Monday, May 6, 2019

Musings From the Smile Shop

The late great Smile Shop was a place for
fans of the Beach Boys. I have taken some
time to document the contributions that I
made to the threads therein. The paragraphs in this compilation document
some of my thoughts I had in response to
the topics that arose. They are simply posted in the chronological order on which they appeared.  I found the Smile Shop to be a very contentious  group of fans.  The Brian versus Mike argument about who
made the most important contributions to the group's success through the years was
a prime subject. If you find these words
tedious I won't blame you. But this sampling of my thoughts shaped some of
my ideas in this blog. I hope you enjoy yourself!  PR
_____________________________________________


The Beach Boys made themselves irrelevant to Smile by not supporting the artistic side of the equation. Meantime, their spending had quintupled as they acquired homes, Rolls Royces, drugs, and other trappings of rock star life.

I don't necessarily begrudge them the trappings their work provided. Their devotion to that lifestyle, Brian included, is what caused the artistic side to get thrown out and commerciality of music to come to the front. Too much fame, too quickly for their own good.

Up to that time, I think Brian had made the sound of the music more important than its potential commerciality. As many would say, the integrity was in the grooves.

Brian's questioned his own instincts, and when the Beach Boys "watered" that fear, it exploded in self-doubt. When you are under pressure to be and do the "next big thing," the stakes become overblown, the doubts become louder, and the instincts get dulled.

But the Beach Boys chose not to back their writer and producer. It was his music, not theirs, and they had no right to put together Frankenstein versions of the music using fragments later. Those actions, more than any others are what caused Brian to withhold his music from them and to decide he was no longer a Beach Boy. As Van Dyke says in Beautiful Dreamer..."what happened to Brian's music should not have happened to any artist."

The equivalent would be a Viking raid like they show on tv these days in those credit card ads without the Capital One Visa card to stop the plunder and pillage. It was the equivalent of abuse,and certainly stands as boundary breaking of the worst and unconscionable kind.

It is no wonder none of The surviving Beach Boys wanted to talk on the record.


According to Murry in an interview from late 1967, Brian was worth between 1 and 2 Million dollars, and the rest of the corporate partners were well on their way to millionaire status. He was very proud of their finances at the time. It all caved because of some bad investments they made in Simi Valley in the next 2 years. They also lost an estimated $450,000 on the cancelled Maharishi Tour as well.

To put it in perspective, the 85 Smile sessions cost less than 20% of what The Beach Boys lost on the Maharishi debacle.

The other drainer on the short term was the lawsuit, although ultimately, it was settled in The Beach Boys' favor. In the long run, Capitol deleted all their albums from 1970 to 1973 to recoup the costs of the suit.

The Smile sessions came in at about $65K I am told.

Brian had 2 nervous collapses in 1967. One occured in March, and the other in August. He was working in studios for Redwood, and I think pretty much threw in the towel after TTGA and Darlin' got taken. One reason he was working in the studios again is that they were working on the home studio, as he was not happy with the sounds he was getting there.

After the breakdown, Carl steps up and helps Brian finish Wild Honey, as he did on Smiley Smile as well. These guys were not thinking straight, especially Brian. Things were in somewhat of a flux and transition.

This continued into Friends, when Brian would start a track and then one of the other guys would have to finish it. In one case, they just left it as is, which was Passing By. Shortly thereafter, Brian has his most serious mental break, shortly after Old Man River, and is hospitalized for the first time and given old time psychotropics.

This is especially true because Brian had a mental collapse right after Smiley Smile. (I went back and checked some old files) So, here he was being expected to pick it up again right after he wiped out emotionally after doing Smiley Smile.

Yup. That is a part of the Fishwrap article. This was right after the
second breakdown after Smiley. He was loopy. Thing is, he was that way
from then forward.

My mistake on the dating of the photo session.It was July. There was
another one with Audrey later on in October at the beach as well. Mostly
for Capiol that time.

See, the process of bipolar combined with schiizo-affective disorder
produced a combination of self-medicating to get the creatiive high
found in the manic phase of bipolar, along with frequent breaks with
reality to go to "safe-world:," where Brian didn't have to deal with his
life as it was.

The combination is profound, because it explains why the escapes from
reality were NOT ENOUGH. Brian was comforted emotionally fom terrible
post traumatic stress disorder by making music. It relieved his anxiety,
and when he made music, he calmed down and was on this planet. Hence the
seeking of ccaine and other stimulants to recreate the feeling of
creatvity he felt when in the original manic phase of his illness.

Sadly, cocaine's high gets lower and lower, requiriing mor and more of
it to generate the euphoria. What was once a Type 1 bipolar condition
turned into a type 2 bipolar condition--very low lows countered by
dysthmia (slightly depressed but almost normal highs) '

If we had only known then psychiatrically what we know now.....


Definitely not!!! Brian was like most abuse victims and schizo-affective people, almost chameleon-like in his ability to "act normal." Hence, the Beach Boys, Marilyn, and his parents would have seen him as very withdrawn, mildly depressed, and uncommunicative. No one in the family had a CLUE how sick Brian was. That t why it was unfair of the current batch of Brian orbiters to accuse the first extended family of not getting brian treated. Like many "dually-diagnosed" CD/MI patients, he was gifted at portraying normal for brief periods of time .Hence, he could keep it together for a 3 hour recording session once in awhile. He just couldn't maintain it for a whole day, day after day. This is why these people are SO HARD to treat. They deny their illness,try to self-medicate, and refuse to trust the people who can really help them. Brian had to be in milieu therpy for years with Landy before he came to the realization he couldn't save himself, and then tragically, Landy fucked him over.It's amazing he half trusts Melinda and his treatment team. This is what happened in the Dutch interview awhile back, in that he was tired, weary, and questioning his own perceptions of reality. It is hard giving yourself up to let others support you. Try it sometime....

To me, it is fascinating how Brian has used Hawaii as an emotional retreat center for himself to recover from collapses. He did it in 67, 68, 70, 83, and 88. No wonder Hawaii feels so good to him. He goes there to find a placid pool and sinks.

I think you answered your own question. What do The Beach Boys usually do when they want Brian to produce? The answer is to book a studio that he would feel comfortable working in.

Brian liked Wally Heider, did not like his home studio (under construction at the time), and probably got coaxed or cajoled to go down there to record. As you mentioned, by this time, Carl was doing sessions. This is the same thing that happened at many different sessions through the years. In essence, let's take Brian to (insert studio name here) and see if he'll feel good about recording there.

They tried Holland, Heider, Caribou, Brother, Jardine's Barn, Mararishi University, Brains & Genius, etc etc. The results were always the same.

The studio and home were makeshift until just before Friends. I know that from talking to Marilyn. A wife remembers these things. She also said in the Biography segment on Brian that "the guys just wore Brian down." She was talking about this very period we are discussing here.

The Beach Boys were and are a very dysfunctional family. They will, like most alcoholic families, tell the ill family member everything that is wrong with him, while at the same time, all the while cover for his illness to the outside world.

This is what happened. Alcoholic families believe there is never enough of ________, and therefore believe they have to do whatever they can in order to hoard whatever is the valued commodity.

In this case the valued commodity was Brian Wilson music and production. Instead of working with Brian to help him regain his artistic equilibrium, they removed the last piece of hope he had to grow as an artist when they told him he couldn't use BRI funds to produce. His music had to be first refused by The Beach Boys before he could record. Why in God's Name do you think a writing and/or production credit does not appear on the Ron Wilson CBS 45?

I appreciate your explanation of how you personally deal with depression. There are many ways to deal with it, and in bipolar, there are times when people actually have creative surges that can last a few weeks. Strictly speaking, Brian is not just depressed, he is bipolar. This means, back then he could have periods when he was feeling almost normal or even a bit hyper. This was probably also aggravated by self-medicating with drugs.

Thing is, families of alcoholics develop unusual patterns of coping that are very codependent. It is codependent for Carl to testify he never saw Brian or Dennis get beaten, when high school friends say they saw the evidence. It is codependent and shrewd business wise to make people think Brian is more active than he really is. The Beach Boys fooled record executives for years. Putting a name on a union sheet is not that hard to do, whether he was there or not. It is also codependent to make it look like Brian was far more active than he was.

People from that era who were there will tell you that Brian was not firing on even half of his cylinders. It only got worse,and was the beginning of what Brian called in the Leaf film "the long slow slide into illness."

The Wilsons were a family swept up in alcoholism on both parent's sides. Brian shouldered lots of the bread winner responsibility for the family and took over Murry's role as breadwinner. That had to be hard for Murry. It shows in the way he dogged Brian throughout their time together as performer/music publisher. Brian could never be the man Murry wanted him to be, because Murry wasn't the man Murry wanted to be. No man wants to live off his son's success while in the prime of his work life with the son excelling at what dad always wanted to do.

I see Dennis's role as scapegoat, that is, when something went wrong, Dennis got blamed. I am reasonably sure Brian took lots of abuse Murry originally intended for Dennis. Carl, as youngest, escaped much of the physical side, and patterned after his mom's passivity. He was the peacemaker. This is a function he fulfilled in the family as well as the Beach Boys.

Fact of the matter was that Dennis as the scapegoat became the badboy in The Beach Boys as well. For awhile, based on the notes of Earl Leaf from the sixties, it appears that Dennis and Mike were buddies based on their mutual disgust for Murry's authority. Later on, Mike began to assume more of a leadership role in the band with Carl, and Dennis probably transferred lots of his anti-authoritarian attitudes toward Mike. God, they wrote some great songs together though, didn't they?

Carl, as peacemaker, became the moral authority in the band in Brian's absence, which is why his drug problems in the 70s were so hard on the band as a whole. They were virtually rudderless from 1976 until Carl recovered in 1980. By this time the Rudderless Commitee had turned into Alan and Mike with a proxy vote from Brian to keep Mike off his back. This is when Carl left the group, as the Rudderless Committee's vision for the band did not fit his. He tried going solo, but got bad advice on the type of music to record, and his albums did not sell that well. He returned to the fold, playing with the band, but with his heart wanting to make significant new music until his recordings with Beckley and Lamm just before his death.

Dennis, on the other hand, was the troublemaker made good. His solo album outsold any BB album after 15 Big Ones, all the way until Still Cruisin'. I honestly think the success was too much for him and he didn't know what to do with it. He tried throughout his career to support his brothers, and truly cared about what The Beach Boys were putting out. He tried to break free several times, and always ended up having to give some of his best music to The Beach Boys. It was love/hate at its best.

Carl was more caught up in Brian's role shift than Dennis. Carl as peacemaker, had to approach Brian with many of the band's screwy ideas. He was usually the "messenger" and as such, had a wedge driven between himself and Brian that never really got healed. It was him who had to tell Brian they wanted TTGA and Darlin'. It was him who grabbed Cabinessence and Prayer for 20/20. It was him with Dennis who told Brian that Surfs Up would have to be put on a BB album. Carl was a man who did not like conflict, yet ironically was put in the lifelong position of dealing with differences between Murry and Brian and later Mike and Brian. He did the best he could in an very bad situation.



The costs of losing Smile are beyond dollars and cents. The album in my opinion is the major American pop piece of the Rock Era. That Brian finsihed it is a miracle.


I don't think you understand what I said, or you simpy prefer to ignore it. Danny Hutton saw Brian get reamed by Carl and Mike, then later Brian told him, word for word, what was said. This was confirmed by what Brian told me what was said. The eyewitness account of Chuck Negron's is icing. Simply a third eyewitness account.

The bottomline is Brian was bullied into giving up Redwood, and production for BRI.

Danny Hutton told me face to face at a David Leaf dinner party that it went down regarding TTGA and Darlin' just the way I have said it did over and over again. This has been confirmed by Brian himself, and the third account in Chuck Negron's book. Recording on Brother continued for outside artists into 1968. Brother was not close to collapse. At that point it was funded, it is just that The BBs decided to fulfill their contract at Capitol and get out of Dodge.

