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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Dennis Wilson solo recordings If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Here's an overview I made for some other forum.
Feel free to give comments, ads corrections and criticize.

Part 1 - Hubba Hubba

No one would have expected that the middle of the Wilson brothers would blossom like he did. For the first few years, Dennis was seen as the Beach Boys pin up. The epitome of Sixties West Coast cool. The only surfer in the Beach Boys. The good looking boy who sat behind his drums, smiling at the girls and getting them wild shaking his long blond hair.

"They say I live a fast life," he described himself on the backside of an early album, "Maybe I just like a fast life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. It won’t last forever, either. But the memories will.”

Later he got even more stereotyped as a drug-abusing, womanizing, Manson desciple.

Yet, those are only small aspects of his personality. In Dumb Angel: The Life and Music of Dennis Wilson he is portrayed by Adam Webb as a very generous, romantic soul and a prolific and songwriter.
But that creative aspect only became visible after many years in the background.

When Brian slowly started to withdraw from his role as leader of the band, the other members had to fill the gap. To everyone's surprise it was Dennis who delivered the goods, often in collaboration with others: first with a little help from Brian, then with Steve Kalanich and Gregg Jakobson.

This started around 1968 and evolved over the next years.
According to engineer Stephen W. Desper (whose book Recording The Beach Boys is highly recommended), Dennis worked on his song in the morning studio sessions before the group came in to work on their stuff.

(The quotes from Mr. Desper are not from his book, but gathered from various posts, often months or even years apart, on various BB forums.)

Stephen Desper: "Although Dennis has a reputation for banging more than his drums while on the road, he was a musical natural in the studio. If he did not know how to play an instrument, and he wanted to use it on a track, he would learn enough of the playing technique to record and then continue to learn. Too bad he was treated as the black sheep of the family -- but it forced him into more solo situations."

"He recorded in the morning and the rest of the gang came in during the afternoon hours. Depending on what was happening, he either stayed or went to surf or whatever.
I'd say about half his time was spent by himself in the studio (with this engineer). As an independent he recorded lots of song starts, but only stayed with them a few days -- short attention span.”

"As far as the group was concerned, it was Dennis fooling around in the studio every morning on his stuff -- until Warner called with a deadline."

When Warners rejected the proposed track list for Sunflower, the Beach Boys turned to Dennis, because they knew he had a lot of song that were almost finished.
"Then all of a sudden Dennis' tape productions were given a listen, and deemed quite good" continues Desper, "Good enough to be finished by the group. It was not until the pressure was on that Dennis was even considered a producer. Up until then, he had been doing all the vocal parts himself, but now under the Warner clock, the entire group got involved with his productions, taking them over and finishing what Dennis could not."
That help sometime came from Brian, but mostly it was Carl who took it on him to finish the song.
"Dennis did not object…. It was his artistic temperament that Dennis had trouble controlling. He had gotten use to working by himself on his material. Not rejected, but forgotten by the other guys, all of a sudden Dennis was a means to getting the job done. Dennis wanted acceptance, but not at the price of being overridden on artistic decisions. Dennis had become a good producer without the group, but when THEY needed him, he found acceptance. By the time that happened, Dennis had his own confidence -- the group was just a side-bar issue to him."

Sunflower included four songs written by Dennis, including 'Forever'. The track, considered by many to be his first masterpiece, earned him some much sought praise from brother Brian and father Murry. This gave him enough confidence to try it on his own.

* * *

On December 4, 1970, Dennis Wilson was the first of the original Beach Boys to release solo material. To test the waters for a solo album, a single 'Sound Of Free' b/w 'Lady' was released outside the US, under the moniker of Dennis Wilson & Rumbo.

Both songs were recorded in the Add Some Music era. 'Lady' was started on December 26, 1969 and finished exactly a month later. In this period Dennis started working with Beach Boys session keyboardist Darryl "Rumbo" Dragon. Darryl would later gain some fame on his own as the Captain in Captain and Tenneille.

The gentle ballad with simple Maestro drum machine and lush strings was presumably inspired by his new love Barbara Cherren and certainly influenced by Ennio Morricone.
The song was later covered by Spring as 'Fallin' In Love' - changing the word "lady" to "baby" for gender purposes. This version was released on their 1972 United Artists debut American Spring and also as the b-side to their single 'Shyin' Away.'

According to Alan Boyd, the 16 track master for 'Lady' is on one of the two Sunflower master reels, which shows that it would blend perfectly with the BB sound.

There's a rumor that Dennis would have recorded a new version of 'Lady' in 1976 as 'Flowers Come in the Spring', but that version remains unreleased (if it exists).

That could not be said for the a-side: 'Sound Of Free' is a blast of rock that would stick out on any Beach Boys album of this era. It is however, co-written with cousin Mike Love and there are rumors of vocal contributions from Brian and Carl.

Despite some limited success in the UK, the single attained the status of 'collectors item'. The only re-release of these tracks is on the Rarities album, where the original mono mixes are featured. Both songs have appeared on various bootlegs over the years, but mostly in stereo mixes.

* * *

In the Summer of 1971, at the final stages of finishing Surf's Up a conflict arouse around the sequencing of the songs. Dennis wanted to finish the album with his song 'Wouldn't It be Nice To Live Again', but Carl objected.

Enraged, Dennis withdrew the song and his other offerings for the album (‘4th of July’ and possibly ‘Fallin' In Love’) too. According to Andrew G. Doe (author of the excellent The Complete Guide to the Music of the Beach Boys), one of the few people who actually heard it, "The original BB version of "Wouldn't It be Nice To Live Again" is easily one of the best three unreleased BB tracks I've ever heard - it is just staggeringly magnificent. You wouldn't believe Dennis could sing so sweetly, and the background vocals... awesome. Not having this on Surf's Up was a major, major loss."

