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Carol Kaye Discusses Brian Wilson

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by DeanT, May 1, 2009.

  1. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    Geez. In one forum post, Carol Kaye manages to trash just about every prominent musician of the '60s-'70s, the music industry, Rock & Roll and Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

    Check out my post below and laugh, or cry maybe.

    The funniest part is where she says the music business started to decline when she stopped accepting so many recoding dates in the '70s.

    Yes she's a talented musician. Yes she was an innovator. Yes she played on a ton of hits and probably improved a lot of them with her "instantly made up" bass lines. But, man, the ego of that woman is out of control.
  2. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Can't read it unless you're a member. I wish you could repost, but I don't know if that's legal.
  3. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    copy and paste it? it cant be seen unless youre registered
  4. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Link requires a login.
  5. jcullen24


    Apr 11, 2009
    Denton, TX
    Gotta login, which means I would have to register. She trashes Brian Wilson? :meh:

    Copy paste it here. Oh use the "Quote Post" that way you're giving her credit.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'll be honest with you. I think she got so many gigs because she embraced the electric bass before a lot of others. There were dozens of studio cats who could have been just as much of an innovator as she was had they decided to take up the electric and not look down their nose at it. Once she became known as the elctric bass "go to person", she was set, even after many more (and some better) electric bassists came along. I too think she is/was talented, but I also agree that her ego outweighs even her talent.
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I have wondered for a few years already if she is quite mentally "right". Like maybe she's in the early stages of dementia or something. Nobody who's 100% in their right mind would make some of the statements and claims I've seen attributed to her, and it seems to be getting worse. Anyone who would say something like that about Brian Wilson (especially after working with him and seeing his talent first hand).... well...
  8. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Hopefully the OP will cut and paste the article.
  9. JumboJack


    Dec 31, 2007
  10. jcullen24


    Apr 11, 2009
    Denton, TX
    Yeah it's pretty interesting that she might write two contradictory articals about Brian.
  11. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    Sorry about that.

    You can register for free.

    But in case you don't want to here's the post. It's long though. The post is in response to a question asked whether she played bass on the Beach Boys' song "Darling." She says she didn't.

    "Thanks Craig, I think you're right as I never recorded at Brian's home at all - was always tied up on other record dates and film calls all the time....but some of our studio musicians did....not all were the "BB group" at all, and in fact it could have been Bruce once in awhile, but more likely Ray Pohlman, as I kept hearing stories about the baby powder in the front room, and them recording in an empty pool etc....think Brian was really into his drug stages then. Bruce was not much of a bass player - he's a live stage player (you don't have to be good on-stage, it's all show, just sing some!), but Ray was tho' he never played 16th notes, etc.

    I know people like to talk about this stuff...but not me, I was there to work, then I went on to another producer, another artist, another date doing 2-3-4 dates a day....the minute you walk out the door, you purposely put that music out of your head so you're fresh for the next date. It's just amazing to me and to others of our great group of top musicians how people just idolize certain people in the music business, when if they really learned the truth, they'd be nothing without us.

    As I've always said here, we did *everyone's" hits for them....Brian was a talented young man yes, but genius? When you work for the real geniuses in movie work, then you appreciate what genius really is.....none of that stuff would have reached the long-lasting heights it did without our bunch of musicians, even a hard-playing drummer like Hal Blaine (no, not one of the "best drummers" but he knew how to play hard, we bass players held him in a certain groove, that was our job as Joe Osborn later stated about holding him in time in a magazine article later on).

    When our group of musicians eased out of the record business in the late 1970s, that's when the business started dying....no-one or nothing could take our place (most of us going into film work or back into live playing). And so you have the recording business the way it is today. People don't like to hear this truth, it completely blows away their fantasy about their "idols" who they worship, but it's the real deal about the recording of those records. To those who get angry when I say this, "get over it"...most do in a short time after being told the truth.

    This fantasy was *carefully crafted* by record companies (planting stories in the news media, still being done today!) so the public would have that idolization....that sells records. I doubt if the public knew who we were and what we really did, they'd have the record sales (and dont' forget the *re-issues* and repackaging of old recordings that are keeping most record co's afloat these days too). The public wouldn't buy records by musicians who frowned as they recorded, were as old as the buyers' parents, black and white mixed (in the race bigotry tumult of the 1960s) and done by "jazz musicians"....and one girl! Why you never saw our names on the backs of albums.

    About those recordings we did in the late 1950s, all of the 1960s and part of the 1970s, what people hear are the finished product. They have no idea (in 1960s recordings) of what all studio musicians had to do to make it all sound good in the first place -- the boredom, the energy (aaah studio coffee that eats plastic spoons) for each take, and the tedium of waiting for Brian to make up his mind what he wanted to do, - not being experienced in what he did, it took him a *lot of time* to do what he did, experimenting all the way etc. - we always had to HELP HIM! ....that's there plus the testiness because NO-ONE, no hard-working studio musicians (#1 call musicians) were getting much sleep those years....glad those years are gone, now back to some real playing.