I am well aware of the fact that the Ron Wilson 45 is on CBS. I had several for years. There is no writing credit to Brian for I'll Keep on Loving You, even though he co-wrote it. This is because he couldn't let his name appear on the record. Ever wonder why the last Honeys 45 is not a BW composition? Same reason.

Brian junked Smile, as a decision based upon his own lack of confidence, Murry's doubts and nagging, his fears about the music's commerciality, and the group's doubts, led by Mike and Carl. The ultimate reason was probably his own illness, but his role as main writer and producer was being questioned, and he lost control of the band. In a word, there was a coup. Same thing happened to Creedence just before their last album. Fogerty's brother left because he wanted to be able to write and sing his songs on Creedence albums, and so did the other guys. If Smiley Smile was the weirdest album in major group history, Creedence's last was a close second. Artistic suicide.

I repeat what I have said before, showing up for sessions in your Rolls Royces, smoking dope, and pitching a fit about the material does not constitute artistic or emotional support. In fact, it does the opposite. It erodes the writers' condidence, shuts down production, and leads to long pissing and moaning and whining business meetings, which were what Brian told me he hated the WORST in his memories of the first Smile period. In basic fact, he was nibbled to death by ducks.


I also spoke with Jim Lockert, and that is not what he told me. Either you are playing fast and loose with the facts, or you spoke to him when he was in advance stages of dementia.

There was a coup. Brian no longer had the needed backing votes of the members of The Beach Boys. As a group, they VOTED to kill Smile, Brian included. In March, the Search for a Single began. End of Smile, as a Beach Boy project.

When we talk of artist development, the purpose of new albums is not just to push current product but the entire catalog. Having been in the record business for 5 years, I can tell you that the strategy that they are using with Brian is a good example of a long term artist development strategy.

Consistent touring plus intermittent albums to build a fanbase. It has obviously worked for him in the UK and here in the US. It worked for The BBs in the 60s until their appetites exceeded their sales. That is, they spent or drew down for personal use more money than they took in. They hit the Golden Goose once too often, and then in real life told their Golden Goose they had no confidence in him.

Mike Love does not want to be known for historical purposes as one of the persons who killed the major American work of the Rock Era. That is what the Beautiful Dreamer film intimates, and he wouldn't be human if he didn't realize what a fool he going to look like to history.

I think it would behoove him to swallow his pride and apologize to Brian, just as I have said Brian needs to make amends there as well. I haven't changed my opinion that he is the luckiest guy on the face of the planet to be the cousin of the major American composer of the Rock Era, but we'll let that one go.

Fact is, Desper has said to more than one interviewer that Brian continued to work privately when the Beach Boys weren't around on a variety of compositions that he would often erase or stash afterward.

In Brother deliberations, there is no paper trail. So, unless you speak to one or more of the principle voters, you don't have a CLUE what happened. The paper trail in this case is SUPERFLUOUS.

I try to answer people's reservations when they are sensible, but I don't respond to argument for the sake of argument and doublethink, which is what Cam's posts of the last year have decended to, in my opinion.

Vosse was there for many of Brian's thoughts during Smile. He brought up two points in BD that rang my bell. The first was that Murry was bugging Brian's home and having him followed by a PI. The second is that The Beatles single, the return fire from GV, if you will. that The Beatles sent really scared him.

What I think happened is that Brian turned up the heat on the project to get it finished, and in his own intensity drove the BBs to distraction over the vocals. That is, his sense of perfectionism and self-imposed quality finally drove them to the point that they said, "we can't fathom what you want!"

Thing is, Brian was growing more and more frantic. He could see he by himself had another year of work to do with guys that didn't believe in the project. So after the Surfs Up vocal session, he did it himself, and at the next meeting, things got very negative, he told them "it'll be a year before the album is done", they said "we need product "a single" NOW", and he said "okay, let's pull the plug on the album and concenttrate on a single."

The Search for a Single began, Smile was dead as a BB album.

They defnitely WERE that short sighted, and the legends of stupid decisions they made through the years is legion.

What people don't understand is that is an alcoholic family, what is expedient is what GOES. The single was needed, so they worked on the single until Brian broke down in March. Then all bets were off. Brian came back, said "I don't wanna do Heroes, I wanna do Vegetables."So they all loyaly go off and do Vegetables. In this part of the process, they WERE loyal, and did follow the leader. But the leader was off his cracker.

No single in April. They tour in May, Brian is inactive. He finally tells them in May the decision he was AFRAID to tell them he made back in February. "Game over, Beatles win, I lose, and so do you guys for not supporting my vision and Van Dyke's lyrics." They come back in June, tell him that they need simpler music to play, and off we march to make Smiley Smile after finally cobbling together Heroes and releasing it. The wear from the whole experience causes another breakdown after Smiley's done. The long slow slide begins in earnest. They ship off to Hawaii for a vacation and an effort to release an album and catch up, but the tapes suck, and Brian is REALLY GONE. Reference the David Dalton article in Fishwrap or Carl's interview in Back to the Beach 2nd edition.

I am aware of Stephen's feelings. I have spoken wth him about them, and not on a message board. I think he is correct in that the Beach Boys knew Brian's mental health was deteriorating. I am convinced they had no clue how serious the deterioration was.

I would never argue the fact that Brian was grooming Carl to take over. That has been my contention all along. It just happened more quickly than Brian anticipated, and not for the reasons he wanted.

Your awareness of the situation seems confined to message boards and paper. I have talked with many of the principle people in this saga. Your unhappiness at my access I can't help you with. You seem determined to find Brian sane when all the evidence points clearly to his being insane. Given that conclusion, his perceptions of what Carl said may be incomplete. Carl grew very tired of being the middleman between the strongmen in the family-Murry, Mike, and Brian. He had lapses in diplomacy from tme to time.

The so-called hard data is notorious for being inaccurate, which I have told many so-called historians who try to rely on paper. You will not get the whole story, or even part of it, because the story is not in the paper, it is in the memories of the people who were there. That is why TALKING to those people is essential, and not on a message board.

Sadly, many of them have died, but I have talked with them or have friends who talked with them. You can't walk across the ocean in bare feet, and you can't write history by looking at session invoices.

I have spoken to, or friends of mine have spoken to all of the people you mention in your post. I do not quote from those interviews because they have been given to me in confidence. Many of those interviews have persuaded me that the Beach Boys, in their somewhat bewildered and self-precocupied state, did not maliciously abuse Brian in this time of illness.

This is clearly a case of a person with mental illness who was able to fool lots of people for a long time, and when that was over, make them think he was an addictive personality who wouldn't seek treatment. (which he was, but it's only a small part of the story).

You will find that as an advocate for people with mental illness, I will always advocate for the person AND their family. In this case, I think we have several people who need to own up to their mistakes. Until the Beach Boys do this, I see the story as a case of "stupid is as stupid does." Which brings us back to the Forrest Gump analogy.

You know, I have worked on a dozen major books and several more videos and documentaries. We're not talking about onesies here. As a result, I have had and have access to nearly every interview done for those projects.

Now, we're not talking one author or filmmaker interview, we're talking dozens. Yes, nearly every player has been interviewed at least once.

My feelings about Mike Love have changed through the years. Initially I saw him as one of the major villains in the story. Then I saw him as jus a greedy guy. Then I began to get first hand interviews wih him that began to change my outlook. He still strikes me as the guy who'd be doing something much different if not for Cousin Brian, but I think he would have been successful in whatever field he undertook.

I tend to see him now as another man in old age, looking at his morality and trying to protect his place in history. He could do that so much more readily if he stopped lying and saying he has no regrets or apologies to make. If you don't think advocates are confrontive, I guess you never have been to an IEP meeting or a service review where they have to function. The fur flies and the language is not pretty sometimes. Advocacy is brutal.

You have a point there. But I'm not just talking about Mike. I am talking about the whole family. The punchbowl needs to be flushed, the septic tanks emptied, and and the whole sordid mess needs to be healed, not to make music but just to exhange amends. I still have hopes of it happening before it's too late. It was too late for Dennis and Carl. Mike, Brian, Alan, and Bruce still have time....today.

Gershwin Stuff

In therapy, people have issues they will not or choose not to face. It is apparent to me, at least, that Brian finally came to dealing with his anger about Smile as being a blockage. His therapists obviously believed that further emotional progress depended upon "dealing with Smile" in therapy.

Melinda has played a yeoman's role in helping Brian slay these old dragon's living in his closet and under his bed. Of course it wasn't his idea initially, we never want to deal with our issues willingly until they become too painful to bear, or until they are sp obvious they are like a bull in a china shop.

The point is, that once Brian made up his mind to deal with Smile, which was an incredibly courageous decision documented in Beautiful Dreamer, and in my own article in the essays section of this site, Smile was HIS baby, and he followed it through to the end, as his own.

If I understand what you and some other guys are asking for, I am reasonably sure you might get some more details about 2004. I don't think Brian cares to talk much about his original ideas because I think in spite of what he said about that Smile being a humor album, it actually began to take a very dark turn for him artistically, counter to his early idea for the album.

I know he did not share those particular ideas wih Darian. Darian was privy to the resurrection of Smile from a bunch of fragments and partially finished ideas, but when he says they began afresh, I believe him. I think the moements were broadly close structurally to what Brian envisioned in 66, but all Darian had to go with was the tracklist Brian did for him after Brian went to Capitol and listened in 2002 and whatever fragments they could locate.

As I have mentioned a few times, I think Brian wiped some vocals off in February 67 after giving up on it being a BB project, and never could bring himself to go back and do the vocals himself as he intended to do.

So what they had to go with from 66=67 was a Smile from back then that was neither fish nor fowl. It wasn't the BB album envisioned then abandoned, nor was it the Brian solo version hoped for but never realized after the BBs shelved it.

Did Brian's vision of Smile as a solo effort on Brother change after the BBs decided to shelve it? I think so. Did Brian have a clear vision of where he wanted to take it as a solo effort on Brother? I think vaguely. But that is where he picked it back up in 2003 with Darian. I can tell ou the album went through several track line ups before it ended up in its current form. Whether Darian wants to share those is up to him.

From March 1st on, the search was for a single. There was no work on Smile. Smile as a BB project died in February. Van was brought back for a session playing keyboard on a tracking session. Smile died in February.


I was there when he came offstage in London at the premiere and for several nights afterward. There is no question that this is Smile, he was so proud of it and himself he was bursting. What we have here is a few people who can't deal with what Smile is as it is completed. Get over it.

What some people don't get in this whole story is that Brian wanted to create a serious,long form composition, even back in 66. Serious long form compositions are usually FIRST premiered live, and then their live performance is committed to recorded format later.

When the people in 2003 surrounding Brian finally understood what his ambition was, they helped him understand that he had gone about it BACKWARDS in 1966. That is, he tried to record the coposition before performing it. If you look at the history of long form compositions, whatever you want to call them, opera, symphony, rhapsody, suite, etc., they are written for LIVE performance, then recorded later. Smile was finished the way Brian intended it, once he understood how the process works.

That is how Rhapsody in Blue was done for example. It was premiered live on February 12, 1924 in Aeolian Hall in NYC and then recorded for disc later in July by the same ensemble that premeiered it. There is no differece here, except a group of people who can't deal with the finished Smile.

Brian needed permission to back off studio Smile because it was too scary to revisit in 2003. When they began talking about that with him, it came out what he really wanted to do a was long form compsosition. Perhaps 5 people in the world knew that fact before 2003 and no one was talking. Brian is not classically or formally trained, and didn't realize he could go the live composition route instead of the studio, and that it was normal for long form compositions.

