Brian Wilson presents Smile

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by bassbrad, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. At long last it's out, the much touted followup to Pet Sounds that almost never was. After hearing about this for years from record collectors and music fans I was curious to give it a spin. After some of the press lately I wanted to give it a listen. So today I slipped into the player, donned headphones and was transported to another place and time by the music. Okay so the lyrics are at times silly and nonsensical but the music is way beyond the times, even now some of the musical ideas are staggering. The bass playing is of course top notch as is all of the other musicians but they are all serving the musical ideas of Brian Wilson. When it was finished I was left with a profound & bittersweet mix of emotions. I was happy that the music is finally out and that I had experienced it. The music will challenge my musical ideas and sensibilities in the same ways as Messiaen, Mingus, Monk & Jaco. At almost the same time I was saddened to think of all the people that never made it to hear this music. I also wondered just how different we would all be hearing music if it had come out in 1967 or so? Get it, spin it, dig the Good Vibrations and :hyper:
  2. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    The radio station I work at got it, but alas, the battery of my laptop died before I could rip it. Trying again tomorrow.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Glad to know it's out.

    I was up late last night and caught a bit of that show The Insider. I don't usually watch these trashy shows but they interviewed Brian. The interviewer was obviously milking the less fortunate aspects of Brian's life saying "The fans want to know" and other crap like that.

    The interviewer asked Brian which Smile song was his favorite and Brian answered "Heros and Villains". When the interviewer asked why, Brian said "I like the melody".

    Innocence is its own defense. I love this guy. :)
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    I'm a big Pet Sounds fan, and I've listened to Smile about three times now.

    Well, it's very beautiful, but he's quite mad. I don't dig the Rain Man-esque rewrite of Good Vibrations. I know it's his song, but he got it right the first time.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I read that it was the keyboard player in the band he's working with now, who did virtually all the work on putting it together - like a "Labour of Love" - because Brian's mind is shot to pieces.

    So if you were cynical, you might say that ....really it's a pretty obscure band latching on to a big name to make money and further their careers, which would otherwise have remained obscure, as that type of music isn't the 'flavour of the month'? :meh:
  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    He performed the song Heroes and Villians last night on Leno, I thought it was a cool song.
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Well, on The Insider's interview, Brian says that he was approached by his wife and his manager, who said they thought the world was ready to hear the Smile music, and Brian agreed. He also mentions that he feels a lot of anxiety because of the pressure to write and live up to his name. He's not exactly prolific these days.

    So the album is coming out under some weird circumstances and it's not really a Beach Boys album, as it says "Brian Wilson Presents". His keyboard player is called "musical secretary", but the extent of his influence on the final product is hard to tell, as the album was already in a pretty advanced stage when the project was canned all those years ago.

    Still, it'll probably be at least as good as Smiley Smile the album they actually released back then. That's one crazy record...
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I saw that. He is the creepiest performer I have ever seen. I don't know what it was. Everytime they had a shot of him looking into the camera with his hands up like a raptor, horror filled me like no Beach Boy related horror has filled me before. Pretty cool in a way overdone sense.
  9. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    That got a laugh out of me.

    I think the reason for the odd looks and hand raised was because he was counting/signaling the changes. I only heard half the song and I believe there were 8 changes.

    Also he has had major problems with drugs and insanity during his life, so I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't put together 100% correctly.
  10. I think this was the album that finally drove him over the edge.

    I caught him on Leno last night, too... staggering to think that one mind could recognize that all those disparate ideas constituted a single piece of music. Definitely blurred the line between genius and insanity.

    Did anyone notice that he didn't play his piano at all during the performance?
  11. maybe in another 30 or so years Axl will release Chinese Democracy.

  12. By that time, he'll have fieldy on bass and tremonti on guitar.
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Absolutely no relevance whatsoever.
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    That was another really creepy part.

    He also ended the performace deadpanning, "That's all folks."

    Drugs are bad mmmkay. Music was very theatrical with it's 30 person harmony vocals in a rock/jazz sense... very weird.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I guess I just caught the rerun of this about 10 minutes ago. Pat O'Brian was the interviewer...he sez he's been a friend of Wilson's for the past 20 years; the parts I saw didn't appear like he was trying to milk Wilson's less fortunate aspects.
    Anyway, in this show Wilson looked totally lucid & sharp...unlike the recent Bass Player interview.
  16. I had the privilege of being at one of the shows for Smile's live debut here in London. It was a very interesting piece of work although parts of it were beyond weird... one of my colleagues brought me to see it as he knew I was into progressive music, and he went to FOUR of the shows (and apparently there were people who went to all of them).
  17. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    There was a really good piece on NPR's "Fresh Air" show a few weeks back in which Smile was discussed and people involved with the record were interviewed.

    Might wanna check it out, you can probably find it in an archive on
  18. Showtime is playing a documentary titled "Beautiful Dreamer" about the abandoned Smile and it's revival. It is well worth watching as it offer a lot of insight about the times, band politics and other good, bad, and ugly details.
  19. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I thought Bassplayer shouldn't have made that a cover story, pretty useless interview IMHO.
  20. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I just got the disc & it's outstanding IMO. I'd heard much of the music (it's pretty much all been available piecemeal) but when you hear it all assembled, the segues, changes in production, varying tempos etc. it comes across as a real masterwork. It sounds like pop music, but goes way beyond. Sure some of it seems a bit silly or dated, but placed in it's historical context it was an honest effort to expand the horizons of pop music.

    I was also impressed with the recording & production - not slavish recreations but very true in spirit to the original tracks. It's certainly more adventurous & satisfying than most of the stuff that gets released these days.... :rolleyes: