On The Issue of Brian not Writing his own Charts.

Carol Kaye as related to Gus Russo

Carol Kaye:  Hi Gus, nice to hear from you.  That's a crock if anyone tries
to say that Brian didn't write his own stuff....he certainly did!!

At first he didn't from what Ray Pohlman (the first bassist for Brian on
his very early things, just a couple of record dates tho' before I was
hired to record for Brian on guitar a few dates and then was on the rest
of his dates, all but his home-cut dates and just a couple of cuts on
Pet Sounds, I was heavily booked towards that time by others in the
studio work.

Brian brought in the hand-written charts and the charts were NOT copied
by some copyist as was usual in those days by that time (from about 1964
on)....the notes were on the wrong sides of the stem sometimes, sharps
and flats on wrong side, and the charts were writtin in sharp keys
instead of the usual flat keys (F# for instance instead of Gb) -- this
all belied a very crude and illiterate way of writing.  Sometimes the
charts were so badly written, we'd have to re-write them over, no
problem....we admired Brian so much we'd quickly do it and not say a
word about it.....we always had our pencils on all recording dates (see
data attachments I'll be sending you) to mark down any lick we'd invent
anyway to remember that lick in certain places of the chord chart or
written music.....you quickly forget the licks while recording

Brian would come out of the booth if we'd have a question about the
music and he'd write in a change if necessary....it was most-certainly
BRIAN'S CHARTS, he wrote them, and would change the chart right there if
necessary....all the writing was his writing.

I did notice that Don Randi sometimes would say while we'd be
interviewed on a radio or a film interview that he "invented his part"
but Don had no idea of what was going on with the guitar charts, bass
charts, horn charts, etc. and you won't hear Mike Melvoin, Pete Jolly,
etc. other pianists Brian used saying that.

Hal Blaine was mostly free to do what he wanted on the dates, but the
horn parts (and Plas Johnson will tell you this too) and other parts
were written by Brian himself, same crudely written parts....Brian was
never schooled in writing music except from his high school music class.

Those things are easy for me to remember -- other young men (like Jan of
Jan & Dean, Gary Usher, etc.) I worked for didn't write like Brian
did....we had to make up parts, altho' they'd pay to have chord charts
written, but no notes etc.).  Other dates like with Rosemary Clooney,
Andy Williams, Bobby Darin, Ray Charles, etc. all had written charts
with even notes written for idea lines to play, and certainly the horn
parts were written out (and copyists in Hollywood were working around
the clock copying out all the parts too)....but Brian wrote out his own
parts, crudely written, and once inawhile if there was a question, he'd
sometimes come out of the booth and write in some different notes right
there, same handwriting.


Carol:  Steve Douglas (the most-working saxman in Hollywood - he did all the
what we call "chicken-sax" soloings) contracted me to play some guitar on
some of their early recordings with the fine Ray Pohlman (L.A. studio No. 1
bassist since the mid 50s) on bass on all those early record dates ("Surfin?
Safari" etc.).

Brian switched us starting with (I think, but could have been slightly
earlier) "Help Me Rhonda" and then I played all the Fender Bass parts
with Ray on guitar - we were professionals, Ray was gracious - he did the 3
tunes on the Pet Sounds lp I'm not playing on:  "I Know
There's An Answer", "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", and "Here

All the notes Brian wanted us to play came from his creative genius but
being somewhat illiterate in music writing, we would have to sometimes
rewrite his handwritten parts to be able to read them well.

I always liked Brian who was super clean, confident, happy, mixing the board
after Chuck the engineer set it up -- the TV & movie story on him was
atrocious, not the Brian I knew and so false, it was almost funny but tragic
that so much slander gets out - totally false - he's a good person, very
happy and strong in the studios, great to work for.

He could have gone on to be one of our great movie composers but I think he
was happy just doing records.