The first thing Gershwin did when asked to do a Rhapsody was go out and buy a book on how to do it. Some people learn in different ways than through classes and professors. When Gershwin was asked to write the Concerto in F he went out and bought a book on orchestration. Today, no one contests that those pieces are American long form classics, nor do they ridicule Gershwin for the way he learned to do them.

When Brian found out he could approach Smile as a long form piece for live perforance, and record it later, it was less frightening. So the answer to your sarcastic and in my mind disrespectful question is YES, he had to be told he could write for live composition, then record. The result is the most critically acclaimed record he has ever made.

Now, the reason it took 3 days to record is it was rehearsed for a month before played live, then played live for a month on the road. Considering Brian's band consists of a number of classically and jazz trained musicians, if it had taken longer than 3 days after being performed for as long as it was before recording, I'd wonder what was wrong.

The 66 recordings are very nice. I still play them occasionally. I have never been a person who felt that those recordings were a level beyond Brian's other work post Pet Sounds. To me,they are always unfinished, and incomplete, ergo frustrating. Once I heard Smile live, I realized how much I had really missed, and how much needed to be done. Is it sad the Beach Boys didn't do Smile? In my mind, no, due to the fact that they were uncomfortable recording it. If I compare for listening pleasure The Beach Boys Smile recordings to Wild Honey for example, I'll choose Wild Honey every time. I'll choose Sunflower every time. I'll choose Today every time. That's just me. They are fully realized and satisfying recordings, as is Smile.

Abolutely true. All classical recordings are done practically "live" after long rehearsals. That's true even for truly gigantic recordings, like Wagner's "Ring". It's absolutely necessary in order not to lose the "sweep" when so many musicians are involved.

It's no wonder that this recording method has proven so successful for SMiLE, given its symphonic nature. A different method would have probably led to more perfection in the details at the expense of the overall flow.

SMiLE is like a classical recording, too, in being for the most part a rendering of music composed years before. It's like somebody discovered some hidden, almost complete gem in Mozart's papers and played and recorded it. We have been so lucky as to have Mozart himself involved in the process, including the finishing touches

Very well said, Mac. The overall flow of Smile is wonderful, and that is why several classical critics have praised it as a long form work. One called it "the grandest of American symphonies."

Personally, I have come to love it alongside other American works like Bernstein's Mass, Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, The Rhapsody in Blue and American in Paris, and The Billy the Kid Suite and Appalachian Spring.

Smile tracks recorded in 66 I see personally as the beginning of a creative process fulfilled in 2003. That is, they are the foundation upon which the finished piece is built. The work was not finished.

Darian is not the ONLY person who spoke to Brian about Smile in terms of live performance before recording. He is the person who has been quoted publicly about speaking to Brian about live performance being the way to approach Smile. The link tracks idea predates 2003 and some of them date back to 1966. If Brian says he was writing a symphony, that is good enough for me. He did not say in 1966 he was writing "medleys of songs." He didn't say that in 2004 either.

I personally think it is probably circular to get into aesthetic arguments about 2 ends of a 37 year creative process. Vocally, I find the Beach Boys work and the Brian Wilson Band's work satisfying. I find Brian's work in 2004 more satisfying mainly because he sounds personally to me like he has grown into the subject matter of the material. His work in 1966 was beautiful as well.

Some critics back in 1924 said the same thing about Rhapsody in Blue. They got stuck on the current definition and couldn't see the forest from the trees.

Nevertheless, Rhapsody in Blue was embraced as a long form piece and is today the most recorded and performed American long form composition, whatever you want to call it.

Smile, I am convinced, is headed for a similar destiny. It will take on a life of tts own. Hell, if a Pulitzer Prize winning classical music critic accepts it as a symphony, why can't the rest of us?
I see Brian as a continuation of the great creative interplay in American Music, mixing forms ad creating new paradigms that break the mold of what is considered pop or classical.

In a few weeks, one of our orchestras will hold a pop concert here. They normally do the standard classical performance pieces, but for this particular evening, they are playing Broadway songs, movie overtures, and popular songs. That trend started wih Gershwin in his outdoor concerts on Long Island in the 30s.

You know, Gershwin faced the same battle for legitimacy with composers like Copeland who were formally trained. When Copeland couldn't get a commission to hail a cab in the Mid 30s, Gershwin signed a form getting him into the creative guild that writes for Broadway and motion pictures in spite of Copeland's snobbery. Copeland ate in the 30s and early 40s by the grace of Gershwin. So much for legitimacy.

No, I am not going to tgnore Brian's desire to grow beyond the standard song and album. Apparently neither will most of the pop music critics and many of the classical music critics in this country either.

The connection with Gershwin goes back to childhood and Brian played Rhapsody in Blue the way he played Be My Baby from the time he began working in the studio with music. In 1981 he told me " Rhapsody in Blue tells the story of my life." He also told me that he had a desire to move into serious composing, like Gershwin, and Smile was his vehicle to do that.

He patterned the modular construction after Gershwin's modular construction of Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin didn't call it modular, he called it "episodic." The use of modular composing style is well documented in several musicological analyses of Rhapsody in Blue, most recently by David Schiff in his excellent study of the Rhapsody entitled Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue. Even a cursory study of different recorded versions of that work reveals its ability to be lengthened or shortened from 15 minutes down to 7 minutes in length, dpending on use of modules.

I have used the term long form composition in order to avoid terms like rhapsody or symphony. Fact is, there was a track order for Smile that came forward from the Sixties by Brian which included 2 Movements finished with link tracks, plus a third unfinished movement left undone, at least in his head. This is documented by a tracklist in the hands of a few people close to Brian.

Brian himself told me he had planned to use the Rhapsody in Blue as an inspiration to step outside typical album form. Use whatever term you are comfortable with, but Rhapsody in Blue strongly inspired Smile. All you have to do is talk once to Marilyn or Carnie to have that substantiated, because when Be my Baby wasn't on the turntable at the Wilson household, one version or another of Rhapsody in Blue was.

I think Brian moved far beyond Rhapsody in Blue, toward the "tone poem" concept mentioned by Cabinessence above. That is, it became a work of music and poetry melded into a form which was new, and which is not a traditional Carnegie hall performance piece like Ellington, Gershwin, or other jazz/classical cpmposers might put together.

I also agree with Cabinessence that it is somewhat of a new form, using the modular format started by Gershwin in RiB, but taking it much further into some form of aesthetic marriage of poetry and music which bridges elements of several musical forms, including as my friend Mac Andrew has pointed out, opera. Brian has in the last several months at various times called Smile a rhapsody, rock opera, symphony, and cantata, minimally, plus several other terms I don't recall this moment. I see Smile as being as new and visionary for this time in music as the Rhapsody in Blue was when it was premiered 80 yeas earlier. The reception for Smile has actually been much more favorable critically than RiB had when it was performed in 1924.

As I mention in my Open Sky piece, I think Smile is a very personal statement of Brian's about how he looks at the world, his family, and inside himself. I think there are other themes introduced by Van Dyke, but Van Dyke called my Open Sky piece "spectacular and incredibly perceptive," so I feel like I might be on the right track.

Smiley Smile Commentary

Smiley Smile was recorded in very primitive conditions and it tends to show. Nevertheless, it has some great moments. Coming on the heels of the Smile publicity, it was probably doomed from the start.

Track by track:

Heroes and Villains

Undoubtedly my favorite Beach Boy 45. Incredible in its power. An example of how amazing the human voice can be as an instrument. Had it been released another time, when art rock was more accepted, e.g. after Hey Jude and MacArthur Park, it would have been a better seller.
Vegetables

This should have been the second single off Smiley Smile, but got shunted aside by group vote. A nice version, certainly commercial, with a catchy tag

Fall Breaks

Composed during the Smile period after a camping trip to Redwood Country, it of course contains the vocals intended for MOLC. I have always believed this piece was linked to Elements in some manner. It has a similar chord progression to MOLC.

She's Going Bald

Credited to Van Dyke as co-author, he can't remember writing it. It is possible his credit was put on here as a practical joke. The dope influenced tape effect and sophmoric lyrics are typical of Beach Boy humor of the time. Probably as close to a humor track on this album as exists.

Little Pad

Great track, great Hawaiian guitar effect, nice wordless singing section. Like many of Brian's songs from here on out, an idea left incomplete.

Good Vibrations

Probably the Sloop John B of Smiley Smile

With Me Tonight

An undeveloped tune based of a riff written during Smile. Better developed by Sandy Salisbury than by Brian himself.

Wind Chimes

Incredible example of Brian's subtle use of humor in his music. Brilliantly recorded and executed, perhaps the most influential Smiley Smile track on other musicians.

Gettin' Hungry

The last track recorded for the album, and sonically closer to Wild Honey. Voted to be the album's second single with the provision that it doeesn't come out as a BB single. This was over Vegetables, which was the intended second single. A political move.

Wonderful

Influential for its bridge which spawned several "conversational choral compositions." Probably the second most influential Smiley track on other musicians. Issued without a Van Dyke Parks credit. Murry was very angry at Van Dyke. It would take Van Dyke 35 years to get that corrected.

Whistle In

Another riff left incomplete

People who are friends with Brian explained to me that Brian was always very moved by the portrayals of loving, kind familities on tv. To this end, he would often cry at the sight of any show that depicted a loving mutually supportive family. Friends also report him crying at Ozzie and Harriet reruns, Family Affair, and the Andy Griffith Show. He wanted a loving family that badly.

I think I understand broadly these gentlemen's objections to the keyboards. I think Van Dyke is also strongly on record as loving the album, especially it's production values, at least in private communication to me he says that. His feelings about a grand piano or real strings instead of synthesizers are well known. Actually, so are Darian's.

But Brian is the master of the "cracked mosaic," and I see his production footprints all over this keyboard example. He leaves little things less than perfect on his music for a reason, and has done so again this time. Which brings me back to my original point. These objections of some people's are based on what THEIR idea of a Brian Wilson record should sound like, NOT Brian's.

If I understand what you and some other guys are asking for, I am reasonably sure you might get some more details about 2004. I don't think Brian cares to talk much about his original ideas because I think in spite of what he said about that Smile being a humor album, it actually began to take a very dark turn for him artistically, counter to his early idea for the album.

I know he did not share those particular ideas wih Darian. Darian was privy to the resurrection of Smile from a bunch of fragments and partially finished ideas, but when he says they began afresh, I believe him. I think the moements were broadly close structurally to what Brian envisioned in 66, but all Darian had to go with was the tracklist Brian did for him after Brian went to Capitol and listened in 2002 and whatever fragments they could locate.

As I have mentioned a few times, I think Brian wiped some vocals off in February 67 after giving up on it being a BB project, and never could bring himself to go back and do the vocals himself as he intended to do.

So what they had to go with from 66=67 was a Smile from back then that was neither fish nor fowl. It wasn't the BB album envisioned then abandoned, nor was it the Brian solo version hoped for but never realized after the BBs shelved it.

Did Brian's vision of Smile as a solo effort on Brother change after the BBs decided to shelve it? I think so. Did Brian have a clear vision of where he wanted to take it as a solo effort on Brother? I think vaguely. But that is where he picked it back up in 2003 with Darian. I can tell ou the album went through several track line ups before it ended up in its current form. Whether Darian wants to share those is up to him.

In therapy, people have issues they will not or choose not to face. It is apparent to me, at least, that Brian finally came to dealing with his anger about Smile as being a blockage. His therapists obviously believed that further emotional progress depended upon "dealing with Smile" in therapy.

Melinda has played a yeoman's role in helping Brian slay these old dragon's living in his closet and under his bed. Of course it wasn't his idea initially, we never want to deal with our issues willingly until they become too painful to bear, or until they are sp obvious they are like a bull in a china shop.

The point is, that once Brian made up his mind to deal with Smile, which was an incredibly courageous decision documented in Beautiful Dreamer, and in my own article in the essays section of this site, Smile was HIS baby, and he followed it through to the end, as his own.