But according to Stephen Desper it was not only about the sequencing. There were other matters were involved. "Dennis was going through a lot of depression and anxiety in his personal life at this time. That, along with the commercial response to Sunflower where he did have songs, made him very moody about putting more of his work on the next album.
Dennis also had issues with Mike. There was much behind-the-scenes bickering and quibbling at that time which I was not privileged to, but Dennis was unhappy more than he was happy. His drink induced mood swings became more extreme as time went along as his participation in sessions became less."

Around the same time, Dennis had an accident with that prevented him from drumming for several years. Apparently he cut some nerves and muscles in his hand while hitting through a plate glass door.

That doesn't prevent Dennis (or give him a good excuse) to start working in earnest on a solo album, in collaboration with Darryl Dragon and engineer Steve Desper. The sessions take place in Brian's home studio, which give him the opportunity to work whenever he feels like doing so.

Among the songs recorded for this album, which Dennis - evidently none too seriously - claimed to be titled ed Poops or maybe Hubba Hubba, are 'Baby Baby', 'Sea Cruise', 'Behold the Night', 'Ecology', 'Old Movie' and 'Barbara'.

'It's A New Day', like 'Wouldn't It Be Nice To Live Again', a collaboration with Stanley Shapiro, started as a a commercial for Dry Command anti-perspirant, but was later finished with a Blondie Chaplin lead and considered for release on a Beach Boys album.
Another song, 'Baby Baby', described by Alan Boyd as "an eccentric old-fashioned little rocker on which Dennis seems to be doing his best to sound like Leon Redbone... " was once played by the band during their 1972 fall tour.
The intro of 'Ecology' later grew into 'All Of My Love'. Alan Boyd again: "After that intro, there are two unfinished segments, one of which incorporates the piano riff that later was the foundation for "River Song." As a matter of fact, on the second segment of "Ecology," the only vocals consist if Dennis repeating "Run Run, river run..."

Of special interest is a assemblage of several segments made by Dennis and Daryl, that is pressed onto an acetate. Bootleggers later gave it the name of 'Quad Symphony' because there are "three movements":
- a duet piano sonata and accompanying organ duet, both performed by Dennis and Darryl;
- the 'All of My Love' vocal choral
- a lush piano piece with delayed electric guitar lines and drums.
Of course this piece was never meant to be released in this form.

Stephen W. Desper explained it's origin in February 2003: "All of those recordings are my property and I have the April 1971, 30 ips, 1/2 inch 4 track masters in my collection. Back then, I was asked by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) to give a paper and presentation to the Hollywood section on Quadraphonic recording technique for my fellow engineers. I asked Dennis Wilson and Daryl Dragon to help me in the production of the sound portion of the demo. I recorded Dennis and Daryl playing a piano duet, miked four different ways. I recorded Dennis doing a drum solo. It was than that I recorded 'Barbara' and mixed it to two different formats in Quad.
In the talk I demonstrated eight different miking techniques and recording styles and various echo chamber imaging techniques using Barbara. In one segment, Dennis overdubbed his voice more than 350 times to make the sound of a large choir ("Steve, the big speakers are on." -- refers to the studio speakers used by Brian to hear the mixes in mono and for playbacks in the studio.)
The AES talk lasted about forty minutes and was well accepted. Although the Beach Boys, under my direction, never recorded using the Quadraphonic discipline but rather a Surround discipline, the AES figured it would ask me to present the ideas since I was one of a few engineers exploring these new multi-channel techniques of production back in 1971"

Among the unfinished songs are a couple of love songs to Barbara: one is called 'I've Got A Friend'. That track is never bootlegged, but it seems to exists on tape as an unfinished backing track - no vocals. Another is the beautiful April 1971 demo for 'Barbara' was released in 1998 on Endless Harmony. It is presented as a piano duet between Dennis and Daryl, but it was meant to receive a string arrangement.

Dennis was very interested in string arrangements in that period, but had to find a balance, as shown on 'Make It Good' which is practically drown in it.

Stephen Desper once more: "Brian was the master, and Carl was not far behind -- if not equal.
Dennis was more conventional, serendipity at times, certainly planning as he went along and as events presented themselves, such as string sessions.
Sometimes Carl would book (minimum booking is three hours) a string or horn date for the songs he was working on, and if he finished early, Dennis would use the remaining time to add strings or horns to his songs, even if he had no plans to -- thinking up the arrangements on the spot, with the conductors help."

Although Desper later claimed that "90% of it [was] 90% done", many of these songs for the Dennis Wilson - Daryl Dragon album were still unfinished, when in early 1972, Dennis effectively sealed the fate of the album by submitting two of the songs to The Beach Boys. The epic and monumental tearjerker 'Cuddle Up' and the aforementioned 'Make It Good'. Both appeared on Carl And The Passions - So Tough - and clearly showed their origins as solo recordings unrelated to the rest of the group's material.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Interesting, can you imagine what kind of records the Beach Boys could have put out, if all 3 Wilson boys could have put their inner demons away long enough to work to work together. The problem is , it's those inner demons ,those hang ups and problems ,that make an artist reach inside create and express. Can you imagine a Dennis produced and written Beach Boy lp?
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Laurie Arleen

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Awesome. I like this thread! I don't have any info to offer, but sure enjoyed reading it. Smile
She's hip to everything man, from customs to rails..
My music page: http://www.myspace.com/lauriebiaginimusic
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wind chime

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:32 am    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I really like Barbara on Endless Harmony.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Pacific Ocean Blue If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Part 2 - Pacific Ocean Blue


When the Beach Boys recruited the rhythm section of the South African band The Flame, Dennis was happy to work with these new members. He was the first to use drummer Ricky Fataar and bass player Blondie Chaplin on studio sessions for his song 'Carry Me Home'. It was offered for Holland, but then Dennis got second thoughts. He found this Vietnam-themed ballad too depressing for a Beach Boys record and withdrew the offer. The emotional song remains unreleased.

During the Beach Boys' three year recording hiatus following that album, Dennis kept writing and occasionally recording.

There's a rumor that he had a hand in Joe Cocker's big hit 'You Are So Beautiful', especially since he sometimes sang it during concerts. Billy Hinsche confirms that Dennis was there when the song was being written and that he helped Billy Preston write it.

In Spring 1974 the engineers Steve Moffitt and Gordon Rudd built a new Brothers Studio in Santa Monica with the latest 16- and 24-tracks equipment.
According to some stories, Dennis was enthusiastic to try out the new surroundings. Among the titles that are credited to him in this period are 'Our Love Remains', 'Grateful Are We For Little', Children', 'Marble Sittin' at the Kitchen Table', 'Don't Want Much, Just a Country or Two, Maybe a Planet', 'Before It’s Through', 'Helen Keller' and 'Holy Man (and Slow Booze)'. Not much is known about these songs except that they are all co-written with Steve Kalinich.

But then again, these sessions may never really have taken place. According to Steve Desper, 'Grateful Are We For Little' was something that he had worked on with Brian back in the late 60s or early 70s. When he sang it to Alan Boyd, he instantly recognized the melody as what eventually became 'Saturday Morning In The City'.

Alan Boyd also stated that "'Holy Man (and Slow Booze)' seems to be a mis-translation of sorts. There's a tape labeled 'Holy Man' and 'Slow Blues'. Two separate tunes on the same tape."

* * *

In autumn of 1974, Dennis returned to the band as a drummer and, after Ricky resigned, his friend James William Guercio joined to play the bass. Guercio was also the owner of Caribou Records and soon The Beach Boys tried to record a come back album in his Caribou Ranch studio in Colorado.

When that didn't work out, the sessions continued throughout the Summer of 1975 in the Brothers Studio, in Santa Monica. Dennis collaborated there with members of the band: 'River Song', which he already brought live a few times in 1973-74, was finished by brother Carl, while Mike Love wrote the lyrics for 'Pacific Ocean Blues', after Dennis showed him the melody over the phone.
Mike also contributed lyrics to '10,000 Years'. That song was never finished as Dennis kept working on it during the next seven years. He and Mike couldn't agree which direction the song should go. At one time Al mentioned he wanted to record it for his projected solo-album. No vocals have ever surfaced.

'Miller Drive' is a wonderful yet unreleased duet with America's Gerry Beckley.

Carl also contributed to another song co-written with Steve Kalinich: 'Rainbows'. Dennis played drums and Moog bass synthesizer and Carl is audible in the backing vocals.

When finally is decided that 15 Big Ones will be released instead of one album of covers and an album with new compositions, Dennis is very unhappy. He refuses to let the band use any of his songs.

* * *

Knowing the internal friction in the band, Jim Guercio decided it was time to help his friend. He offered Dennis a two-album deal on Caribou Records with an $100,000 advance. But Guercio also knew what Dennis lacked: focus. He had a tendency to leave work unfinished. So there were some conditions. Dennis was granted complete artistic license but only if he agreed on a structured recording process. "We can go anywhere you want,' Guercio told him, 'but only if you work on one track at a time."
Dennis longtime friend and drinking buddy Gregg Jakobson was brought in to produce the sessions, but also as collaborator and anchor.

Under the working title of Freckles, the sessions started in September 1976 and ran through to spring of the following year.

"It's a homemade kind of album," confirms Gregg Jakobson, "without a lot of studio players. Dennis created it as he's gone along, track by track. It was really built in the studio... That's pretty unique.... It's one of the things you don't do. ... Dennis comes into the studio in the morning and stays until he's tired. I think it's innovative in the way it's produced and evolved.”

With total freedom, Dennis did precisely what big brother Brian had been doing for years; using the studio as a diary or notebook.

"Dennis really felt he could do whatever he wanted," continues Jakobson, "If he had an idea, he had the room in that studio, and the time and the engineers and the inclination and the support just to really fool around until it was the way he really wanted. It was really nice. The clock was never running. It was never a concern."

In the studio, Dennis concentrated on playing the keyboards, leaving most of the drumming to Beach Boys touring band member Bobby Figueroa, Ricky Fataar and the legendary Hal Blaine.

Over the years his voice was reduced to almost a single octave. Some claim from the deteriorating was the result of an injury sustained in a 1974 fight, others contribute it to alcohol and substance abuse. Whatever, it remained intimate and expressive - like someone whispering in your ear.

Among the backing vocalists were an uncredited Carl Wilson, plus Curt Boetcher, Billy Hinsche, Bruce Johnston and new wife Karen Lamm.

Recently divorced from Barbara, Dennis had met Karen Lamm in Autumn 1975. Although only 23, the actress born as Barbara Karen Perk, was the ex-wife of Chicago's keyboardist Robert Lamm. Dennis and Karen married on May 21, 1976 in Kauai, Hawaii. They co-wrote two songs: 'Time' and 'You And I'.
However during the recording of the album, the marriage collapsed and the were divorced just after the release.

Of course the curve of this love affair was reflected in many of the songs.