His usual musicians were: Hal Blaine on drums, Don Randi keyboards,
Steve Douglas - Jay Migliori & Plas Johnson saxes, Lyle Ritz on string
bass a lot of the time, guitars were Billy Strange (hot solos), Glen
Campbell, Bill Pitman, Lou Morell, Tommy Tedesco, Barney Kessel, Howard
Roberts, and later Ray Pohlman usually too.

Brian did all the producing/arranging/mixing/writing/ & some vocals, and
only Carl Wilson would sometimes play a little guitar (rhythm) part plugging
directly into the board in the booth at Western (some Beach Boy?s stuff was
cut at Gold Star too).   The others would stop in once in a while to say
hello and listen a little to playbacks and then leave.

I respected Brian very much altho? like Phil Spector, we worked us long
hours - he was great to us and I think we helped him grow in his music
knowing that we admired him and respected him so much.

His talent was enormous, being influenced by the Four Freshmen.  We cut
Pet Sounds LP at Western and some at Gold Star Studios.  We also cut
Sloop John B., Good Vibrations, Calif. Girls, Wouldn?t it Be Nice, Heroes
and Villains, Calif. Girls etc. most of Pet Sounds at Western.

The last recording I did for Brian was a thing called "Fire" (cut at
Gold Star), his best thing yet.  He wrote the cellos to sound exactly
like a fire engine (the piece being a portrayal of the great Chicago
fire) and artistry skills were accelerating into classical-type music,
just gorgeous writing, realistic sounding.

We didn?t question him when he wanted some construction sounds for the
"re-building" part if his suite -- we did get paid well to operate
jackhammers (Lyle Ritz did that), sawing, hammering, riveting etc. -- this
was kind of fun.....  It?s too bad he scrapped this masterpiece.

Around 1969 I decided to quit doing record dates for about 7 mos. and
when I resumed studio work later, I didn't want to work all the rock and
roll dates -- opted for more movie/TV film work and just the record
dates I wanted, being tired of the ever increasing mundane formula
things with the various groups, and quit Brian also unfortunately as I
cared a lot for Brian.

He and Marilyn, his wife, were guests at my house (he loved my special
roller-back chair, good for backs) like regular people and we'd just
hang out and talk, watch TV some....  I know they had fun at one of my
rare dinner hangout parties when they were inspecting the mike that was
underneath a new bidet I had just installed (pretty racy huh for the

Phil Spector and scores of musicians came - but Phil took one look at
the dancing and hilarity going on and excused himself to a back bedroom
to talk to my kids and just eat chicken, and drink milk.  So much for
the "wild" Hollywood party at my house.

Anyway, the record scene was soon being taken over by attorneys,
accountants, and other type people in 1969, it was forever changing and
creativeness was bowing to money-minded people who didn?t believe the old
"money would come" if records were created well.

Brian was a very sensitive person and maybe this had something to do
with the following tough years for him (note:  when I first wrote this,
I had no idea of the past family problems Brian had with his father) --
we did know that the Beach Boys sold more records that the Beatles, and
the Beach Boys seemed like such a good bunch of guys and certainly so
for Brian Wilson.


Carol:   The pick sound worked great, especially when it came to the 16ths
-- and the down-up 8/8 picking technique came in handy for that, down-up-up
for the fast triplets -- was even and dynamic and recorded very well, plus
the feeling came off well.  They stopped using 2 basses in the middle 60s
but a few like Brian kept using 2 basses (usually) until late 60s and indeed
with the date we all did for Brian last year, he used a string bass with me
on that one too interestingly enough.

Our bunch (no we weren't called the "wrecking crew" back then - we were all
freelance studio musicians, all independent of each other) did
so much to make the music happen, not only in performance (really intense)
but creatively also -- a fact that is just now emerging.  They were an
experienced bunch, usually fine jazz musicians in the rhythm sections and
fine big-band horn men, with 3-4  country musicians mixed in too like Al
Casey, James Burton etc.