People who are friends with Brian explained to me that Brian was always very moved by the portrayals of loving, kind familities on tv. To this end, he would often cry at the sight of any show that depicted a loving mutually supportive family. Friends also report him crying at Ozzie and Harriet reruns, Family Affair, and the Andy Griffith Show. He wanted a loving family that badly.

What I see happening here is that Brian's Smile does not match the versions many individuals had constructed in their own fan studos or music studios. The essential dynamic I see going on in this thread is that the Smile Brian produced did not match the version that several people had envisioned when they did their own mixes.

Therefore, Brian's Smile does not match "my Smile." Therefore Brian is wrong because it doesn't sound like "my Smile." Lots of people through the years who were doing fan mixes came to think of Smile as "theirs" not Brian's. While I am someone who did my own sequence at one time, the difference is that I never thought of Smile as anything but Brian's. I never gave up hope that Brian would ultimately finish Smile. To my ears, it is is superlative.

I think the dynamic going on here is that Brian's Smile has entered the realm of mass culture, and several people are missing that old inside clannish feeling that the old Smile tapes gave them. For people who have specific criticisms such as harpsichord sampling, I would say you are experiencing the new Smile like viewing a 360 degree mountain vista through the lense of a camera, that is, you have missed the beauty of the whole vista by trying to capture it in a narrow glimpse. To those of you who don't like the new Smile, I'd say, I can understand, sometimmes there are just albums I don't like.

Yes, I would say that Smiley's darker tone is a combination of trying to placate Murry and strong feelings of spiritual abandonment. Brian has stated to friends of mine and indirectly to me that after the "angels" left, he felt spiritually adrift and lost.

In emotional terms, I suppose that would equate to feelings of profound loss combined with fear. I think what we hear in Smiley Smile is the fear and loss, and Brian's anger at Murry for neglecting to support him in his time of need.

Brian was so afraid his musical ideas were being pilfered that he assembled the modular pieces of Smiley Smile during mixdown. Prior to that, the album's songs only existed as pieces. The same is true of Wild Honey.

Brian was actually between breakdowns during Smiley. His first nervous collapse in 1967 came in March after he failed to finish Heroes and the band dissed Smile with Van Dyke leaving at the end of February.

The second nervous collapse occured after the incident with Darlin', in the middle of the Wild Honey sessions. Brian had started some fairly elaborate pieces-Can't Wait Too Long and Cool Cool Water, which he let go, with the Wild Honey that came out being less highly produced.

Smiley was Brian and Carl and Jim Lockert. Brian did much of the production, but Carl was there to grease the friction with the band.

Brian has stated that the sound of the Baldwin organ represented death to him during this whole period. If your quote is on target, Brian was trying to tell Murry that his attitude was hurting their family and bringing them down.

When Brian says Smile today is a "brighter, happier vibe", he is talking about the anger at Murry being less vitriolic. He has been able to let a lot of that go. There is no question that Murry continued to exert an influence as Brian's music publisher which was profound.

Even though he was not the group's manager, he was in effect the group's, especially Brian's paymaster, through the royalty checks he issued to Brian. When it was stated there were "uncashed royalty checks" laying around Brian's home, who else could have written them?

Murry is the biggest single reason Brian did not have the confidence to finish Smile despite the group's reservations. Brian's self-doubt and lack of confidence came from the constant badgering from Murry.

Brian transfeered a lt of of his emotional vitriol from Murry to Mike. But that was displacement, and still is in my opinion.

The opinion I can offer is just my own. We know from Brian's very public mental illness that he has several diagnoses: type 2 bipolar/schizo-affective/severe anxiety/ptsd/addiction.

To this I would add a characterization from the literature on gifted adults called "collapsed personality." This comes from being unrelentingly abused, beaten, and criticized by Murry. Imagine being Brian wanting his dad's approval and never being able to get it. No matter what you do it is never good enough.

The thing is that much of Brian's music was created to keep the anxiety at bay. He would compulsively create to reduce the anxiety and inner terror and voices. As he got older, the voices got more and more hateful, more and more unrelenting. You wonder why Brian doesn't listen to those old Beach Boy records? Because he could never get them to sound the way he heard them in his head with maybe a few exceptions.


As time marched on, the compulsion to create no longer functioned as a stress reducer. It now was a stressor in its own right. You hear him say "how was I going to to Good Vibrations?" His own bar or standard of perfection just got higher and higher, and the payoffs for making music-anxiety reduction, feelings of control, self-esteem, went up in smoke.


He had been able to remain relaxed enough in the studio to create....but the internal and extenal expectations became overwhelming, and Fairy Tale World called more and more. It was harder and harder to keep from going there. it was safe there...it was frightening here.


When the coping mechanisms that had worked- making music, seeing friends, etc, stopped working, the Fairy Tale World looked better and better.

Was the combination of the personality collapse and the retreat to self-medicating and withdrawing to Fairy Tale World inevitable? My answer and opinioon is YES, and there is nothing that any of the 60s/70s famiily could have done except to seek proper psychiatric help.

But the thing about that is that the patient has to be WILLING to seek treatment and ACCEPT AND FOLLOW the treatment plan. Brian was not. Until Landy basically shanghaied him Brian was on a determined path to self-destruction, just like Dennis.

I think it is easy but unfair to sit here and take pot shots at the family from here in 2004 and say they neglected Brian. But I don't buy it for one minute, because Brian did not want treatment. He was a raging addicitve personality who refused any and all efforts to break the pattern of addicitive behavior and drug/alcohol use.


If the family couldn't control Dennis, how could they control Brian, who was a much stronger life force? The point is, that if someone is that determined to hurt themselves, they will succeed eventually.


What Landy did was set up 24 hour milieu theapy, which means that Brian couldn't even sneeze or go to the bathroom without supervision 24/7. Every waking and sleeping nuance of his life was under outside control. Well, it works, but he was treated for schizophrenia, not schizo-affective/bipolar.

So while they got the self-destructive behavior under control, they prescribed such a strong cocktail of anti-psychotic meds, that toxicity developed and nervous system damage was done. tardive dyskinesia...that's the main neurological prooblem today.

Hope this didn't put someone to sleep.

But you see, I do know Brian personally. He is someone who was not fried by acid trips. He was primarily damaged by misdiagnosed prescription of powerful anti-psychotic medications.

The story about the bad acid trip is true, but Brian was going away to his own Fairy Tale World long before that tab of Owlsley. He uses the acid to disguise and hide the real cause of his reality breaks, which was the beatings and chaos in the Hawthorne home. He doesn't like to talk about that part to the press. It is just easier to pretend he was was damaged by acid.

I don't blame him for not wanting to talk about that abuse publicly. Could you imagine explaining how the beatings damaged you in 15 minute phone calls over a month to 150 reporters in a publiciy campaign? I wouldn't want to relive that either.

What does clinically crazy mean? Given his history, and his behavior, I am not sure what you are saying. But he was adjudicated legally incompetent to handle his own affairs, and that is a serious legal determination not easily made, and binding upon the person who is labeled incompetent.

Given a history of childhood abuse, it is common for persons with bipolar and schizoaffective histories to have reality breaks. It is a coping mechanism for dealing with the trauma. A nervous breakdown is a layperson's term for a period where the person's coping skills cannot compensate for the emotional and cognitive turmoil they are experiencing. This was Brian's reality for decades.

There is no doubt that Brian decompensated to a point of serious mental illness for many years. While he seems much better, I don't know what day to day life is for him now except through windows like Beautiful Dreamer...and that man still has a long row to hoe.

It wasn't so much Brian's upbringing that inspired that trend you describe, it was his giftedness. When you study the literature on children's and adult's giftedness, it comes out that they have an instinct to create which is similar to a salmon's need to spawn.

The effect that Murry had on Brian was to SCARE him into performing. That will work until the adult who is gifted's personality collapses from the emotional strain of trying to create while being resisted. That is exactly what happened to Brian. The second thing is that people who are bipolar and schizoaffective go through incredible spurts of creativity.

Brian hears voices IN his head from having repeatedly gone to escape reality to his imaginary world to escape the terror of his home life-- reality and the beatings. There comes a time in almost any person's life who does this when the inner imaginary world becomes more comforting than the outer world, and he STAYS THERE. That is what happened to Brian. It became far more comfortable to live in Fairy Tale Land than in the homes on Laurel Drive or Bellagio Road. It is why he stayed in his bed in his room for so many years. He felt SAFER there-in Fairy Tale Land as there is no pressure to create music to run the family business, and no father to scare him into creating.

Cam, I work wih these kind of people every work day. I am working with one right now, and fighting to keep him in our reality. You are way out of your depth here. I don't challenge your opinions on how to build and paint signs. Stick to the signs. Mike Love is a symptom of the resistance that Brian experienced as a kid. He has transferred his anger toward Murry onto Mike because he feels guilty about hating his father so strongly. It is WHY making amends to Mike and Al and Bruce is so important for him in coming to terms with what happened to him in childhood. When Brian does this, he will be back in this reality most of the time.

Once again, I think the lack of support was secondary to the damage Murry did. A Brian who had confidence would not have worried about The Beach Boys not liking Smile or its lyrics. He would have gone ahead and completed it on his own, realizing there was more than anough music to go around.

What I find less hard to let go is the cutting off of Brian from producing for Brother, ad the later cannibalization of Smile. Brian had wiped off some of the vocals to try to go solo, and by cannibalizing bits and pieces, they cut off that avenue of creativity and Brian lost hope.

But the bottom line is that it happened, it's OVER. Smile is finished, and these old farts need to talk and make amends before their ticket gets punched. Or they can go to the graves being bitter.

But true healing does not take place until the amends are listed and made. So when Brian's people talk about healing, they are only talking partial, not complete. If they think it's complete, they are kidding themselves.

Jonathan, that sir, is the best point in this whole crazy thread. The 67 Smile is a bunch of sketches. The Beach Boys didn't want to finish it. Brian worked on it for a few months more, then went underground with working on it. He finally lost heart when The Beach Boys started appropriating pieces for albums. Van Dyke makes the best point of all in the film when he says, "Brian deserved everyone's backing, and no artist ever deserved it more."

Smile was never a BB project because the BBs didn't want to do it as a group. So Brian decided he didn't either. Then he had a breakdown, and really couldn't go further with it. Too painful...like playing catch with a stillborn baby as the baseball.

After that brief active period for post Friends. brian never had that kind of spurt again. He cut Cottonfields on 20-20, Breakaway. then several tunes spread over an 18 month period for the different versions of Sunflower, most of which were left off. He cut DITLOOT for Surfs Up, a few rough Tandyn Almer tunes for CATP, began the Fairy Tale and did Funky Pretty for Holland, cut NOTHING there is a record of for 1973.

For 74 he cut an early version of Good Timin, Cof Winter, and Its OK. In 75 he cut one take of Why Do Fools Fall in Love for Equinox, then got shanghied by Eugene, and cut single takes of most 15 Big Ones oldies from Jan to May of 1976, contribuing only TM Song and That Same Song as new.

During that time he also began 3 albums with his wife and her sister, Kalinich, and Fred Vail. He finished none of them.

This output from a man whose average was 3 albums a year through 1967. He decided he was not going to be a Beach Boy, and many times gave interviews about Spring being his group, and referring to the Beach Boys as "them." The decision to curtail their leader's outside production cost them his work. He would not give them first right of refusal. He went on strike. He also worsened mentally was well, but that had been underway since high school.

For so many years after Smile tanked, Brian's illness was so draining on his energy that he couldn't face Smile. I finally understood some stuff he told me back in 82 when I watched Beautiful Dreamer. Briefly, in 67, he considered taking Smile solo, bit he felt he need the BBs voices for the vision he had. He actually tanked the BB version of Smile in February, then considered a go at it solo for a brief period until the lawsuit geared up and he was told he needed a single. The search for a single began, and the moment was lost. When Derek Taylor talked about the loss of Smile, he was talking about it in any form.

