Monday, July 17, 2006

" I soon found out that my lonely life wasn't so pretty ..."

I must have been 8 or 9 when I first encounteed the legendary Beach Boy, Brian Wilson. One of the major T.V. networks released an hour long documentary of his rise and fall of life. To my mother's dismay I was glued the T.V., unable to take my eyes off this new found amazing man. "Camille? This is not interesting. Could you please find something we all want to watch?" my mother said in a terse tone. "Huh?", I responded. "What do you mean? He is smart. Listen to the tones". "Camille! He is a drug addict. He needs help. I don't think this show is good for you to watch". Thankfully, I won. She was too "tired" to get up to turn it herself. Since this was pre-remote control era it was my job to change the stations. I was stubborn, and I finished the show without hearing too much complaining.

When it was over, I ran into our basement where all of my sisters old albums (350+) were stored. My sister is 9 years older than me. Her music tastes were progressive, and well, she used to be really into drugs. The album "Pet Sounds" must be there....somewhere. There it was! Precious vinyl! I ran up to my room and slapped it onto my portable mono record player. Pure heaven. I couldn't get enough of it. I memorized each sound, every lyric. I drove my mother crazy, as crazy as she said Brian Wilson was. I loved his crazy self.

I got older, other music came and went. In the early 90's I found "Pet Sounds" on CD, digitally remastered. My love for him came flooding back. Once again, it was all that I listened to. During that time, I began going for Rolfing. While on the massage table I mentioned my love for Brian Wilson to my practitioner (now my collegue). She asked me his name again. I told her. She didn't know that he was a Beach Boy, but she did know his name. "Brian Wilson? Funny, I was at a spiritual retreat getting in touch with my inner self. A man named Brian Wilson was my spiritual companion", she said. A charge of energy raced through my body. I begged her for information, anything! She flatly refused, telling me she couldn't break their confidence. No amount of pleading could sway her. At my next appointment, I took a picture of him. "Yes, that was him. He looks far better in the photo than he does in person", she replied. As she began working on me she said "You love him and his work more than he loves himself, you know".

More years passed, and Brian emerged once more with "Smile". It took him 40 (drug and mentally impaired) years for him to get it together. When it came out, I was in the throws of new motherhood and didn't hear it. It wasn't until today that I got my hands on it. I still haven't listened to it..... It is downloading into my iPod as I type this. Tonight, when the son is in bed I will place the earbuds into my ears. I am hoping that I'll feel as happy as I do when I hear "Pet Sounds". I also hope that despite the numerous prescription drugs he takes to control those "creative" voices he hears, that he has found how to love himself as much as I love him.

title credit: "That's not me" by the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds, of course.)


Anonymous said...

he is schizo 2

the cappuccino kid said...

he played glastonbury last year with a group of musicans that he saw playing as a beach boys tribute in some dive of a bar! i bet they laugh themselves to sleep every night now! and much as i hate to say this camie, they were far better than him. thankfuly i am aware that it is his drug fueled past that is to blame, and that he isn't just some old washed up has been trying to make a quick buck.
the man used to have a genuine talent, and a song writing ability second only to the beatles at that point in history.
rumour has it pet sounds only came about because he heard sgt peppers and it made him really jealous! so i have read anyway.

puppy. you say that like it's a bad thing!

Ron said...

I believe that Macca made Sgt. Pepper because of Pet Sounds, not the other way around...

the cappuccino kid said...

ah well, i knew they were linked some how, and i am still sure that they were both trying to outdo each other.
isn't that why he stopped touring and went into the whole piano in a sandbox thing?
never been a big beatles/beach boys fan. even though i will openly admit they were ok.

Anonymous said...

I want good vibrations played at my funeral, followed by heroes and villans...then some sex pistols and Ian dury and oh fuck it a bit of Gary Numan.

* (asterisk) said...

I've never been a huge Beach Boys fan; always preferred Jan & Dean for the surf sound. Hope you enjoy Smile, though, and that it was worth the wait...

Comment 8 of 20

the cappuccino kid said...

the strange thing years ago, was finding out that keith moon was absolutely obsessed with surf music! who'd have thunk it?

Cynnie said...

I never understood the west coast beach thang..
I'm more of an east coaster.
I think he must be on some meds that are helping him..he's showing signs of tardive dyskinesia
(involuntary, repetitive, persistent, stereotyped movements caused by the use of drugs that block dopamine receptors )

Anonymous said...

no i was just sayin he has it 2 coffeedude
off topic dirk says b4 he is killiln tha blog wen he went 2 his new job so i guess he did cos it it gone now

a.c.t said...

I'm in at last! Have been trying to leave a comment but it wouldn't work. I loved this post. It's great how you've talked about one record and how it's affected you throughout your whole life. Music is an amazing thing; I can remember particular songs and how they relate to different bits of my life.


Where'd me comment go? arrrrgh!!! CV's deletin' me!!! Can't be...must be Blogger...tell me it is!!!

Beatles shite, Stones n Beach Boys cool.

Anonymous said...

BW is a man who cannot hear in stereo. He is totally deaf in one ear and has been since he was a child. He went through a lot of odd and very abusive seeming therapy that has resulted in endless lawsuits. His father was vile to him and cheated him out of the royalties of his back catalogue. He is also regularly denigrated in one way or another by his cousin and former Beach Boy, Mike Love, and BW has admitted he feels perpetually intimidated by him. He has mental problems and is well aware of that. Two of his brothers are dead, but everybody wanted a piece of Brian. And pieces was what they got.

And yet, in spite of this, from the fragments of 35 years of tunes, with the help of some first rate musicians, Smile has appeared as if that moment so long ago was not frozen by mental breakdown, but emerged fresh and clear.

It is I think a masterpiece, albeit a late one. It is an unfinished symphony that finally reached the last movement. It is not particularly hip or of the moment or musically avant garde but it is so closely attached to the Beach Boys myth and their take on the past century of American history that it cannot be ignored as a great contribution to the national heritage of the USA anymore than Sibelious, Smetana or Shostakovich.

It is 50 or so minutes of pure pleasure to listen to; uplifting, delightful, comedic and full of rich narrative.

I hope you enjoy it Cami

the cappuccino kid said...

well said. holy crap i love people who are so passionate about the music they love. even if the rest of us/them/you/ think it is an absolute crock of shit!
there is nothing worse than a blinkered set of fuckwits who try and impress on you that thier choice of tunes are superior. in a time long past, when i was sweeping up at weekends in a garage, i knew of a guy who absolutely hated elvis, and if someone put on one of his albums, he would go outside and refuse to come back in until it was taken off. yet he expected us to all listen to his "choons" as he put it. erasure! now i have never seen the facination of elvis (may god strike me dead) and i sure as hell didn't go for the camp pop of erasure, but then again it made for a change of listening to my usual stuff. and without that diversity i would have missed out on a lot of differing music.
so kudos to brian wilson for finally getting smile finished. and again, well said anonymous. shame you didn't let us know who you are!
cam, sorry for the language, and the rambling. it's late here!

蔡健雅Tata said...
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