Guitar chores were handled by Ed Tuleja and Eddie Carter, the latter doubling on bass with the great Jamie Jamerson and Chuck Domanico. The horn section was Bill Lamb, Michael Andreas, Lance Buller, Janice Hubbard & Charlie McCarthy.

The recordings were engineered by Earle Mankey and John Hanlon. "I just thought he was really avant-garde - he was an amazing artist,' says Hanlon, 'He wasn't afraid to experiment, to fall into space. He was very out there. He wasn't afraid of being different."

* * *

Dennis Wilson's first and only solo album Pacific Ocean Blue (Caribou) was released on September 16, 1977 as the first result of the Beach Boys contract with CBS.

side 1
1. River Song
2. What's Wrong
3. Moonshine
4. Friday Night
5. Dreamer
6. Thoughts of You

side 2
1. Time
2. You and I
3. Pacific Ocean Blues
4. Farewell My Friend
5. Rainbows
6. End of the Show

Pacific Ocean Blue is very different and far rockier than any Beach Boys release.

The almost title track, the strangely funky 'Pacific Ocean Blues' with some of Mike's finest ecologically-minded lyrics started out as a BB song for 15 Big Ones, but in the released mix, the band's contributions are buried in the mix, to highlight other accents.

The other funky song is 'Dreamer'. It's driven by a repetitive bass harmonica line, played by Dennis, as most of the instruments on this track "about Christ".

Another rocker didn't make the final track list: the lyrics of 'School Girl' probably weren't pleasing Karen too much!

But most of the other songs are slow paced. A lot of them a laments of the loss of his love: Karen, with whom he was breaking up during the latter part of the recordings.

The centerpiece of the album are a couple of song about the breaking up of his marriage to Karen. 'Thoughts Of You' is one of Dennis' most heartbreaking songs, with beautiful delicate piano lines supported by string (slowed down to half-speed) much subtler than on the earlier 'Cuddle Up.'

Another beautiful piano dominated song is 'Time'. "That's about coming home after a tour and floating into L.A. on a 747. Thinking about her....just a spontaneous thing."

The album closes with a last break-up song 'End of the Show', which can also be seen as a humble message for his fans: 'Thank you very much for everything I've ever dreamed of...'

* * *

The atmospheric album charted in the Billboard Hot 100 at a respectable #96.
It went on to sell over 100,000 copies, thus outselling the next couple of Beach Boys albums. This scared the living daylights out of some band members, but Brian reportedly loved the album. In the outside world however, the album failed to earn Dennis the widespread respect he deserved.

Perhaps Dennis was partly to blame too, as he didn't exactly support the album. "To me, this album is lightweight," he declared in September 1977. "It has no substance. The next album is a hundred times what Pacific Ocean Blue is. It kicks. It's different in a way. I think I have more confidence now that I've completed one project, and I'm moving on to another... "

A small tour was planned, but although some rehearsals took place with the BB touring band, and venues were booked, it never materialized. At that time the Beach Boys were close to a split and apparently going out on tour solo was considered not-done.
Dennis was allowed to sing some Pacific Ocean Blue tracks at a few 1977 Beach Boys shows, but that was about it.

In October 1977 'You And I' b/w 'Friday Night' was released as a single in the US.
The b-side is a spontaneous song, as Dennis explained at the time: "It's a memory of when I was young and Friday night came. The white punks were out having fun. I am the white punk!"
The gentle samba-tinged ballad on the a-side was co-written with Greg and Karen. Dennis confirmed that it is about her too, although they were already separated when the single was released.
It indeed is the sweetest sounding song of the album and fitted well between The Eagles and Jackson Browne on the radio. It should have been a big hit, yet it somehow never caught on.

In Europe however, 'River Song' b/w 'Farewell My Friend' was chosen as the single.
'River Song' had been knocking around for years. The opening piano riff dates goes back to the early Seventies.
Dennis explained the origin of the song to David Leaf: "A few years ago, I was in the High Sierras walking by this river, that was very small and it kept getting bigger and bigger....that's the guitar sound on the track. And then thinking, Los Angeles vs. the High Sierras, it just makes me sick to think of what's happening here. That's the lyrical idea; Carl assisted on some of the lyrics. Musically, it came from the river."
While you can hear Carl in the massive choir in the intro and Alexander Hamilton's Double Rock Baptist choir was brought in for this song, Dennis stated that "Ninety per cent of those voices are mine."
An immaculate production, an ecological theme, gospel overtones... it should have been a big hit. It wasn't.

A rough mix, taped on to a cassette and dating back to 1973 or 1974 can be found on many bootlegs and this song was chosen to represent Dennis on the Ten Years Of harmony compilation.

For the b-side the sole composition penned by Dennis himself is chosen: 'Farewell My Friend'. It's one of the greatest songs of lost ever. Dennis wrote it as a eulogy for Otto "Pops" Hinsche, father of Carl Wilson's former brother-in-law and Beach Boy session musician Billy Hinsche.
Dennis Wilson: "My best friend died in my arms, and I came to the studio. I knew that he loved the Hawaiian Islands [hence the singing whales in the intro]; the song just happened, sort of a happy farewell. It's written for Otto Hinsche. I carry a picture of him everywhere. When my father died, Pops saved my life in a way."

Allegedly when the Beach Boys first came together to discuss and mourn Dennis' death, they put on this song.

Both singles failed to chart. But finally that was not what Dennis was after. "Dennis wasn't looking for a hit," says Carli Muñoz, "Dennis was going for the emotional - what worked for him, what had emotional strength and basically what sounded good."