Brian apparently did revisit Smile privately according to some interviews Desper gave in the 80s. He either used time for other songs labelled as BB tunes to do so, or paid for the sessions himself. The outcome of these sessions was not disclosed, except that another version of Prayer was developed.

The question about the agreement I can only answer by saying that a deadlock was reached about the Smile stuff, in that Brian wouldn't work on it with the BBs, and they wanted it for albums after Smile. They wouldn't agree to allow him to produce outside artists on Brother, and he was told that the group was in trouble on the charts due to not having new product for so long during Smile, and that they wanted all new BW songs channeled through the BBs for first right of refusal.

Brian was emotionally wiped out at this time, and did not have the self-confidece or the inner wherewithall to fight any more. He decided in his own way that he'd do whatever he could for the family, to the neglect of his career outside the BBs. But he resented having to do so to the degree that the anger he felt disrupted his artistic creativity.

Recently, I have been able to talk with some sources I needed in order to have "second sources" for information previously given me by other people I have interviewed or assisted on historical perspective in books I've been involved with. The last piece I needed was Beautiful Dreamer. That set of information clarified some gaps in the timeline that I didn't understand until I saw the film. People for years have wondered why Brian cut way back on his work after Smile. The answer is that he could not finish Smile himself due to artistic issues, mental health, and constant demand for BB product.

But he was so angry at his primary artistic outlet refusing to work on his masterpiece yet wanting to cannibalize it for tunes on BB lps then cutting him off for outside production that he literally gradually shut down and got into a deeper and deeper depression. Then came Til I Die and Day in the Life of a Tree.

Brian agreed to stop work on Smile, had a breakdown, tried to find a single, worked on Vegetables, released Heroes and Villains, and released Smiley Smile, He had made an agreement with Carl and the band that he would make the trip to Hawaii to produce the recording of a live album and to see how the new simple, sparser sound and arrangement did live, hopefully meeting Carl's concerns from the last year about live music quality.

The other side of the agreement would be that he would be free to record outside acts on Brother, beginning with Redwood. The tapes were unuseable, they tried to do a live in the studio "doctoring" job in September, and that was also not deemed worthy of release. The group was unhappy with Brian for not coming up with a useable live album. Brian made fun of their feelings on the skit from Wally Heider with Heroes. This REALLY pisses off the group.


When the band realized Brian was angry and there was no useable live album, they retaliated by wiping Redwood's lead vocal off Darlin', and using it for a single with Carl on lead, with Brian's Redwood vocals as background with Brian. Bad feelings were developing, especially after Brian earlier had erased some of their vocals off Smile tapes, and he would not agree to let them use certain leftover Smile songs on BB albums after they had told him they did not want to finish Smile either as a BB album or to help Brian finish it as a BW solo album.

Storm clouds are gathering, with Carl assuming more of a production role beginning with Wild Honey, having apprenticed on Smiley Smile and Smile. Brian's retreat is beginning, especially after being told no more BRI money for outside productions, and any Brian written material needs to be given first right of refusal by The Beach Boys before being offered to other artists. Anybody see the invisible hand of Murry Wilson in any of this? I sure do...Brian has another breakdown after the Darlin' episode, after starting the early version of Wild Honey, Brian apparently feels bad about making fun of their feelings, asking to write the rest of the album with Mike as an apology. Carl steps up to help finish because Brian is wiped. Wild Honey, as Carl said "an album for Brian to cool out by."

Remember Brian's famous quote about the group nearly breaking up over Smile? It was mainly because he wouldn't let them cannibalize Smile's tunes for the next few albums. This is substantiated by Van Dyke's commentary in Beautiful Dreamer. They wanted Smile tunes badly, but NOT Smile itself. Are we also beginning to see why the album Friends was called what it was? They reunified and as a group pulled together to helo Brian record Friends, which he couldn't do very well himself because of his illness excaerbating. Brian has one last very brief productive cycle after Friends before the groups' reluctance to do Ol' Man River sends him into another tailspin and he is hospitalized for psychiatric care for what was thought to be depression.



The solo Smile idea, however brief in Brian's mind, is mentioned in Beautiful Dreamer. Brian apparently decided to keep working on it in 67, and the BBs were reluctant to help. That point of view is substantiated by several eyewitnesses in the film.

The songs mentioned by Desper in the 80s were Prayer and Surfs Up. Apparently the BBs tried to enlist Brian's help with Cabinessence, but failed. There may be others I am unaware of.

The outside productions story is corroborated by all 3 members of 3 Dog Night plus Brian. There is no doubt in my mind it went down just as they say it did.

Brian's condition is both genetic and environmental. The bipolar is genetic, the anxiety is a result of Murry's abuse. As a professional, I have to witness the wreckage from child abuse every day in my job. I am not above turning people in for abuse, or clearing their name if the accusations are false.


In this particular case, the emotional damage is too pervasive, the anecdotal evidence too persuasive, and the resulting mental illness and death too tragic to sweep under the carpet and pretend it did not happen.

The only conclusion one can draw is that somewhere between when he shelved it for the BBs and talked with me in 82, the concept changed. Murry's death may have taken some of the darkness out of it. There was lots of unfinished business between those 2 men.


It is quite possible the anger in the early version changed to some of the wistfulness we hear in the second movement and the spiritual seeking we hear in the 3rd movement. All I can say I am almost totally sure he wasn't putting me on in 1982. It would make sense that if the thorn were removed fom the situation the sting would be less acute.

I think both perceptions of Mike are valid. He saw groups die quickly in the 60s and didn't want to go that way..remember how the Dave Clark 5 tanked so quickly? He was feeling on the outside of things. The Leaf film makes the excellent point that The BBs came back from Europe to whole new group of hangers on and some very unusual music that didn't seem to them to be designed for BB type vocals.

On the other hand, the band was having trouble reproducing the music onstage, and were getting some bad press for it. See Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopeda for examples. Brian realized the music was too complex for the road due to Carl's feedback, not Mike's. Mike was feeling excluded in terms of both songwriting income and material to sing lead vocals on. The show was becoming less dominated by him as a result. If a lead singer doesn't sing, what can he do? In Mike's case, not much.

All in all, they made a collective decision to scale back the complexity of the music, but the band's reluctance to help Brian finish Smile on his own in lieu of the Search for a Single probably was what bothered Brian as much as them deciding Smile was inappropriate for the group to record and release. I honestly think Carl's concern's about the music being too complex to do justice to live played a big a role in the decision to shelve Smile as Mike's lyrical concerns. Brian just does not want to drag his deceased brother's name into controvesy. Thing is, Carl had a point. the live tapes extant from that period are pretty dicey.

Having realized my middle aged memory would not serve, I have cheated and consulted Badman's book. From this period comes We're Together Again, Do It Again, I Went to Sleep, and Sail Plane Song, as well as the Ron Wilson 45 on CBS. Noticed in Badman's book there was a 3 month hiatus in recording after Ron Wilson. The Cold War began in earnest.

I also find it interesting that the first 45 Brian did outside the group since the Glen Campbell 45 happened at this time. Must have killed Brian to see it stiff, because Spector was having a minor renaissance with Sonny Charles and the Checkmates at the same time.


The next serious recording he did was with the Honeys on the Capitol 45 from early 69. The anger builds and a search for other artistic outlets is happening albeit in a very small way. He walked off the Walkin' session at that time saying "oh foda, I can't sing this merda!"

Several interesting points are raised. Carl went to Murry's funeral, pushed family harmony, and hated the public emmbarrassment of being labelled as coming from an abusive family. Dennis told a friend of mine before he died that he endured the "weekly beatings" when his dad would become inebriated on the weekend. Who is to say how often or when?

It does not surprise me that Carl would deny the abuse publicly. He was an extrmely private man in a very public situation. He gave only 2 great interviews, Jim Ladd and Geoffrey Himes, in his life. That's all.

But I will tell you one thing...the Brian I see on tape in the Don Was and David Leaf videos is a man who was often physically abused. How do I know? Because the boys I work with give the VERY SAME descriptions to me when we talk about their secret home lives. They give the same descrptions of the sounds and the way of walking guarded that Brian does in those films. They are not making it up, and neither is Brian.

As for the justifcation for Brian's anger toward the band, I think he more than had revenge. As I say in the Open Sky article, he retreated into a self-isolation that was initially self-serving but ultimately very harmful. His participation during the 69-70 period was fitful at best. He played on a few tracks, did This Whole World, Add Some Music, and sang on Forever. He did the same on Surfs Up. By CATP and Holland he was MIA.

Love You is essentially a Brian solo cd with a few Carl and Dennis vocals thrown on it. The critical role Carl played on it was during ixdown, which he did not do on 15 BO.

As for forgiveness, here is the thing...the kids I work with have far WORSE things happen to them then Brian. Their stories are full of the most heinous atrocities one human could do to another. They heal, they do their substance abuse counseling work, they make and receive their amends, they move on.

Now if teenage boys and girls from Native American reservations, Inuit villages, inner city LA and Chicago, and suburban environments can forgive and make amends, so can this bunch of people we call the Beach Boys. Holding on to this merda is spiritually, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. Any therapist worth his or her salt will tell you.

I see Brian stating there would be no link tracks in 67, but he doesn't say when the 2 movements changed to 3. Which leads to wonder if perhaps Brian conceived of the third movement after he decided to can it as a BB project.

I think the Ameicana influence is the major Rhapsody influence. I also think Brian's idea of God is probably nonsectarian, like many Americans-90% by the latest polls.

I think the coolest thing that came out of this interview is reminding Brian that he may have intended to sing the first verse to OMP on the 67 Smile. Clearly a reference to God as the creator of the natural order in the context of that particular song, and perhaps the first movement.

I can only offer theories based upon what I have seen and heard publicly and privately. I think the Beautiful Dreamer film sums it up pretty clearly. He felt ganged up on, betrayed, used, rejected, bullied, exploited, artistically confined, inferior, overwhelmed, abused, trapped, emotionally at sea, exhausted, burned out, plus countless other emotions. I think I've hit the major ones though.

He had put in 5 hard years as the major artistic source of the band's music, and needed to grow. Because of his own self-doubt engendered by Murry's constant abuse, he did not have the ability to take the broader perspective of being able to realize he could do Smile as a solo project and still do Beach Boy projects at the same time.

After he decided to shelve the Smile album as a BB project, he wanted the band to still do vocals for it as a solo project, which they were apparently unwilling to do very cooperatively. Hence his hope to use them on Smile as a solo project foundered due to group resistance and the desire to have band product in the market instead.

There is some evidence that he continued to quietly work on a few Smile tracks from 1967-68 based upon interviews done with Stephen Desper. It is also clear to me that at some point he probably did wipe some group vocals off the tapes, probably in frustration with them for not being willing to help with Smile easily as a solo project or to release it as a BB lp. By the time the group realized they had foda up by not supporting him, especially Carl, Brian had had it with trying to "mix" Beach Boys and Smile. When they bucked on the Ol' Man River sessions after Friends, he wrote them off completely for many years, probably permanently.


From then on, he was a very unwilling Beach Boy, crying at the signing of their Warner signing, and calling Spring his "group" in 1973 in NY on Pete Fornatele's show.

I think his team is doing a wonderful job wth him and the substance abuse thing is what needs to be dealt with next. To see Brian joyful and elated is the dream of any number of us who have followed the situation for the last 40 years.

Substance abuse therapy gets at the emotional roots of the anger. Anger is a secondary emotion hiding the real feelings. It sounds like he has a great daily regimen, and the fact that he's off the television is terrific. I see nothing but progress. It is time to start flushing the punchbowl though, in my opinion. It doesn't necessarily need to be intensive...it could be gradual.

