boys.
Old 8th January 2005
  #14
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thermos's Avatar
Voyle Gilmore, who signed the Beach Boys to Capitol, once told me that as far as he's concerned, Brian Wilson IS the Beach Boys.

Absolutely. Carls voice was the other important factor.
Old 8th January 2005
  #15
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mikey's Avatar
 

Michael i understand now, wow that is alot of work for him to sing all those parts on the last three albums.The one Jeff Lynd did with him and The Imagination one and the new one i haven't heard yet.Yea he isn't getting any younger and just loss of his brother is hard on him.That must have been great working with them.That cool that hes still putting out music
Old 8th January 2005
  #16
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Cal Harris, my boss at Motown, interned with Chuck Britz on the Beach Boys. His first "first" job was at a small studio around the corner from Western. He told me of spending many hours with Brian stacking 4 track vocals because there wasn't enough studio time available with Chuck at Western. Cal recorded the portions of the "Good Vibrations" basic track that were done at Gold Star.

I knew we had hired Cal from Gold Star but didn't found out about his connection to Britz and the Beach Boys until I asked after seeing his "Good Vibrations" credit in the Pet Sounds box. I'd known Cal for 30 years yet he'd never said a word to me or to anybody I knew about it, amazing.
Old 30th April 2011
  #17
Gear Head
 
juan gris's Avatar
 

Orange Cate Art is such a Beautiful song.... Whoever worked on it: Nice!!!
Old 30th April 2011
  #18
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I've always wanted to see him live. The few things I've seen in the last 15 years or so he seems a little gone, but it's very forgivable. I did see the other Beach Boys members in 2003 or so. It was 2 of the members minus Brian of course and the guy who wrote Mandy and some Manilow songs on keys and backing vocals. They had a flawless backing band and the songs were great minus the cheese they made it to be...Brian however even missing some notes feels like the real deal with no cheesy gimick going on behind it compared to the other remaining members. Without Brian its just not the same band
Old 30th April 2011
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Great posts from Mr. Greene, I know they're old but I'd never read em.

Might want to check out the first version of Surf's Up on the Good Vibrations box set - one piano, two tracks of Brian singing, that's it. Exquisite.

-Kirk
Old 30th April 2011
  #20
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JoeyM's Avatar
Dennis Wilson is quoted as saying
Quote:
Brian Wilson is the Beach Boys. We're just his messengers. ...
Old 30th April 2011
  #21
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Ghosty Dog's Avatar
 

I remember buying Brian's 'Brian Wilson' album in the late '80's. I was curious to hear what had become of him, and expecting the worst. I was immediately blown away by the quality of songwriting and musicianship. The arrangements, melodies and harmonies are quite staggering. It's one of those albums where you want to sing along with each song after the first listen. For mine, it's some of his best work.
Old 1st May 2011
  #22
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headspin's Avatar
 

Ya'll heard they're releasing all of the Smile tapes this year as a full album and box set right?

Very excited!

Sent from my HTC Hero using Gearslutz.com App
Old 5th May 2012
  #23
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Screws's Avatar
 

OK, 7 years later...

I saw the Beach Boys 50 Year Reunion Tour last night at the Hard Rock in Hollywood Florida. I believe it's about 20 years since their feuding started, and Brian's first on-stage appearance with them since the 60s!

I've always been appreciative of their harmonies and Brian's songwriting and arranging have often had my mouth hanging open in amazement, but until last night I was never a blown-away-teary-eyed fan.

I am amazed these guys in their 70s can do what they did onstage. The harmonies were flawless. The acapella moments in songs like "Heroes and Villains" were breathtaking. A couple of fleeting out-of-tune moments for Brian were easily forgotten by times when his lead vocal was perfect. He has to be helped to and from his piano, and sits with a video monitor on the piano feeding him the words. Crosby Stills and Nash had a similar setup onstage last year feeding words to them as well.

Mike's speaking voice sometimes sounded a little hoarse, but when he sang both he and Al sounded like young men, and Bruce, who first stepped into the band when Brian stepped off the stage in the 60s, was flawless.

Whoever was playing drums for them was the perfect image of a dynamic drummer/surfer/60s/dude, and his performance said "Beach Boys" as though he actually was there with them in those Western Studio days.

Sorry if I'm gushing a little, or a lot. But it's rare to hear a live band sing complex harmonies and end up sounding like you just stepped into some heavenly though very hip angelic choir. Shoot - Crosby Stills and Nash at the same venue last year were nowhere near as impressive, and I used to be a HUGE fan of their stuff.

Mike Love introduced their new song "God Made The Radio" by saying that after all these years Brian can still challenge them with harmony parts that require concentration and great skill. He said, "When Brian gives you your parts you really need to pay attention." The live version of the song makes the recorded version sound bland and lifeless by comparison. I hope someone has been videoing these concerts.

God Only Knows is the greatest moment on record, as far as I'm concerned, and they performed it as a tribute to Carl, using a live video recording of him singing it as they accompanied him.