* * *

The album was re-issued on cd in 1991 by Epic, as part of the re-issue programme of the Caribou/Epic Beach Boys albums. But it went out of sale soon and that added to the album's reputation as a lost classic, with copies fetching over $100 a piece on internet auction sites. (I should add that I bought my cd some five years ago at a fair for less then $2!)

In an interview in 2001, to promote his book Dumb Angel: The Life and Music of Dennis Wilson, author Adam Webb explains why the album is no longer available: "The legalities of putting the album out have always been a problem in the past. POB was originally released on Caribou - a subsidiary of CBS that was owned by James Guercio of the band Chicago.
The Beach Boys left CBS in 1979 (I think, off the top of my head) and Caribou would have ceased to exist too. So there's problems there as to who owns the masters. Is it James Guercio or is it CBS? Or is it Warner Bros - as the Beach Boys were signed to them when work on POB began in 1974/75.
Also, Dennis recorded a lot of material. He also recorded over a lot of material - that was his perfectionist/short attention-spanned style. The tapes are not in one location and they were not well documented.
Throw into that the complexities of Dennis' estate (married 5 times, twice to the same woman), the nature of his death, and the friction in The Beach Boys and it's a very complicated situation.
The bottom line seems now to be that James Guercio does own the masters, or some masters at least, and seems to be into the idea of putting them out. That's unconfirmed - but what seems to be rumored."

These days Pacific Ocean Blue is considered by many to be the finest Beach Boy solo project and a re-issue or, better even, some kind of box set would be more then welcome, as such a strong body of work deserves wider recognition.
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Leo K

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Fantastic thread...what a great read this has been this morning. It would make a great set of linor notes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:07 am    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

part 3 - Bamboo


Even before Pacific Ocean Blue was released Dennis Wilson already started working on the follow-up album.

Those first sessions were to record some left-overs, like '(I Found Myself in a) Wild Situation' and a re-recording of 'School Girl'. Both songs were a bit politically incorrect and perhaps not deemed fitting to the atmosphere of the album.
Also dating from these sessions is the backing track for 'Baby Blue Eyes'.

In May 1977 he is interviewed by David Leaf to promote Pacific Ocean Blue, but he is more interested in talking about the next album.
"[The record company] call it one, two, three. I just don't stop recording. You're talking to, if there ever was, a freak or somebody completely into it, I am home here at the studio or playing music on the road. When I go to the shack that I stay at, I hate it. Music is everything. The stage, recording music, signing autographs, worrying about the airplay, worrying about talking to you, everything.
If there was ever a real lover in my life, it'd be Karen Lamm and music. Sounds silly, doesn't it? I just love it. I have so much fun doing it. I want you to come by the studio tonight to watch me record.....it's a new approach...a song called "He's a Bum." Even has a nasty line in there - "he likes to do it on his hands and knees." I know that's terrible but....."

Thanks to this interview, 'He's a bum' became one of the most legendary unreleased Dennis Wilson songs. It appears however that never more then a demo version is recorded and what appears of it on bootlegs is taken from a very poor sounding copy.

These sessions are still being produced together with Gregg Jakobson. Dennis and Gregg were also planning to built a recording studio in Hawaii, called Sunset Studios. A twenty-acre parcel of land on the north shore of Oahu was bought. They planned to live and record there with other musicians in a scenic and peaceful atmosphere. Everything was to be arranged by their new company Bamboo Productions.

"It was their plan for a recording studio and resort in Hawaii that spawned the name "Bamboo"," explained Jon Stebins. "There are those who believe it was never actually a working title for the second LP but only a label for the grand plan percolating around it."

Of course, the project never progressed past the initial planning stages - Dennis simply didn't have the necessary money, or focus, and he ultimately abandoned the project. Jakobson continued with an adjusted version of the Hawaii plan after Dennis had dropped out.

* * *

But there are more plans Dennis had to give up. A proposed solo tour to promote the album was cancelled at the last minute, because Caribou didn't want to spent the amount of money needed for the string and horns sections Dennis wanted to take with him.

* * *

At the same time, the relationships between the different members of the Beach Boys had deteriorated fast that Summer, leading to a (short) split in September 1977 - right after the release of Pacific Ocean Blue.

It's no surprise then that Carl and Dennis prefer to stay at home when Mike, Alan and Brian head to Fairfield, IA to record a contract-fulfilling Christmas album for Warners.

Dennis however is prepared to contribute a song. 'Holy Evening' (or 'Morning Christmas' or 'Holy Holy') is recorded in the Brother Studio, in Santa Monica. If released this emotive, stark ballad would have been the best track on the proposed album. Especially noteworthy are the layered angelic vocals courtesy of Marisa Conover.

These M.I.U. sessions were followed by a three-week tour of Australia & New Zealand, in February and March 1978, during which Carl and Dennis tried to cure their unhappiness with drugs and alcohol.

* * *

As Dennis saw his second album as a more ambitious affair then his impressionistic solo debut, he needed someone to replace Gregg Jakobson. He found his perfect collaborator in Carli Muñoz.

Puerto Rico-born Carlos C. Muñoz had joined the Beach Boys touring band in 1970 as percussionist, but when Daryl Dragon left the following year, he replaced him as pianist. Originally a jazz pianist, Carli was also a gifted composer and arranger and a great friend.

In April 1978, they assembled a band in Brothers Studio, consisting of Beach Boys touring band members Bobby Figueroa, Joel Peskin and Sterling Smith, along with players from Smith’s new wave band The Load: bassist Dave Hessler and Sterling’s guitar playing brother Tommy Smith.

With Muňoz as producer, the goal was to record some of the songs Carli had written and stockpiled over the years.