    Probably (with all the time involved for 1 song per 3 hour date (normal is 4-5 tunes per 3-hour date) that's why no-one really saw the deterioration of Brian with his drug-uses (you didn't physically see the drugs in the studio at all) from which sadly he'd never quite recover....all of us were cock-eyed from lack of sleep for years by that time, lucky to be awake to do the next take, I kid you not.

    Brian was the only producer-arranger who wrote his own bass lines in all the studio work I did, I made up my own lines on everything else. Brian's home stuff had Hal Blaine on drums and usually Ray Pohlman on bass, the grit of the rhythm section...some other studio musicians were involved in that scene too....I heard them talking about it and they're on Musicians' Union contracts as spoken about in the past.

    You can't confuse singing with playing, they simply were *not* musician enough to play that solid for hit recordings back then like Perry Botkin says on the film clip on my home-page. No 3-chord untrained, inexperienced, beginner player could ever come close to trying to do anything like what we did.

    Experienced pros who played 100s of gigs over years and years of live playing, big bands, combos etc. some into the more complex jazz, and up to that point some 1,000s of record dates? Compare that experience of regularly working recording experienced musicians (finest musicians in the world) to what the novice Beach Boys could do (beginner musicians), I'm sure you can add it up. Even with simple music, in recording it still takes experience to lay down great recordings.

    Have you heard of Milli-Vanilli? That's exactly what we all were doing for years, that the public never found out about.

    See some of my bass credits in LIBRARY. Also, see the FAQ pages in Library for more stories about recording musicians' studio life. I'm tired of pussy-footing around about the truth, because of peoples' mistaken beliefs and their feelings if they knew their idols didn't record their own things...it's time the public knew the truth and especially that the young guys back then had no idea of what they were doing, if they didn't have us, there would have been NO 60s....."

    Yes, it's weird because she usually has good things to say about working with Brian. In the book "Wouldn't it Be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds" she has very complimentary things to say about Brian and the Pet Sounds sessions.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Interesting comments she made about Joe Osborn and Hal Blaine, there.
  13. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Well she does say she's tired of pussy-footing around.
  14. Carol Kaye was/is a great studio musician. Studied & taught music. She could read the charts and parts. No doubt she was very professional in the studio and had every reason to be on a 'first call' list.
    I always thought Brian Wilson was more of a naturally gifted musician. He just heard music.
    But sometimes people who have a great musical gift lack other skills, some of them social. Just look at Brian Wilson. Great music, weird guy. Maybe Carol's the same way.
    And maybe Carol is a little testy from being asked for the 10 millionth time about her studio history.
  15. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    OK, so where does she trash Brian. She says "Brian was a talented young man yes, but genius?" and that's as close to "trashing him" as she gets. She also says that "Brian was the only producer-arranger who wrote his own bass lines in all the studio work I did, I made up my own lines on everything else." That's pretty high praise in my estimation.

    The problem to me is that she seems to often have some tunnel vision. She's looking at a very narrow band of commercial pop music when she says things like "...they simply were *not* musician enough to play that solid for hit recordings back then ...". And she'd be right I think, in many respects. That same basic group of people played on the first Byrds' album (except for Roger McGuinn's electric 12-string, according to both McGuinn and David Crosby, none of The Byrd's played on either "Mr. Tambourine Man" nor "Turn, Turn, Turn". Crosby at least in 1970 went further to say it was the whole first album).

    And that follows to her description of the downfall of recording when the Wrecking Crew et. al. got out of the biz. It's not just that those folks started doing less work, it's that many of the bands they'd have done work for started having good musicians. Why bring in Larry Knetchel when you already have Richard Carpenter?

    If you limit the scope to commercial pop music, you're talkng going from The Wrecking Crew working on "Good Vibrations", "I Got You", "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" to Jessica and her sister Simpson, Milli Vanilli, etc.

  16. Beyer160


    Dec 20, 2008
    Personally, I always felt that the "Wrecking Crew" LA sound was dated and sterile... the '60s stuff I love is more original sounding music like Hendrix, The Who, Neil Young, The MC5, etc. Imagine the LA crew playing on "Are You Experienced?" or "Kick Out The Jams"?
  17. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    I agree. Her accomplishments are well known and not in dispute (by me at least).

    But she was asked a question on her own forum (and similar questions previously) and continually trashes people she worked with and has previously spoken well about.

    She makes no bones about the fact that she's a Jazz musician and that Rock & Roll is a "lesser" form of music.
  18. azarias


    Mar 19, 2009
    Many folks as they age stop nicely covering for folks and start telling the truth.
    Or maybe she is bitter about something...who knows.
    I am not surprised though. I could never tolerate any of his music.
    One of my best friends calls him a genius. /shrug
    Too each his own
  19. Beyer160


    Dec 20, 2008
    The Byrds (except McGuinn) didn't play on the 45 of "Mr. Tambourine Man", but McGuinn says they did play on the album- which, if you listen to the clunky bass lines, I believe.
  20. jcullen24


    Apr 11, 2009
    Denton, TX
    Hmm to me, in that one post she seems to have contradicted herself on Brian. I'm done, I have much respect, and I don't like bad mouthing anyone.

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