Dave, your explanation is more plausible than "some times he says things he doesn't mean." Personally, I believe there is some real anger there that needs to be dealt with therapeutically, processed, and disposed of. I don't buy that he is not talking to Mike, but it may be his way of saying "it's none of your business" to interviewers.

Sorry Jim, I don't buy it. Those interviews are often unsupervised and I see some anger coming out. He still has some real anger in his gut.

Melinda of course is corecct in saying "sometimes he's a little eccentric, you know." But people with mental illness are perfectly capable of stating their feelings and being accurate about them. They may be misperceptions needing processing and catharsis, but they are real to that person.

Finally, as I mentioned in another thread, dismissing certain public comments in interviews to Brian's mental condition is a double edged sword. At some point, the public sees the comments as contradictory, and doesn't take anything the person does or says seriously any more because "he's nuts." The court of public opinion is very fickle and unpredictable. In my opinion, these interviews need closer scrutiny from Brian's management and treatment team.

I didn't read Melinda's post as an insanity plea. As we all know, Brian can be contradictory. This has the result of keeping us interested as we try to discern his quotes. He keeps us guessing. This is a PR persons dream, really.

My theory about his recent denunciations of Mike and the BB's is this--he's just now realizing how great SMiLE would have been if it had come out as planned and he resents having had to "toe the corporate line" for so long. All that 'inappropriate' stuff was Brian accepting Mike's assessment, which has now been thankfully debunked.

Bruce is a real gentleman and I respect him so much. I have a gut feeling BW does too. He's just 'feeling his oats' these days.

I finally saw Beautiful Dreamer today and I was impressed by the care and precision that was taken in presenting Brian's story. It is certainly a film which documents a period which has not been well explored in first person interviews to this point. I think this is the best work of David Leaf's life, and I think it deserves some kind of recognition.

The current group of people surrounding Brian musically are loving, generous people who are obviously there for Brian, both musically and personally. I think they are the finest people I have met in music.

I think Brian boxed himself in a rigid line of thinking, and once the situation unravelled, could not get enough distance to see the other choices. I cover this in the humor part of my Open Sky piece.

Mike objected to Smile being a BB album. Brian was obviously crushed by the objections. His reaction was very typical of a gifted adult, being highly sensitive, but under circumstances where he was not dealing with being emotionally overwhelmed, he would have found other ways to get Smile done. Mike's objections were primarily business related, and who's to know whether he was right or wrong?

The sad thing is that the shelving of Smile along with the guys telling Brian he couldn't produce outside acts on Brother pretty well killed his desire to create. The group put him in a double bind when they told him "you can't create what you want to, but you can't create outside the group and have BRI pay for it either." It's no wonder Brian threw up his hands and said Goodbye guys...

Families of alcoholics do this. They put people in double binds all the time. It is a part of the disease. They don't even know they are doing it.

In response to Jason, I have never been directly involved in Brian's therapy except as a mental health advocate, and that is what I am doing now. I will contact them in the next few months if I don't get a phone call first.

In following this thread. I see some people think Mike was fooled by Capitol, Mike wanted to write lyrics and was jealous, etc. Possibly all true. I also see Jim up above is still buying the Brian as brave survivor angle.

I have not seen David Leaf's film. I am sure it is terrific and based in fact. I have no quarrel wth the conclusions it draws as reported publicly. It's all true.

My concern is that in working with people with mental illness who have dual diagnoses (substance abuse and mental illness) you cannot reach maximum recovery by ignoring the substance abuse side. Otherwise, you are looking at potential relapses down the road when things get tough, which they always do.

I am interested in Brian the MAN, as well as Brian the composer, and Brian the man is carrrying around a boatload of old vile emotions that he has been carrying for 30+ years that need to be propoerly dealt with in a substance abuse perspective, processed, and amends be made.

The analogy I would use is "you look like you've been carrying that 100 pound bag of flour on your back for a long time, Brian," " What bag of flour?" "The anger and bitterness about things that you believe happened to you with Smile." "Uh, yeah they really foda me." "Yeah, but you are still not dealing with that." "I haven't?" " No, have you noticed how your shoulders are rounded and you are having a harder and harder time walking around carrying it?"


You don't go around carrying resentful thoughts about a 40 year old incident without dealing with it for that span of time without damage, and guess what, it is damaging him and all of them. It is one of the main reasons for the cocaine, the lack of working steadily, the failed marriage, the estranged family....on and on

Granted Brian comes from a very messed up family. It is quite possible the therapists would come to the conclusion that prolonged contact would be unhealthy. But I think it is important that those conclusions be drawn through proper substance abuse therapy.

Whether that ever happens will be debatable, but I wanted to publicly state my concerns with the goal of telling people that care that it is time for phase 2 of Brian's recovery to begin, now that the wound has been cleansed and antibiotics have been prescribed.

This is a complicated situation. Schizo-affective with type 2 bipolar would be correct. The voices in schizo-affective start in childhood. I have a feeling that they have been there lots longer than when drugs came in.

Many schizo-affective kids I work with have used their imaginationn to escape from abuse of some kind. If they are not caught and treated in their teenage years, their habit of going to their imaginary worlds becomes overpoweringly addictive. Retreat and escape becomes the prime way of denying reality all the way through life.

In their worlds, schizo-affective kids are usually in charge, control everything, and talk with other people inside their heads. Beats living where you are told you are worthless, getting sexually abused, or physically beaten. The child usually seeks a refuge of safety...often his or her room.

If this goes into adulthood unchecked, it is often misdiagnosed and treated as schizophrenia. Wrong meds, wrong therapy, damage is done.

The thing that bothers me about the recent spurt of publicity is the portrayal of Brian as a victim of the Smile fiasco with respect to the band. There seems to be a strong need to have blame assigned. Personally, I think everyone shares some. In my opinion, the lack of confidence and anxiety Brian cites about shelving Smile in 67 is much more due to Murry's abusive behavior in Brian's childhood than the band's reservations. If Brian had been supported by Murry as a kid instead of beaten, he would have finished Smile as a solo project, and the "not enough music to go around" attitude from the band would ae never materialized. The attitude of "there never being enough music or whatever to go around" is highly common to people raised in alcoholic homes as kids. Briam would have realized back in 67 that he was not persoonally and totally responsible for everyone's lives, and would have felt free to continue with his solo work AND do Beach Boy work without guilt.

The thing is that all of the points above about Brian's untreated illness are true, as I was one of those who said them. But there is an aspect of Brian's illness which does NOT appear to be currently under treatment, as far as I can deduce. The blaming and the victim stance plays well for the public, but in my opinion, Brian's public statements reflect that he is behaving in a manner similar to a person with addictive behavior who has not dealt with the underlying issues that caused the addiction. In substance abuse treatment, counselors call this person a "dry drunk."

There appears to be LOTS of 12 step work that needs to be done to "lose" the "poor Brian" stance I am hearing in public interviews. Searching and fearless moral inventories need to be done, amends need to be listed and taken care of, and anger needs to be hammered into real underlying feelings. The anger I am hearing directed at the band should be validated...but the central issues in this story and which caused all the problems appears to me to be the relationship between Brian and his parents, especially Murry.

The problem with assuming the mantle of "victim" is that anyone else in the family can and will assume the same mantle. We seem to have a whole band full of "victims." Carl and Dennis grew up in the same household and were also beaten mercilessly. There has also been recent evidence that domestic violence was not just confined to the Wilson household within the band.

So----some time in substance abuse treatment with subsequent NA or AA work along with some Al Anon Family Group work seems in order for this whole raging bunch of codependents. I do not say these things to be critical. I say them to strongly suggest moving forward with the positive process of healing that appears to be taking place in the Wilson family, both immediate and extended.

I am working right now with several youth with similar diagnoses to Brian's. They cannot progress in overall recovery without dealing with the very real and immediate issues of substance abuse which are present in their lives as people who have been sexually or verbally or physically abused as children. Sooner or later, the illness emerges, not always predictably. It's not unlike a volcano under pressure. You don't know if the venting will come out the sides or the top, and you don't know when, you just know the preesure is there.

I hope the family will continue their active work in recovery. God bless Brian. I truly care for him. He is a beautiful soul. It's time for some serious substance abuse work. We need to stop the "Brian as victim" horse opera, and begin to move toward everyone assuming a sense of taking responsibility for behaving in an untoward manner with respect to their cousins, brothers, wives, children, parents, former bandmates and all others involved in this situation. This whole punchbowl needs flushing, and that can only occur in substance abuse treatment. If responsibility begins to be taken by each person, differences will melt very quickly.

That is not to say everyone needs to be best friends, or even needs to perform together. But it would be a shame for the remaining living people in this situation to go to their graves as bitter old men suing each other and refusing to talk in a civilized manner.

There is one possible explanation for what happened to Smile. We know Smiley was 9001 and Wild Honey was 9003. 9002 could have been a new Smile, solo Brian, or it could have been the Live in Hawaii album.

If as BI above says tapes were wiped of BB vocals, it could have been that Brian was planning to return to it as a solo album that never happened because of his mental deterioration. Stephen Desper has said privately that Brian took several passes at Smile tunes in the 1967-9 period, including reworking Prayer.

I think that Smile was indeed a process, and it was completed when it was supposed to be done. All of those people had a part in bringing it forth, and it now exists independently from all of them.

Smile brings a long process to a conclusion, but now is a child unto itself, with a life separate from its composer, lyricist, or musicians. It will likely inspire many interpretations, as has its ancestor, Rhapsody in Blue.

Smile will be interpreted by musicians, artists, animators, dancers, orchestras, singers, poets, and so forth. All of them will come to have a unique viewpoint on this thing called Smile. It is a work that inspires laughter, mirth, sadness, joy, exultation, spiritual happiness, and many other feelings.It is really that good.

It has struck me that the real evil doer in this story is Murry, and everyone, including Brian, is pointing the finger at Mike Love. Ok, Mike opposed the album. Ok, in Brian's perception it caused him to throw it in. But, the overall lack of confidence was caused by the consistent unremitting child abuse Murry visited upon Brian and Dennis. While Brian was afraid of Mike, he was afraid of lots at this point...who made him afraid? Murry.

History has been accurately done in the Beautiful Dreamer film, but the perspective is still skewed. These were a bunch of young adults who had success come on way too quickly. In a way it took its toll on all of them. Serial sexual intercourse, divorces, drugs, alcohol, overeating, etc etc. Would they have been able to handle the success without the abuse? Maybe, maybe not. But Mike is the symptom, not the cause. History will record that while Brian's perception was that his bandmates let him down, the real culprit was a father who destroyed 3 young mens' self-confidence and eroded whatever self-esteem they might have had.

Would Dennis, Carl, and Brian turned out addicts without the abuse? Maybe, but there is a high correlation statistically between childhood abuse, domestic violence, and later drug and/or alcohol addiction. Brian still has some things to work out in his perceptions, because blaming Mike Love is a symptom, not the cause Smile initially tanked.

The major responsibility for how a symphonic album sounds...it's overall tone, how the musicians end up playing, conducting the piece, doing the track line up, etc. That is production in any era, and Brian did it. No one else could have.

Before this album, the only place it existed was in Brian and Van Dyke's heads. Darian deserves the production co=credit on mixdown. He functioned for Brian the way Carl used to on this cd, i.e. stereo ears.

I am not sure how to read your post. Production on a sympphonic piece like this one is exactly what you just stated. The mix is a collaboration because it's stereo.

The functions you are describing are engineering functions. Mark Linett does them very capably. he doesn't need Brian second guessing him. That's what Brian pays him for.

Brian produced the album. Darian and Van Dyke very ably assisted. The sound as you hear it on our cd is a direct result of Brian's production, Mark's engineering,and Van Dyke and Darian's assistance.

This is a subject I have been thinking about lots lately. What is it about Brian draws people into his orbit?