He had composed 'Under the Moonlight' mid-flight during a Beach Boys tour, sometime around 1973. This was a giant step from the sound of POB: it's a brash rocker with a fantastic Ed Carter guitar solo.

The dynamic 'Companion' received lyrics by Rags Baker and clearly shows Muňoz South American background. Carl Wilson was very fond of this song and wanted the use it as the title song of the next Beach Boys album.

The oldest composition from Muňoz recorded during these sessions went as far back as 1967 or 1968. 'It's Not Too Late' aka 'It Won't Be Long' is considered by some to be the most chilling song in the entire Beach Boys cannon. After a sensitive vocal intro by Dennis, it's Carl who takes the lead with one of his most heartfelt vocals of all time. The contrast between the brother's voices is staggering, but the overall effect is extremely effective.

The most famous of these Carli Muňoz songs is the gorgeous and heartbreaking 'All Alone' which was released in 1997 on Capitol's Endless Harmony. Carli had written the song around 1970-71, when he had just joined the band. Dennis plays an ARP synthesizer and adds percussion. While adding the lead vocals , he wanted to change some of the lyrics, as can be heard on an alternate vocal take, which also lacks the unnecessary sax solo.

Other Muňoz compositions that were recorded are 'Shu-Ru Bop' and 'La Plena de Amor'. These two songs were probably unfinished and have not yet surfaced amongst collectors.

These tracks are unique in Dennis's oeuvre. Carli Muňoz contributed not only the songs but also provided Dennis with a tight and uncharacteristically commercial sound. Dennis for his part, as ever not one to do something half-hearted, made all of these songs his own with some of the most honest, heartfelt singing of his career.

* * *

Despite allegations that in April Karen found Dennis not once but twice in the arms of another woman, they re-married on June 28 in Las Vegas. He promised her a new start and to stay clear of cocaine and heroin.

After two weeks she filed for divorce again.

* * *

That Summer and Autumn Dennis continued sporadically to work on his second solo album. This time on it's own.
That move strained the tension between Dennis and Caribou further because Jim Guercio wanted Dennis to work with a staff producer. Because of the label’s demands for a proven producer, the sessions for that second album were actually unauthorized under the terms of Dennis’s Caribou contract.

In August 'Love Surrounds Me' and ‘Time For Bed’ are committed to tape.

Co-written with Geoffrey Cushing-Murray, ‘Love Surrounds Me, explores Dennis’s loss of Karen. Given the recent circumstances, it's not surprisingly it's one of his saddest songs. While Christine McVie is often credited for the background vocals on the tag it might just as well be Marisa Conover once more.

The equally heart-wrenching 'Baby Blue Eyes' receives it's first lead vocals - sung by Carl, while Dennis adds a simple but pretty whistled middle eight.

Furthermore there's a backing track labeled 'New Orleans'. It's not known if lyrics excited or if it is meant to remain an instrumental.

The work is interrupted when, at Karen's request, he is admitted to the Century City hospital at the end of September, 1978, to kick off his drug habits.

The last 'starting date' for a new song is October 15, 1978: 'I Love You.' But because Dennis is used to re-record and replace parts continually, it is impossible to say when the last work is done.

* * *

But then the Brothers Studio has to be sold. The studio, co-owned by Dennis and Carl, has been operating at a loss for many years. "The problem with Brother Studio is that it started becoming a drug hangout," declared Beach Boys manager Jerry Schilling. "Carl was not going to support that, and Dennis did not have the finances to foot it alone."

The closing of the studio signals the end of Bamboo. As part-owner he was able to go in and work on tracks whenever he felt like it - if it wasn't booked by an outside artist, of course. Once the studio is sold, it' become much harder for the unorganized Dennis to work on a moment's notice, as he is used to.

So, in December, mixing and occasionally recording sessions are moved to the Venice Beach home of Beach Boys soundman Tom Murphy. The casual atmosphere of Murphy's sixteen-track home studio suited Dennis's erratic work habits, as did Murphy's tolerant personality.

When a different sound was called for, sessions would be held at United-Western studio, among others. The recording and mixing sessions continue throughout December and January.

But the work is seriously undermined by Dennis's inability to stop drinking. "When we were trying to finish the Bamboo record, Dennis kept getting so drunk I had to stop the sessions and drive him home rather than finish the mixes," says Tom Murphy. "My creative side said, I'm not going to finish the mixes without Dennis because its Dennis's project."

* * *

Shortly there after Dennis offers two of his solo tracks to The Beach Boys, when they need some songs to strengthen their Caribou debut. That move effectively seals that albums' fate.

Both 'Love Surrounds Me' and 'Baby Blue Eyes' (shortened to 'Baby Blue') receive some overdubs to make them more Beach Boys songs, before they are included on L.A. (Light Album) in March 1979.

* * *

Apart from the ongoing personal turmoil and the selling of Brother Studios, Jon Stebbins feels that the main factor in the non release of Dennis's second solo album is that "Bamboo desperately needed an outside producer to pull it together, which is what caused the unfortunate split between James Guercio and Dennis, JG felt that way too. As talented as Dennis was, he was not a good finisher."

"If the Bamboo LP had seen completion the Producer would probably have been Dennis Wilson," he continues, "That's precisely why it didn't see completion, he didn't want to share the vision, and his vision was fuzzy. Tom Murphy could have been a co-producer, or Carli Muñoz, or even Jakobson or Jim Guercio who desperately wanted SOMEBODY brought in to co-produce and to save the sessions. It seems as though he was right. “

* * *

After 1978, Dennis didn't do much work anymore in a recording studio. According to David Leaf, some tracks were cut in Hawaii at one point, but those tapes are not in the Beach Boys' tape vault, so the information on them is very sketchy.