We never believed that music would last more than 10 years, but we must
have done something right.  We did care about the music, were very
professional on the dates, and tried to pull all kinds of rabbits out of the
hat to make a hit out of some very mediocre music sometimes (and won't say
much about a lot of singers, am sure you know what I mean).

 Brian as you know, wrote his parts out, and this endeared him to us, he was
also fun to work for, was totally demanding which we loved -- he wanted the
best from us and we work the best under those conditions.

Q:  Some of the music you recorded with Brian Wilson has an eternal,
spiritual quality, touching the listener in a special way to evoke strong
feelings, even tears. What are your general reflections about playing that
music and how it made you feel.

Carol:  Chris, all we heard of the melody was Brian sitting down at the
piano,playing it and singing it once or twice to give us the feel.  The rest
of the time he spent in the booth (after engineer Chuck Britz set up the
board, Brian then exclusively worked the board -- once in awhile asking
Chuck some questions, or enlisting his help, but Brian "did it all" really).
So we never quite knew how the melody went in relation to the background
basic tracks that we recorded.  And it was usually 1 tune per 3-hour session
(not the usual 4 or 5 tunes per 3-hour session that we did with other
accounts as we called them).

Only Phil Spector worked like that -- 1 tune per 3-hour date, so Brian took
his time and experimented a lot, changed the arrangement around a lot, etc.
He had the bass parts always written out note-for-note and had some decent
chord charts for everyone else, but also wrote out special parts for the sax
players, vibes, or whoever else read some charts too.  He gave ideas to
people on the dates like Billy Strange (guitar players) who would then make
up lines according to Brian's wishes -- you have to understand, these were
the top recording musicians in the world that Brian hired for his dates, it
was easy for everyone to instantly come up with the kinds of lines Brian
wanted (if he didn't have them written out which he usually did).

And of course we knew he was extremely talented -- he had his own ideas for
the music he wanted, and could write them out.  By the time we played the
music down a few times, we really had no idea (would forget) how the tune
went, so we really had no clue as to what was going on top of all the music.

We just knew that the tracks were solid, and Brian was excellent in his
producing role.  He was strong, self-possessed as to his direction, he
really knew what he wanted, no wavering there at all.  And he was good to
work for, no pandering or false pats on the back, he was real and handled
himself very well -- strong, disciplined, and with his growing talent, we
felt completely at ease on his dates.  We wanted to see him "make it" as we
watched his talents grow fast, it became evident this was no ordinary kid
who just happened to have a few surf-rock hits, he had signs of enormous
talent growing by leaps and bounds.  We felt privileged to be on his dates.

But we really had no idea of what was happening much of the time as to what
his vision was of the "final" outcome of the recording.  You're sort of
flying blind when all you're doing is the basic tracks, which in themselves
were kind of neat.  But aside from Good Vibrations (we figured out the
melody as we all did 12 dates on that one), Sloop John B and we spent some
time on God Only Knows, and a few others, we had no idea of what the tune
even was.  So no "spiritual" thing really happened as we were cutting these,
we didn't experience anything like that, just speaking for myself, but
knowing what Hal Blaine and others have said in the past along this subject
too.  We just did the tracks.

Q:  It's nice to hear the tracks only versions on the Pet Sounds Box, to
help get a picture of your piece of the puzzle.  What was it like hearing
the finished tracks with the vocals mixed in?

Carol:  We never heard them unless we tuned into the radio which most of the
time we couldn't as we were too busy working in the studios.  We were
recording day and night and unless we listened to the radio on the way to
work but the drive-time was very short back then, not many cars on the road,
so you didn't hear much music.  Mostly we never listened to music on the way
home, we never wanted to hear another note of music after recording 10-16
hours a day  every day of the week in the studios  - that silence was

Later on tho' when I heard the vocals I tho't that Brian was a genius for
being able to put all that together and while some of us heard the finished
product, I don't think (from what I remember) that the rest did.  His music
was better and better we noticed as we recorded for him, his ideas were

Sometimes on the play-backs, Brian would sing a little of the melody and
we'd think "that's nice", but that was kind of rare.  We knew he had some
big big hits and were happy for him for sure, but you have to understand,
everyone got big big hits with us recording for them, so it wasn't unusual.

Brian was special, he was one of the young crowd of people who really knew
what he was doing, and we admired him.  The rest of the Beach Boys would
just pop in, say hello, listen to a playback for a minute, hear Hal Blaine
tell one of his jokes, and we'd wave good-bye to them.  They were always
friendly, happy about the recordings which meant a lot of money to them.

Once in a great while, Carl was in the booth, plugged directly into the
console and record some guitar (I remember him playing some elec. 12-string
rhythm on one date) but his presence is not noted on the Musician's Union
contracts, only Brian knows which dates Carl played on.  Carl was very nice,
kind of a quiet very young guy -- the whole thing was run by Brian who
altho' he was pensive at times, was very out-going and an extrovert kind of
person mostly.  But he had his silent times too.

Q:   You obviously have a lot of respect for Brian as a person, and he
clearly feels the same, saying this about you in a current interview at ET
Online - "She taught me how to make a more energetic beat where the beats
were stronger and impressive. It made my music easier to tap your foot to.
Made a better beat. And then I microphoned her right in the center of  her
amp. I got the best of her playing and the best of her tone by the way I
microphone her. Her playing turned me on to want to write songs with good
bass lines-- which is a creativity of how you tie your notes together."

I know you've given Brian credit for being the first to acknowledge the
studio musicians for their contributions, it must be nice to hear that you
influenced his songwriting.

Carol:   Well, that was a nice surprise -- but kind of felt that we all sort
of influenced Brian.  When you're locked up with the tape recorder going and
there's some lull, you know, musicians will be musicians. We're either going
to be silly, or jam a little or both and Brian loved being around that I
think, not that he let us know he was picking up anything, or was even
listening.  Brian would put people on faster than anyone (hmm...wonder where
he got that? :-).

But Brian is Brian, and while he is gracious with credits, I have to say
we'd do that on other dates -- and they didn't grow so much like Brian, so
you have to put credit where credit is due -- altho', guitarists like Billy
Strange, Glen Campbell, Howard Roberts, Barney Kessel, Tommy Tedesco, Bill
Pitman, sax players like Jay Migliori, Steve Douglas, drummers like Hal
Blaine, Earl Palmer played on a couple, pianists like Mike Melvoin, Larry
Knechtel, Pete Jolly, Don Randi, percussionists like Emil Richards, Gene
Estes, Victor Feldman, Frankie Capp -- it took all these great talents (and
talk about cutting-up, the comedians could have gotten tons of material
there) to make those hits, and while I think Brian is wonderful to say
something about me, it was all these guys who influenced Brian, all of us
together, not just one or two people etc.

It was a "zoo" in the studio, a wonderful zoo of the best people he put
together -- he couldn't help it but grow, he had the talent and the suave
and he was a great guy to work for, extremely professional..

Q:  I love the descriptions of the zoo! And looking forward to your book to
read more about that incredible time. In the same Q & A, Brian says this:
     "The benefit of the live way gives you more room spirit-- the spirit of
the musician. Now [digitally] you can take one note and one channel at a
time and balance it. The computer remembers everything you do. But you can't
duplicate the room spirit. You can get just as good a sound the digital way.
I'm starting to think about doing it live again-- live recording. I want to
recapture that spirit that used to be there. There was the cooperation. I
could hear people working together on the project. I had a good time doing
that. It's not as happy digitally-- but you have more control over the
overall   mix. That's the advantage of the new way."

Carol:  Brian is absolutely right!  Nothing like the spirits all together,
so much energy, so much communion and that's what music is about -- you had
people from all races (an American Indian too), all religions, all parts of
the country and different ways of thinking and past experiences as
professional musicians, that's what everyone hears on the 60s recordings.
Brian said it perfectly -- you can't get that with one at a time no matter
how "convenient" that may be.

 That's "power" then in the hands of the producer and engineer, and I don't
mind them having their share too, but everyone has got to start to realize
you can't have great music without great musicians -- Brian knows that very
well. And he was the first of his crowd to recognize the value of great
musicianship too, and GIVE US CREDIT for it, that's how wise he is. But of
course his real fans know this about Brian.

Q:  When you did the session for Everything I Need on The Wilsons album, was
it done the live way? What were your emotions, working with Brian again?

Carol:  It was very emotional to see Brian, here we all were, joking, saying
silly things to keep from getting too emotional -- he looked great, we all
felt great, almost too much like a party tho', we finally settled in to get
some work done, and of course it was all "live" for the basic rhythm track.
Tommy Morgan was there tho' at the laying down of the basic track so he did
overdub, but the feelings of all of us were
there with him, so that's all I saw and then I had to leave for the long
drive home - it felt good.

I was living far away at that time (am in the LA area now of course).  It
was a great feeling on that track, maybe a hit, but certainly a top 20 thing
that was somehow diluted with later overdubs by another person
unfortunately.  Brian was in complete control for that basic track, and his
stamp was definitely there, we loved it, he loved it, his mother and his
wife loved it, Tony Asher loved it, etc.

Q:  Hal Blaine has also said the same thing about the track Brian recorded
being really dynamite, but diluted somewhere along the line. Still a great
song though.

Carol:  Well, I don't think it would have been qiuite a No. 1 hit like Hal
has stated, but it certainly could have done something nice on the charts
for his daughters if there weren't any dilutional add-ons that were done.
Brian should have been in charge of anything that was over-dubbed on that
record, not just "consulted" as he had to work with someone else's ideas of
production then, just my personal feelings about it all.  It did have a nice
feel.  Hal really got worked up over it all, really angry.

Q:  Along the same lines of great music that we never got to hear, you
worked on Smile with Brian, and quite a lot of music was written and
recorded. You once wrote: "I was listening to some tapes recently and found
my voice all over that, laughing teasing the guys, etc. But Brian, that will
give you goosebumps any day, no wonder his fans are so fanatical, that music
is direct from heaven, the big guy is something else all right."

Carol:  I know Brian is sick of talking about it, but so many agree that
it's "heavenly" that it seems there will always be some interest in it. The
tracks on the Beach Boys Box Set are incredible - those must have been
quite unique sessions for you.

The Smile cuts, when I went back to check them out, just hit me how much
Brian had grown back in those days and I thought as I listened to them (I'm
very analytical, have producing ears and always listen not only for pleasure
but for chart-making possibilities too) how even greater were these cuts
than the ones in PET SOUNDS for the higher plane that Brian was starting to
compose and produce on.  I don't think he could go any higher without some
sort of education in writing, orchestrating etc.

There's only so much you can do even with the great talent that he inately
has, was born with, without schooling to develop that talent further -- he,
in my mind, is another great budding classical genius, one who already has
made the history books - he's another Mozart, Bach, etc. but you need more
musical education for more creativity, he
should go to take at least some private lessons in composition to grow into
the kinds of writings he's reaching for -- that's just my personal

I know that he's successful in pop writings, that's a given and even today
he's capable of putting out some decent pop recordings (Your Imagination per
example and even that would have been a lot better in my opinion with just
Brian at the producing helm -- he knows what a great recording should sound
like and where is the "bottom" on that record?  He had nothing to do with
the producing per contract. While it's a nice record I think, Brian wouldn't
do things like that if he had control, I know he'd love a hit.  He has time,
he's still very young in terms of years, and attitudes about music career

Q:  Were the Smile sessions conducted similar to Pet Sounds? For instance,
was Mrs. O'Leary's Cow something Brian had all the parts written out or in
his head, or did it evolve with input from the musicians?

Carol:  That was later on of course.  Brian kept working a lot (from what I
can remember) and there were pieces of tunes that we'd record, but that was
getting to be his style of producing and it was fine with us.  He hired us,
and whatever he wanted to record, of course.

By this time, he was writing out more and more parts, becoming "the
arranger/orchestrator" pretty much all the time.  No, not much feed-back
from musicians and in fact, from the times I recorded with him from the
beginning (almost), he didn't rely on the studio musicians for many "ideas",
but sometimes some feedback "Brian do you want me to do this, or play it
that way -- (demonstrating on their instruments)?"  So that's the extent of
"ideas" besides the occasional jamming for about 5 min. he'd hear from us --
a little noodling on the side.

When you get a bunch of heavy fine musicians in the studios, we're usually
kind of quiet, but after an hour or two of the same song, ideas do start to
come from the musicians once we hear the tune down a few times (bear in
mind, it's not "the tune" we'd hear, he only would play that once or twice
to give us the feel for the tune, we really couldn't remember what the tune
sounded like after that, but the track was building a certain momentum of
its own for us, so by "tune" I mean the track here).  I think we influenced
his growth a lot, just by being around the creative studio musicians, the
little music he'd hear from us (of course he was highly influenced by the
finished products of Phil Spector too, we'd also create some on Phil's
dates), and the pure pleasure he had in respect and time in the studio he
had -- it was total
freedom for him, he could do anything he wanted with all the toys of
recording at his disposal.

He spent time in the studio booth trying this sound, trying this recording
technique, etc., he was "hot", on fire, and could go home and write a lot --
I think he was very inspired to have this much backing from the record
company, the studio musicians, the friendly help of Chuck Britz the engineer
alongside of him, explaining this to him, and just being his side-kick while
he did the knobs himself, plus the admiration of all in the music business,
this fostered his growth more than any one thing.

Russ Wapensky (the researcher of the Union contracts for his book about the
studio musicians who did the hits of the 50s and 60s) told me that Ray
Pohlman had said that the studio musicians "made up the parts" for Brian.
Well, this must have been before I recorded for Brian, as I saw a little of
that, especially among the guitarists (rhythm, some parts maybe) and
certainly Don Randi spoke of making up parts for Brian, and this could have
been the way he played the chords, etc., but what I saw is that Brian
definitely had his own ideas for lines, came in with written parts (altho'
they weren't copied, they were legible -- sometimes we'd have to re-write
them) -- that is what I saw.

That most of the parts were written by Brian - you knew he wrote practically
all the notes we played, and certainly all the bass parts (except for one
lick I got in on one tune).

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow was part of the "Fire" sessions, I think just at Gold
Star Recorders.  By that time, he had them highly-arranged and all written
out....(one particular date there at Gold Star), how the music Brian wrote
made it sound like a fire and then fire engines.  That amazed me, I knew he
could score movies with no problem from then on.  I tho't that Smile was
much better than Pet Sounds, altho' it took me until just lately to listen
to the two albums and discern that.  After you record things, you never
"look back", you don't sit around and listen to them. Being a jazz musician,
I totally listen to jazz (and a little classical).

Brian's things are the "only" recordings I sometimes listen to besides
"Feelin' Alright", the hit I cut with Joe Cocker.  Studio musicians never
listen to things they cut.

So when I listened to all of Brian's recordings quite a bit there, I noticed
the genius that was emerging in the songs of Smile, and I think with just a
little work, Smile could have been his biggest album.  Pet Sounds is great,
no doubt about that, and we thought that at the time and weren't too
surprised that it wasn't a #1 selling item, he was too ahead of the public
on that one at that time for that to be No. 1, but certainly Smile took me
off-guard.  The beauty and depth of Smile is un-surpassed in my opinion.

For some reason, Brian doesn't want to be reminded of Smile, don't know
why.  Probably water under the dam.  But of that era, that was his greatest
work, and he wrote the music totally.