Go see them. It's eye opening and jaw dropping.
Old 5th May 2012
  #24
Gear Addict
 
jtaylor27's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screws View Post
OK, 7 years later...

I saw the Beach Boys 50 Year Reunion Tour last night at the Hard Rock in Hollywood Florida. I believe it's about 20 years since their feuding started, and Brian's first on-stage appearance with them since the 60s!

I've always been appreciative of their harmonies and Brian's songwriting and arranging have often had my mouth hanging open in amazement, but until last night I was never a blown-away-teary-eyed fan.

I am amazed these guys in their 70s can do what they did onstage. The harmonies were flawless. The acapella moments in songs like "Heroes and Villains" were breathtaking. A couple of fleeting out-of-tune moments for Brian were easily forgotten by times when his lead vocal was perfect. He has to be helped to and from his piano, and sits with a video monitor on the piano feeding him the words. Crosby Stills and Nash had a similar setup onstage last year feeding words to them as well.

Mike's speaking voice sometimes sounded a little hoarse, but when he sang both he and Al sounded like young men, and Bruce, who first stepped into the band when Brian stepped off the stage in the 60s, was flawless.

Whoever was playing drums for them was the perfect image of a dynamic drummer/surfer/60s/dude, and his performance said "Beach Boys" as though he actually was there with them in those Western Studio days.

Sorry if I'm gushing a little, or a lot. But it's rare to hear a live band sing complex harmonies and end up sounding like you just stepped into some heavenly though very hip angelic choir. Shoot - Crosby Stills and Nash at the same venue last year were nowhere near as impressive, and I used to be a HUGE fan of their stuff.

Mike Love introduced their new song "God Made The Radio" by saying that after all these years Brian can still challenge them with harmony parts that require concentration and great skill. He said, "When Brian gives you your parts you really need to pay attention." The live version of the song makes the recorded version sound bland and lifeless by comparison. I hope someone has been videoing these concerts.

God Only Knows is the greatest moment on record, as far as I'm concerned, and they performed it as a tribute to Carl, using a live video recording of him singing it as they accompanied him.

Go see them. It's eye opening and jaw dropping.
Thanks for the review. I'm seeing them in Toronto next month. I'm glad there's a tribute to Carl and he is included in some way in the reunion.

Brian performed with them many times after the 60's. Basically every concert from 76-82ish he was there. Then in January 1983 he was taken by Dr. Landy to Hawaii to begin therapy and lose his weight (he was over 300lbs at this point). By June 1983 he was back with the band and touring and continuing to lose weight with Landy following his every move on tour. From June 83 he performed with them till about 87-88ish when Landy seperated Brian from the band and he started to work on solo music. He rejoined them on tour in 1991 after Landy was sacked. Was gone for '92-'95. Came back in '95 for Stars and Stripes, left the band after that tour. I believe that was the last time he was onstage with them.

Al Jardine had not been on stage with them since 1997 before Carl died. Mike, Bruce and David have been there since then, with David going off and on for a couple different runs.
Old 5th May 2012
  #25
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I saw the first date of the tour in Tucson last week. 7 Beach Boys on the front line and 8 session players on a riser behind them. Everyone had a vocal mic except the drummer. (14 vocal mics? I wouldn't want to mix that show!) They did sound great, until "In My Room". Startled by the change in vocal sound on that tune, I realized none of the 8 session guys was singing, it was just the Beach Boys. Oh well. It was still a good show. Brian did get lost a couple of times, and didn't smile much, but when he did sing, he sounded great. Al Jardine couldn't stay on the mic, so his vocals were in and out. Typical of a Beach Boys audience, they gave lackluster applause to tunes they were unfamiliar with, and roaring applause to the standards, "Sloop John B", etc. Talk about an old audience, it was like going to an AARP convention. (Yeah, I belong to AARP.)

The mix was disappointing. On several songs with iconic keyboard parts, you could barely hear them. Guitar solos were generally inaudible until the last few bars. (Many of the important guitar parts were played by the session dude in the back, stage right, with a music stand in his face.) You could hear the vocals though, and that is what the Beach Boys are all about.
Old 5th May 2012
  #26
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Space Station's Avatar
Cool..I saw 2x Pet Sounds shows and the Smile live debut in 2002 and 2004 respectively..totally mind-blowing. They did more obscure stuff like Forever(a dennis wilson track) and Good Timin' !! After that I was half expecting Solar System..
Old 6th May 2012
  #27
Gear Nut
 

The backing band are Brian's band from his solo tours, so they could sing and play this stuff even if the.Beach Boys weren't there. I think Carl and Dennis were a big part of the classic vocal sound.Jeff Foskett is the guitarist guy who stands near Brian's piano, he does all Brian's high falsetto parts that he can't reach these days. He's been doing it since the 80s. Funny how many guitars they have. Four in the front line and couple more plus bass in the back line!
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