On Brian Wilson and Paul Simon, with other comments

if anyone missed the obvious love paul simon has for brian, may i suggest a second look/listen? his 'surfer girl' is bold testament to it. it is an incredible arrangement of a simple, profound, and very beautiful song.... and one, i might add, that is not easy to alter even minimally, without sounding ridiculous. simons' arrangement of the tune shows forth world-class musicianship, an unfaltering sense of taste, and yes, a deep and undeniable affection and even love for brian and his music. it is a miraculous restatement. to imply that there is a sense of professional jealousy in simon is a stretch of operatic proportion.

both of these men have given large and durable bodies of work to the world. neither one of them have to worry about riding coach any time soon. both are deep and sensitive songwriters. i feel certain that there is much more respect and admiration between them than any feelings of rivalry.

i have listened to and loved the music of the boys since '68 or so. as a kid, i was immediately attracted to the vocal arrangements and the deep sense of melancholy i found in the ballads. songs like 'in my room' had a huge influence on my interior makeup (incidentally, i went on to become a touring and recording musician, and still am. i have had a good career thus far, which includes two grammy wins in '87 and '88). brians songs induced a powerful feeling in me, even at that young age.... it's an indescribable and very expansive view of a world that, in the ensuing years, i was never able to find.... and i think that, for me, the elusive nature of the feelings and places the music would take me very much intensified the experience. it is an ancient and solitary place, marked by a sense of deep and poetic yearning. it is a state of mind i can return to at will, the experience of which is made that much more poignant when augmented by the actual music.

i left the fold for awhile in the '70s.... not really left, more like pursued other areas of music....and when i began to retrace what brian had done in the '70s, i was shocked and mesmerized. the first record i explored in that period was 'smiley'... it was like a revelation. in particular, i remember that' vegetables' made a mighty impression on me. it was so different, and yet it had that same ability to transport me instantly to the place inside that brians' music always had.

from that point onward, i was never far from the music.... in fact, there were times, particularly when touring overseas, that brians music would quite literally get me thru the tour. i would put on my headphones and listen to pet sounds, and manage to make it thru another day. 'surfs up' is an astonishingly beautiful record that leaves me speechless and more human every time i hear it. it is pure and unfettered poetry in sound; conceived in heart, made real by soul, and etched forever into my being.


July 13, 2001

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