There is an underdog quality about Brian that pulls lots of people in. Every concert, the unspoken question all of us have is "what shape will he be in tonight, can he pull this off?" Then we rejoice with him when he delivers.

There is a technique for building community contacts among people with serious developmental or mental illness disabilities coming out of an isolated, professionally driven situation, (like Brian when he was isolated by Landy) called "building a circle of friends."

It entails having the person with the disability frequent places where he or she lives, so as to become a familiar part of the fabric of life in that neighborhood. The "stigmatizing" characteristics of the person who has the disability are eventually no longer found as different by his new found contacts (and eventual friends) where he or she hangs out.

Eventually friendships build, and the people who enjoy the person wih developmental disabilities or mental illness simply come to see him or her as a person first, not as having a pervasive disability which dominates their perception.

It seems to me that Brian has through his music, built one of the biggest circles of friends in existence. We now see him as someone with a few issues that we are familiar with, and we care, because he has taken the time to extend himself to us through his music, and to comfort us.

His essential honesty and willingness to admit his shortcomings have endeared him to people for at least the last 30 years. I have seen the primary emotion shift from pity to compassion, to curiosity, to encouragement, to competence, to friendship. Oddly enough, this is the reaction nearly every person with a disability I know gets when they meet and make friends with new acquaintances.

I hate to keep using horse analogies but this thread is a dead horse. Look, further up the thread I gave you guys a direct quote from brian talking about ow he thought the live act sucked for the complex music. Jeff also gave you a direct quote.

Van Dyke left because of many reasons. Accusing him of being dishonest ad attaching his star to Reprise is not accurate. He left because of several reasons:

1) When the Beach Boys returned he perceived his lyrics were being used as a "straw dog" in the battle for the future of the Beach Boys. He did not want to be placed in that position.

2) His presence at sessions became an irritant to the ability of the group to record vocals

3) He perceived Brian unraveling as early as late November 1966, and became increasingly frustrated with Brian's behavioral swings and moods. He also felt a little unsupported by Brian at times, whether that is real or not.

4) He began to be offered session work in LA studios which replaced the income he was getting from Brian

5) Murry did not like song credits going outside the group because it gave him fewer strings to manipulate the group with and reduced his remaining power. It is no coincidence that there are relatively few credits to Van Dyke on Smiley Smile

All of thse factors came into play as to why Van left and why Brian became uneasy with elaborate producing. Fact is that the Beach Boys were getting bad press in reviews of concert appearances for their poor reproduction of the studio productions that were complex. Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia had a great article talking about that, and how an early version of Dennis Yost and the Classics 4 played Good Vibrations better than the live Beach Boys.

From 1985-"I lost direction, there was too much being asked by too many people. I needed to get the pressure off and just cool out. We couldn't play the music live the way I recorded it. We were getting hit by people saying we weren't live what we were on records. We needed to make some changes. I needed to make some changes."

Recording Smile made sense when the object was to be the hippest group in the world and to make a statement musically. 9 months later after 2 nervous collapses, Carl doubting their ability to play it live and Brian's frustration with the music himself, the whole thing makes perfect sense.

I would doubt Brian if he hadn't made the same statement on 3 occasions 15 years apart, also validated by conversations he had with other friends. It is something he has been consistent on since the late 60s.

The music was dumbed down. Nothing wrong with that. Phil Spector did it for years. The albums themselves are great albums, some of my favorites. The 68 live album is also a favorite. They are simply sparser productions in the same way John Wesley Harding or Lady Madonna or some of the White Album is.

The Beach Boys live in 66-67 did not sound good. 2 lives albums were canned because they sucked. Black can't be white and cows can't be horses. My God, listen to the tapes from back then. Hawaii was so bad they went back and basically recut the show in the studio. It was still bad and didn't get released.

Brian has stated in several interviews that he stopped recording complex music for several reasons: burnout, exasperation, etc. But the main reason is that The self-contained unit didn't have the chops to play the complex stuff.

Brian told David Leaf on at least 3 occasions I am aware of that he just couldn't see the Beach Boys playing his complex stuff to his satisfaction. Carl was also frustrated. So they did 3 dumbed down albums in a row--SS, WH, and Friends. They finally were able to be captured well in 1968 with several helping musicians. What is the majority of the content of that album drawn from? SS, WH, Friends.

Notice no Heroes there? Couldn't dumb it down. The version of GV on there really is not very good. The songs that sound great are the ones written for small ensemble-Aren't You Glad for example.

I think SS is exactly what Cam thinks it is not - a compromise. Remember, the Beach Boys "hated Smile" in Brian's words. Smiley was an effort to make a group based album (rather than a studio musician based album) which allowed for instant feedback/input from the Boys. No more playing the Boys the tracks and getting negative feedback, which dampened Brian's enthusiasm for the tracks and the project. They were there! It was a family saving, group saving move to do Smile. Without studio musicians there was no need to do it in the studios, so a home studio - cheaper as well. Brian sacrificed Smile for the sake of the group and the result was Smiley - not that Brian didn't produce Smiley with enthusiasm as well, but I feel it came about because of compromises.

My colleague, BR has it exactly. Wild Honey followed the same pattern, with Carl assisting with production. That began during Smile. It is apparent that Brian had at least 2 breakdowns during this period-one in March, one in late May or early June. They needed product and put out Smiley to meet demand.

It's a charming album. It's origin and process of recording do not detract from it's artisty. If Smile was a grand mural, SS was a miniature with subtle intricate nuances.

As was already mentioned in my previous post-RIB is organized into three sections and a codetta 4th section just like Smile. The difference is that RIB is instrumental, Smile has lyrics. Lyrics present ideas and themes. Themes are notably closer to an operetta than a rhapsody. Smile is not entirely a rhapsody because the songs are connected by a unifying theme running throughout. I hate to say this, but again we are mixing up form with substance. Form is rhapsodic, substance is more toward an operetta. Big difference. Van Dyke labels it more of an operetta, Brian labels it a form of rhapsody. Reality is somewhere in the middle.

I actually like the idea that Smile might best be classified as a rhapsody, and I think that label is closer than a symphony, except that Smile is definitely NOT a collection of unrelated songs strung together. There is a definite thematic pattern to the work as a whole, and it is clear that Brian had several important messages that he wanted to communicate that are all interrelated. The fact that the thread running through all of Smile is simplicity, spirituality, and redemption is very important, and in this case, the music, while very important, must also complement the lyrics, which Brian and Van Dyke tailored to impart their messages. So, I guess we'll call it an "almost rhapsody" for now until someone comes up with something more fitting.

From where I sit, I think that there may not be a category for Smile at this point. I think as a long form composition, it has some similarities with Rhapsody in Blue, probably because of both men being relatively untrained in composing works for large band or orchestra, and being comprised of shorter "songs" which are united to form a single work.

I see where you are coming from with respect to labeling, and I am loathe to mislabel anyone with a disability for any reason. On the other hand, why would a Pulitzer Prize winning classical music critic call it a symphony if it isn't?

I guess I would return to the statement that scholars will have to decide where it fits. It has characteristics of several different classical forms, yet does not seem to have all defining characteristics of any of them. In speaking with Van Dyke, I think he was comfortable refering to it as perhaps having some characteristics of Gilbert and Sullivan types of works.

But, clearly, to experience Smile is a multi-sensory experience, in that one not only sees and hears the work, but also feels it...it provokes very strong emotions in people I have rarely seen music accomplish except on rare occasions. People feel joy, elation, sorrow, mirth, wit, laughter, and so forth. It is clearly a unique experience for many people. It was interesting on the Blue board to see that only 4 months after the last concerts, nearly all of the current shows in Europe except for Germany are on their way to selling out. There appears to be quite a bit of new interest, but also lots of repeat attendance.

Until I hear differently, I will probably refer to Smile as a long form composition. It has a similar structure to Rhapsody in Blue, and based on my talk with Brian, that does not appear to be accidental.
Fortunately, mislabeling in music will raise people's concern, perhaps even irritate, but in my business, mislabeling causes serious misuse of meds, and potentially harmful long term effects... just what happened to Brian when they diagnosed him as schizophrenic when he is really bipolar.

Smile was called a wonderful American Symphony recently by the classical music critic for the Washington Post. Gershwin, when he created Rhapsody in Blue, created a new structure in long form composing, and I am not sure it has a name.

Gershwin's piece, according to David Schiff, combines six different "trunk songs" into a longer piece with flexible structure running from 8 to 15 minutes in length. There appears to be some disagreement as to which version is the version Gershwin would call his final version. The version one uses depends upon whether you are performing the version for twin pianos, the version for solo piano, the version for jazz band and piano, or the version for piano and orchestra.

Rhapsody in Blue appears to have the same modular structure as Smile. What this could mean is that these two pieces of music, whatever one might want to call them, are long form compositions sewn together using several different melodies or songs with segues connecting them to make a longer piece. I tend to agree with Mac and Chalk that the boundaries of classical musical structure have been stretched by composers the last 75 years, and older definitions are under revision or question as composers push the creative envelope.

It seems to me that George Gershwin and Brian have broken down the wall which some believe artificially distinguishes popular from classical music, which is not unusual for Brian since he has broken so many creative barriers in his musical work in the past. That is not to say there shouldn't be definitions of musical structure for classification purposes, but I think both of these men, as well as Charles Ives, so ably described by Chalk. are people who work outside the box using their own instincts as their guide. From that standpoint, if Brian does want to call Smile a symphony, I have no problem doing so.

If it does not meet the textbook definition of a symphony, then I guess it is up to scholars to try to decide what to call it. Because Brian's music is so interwoven with Van Dyke's lyrical themes, I find separating them more difficult than with a purely instrumental composition.

If you would like, I will refer you to my review of Smile Live for the Blueboarder Newsletter, published by my friend Kie Miskelly, or to my upcoming piece in Open Sky Magazine published by Chris Allen.

Smile is about Brian's spiritual views on the world at large, his own family, and himself. The three themes are unified by Brian's own personal encounter with spirituality, which runs through the whole piece.

It is an extraordinarily personal work of music, and was ably amplified by Van Dyke's lyrics, which I think evolved from conversations the 2 men had about Brian's experiences with the God o His Understanding while on acid, and beforehand in his life. I am sorry I can't do better here, but I hope you see the pieces I wrote elsewhere.

People have the same trouble with the Rhapsody in Blue, which Smile is patterned after. David Schiff in his excellent study of R in B states that structurally, it is a collection of six "trunk songs" unified by segues, organized into 3 sections with a coda.

Brian was very clear to me in 1982 that this was how he wanted to structure Smile, which is also a collection of songs and feels connected by segues into a single unified piece.

On pages 25 and 26 Schiff states "Despite some obvious longeurs, Rhapsody heard today displays a clear formal design:

I. Molto moderato (Beginning to rehearsal 9) introductory dialogue between band and solo piano leading to two statements of the Ritornello theme, first by the piano, then by the band, each prefaced bya piano cadenza

II. Scherzo ABCBB ' Trio C

III. Andante Moderato-Three statements of the Love theme

IV. Finale-piano tocatta vamp,, followed byrising stretti on the Love theme, leading to climactic statement of the Stride theme. Codetta based on the Ritornello theme and tag

The Rhapsody, at least its uncut version, is clearly not a Rhapsody in the Lisztian sense, but rather a compressed one movement symphony..."

He goes on to call R in B a concerto when performed by piano and orchestra.

I think you can call Smile a symphony if you choose, and if Brian want to, he is the composer. I see it as a unified long work in 3 sections with a 4th short section comprised of Prayer into GV. I would call it 3 sections or movements with the 4th short one as a coda.

Clearly Brian's repaeated listenings to Rhapsody in Blue influenced his decision on how to organize Smile and present it. Which brings us back to movements. I personally find it easiest to call them movements. But sections would also be useful. Make no mistake about it, Smile is one unified long piece thematically, and structurally.