PS.  The Smile sessions were more piece-meal than Pet Sounds where we
worked tune by tune (altho' "Good Vibrations" was a separate tune, with 12
sessions, wkth the 1st discarded session recorded at Gold Star, the rest
were done at Western..yours truly on bass on those which includes the final
master).  Pieces of tunes cut rather than "whole tunes".  I always
thought that "Heroes And Villains" was the last big thing I did for Brian,
and this is probably so as now I see it was many dates long too and was the
anchor tune of Smile with its many different versions.

Q:  Heroes and Villains seemed to be a peak for Brian, with those great Van
Dyke Parks lyrics. Hearing all the parts that were left out makes it seem
like it was written almost like a symphony, with recurring themes and
departures. But there's a real magic in the song that was released, don't
you think?  Did Brian or Van Dyke play during the Smile sessions?

Carol:  Yes, I think there was a special magic, but also it seems to
represent an unusual time for Brian also.  He hit a big peak with the Smile
album and especially with Heroes And Villains.  I really don't remember if
Brian played on much of this or not, he could have and we just didn't see it
maybe was an overdub. I do remember seeing Van Dyke Parks around a lot of
the time during that period, and even worked for Van Dyke on occasion.

This seemed to be a good collaboration for Brian I guess --  I admire Van
Dyke for sticking up for Brian, being his friend when so much mud-slinging
in the news media was all but destroying Brian -- he had my undying
admiration for that.  And I think he is a good arranger etc.

 I didn't work for Brian after that, gave up recording completely for a few
months to get my publishing company authoring going, and was kind of tired
of playing on rock group recordings.  Stopped recording for 8 mos. to form
my publishing co. Gwyn Publishing, which quickly grew, and when I went back,
I purposely turned down most record dates, concentrating on the movie work
and TV films I had been doing right along since the mid 60s and just the
record dates I wanted to work, so unfortunately I didn't record for Brian
after that, but held him in high esteem for the fine recordings he did.

I just didn't want to do those kinds of things anymore, sadly.  Am so happy
to see him up and going and resuming his rightful career.

There were times I couldn't believe what was happening, all the stupid
stuff on TV, that wasn't the Brian I know.  And as for the Landy era, after
speaking to harmonica-playing Tommy Morgan and a few others, I understand
what happened, and that should not have happened.  He should have had
different people getting him back on track I think.  The music business can
be heartless when you're naive, thank God for better times now.  There's a
saying "the mice doth play while the cat's away" -- glad it's Meow time.

Q:  Brian does have some true friends and you're certainly one of them. Your
defenses of him in public forums on the web have shed a lot of light on the
motivation of writers who rely on sensationalism to sell their whatever,
when the true story is that here is a musician for the ages, who continues
to work in spite of what's said, and the work doesn't reflect insanity, but
love. And I want to thank you for that.

Carol:  Chris, thank-you for saying that.  Really I think that there is such
disparity between the public and how musicians really think and sometimes
great talents like Brian get misunderstood because they communicate on a
very different level.  We understand him perfectly -- all the different ways
he talks, because it is musician talk -- there's tons of subtleties and a
very deep almost psychic way of communicating that is very foreign to
non-musicians and read (judged) differently.

Brian talks and communicates like a jazz musician -- Frank Sinatra did too
-- and you have a tendency to protect that part of your musicianship that is
so precious to you (as important as breathing).

It's not a "temperamental" thing at all, and not a "spoiled" thing, not a
"better than you" type of thing either.  It's the part of you that you know
other people will NOT understand and you just don't want to deal with people
who get off on the subject of music, to enter into other areas that have
nothing to do with musicianship -- we all have such different ways of
looking at the world, looking at life itself and I don't think that people
realize how different a true musician is -- they are totally in touch with a
primal feeling, alpha waves, call it what you will, that is a huge drive in
one's life and you talk and live that world if you are good at what you do
in music.

