Monday, June 10, 2013


As you may have read on the interwebs, Brian Wilson is working on a new record along with the other two boys fired by Mike Love, Alan Jardine and David Marks. Okay, I don't really care, but great. You see, I absolutely love the Beach Boys, and I'm happy that Brian Wilson is alive and working. And fuck Mike Love. And...well... I couldn't possibly listen to Brian Wilson's new record. Oh no! I mean, how could anyone at this point?

We've been down this road before, the same road that offers the pros and cons of the Rolling Stones. Mike Campbell on the Dangerous Minds blog nailed it with this-

"Rolling Stones, you’ve managed to wipe out your own fucking legacy. You’ve stomped it into the ground and turned it into something that no longer remotely resembles the rock ‘n’ roll you once made that changed my life. Go fuck yourselves!"

He was referring specifcally to the misguided abomination that was Mick Jagger and Taylor Swift's duet on "As Tears Go By," though I think this entire 50th Anniversary tour is a misguided abomination. But I digress.

What I didn't mention in the first paragraph is that Brian Wilson's new record will feature Jeff Beck and Beck's current rhythm section, Tal Wilkenfeld and Vinnie Colaiuta on half, and a rhythm section of Don Was and Jim Keltner, on the other half of an album that Wilson promises will "rock."

Aside from Brian Wilson, who wants this? Beach Boys fans? Jeff Beck fans? Does Don Was have any fans?

I guess at this point in Brian Wilson's career, he should be afforded the luxury of anything he damn wants. I can't and won't argue that. But as a fan and an obsessive, I don't understand the people...and I have already encountered more than I expected to...who are excited over this ridiculous pairing. Just as I don't get the people who claim to love music and the Rolling Stones, going to a ga-ga over some of the most horrific sounds the Stones have ever made. Loyalty is one thing. Denial is another.


soundsource said...

I agree

buzzbabyjesus said...

Ditto. A fair number of my comments are bitching about crappy new work by artists who made a record or two I loved and should have quit while they were ahead.
I give Brian a pass, as he's managed to survive his life so far. I won't listen to this new album unless you say it's great and I can download it free somewhere.
Jeff Beck, for sure is one of the finest guitarists ever. I've watched some of those Ronnie Scott videos with that current band. I'm amazed at his technique. No pick and controlling the whammy and knobs with such fluency that it's a whole universe away from my guitar skills, yet I'd be better off watching without the sound. The music is really lame. Has Jeff made an album worth listening to since "Wired" (1976)? Tal's indeed a fantastic bass player, and Vinnie was good enough for Frank Zappa, and they seem to be having fun, but I'm not. Vinnie may play with metronomic precision, and handle "The Black Page" with one arm, but he bores me to death. After watching him I go to The Who at The Isle Of Wight and marvel at the Keith Moon show.
That said, I don't expect any good surprises from Pete, either.
I stopped listening after "Quadrophenia".
Then again, how could he top or even equal "Who's Next"?
The Stones? Even I'm tired of hearing me complain about them.
Even sadder, though, is that there is nobody out there, as far as I can see, stepping up to replace any of them.

Ken D said...

Oh how I wish Mike Love would make a solo album.
Just to reveal to all what a no-talent schmuck he is.

Brian? Yeah, but wouldn't it be great if he could pull one more out of his hat? But with Jeff Beck? Hard to figure. Sounds so unlikely but maybe that's its only the old heist-movie cliché:
"That plan is so crazy—hell, it just might work!"

(Of course those always wind up being very stupid movies...)

Noam Sane said...

First, "I stopped listening after "Quadrophenia"." "By Numbers" is a great - seriously, a great - record. You should give it a shot.

There were a half-dozen good tunes on the Beach Boys comeback, and the Gershwin record was a lot of fun. Let's give this a shot as well, who knows?

Also too, fuck Mike Love.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I can't listen to an album that contains "Squeeze Box".

Sal Nunziato said...

Come on Buzz. That's just being difficult. Skip Squeeze Box the way you would skip A Taste of Honey off of Please Please Me. I'm with Noam. By Numbers is excellent

jeff k said...

Ok, I'm going to be the minority of one here and say I'm excited, not because of who he is working with but because he's Brian Wilson, and he's always capable of pulling something great out of the hat. I didn't love all of the Gershwin album but I thought a few of his takes were terrific. That's the case with most of his solo stuff. I'll take it because when he is great, he's seriously great. Still.

So who knows?

Sal Nunziato said...

I liked the Gershwin album. Liked it. Great? I don't think so. And neither were the "great" songs on the recent Beach Boys album. "Don't Worry Baby" is great. "Surf's Up" is great.

Hearing a 70 year old legend vocally clunk his way through songs that resemble his heyday is tough enough. But "rock?" Brian said he wants to "rock out." This is what we're looking forward to?

I'm reminded of something Woody Allen said, I think in "The Front."

"Swimming isn't a sport. It's something you do to keep from drowning."

jeff k said...