In July 1979, according to engineer Stephen Desper, "Dennis visited the studio once, otherwise stayed on his boat." And around 1980-81 he did produce several sessions for Brian ('Night Bloomin' Jasmine', 'Stevie' and the infamous Hamburger Sessions).

His voice had completely broken down by then. After years of abuse, it had given out completely. "Dennis was convinced that the real damage had been caused by a stray blow to his throat delivered by Stan Love during a recent fistfight. He underwent several operations to remove the damaged tissue, but he never gave his tortured vocal cords a chance to heal properly."

* * *

But let's finish with some quotes from Dennis Wilson himself.

"They say I live a fast life. Maybe I just like a fast life. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. It won’t last forever, either. But the memories will.”

"Everything that I am or will ever be is in the music. If you want to know me, just listen."
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Posted on BrianWilson.com

Dennis Wilson interview, 1977

(posted by DocWaterboy on July 30, 2007 at 6:36 pm)


Dennis Wilson Flies Solo, by Carol Rose
Rock Magazine, May 1977

While Brian Wilson has spent the past year discussing his schizophrenia with magazine reporters, who return to their typewriters convinced that the Second Coming of the Beach Boys is at hand under Brian's direction, Dennis Wilson, the sëxy, sandy-haired surfer/drummer, has been holed up in a Santa Monica studio recording the first solo album by a Beach Boy. And, if the initial cuts I heard are any indication, it looks like Dennis, and not Brian, will be the one to rise and reclaim the legend.

During an interview this winter, when the album was about half done, Dennis was as nervous as he was excited about his first chance to express his own ideas. "I want you to be able to see how my imagination works," he said, making it clear that the process of recording was just as important to him as the result.

Playing with the Beach Boys for 15 years, he'd learned to cherish those moments when everything worked perfectly. For him, the high point of performing came when he felt hypnotized within his own rhythms, and flowed with them into the band and out into the audience. "I never liked guys who were soloist drummers," he said. "I like the hypnotic rhythm that's consistent -- something you can get lost in. It's a perfect feel. The feeling within that rhythm is something I like very much. Then it makes the whole song and program work together. The thing I love about music is if you play and let go of yourself, it becomes timeless."

But now, like it or not, he is a soloist, playing not only drums, but violin, piano, tuba, clavinet, oboe, moog and harmonica, as well as doing the vocals on his own album, which he'd been recording since September at Brother Studios in Santa Monica.

He was in New York for the Beach Boys Thanksgiving concerts (three sold-out nights, highlighted by Brian's first appearance in years), staying at the Sherry-Netherland and carrying the interview load for all the boys, since Carl was incapacitated with a bad back and Brian wasn't talking (Who was there left to talk to?).

Dennis was scared. "It's so nerve wracking to play an album you've just done for people. I'm scared. I really am. People say, 'Don't worry, you're going to be a star.' But that's not the point. I just want to do it well enough so I can do it again."

The first song he played was called Time; it amazed me because it was the last thing I'd expected to hear. The tune had a softly classical-jazz sound and reminded me of George Gershwin. It started out slow, with the haunting, moving voices of the Double Rock Baptist Choir, accompanied by Dennis on electric violin, oboe, piano and moog, and Bill Lamm on trumpet. Then, it swelled out into a joyous, festive sound full of stomping, infectious rhythms. "I like the way it gets fast," Dennis commented. "I like to change the texture of the track. It will be replaced by a vocal."

He put another cassette into the recorder. This song was called Dreamer, with Dennis on bass harmonica. In contrast to Time, it sounded almost whimsical, with a strong, steady drumbeat, and the words: "I like people who want to go far, make big music and become a star."

As in Time, Dennis delights in the way this song, too, changes textures abruptly, with the drums coming in very fast at one point. "I'm going to put a tuba solo over it," he said. "It's very incomplete. I'd like to play this one live." Does he have any intention of touring by himself to promote the album? "If people want me to, I will," he said. "I'd hate to force myself on people."

Dennis' album was recorded on the Caribou label, a division of Columbia. According to the Beach Boys' contract with Warners, he's allowed to do a solo album as long as he doesn't record any Beach Boys material or use any members of the band on the album. Gregg Jakobson, a long time friend, is co-producing the album and writing some of the lyrics.

The next song, River Song, contrasts the beauty of the countryside with the growing ugliness of cities with the line: "Oh mighty river, I would love to be like you," offset by a background chorus of women's voices singing a low, sweet lament about why cities aren't pretty anymore. It has gospel-blues sound that resembles some of Ray Charles' work. "I love some of Ray Charles' stuff", Dennis said. "I also love women's voices."

On the next tune, Friday Night, a more conventional rock and roll song about the frustrations of love, Dennis plays drums, three clavinets, bass and piano.

Each time he put a cassette into the recorder, played it and took it out, the weighty question hung in the air: Do you like it? "You know, when you do something, you really want people to love what you do. It's just like when you meet someone, you want them to like you," Dennis said.

As I was leaving, he remarked again, "No bullsh!ttin', you really liked some of it?" "Yes, I swear to God," I said, wondering how to get my point across. "Damm!" Dennis said.

That night the Beach Boys played the best concert of their three-night engagement, and afterwards Max Weinberg, the drummer with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, came backstage to congratulate Dennis. Later, Max admitted that Dennis has been his long-time idol and one of his major influences.

