Sunday, June 26, 2005


I just watched the documentary Beautiful Dreamer, which is about Brian Wilson and Smile. And considering I'm pretty well acquainted with the story behind the original Smile sessions, it's a surprisingly moving film.

What struck me is how back in '66 and early '67 young Brian, Van Dyke Parks and all these studio musicians were having a great time making this fantastic, boundary-busting music.

But the whole dynamic changed when The Beach Boys, who had been touring in England, returned. It's a story that's been told lots of times: how Mike Love interrogated Van Dyke about each line in "Surf's Up" and "Cabin Essence," etc.

Basically The Beach Boys tore down what Brian had built.

Zap forward to this decade and you have Brian with a new band (actually most of these guys have been backing him since at least 2000.) Brian announces he'll be doing Smile live in London in early 2004.

And then the demons start coming back. Brian's practically paralyzed with fears and depression.

But this time, it's his band that gave him love and support, encouragement and the strength to do it -- like The Beach Boys should have done in '67. By the end of the movie you really have affection for these guys, especially the keyboardist with the Lyle Lovett hair, Darian Shanaja.

And for the record, Mike Love should be tortured by dwarves.

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