There's great and there's transspendant. I'm listening to "They Can't Take Away From Me" now, and I think it's perfect car music. Yeah, it's great. But I don't think something has to be "Don't Worry Baby" to be great. That's too high a standard. There's a scene at the end of the movie "I wasn't Made for These Times" where he gets everyone in the studio for a fantastic version of "Do It Again," and you see him, despite his illness, clearly in charge, and the result really is great.

Sal Nunziato said...

To be fair, I'm not saying Brian Wilson needs to be great these days. I agree Jeff, not everything has to be "Don't Worry Baby" to be great.

I just don't get the consistent praise. If it's support the way you would support a special needs child, then I understand. But Paul McCartney gets trashed on a regular basis. A fucking Beatle. And his output in the last 20 years has been far more respectable than Brian's. God bless Brian, but how can anyone listen to him sing and think "this is great?" It's sad.

jeff k said...

I'd don't know. Right now, I've got "Still I Dream of It" on. It's extremely painful to listen to. But before that album, I had the song "You Imagination" on from not too long ago, and I think it's marvelous. Maybe it's studio tricks but hell, I'll take it over most (but not all) of what McCartney has put out. The same with the song "Love and Mercy."

Dave said...

"That Lucky Old Son" is also full of great music, maybe my favorite of his post BB work other than his first solo album. I've never listened to any record that Brian was primarily responsible for that wasn't worth a listen.

I'm not a big Jeff Beck fan. But then again I wasn't a Wondermints or Poi Dog Pondering fan when he started working with them either, and they turned out to be so much more than sidemen.

There is no doubt that Brian isn't the singer he once was.

buzzbabyjesus said...

My college room mate played "By The Numbers" one time too many. I admit "In A Hand Or A Face" is pretty great, but the rest of it sounds out of gas to me.

from wikipedia:

"Fans of The Who have often jokingly dubbed The Who By Numbers as "Pete Townshend's suicide note"."

It sounds that way.

Forgive me for being unaware of "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin".
Ignorance was bliss in that case.

Anonymous said...

Brian was not the vocalist on the more rockin' tracks by the Beach Boys so I'm a little skeptical.


peabody nobis said...

Won't touch this one. I got burned with his first solo "comeback" album some 25 years ago. Every review I read before I bought was positive. It was terrible.
Brian can't sing anymore. And that's a problem when your trademark is soaring vocals.
A little off topic, but I was playing the video game "Bioshock Infinite", and was pleasantly surprised to hear a cover of "God Only Knows" as sung by a barbershop quartet. It was terrific!

Sal Nunziato said...

"I got burned with his first solo "comeback" album some 25 years ago. Every review I read before I bought was positive. It was terrible."

Thanks Peabody. I feel exactly the same way. I think we may be the only two.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"I got burned with his first solo "comeback" album some 25 years ago. Every review I read before I bought was positive. It was terrible."

Thanks Peabody. I feel exactly the same way. I think we may be the only two.

Make that three, except I like "Rio Grande Suite".

Dave said...

Brian's voice had deteriorated before he went solo (listen to the later BB albums) but although it is far, far from perfect, I was thrilled when "Brian Wilson" came out. I don't know how it's possible for a Beach Boy fan to hear "Melt Away" and not be excited.

Sal Nunziato said...

"I don't know how it's possible for a Beach Boy fan to hear "Melt Away" and not be excited."

Love "Melt Away." It's the other 9 songs. And yes, that includes "Love & Mercy," which has been inexplicably deemed a classic.

I guess this is really the point of my post. Not if Brian should or shouldn't make records. It's about anyone...Brian, Stones, Todd Rundgren...anyone...who clearly isn't making top shelf music anymore and the fans who treat it all with the same excitement.

That's what I don't get.

Then again, who the hell am I to say what anyone should or shouldn't love? I still find it fascinating.

Dave said...

That's easy for me. I don't expect a sustained, great album from Brian on the level of Pet Sounds or Friends. But if I can get any song that's up to the level of those classic albums, that is exciting to me. I do love "Love & Mercy," but "Melt Away" stands up to the best of the BB's, and that is enough to excite me. It doesn't mean that I think it's a great album, but I far prefer it to an album like "Imagination" which might be more consistent but whose highs are so much lower than "Brian Wilson."

During the days of vinyl, one bad cut was excruciating. Now with iTunes and i-everything, we are back to a singles mentality. And that's fine with me. I love the few albums that are in my pantheon, but I can name the number of albums with all-original music that I love every cut on to, perhaps, 10-20.

Sal Nunziato said...

"During the days of vinyl, one bad cut was excruciating."

Amazing, right?

Dave, feel like putting together a Top 10 Brian solo playlist? I'd be curious.

Dave said...

Interesting idea. Give me some time and I will.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I like "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long", too. The chorus in particular.
The verses are a little clunky.

neal t said...

Swift and all Rolling Stones on paper sounds as bad as it was (didn't see taking everyone's word). One of best songwriters and best guitarists in the rock and roll era palling up on paper doesn't sound bad at all. I won't be surprised at all if it's worth a listen. I think most of Brian's solo stuff has been good. Agree that JB hasn't really recorded much keeper shit since Wired but still great live. Saw him twice few year's back and it was great. Some good shit on him in Rod's autobio.