Brian was very clear to me in 1982 that he intended to follow the original structure of Rhapsody in Blue at first. That would mean 3 sections and a coda. It might have gotten changed to two sections to better fit vinyl. That may have been what he spoke with Domenic about. I don't think the conventional album concept was around for very long. Perhaps no longer than a month, before the focus shifted to getting out a single in early 67. From then on, the whole project began to collapse under its own weight, due to Brian's health, the band being divided, and Van Dyke coming and going.

Another thing that hit me driving home from work tonight re: Carl's opposition to Smile was the complexity of trying to reproduce the music live. I remember talking with Brian about that at one time, and Brian indicating that he made the music less complex, not just because of his own exhaustion, but because of Carl's concerns that the band could not do justice to the music when ornately produced. I think that was another reason Carl began to be more active in the production was because he was responsible for the touring band, which had to reproduce the music from lps. This was later confirmed in some conversations I had with people close to Brian, e.g. David Leaf and Danny Hutton.

I think there was only one reason Carl would mess with Smile and that was money-the contract. It's there in David Leaf's book.

To answer Cam and others, I have put the script thing together from past conversations I had with Brian and people close to Brian. It is one way Brian was trying to work out anger he had about what was going on with Murry's oppposition to Smile. Given the popularity of drama therapy in the 60s, and the plethora of information about it back then, it would be a likely thing Brian would try if he was reading books on psychology and psychiatry, which I know he was.Ironically, drama therapy is one of the most effective tools we use to help teens unlock their feeings at the treatment center where I work.


The movement thing is probably the 3rd Movement, not a 4th. I tend to think Brian wanted Smile to be one long work conceptually in 3 sections with a coda, like the Rhapsody in Blue. In that case, Domenic's theory of Smile once having had 2 movements would be possible. But I think Brian always wanted 3. That's what our conversation in 1982 seemed to indicate. We call the pieces of Smile movements, but it hangs together conceptually as one long work, and that makes it more like the Rhapsody than ever.

Dennis reconciled with Murry in 1971, about 2 years before Murry died. There was lots of hostility both ways in the Mid 60s because of Murry's infidelity and his kicking Dennis out of the house in 1964.

Dennis married Carol partially because he was living on his own at a very young age and needed some civilizing. Eddie Roach or Jon Stebbins could explain this in much greater detail. Suffice to say Dennis personiified the word untamed back then.

The only Wilson getting along with ALL the other Wilsons in 1966-7 was Carl, and Brian was not too happy with hin during the latter Smile period onward. It has always mystified me until recently when I put together that Carl probably did not like the way Brian was using the skits to make fun of family discord.

The Vegetables skit is the main one, and I would have to go back and listen to the rest to pinpoint each one. Brian is using Hal to make fun of Murry. Hal doesn't even know he is doing it. I think Brian was scripting scenes from his former home life or Murry's current life to make fun of him. This sounds unusual, but it comes from some conversations I had with Brian a long time ago that finally make sense. Murry had called Smile "Brian's phony Hollywood drug music." Brian was pissed about it, and began making fun of Murry in the skits ...sometimes subtlely, some times like the Vegetables skit, very obviously.

Murry did not like Smile and called it Brian's "phony Hollywood music." Brian, in turn made fun of Murry in some of the skits that he had his new friends and The Beach Boys do for the "comedy album."

I see Brian's anger spilling out sideways at Murry through the skits the same way that it did during I'm Bugged at My Old Man. Til today, I thought it was Murry doing the voiceover as the neighbor on the Vegetables skit. Hal's voice sounds UNCANNILY like Murry's.

I am reasonably certain now that the break in the support came over Brian making fun of the family discord in the skits repeatedly, and the new friends unwittingly going along, not even realizing they were helping Brian passive agressively make fun of his family.

Carl is not someone who would have found this funny, nor would have Mike. Carl is a person who tried to keep peace at any cost, not go along with skits making fun of Murry. I have the feeling that is why it breaks down as Dennis supporting and Carl opposing. Dennis would have found those skits hysterical, and would have gladly participated, wholeheartedly supporing Brian's anger at his family. He and Brian were the ones who got beaten all the time by Murry while Audree stood by and said nothing.

Brian's finances are court monitored, and his case with Landy was one of the most notorious in California human rights law in the last 20 years. No one involved with his life now would ever want to seriously be compared with the Landy era.

I admire Melinda for being able to laugh at her detractors. I think it takes a big person to be able to laugh at what started out as cruel and sarcastic name calling.

I remember Yoko Ono going through the same crap. I remember Linda McCartney going thrugh it as well. People who marry celebrities can't escape the criticism. Personally, I think Brian feels he needs to make up for some lost time, gets an ambitious agenda going, and then grouses when he actually has to go out and do it. Yet people blame Melinda for helpng Brian realize his ambitions.

You know what, the hardest part is nearly done, as GIOMH is out, and Smile is nearly done. The concerts are tough, but are spread apart. Brian now has climbed this hill, and having been there before, may actually be a little bored wih trodding over ground he has covered. He and Van Dyke share a wonderful quality of always looking to the next hill and whatever work that might engender.

I hope he continues to make whatever music he wants to share for as long as he wants o share it. He is someone I will always support personally and professionally any way I can, even when his behavior becomes frustrating or erratic, in spite of what I said above.

After all, he's Brian Wilson...

Brian did not really handle things that well in the 60s. The signs were there, especially the gradual retreat from the pressure. The band did not want him leaving he road, but he basically made them realize that if they wanted competitive records, he had to stay in LA.

The illness is real. The dynamics are real. The anxiety problems Brian deals with day by day since he was a child are far more crippling than the bipolar. People see the bipolar being the major issue, which it is, partly, but the anxiety disorder is far more crippling day to day.

If you can relate to terrifying, crippling stage fright, that is what Brian deals with when he has to deal with strangers. He had it in the 60s, he just buried it under tons of bravado. We get less able to do that as we get older. We become less resilient and pliable.

He has heard voices in his head sine the mid 60s. It is a result of the acid messing with the biochemistry in his brain. I would venture to guess that as Brian has gotten older, his brain's biochemistry has worsened in terms of auditory hallucinations.

The time with Landy was a period of intense milieu therapy, in which, through the use of medications, lifestyle changes, and thought "reeducation", Brian's entire approach to life was altered. It was as if Landy would correct every nuance of Brian's life that did not match the picture Landy wanted presented to the world. The use of various powerful, mind altering psychotropic meds was staggering.

They devastated Brian's neurochemical balance far worse than the illegal drugs he self-medicated himself with in the 70s and early 80s. He had several close calls with being toxic on some of them. He was in no state to make any sense at all.

When you are completely removed from any legal leverage to function, you will do and say what you need to to survive. That is what Brian did. He survived Murry, and he survived Gene. He is an incredible survivor. Strong and a classic example of the old adage about being a reed in a hurricane instead of an oak tree.

The meds he is on now are extremely mild compared to the cocktail in the Landy era. He is on an anti seizure med to prevent petit mal seizures that onset during the Landy years, and an anti depressant that seems to take the edge off the depressive cycles most of the time, but not always. It was good to see him talk aboutt] the bipolar himself. He ha turned out to be a wonderful inspiration for many people with mental illness around the world.

Finally, yes, he does misbehave, and has throughout his life, most recently when he threw a tantrum about having to do more interviews he didn't want to do. He wanted to make the people in his life who follow through on his stated wishes look like assholes, and he succeeded, temporarily.

Thing is, like I stated way back in this thread above, he wants to do stuff in his manic cycles, and then tries to bail out in his depressive cycles. They work with him, and bring him through it. They end of looking like assholes sometimes. Lippin & Co. are saints....first time he pulled that merda on me, he'd be out on his ass. But they work him, because they love him and his music.

I think honestly that the message Brian is putting out is that the world is a terrifying place for him, has been for as long as he can remember, and that he gets foda tired of the feelings of terror.

His medications are for seizures and for depression. He may be experiencing more of the low end of the bipolar than the high end. The anxiety he descrbes in these interviews is what he has been describing publicly and privately for 40 years. Not much has changed.

What people don't understand is that most people beaten as kids never stop thinking of themselves as helpless. The world is way scary because when they were smaller, there was nothing that they could control in their worlds. As abuse victims get older, all kinds of side issues can come up from the abuse, and from the memories of it the anxiety causes. That part of Brian's emotional being is far more impacted than people realize.

Facing loud dominant people is frightening for Brian. They remind him of Murry. He said it well a few years ago-"It's not easy being me."

I never met an addict or alcoholic yet who didn't have extremely raw nerves when it comes to experiencing emotions. They do not have the ability to put up emotional defenses that the rest of us do, as a general rule. The pain is more hurtful, the happiness is more ecstatic.

When Brian was cutting Smile, I really think he was allowing his creativity to literally run wild. This is why we see so many different directions in this period. He would get on to humor, do some work, then move to Elements, do some work, then obsess on Heores for a few months.

Sadly, Smile 1967 is the sound of things falling apart. It is some of his best work, but the price was very high, which is why several musicians I have spoken with have alluded to the high price Brian paid for Smile, which was literally his sanity for awhile.

That is a great post, George, and it can be easy to forget the world at the time Smile was created. I personally think Van and Brian were coming from different places on this project, and kind of met in the middle. I think Brian's vision was probably more spiritual, and Van's was more sociological. We have a work with multiple layers for this reason, and that opens itself to varied interpretations based on one's background.

I think we do often tend to forget that the world back in the middle ages did not really separate sacred and secular the way we do now. It was a more unified approach. I think that the separation of sacred and secular is a phenomenon of the last 200 years fairly paralleling this country's history. The idea of separating church and state was a fairly revolutionary and innovative concept our forefathers came up with.

Baroque Catholicism is a scary proposition, and I used it as an analogy for the state of mind Brian described to me and others over the years. I think people tend to underestimate the intensity of his emotional experiences at the time, and pass off the studio Brian as the whole Brian. I strongly believe that Brian did not feel in control of his life in ANY domain back in this era, and his decompensation began shortly after his use of psychedelics began. He began to self-medicate, causing exacerbations of his already wildly swinging emotions.

This belief comes from speaking with Brian's friends, my own conversations with him, interviews, and eyewitness accounts of his behavior. I think the decompensation plateaued at times, and there might have been mild improvements after hospitalizations, but, in my opinion, the Brian we see today is a modern miracle of sorts, which is why I wrote this article. He is an amazingly strong and resilient person, and we have many great years of music ahead of us, if I read the situation correctly. Brian's next new project musically may be more of a Friends type theme, but anything is possible.

I was 13 also in 1966, and I distinctly remember hearing Good Vibrations and thinking that is was unlike any record I had ever heard. The possibilities then were more endless, because we were in the middle of a time when as a country, we really believed we could end hunger, cure diseases, eliminate racial predjudice, save the world from Communism, rebuild our inner cities, and go to the moon. Well, we did get a few done.

Smile is a loveletter from that time, a musical time capsule which we opened in London with its composer and lyricist. We react the way the guy who digs Michigan J. Frog out of the cigar box in the Chuck Jones cartoon, thinking that if only the world could hear Smile, all would be right. But Smile is elusive, just like Michigan J. Frog. It is performed only rarely, and its message is mysterious and just like Chuck Jones, Brian and Van Dyke only hint at why a 37 year old cantata or a Jolson singing frog might capture our imagination, much less what it really means.

So we are left to wonder...why a little frog with a tophat in a 6 minute cartoon captures our attention and leaves us wondering what the possibilities might be. Or why a 37 year old unfinished cantata, now finally done, creates such strong interest, devotion, and love from all of us.

Perhaps it is just the mystery that intrigues us and keeps drawing us back, asking questions like "What does Smile mean?" "Why is there a pirate motif?" "What is new and what is unrecorded from 1966?" Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal.........