Dennis, he feels, is everything a rock and roll drummer should be. "I've seen over 30 Beach Boy concerts," said Max. "The first was in the spring of '64 at the West Orange (New Jersey) Armory. Dennis projected such power. He plays the drums and hits this groove and for me it always made the corners of my mouth turn up in a smile. He really kept the band together and provided that energy. He projected this strength behind the drums of knowing where to hit in each, measure to pick the groove right out and put it in his pocket. There's a certain groove you pick that makes the music flow, and when you have it it's in your pocket. It's the feeling behind the rhythm. He knows where it is. And to me, the hardest thing to strive for is that feeling, behind the groove.

"There are a lot of sides to Dennis," Max went on. "When he's happening, he's really happening. He plays magnificently on every record they ever did tastefully, simply and really beautifully, slapping the backbeat. The backbeat is what you dance to: it's what you feel. Brian Wilson's production techniques were heavily influenced by Phil Spector (the legendary '60s producer of the Crystals, Ronettes, Righteous Brothers and Darlene Love), who put a heavy backbeat on four. There's a loud explosion of the snare drum on four, and Dennis executes this beautifully.

"He knows what notes not to play," said Max. "This is very important. This is the heart of rock and roll. It can really get cluttered up with fancy drumming."

Dennis, according to Max, plays a great rock and roll beat, a straight 2/4 rhythm characteristic of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley as well as the Beach Boys. "It's called a backbeat because it's not on one; it's behind the first beat," Max said. "The accent is on the two and the four.

"Dennis was always what I strove for," Max admitted, "to make that projection, to make the drummer noticeable. I'm really into performing. There's a whole generation now getting into the Beach Boys who have never heard of them before. They really shaped my identity. I was a really crazy kid. I'm still a crazy kid. That's the nice thing about being in a rock band. You can feel 14 forever.

"Dennis," Max said, "was really a focal point for the band, an image. He still is. He was happening onstage and drummers became very important. Ringo also helped do this. He plays classic rock and roll. It's timeless. They don't assault your head. They caress your head. When a good rock band hits a groove, it's irresistible. They just will carry you away. They were big when being big really meant something. There's a reason they've been around 15 years.

"On Dance, Dance, Dance, the drum parts are really so interesting," Weinberg says. "The Beach Boys have a strong, slow shuffle groove. It became very apparent when Brian played the bass the other night. When you can get a feeling across in two and a half minutes, that's when you're really saying something to someone. That's the time of a real hit record. You have to have simplicity with real dramatic effectiveness. And drums used in that way can be very effective."

Max feels there are similarities between the way the Beach Boys relate to Brian Wilson and the way the E Street Band members relate to Springsteen. "Dennis said the Beach Boys are Brian Wilson. They're his messengers. That's the way our band is. Bruce is the visionary and we're his colors. We're the interpreters of his material. I love to be in that situation because democratic bands do not work and never have."

I said I agreed with him that Brian's performance showed he epitomizes the band's rhythmic style. His solos were met with raves and applause by the audience during the November concert at Madison Square Garden. Even though he was visibly nervous, the sweet, rhythmic melodies he wrote sounded perfect when he sang them. Listening to him do “Back Home” with such obvious emotion and intensity and sincerity, I found myself fighting back tears. It was as though, with his voice and his presence, the very essence of the band materialized, and the music flowed as never before.

But Brian isn't the only genius in the group. Dennis' new record gives every indication that he can transcend himself. We're going to see an artist, whose individuality up until now has seen its greatest moment in a group, flower into a performer with a new and unique contribution to make to American music-one that's sure to knock most people off their feet.

"That raw roughness of Dennis'" is retained on the album titled Pacific Ocean Blue, according to Gregg Jakobson, who co-produced it and wrote some of the lyrics. "It's a homemade kind of album," Gregg said, "without a lot of studio players. Dennis created it as he's gone along, track by track. It was really built in the studio. We've written words in the studio. That's pretty unique.
From where I'm at it's crazy. It's one of the things you don't do."

The advantages to having unlimited access to the studio, as Dennis had during the recording of this album, are that you can hear your mistakes right away and correct them. The making of the record becomes the important thing, rather than the result. Gregg gives the picture of Dennis during this time as someone totally absorbed in his work.

"We'll have a concept, and go from there, without any lyric ideas," Gregg said. "Dennis comes into the studio in the morning and stays until he's tired. I think it's innovative in the way it's produced and evolved. The songs range from real slow ballads, Thoughts Of You, to some really big rock and roll stuff. In between, there's everything from really nice, soft rock ballads to rock and roll."

The other musicians include Bobby Lamm, Baron Stewart on background vocals, Hal Blaine on a few drum tracks, Steve Douglas on sax, and Eddie Carter on guitar. While the Beach Boys are "officially not supposed" to be on the album, Jakobson acknowledges that, "you might hear some of them in the background."

The album is generally up, with many love songs, Gregg said, but the title track deals with the theme of pollution, hardly something that would have surfaced on a Beach Boys album in the '60s, when the ocean was a source of escapism and pleasure. Now, that pleasure is marred by man's greed, and Pacific Ocean Blue is really a paradoxical song, with the lines "We live on the edge of a body of water/Cold-hearted slaughter of the otter/And that's why the ocean is blue" portraying the ocean as having been betrayed by man.

"Dennis has been wanting to flex for a while," Jakobson said, "and Jim Guercio, the president of Caribou, gave him the go ahead." Guercio is the producer of Chicago, and apparently has a lot of faith in Dennis' ability to make it as a solo artist. "Guercio," Jakobson says, "has never lost yet."
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I never saw that interview.
Thanks for that.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

And, of course, 10,000 Years is now 'available' on the Lovester's unreleased 'new' album.
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