One of my daughters even said one time "you musicians do not know how to
'communicate' very well do you?" in her attempt at trying to reach me on
another level.  And I had to think about that one for awhile, no sometimes
we don't communicate on that verbal logical level that most people do.  But
I do think it's one of very special communication -- when you communicate
through your music, it's much deeper than just ordinary logical talk --
Brian speaks from this level, kid or no kid inside of him.  And speak of
"kid", David Rose with his mini-train around his house and steam room he
loved to diddle in with Lear of Lear jet was a "kid" too, all geniuses are,
nothing wrong with that.

Sinatra got frustrated also with journalists and people who tried to pin him
down to this identity or that identity -- they couldn't accept him for the
musical genius he was, they had to try to find other things to write about
him from ignorance of what the jazz musician (he was a jazz phraser no doubt
about it) really is.  I think Brian is misunderstood for the same reasons --
he and his music are ONE.  That's a concept which few people outside the
music business understand.

There is one musician who would like to appear to be an "expert" on Brian's
demeanor in a very negative way....because he's a very negative person and
that's simply wrong...but they got the attention of some press people for
awhile unfortunately and influenced even the slanderous mini-series of late
which is very sad.

Thank-you for this opportunity to express my feelings about Brian, he's a
person who is endearing.


Carol:  There's been so many emails about which of the BB's hits I played
on, etc., that I've decided to post them here for general
information. The BB's did about the first 2-3 dates of their own dates to
start with before they brought in studio musicians, i.e., Hal Blaine is the
only one of us playing on "Barbara Ann", and then I played guitar on
"Surfin' USA" (that's Billy Strange on the solo guitar on that one), and
bass on the following : Help Me Rhonda, Calif. Girls,  The Little Girl I
Once New, Please Let Me Wonder, I Get Around.

Pet Sounds ones I did  - Sloop John B, God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice,
Caroline No, Don't Talk Put Your Head On My Shoulder, I'm Waiting For The
Day, Pet Sounds, Let's Go Away For Awhile, You Still Believe in Me, In My

 Ray Pohlman is on elec. bass on (not me on these): I Know There's An Answer
- I Just Wasn't Made For These Times - Here Today.

I'm on Dano on "Please Let Me Wonder", that's Ray Pohlman on the Fender Bass
on that one.

On "The Little Girl I Once Knew", that's Lyle Ritz on string bass, Barney
Kessel on Dano, and myself on Fender Bass.

On Smile, I played on: Good Vibrations, Heroes And Villains, Child Is The
Father of The Man, Surf's Up, Cabinessence, Mrs. O'Leary's Cow - the Fire
dates, Do You Like Worms,  Vega-Tables, Wonderful,  - many others but all
those credits will be in the Russ Wapensky Studio Musician Credits book due
out in 2001, probably the end of the year. Am playing Dano bass guitar on
"Please Let Me Wonder" (Ray Pohlman is on Fender bass on that).  This is all
according to Musician's contract records at the Union, and I do remember a
lot of all the dates we did with Brian Wilson -- see the site:
http://www.best.com/~abbeyrd/carolkay.htm for more posted info on
recording for Brian Wilson/Beach Boys.


Carol:  I never heard Brian mention Phil (or maybe just don't remember it).
He may have said something kiddingly in passing perhaps, but never did I get
the impression that he was trying to copy Phil, or trying to get anything
that sounded just like Phil's dates at all -- I never heard anything about
Spector coming from Brian.

I do remember cutting the bass part on (slightly different too, different
feel - different drummer etc.) "I Was Made To Love Her" and he was trying to
get it to sound a little like the Motown date our LA bunch had cut the
rhythm track for (met Stevie Wonder then too as a teenager, and we just
talked about this at a recent Trade Show, NAMM in January), but that's all
that I can remember Brian trying to ever sound like anyone else.

 I never even knew there was a competitive thing with the Beatles until a
little later. Brian had his own world of music going, and he was so strong,
his music and production so strong, that he actually stood alone, such was
the importance of what he was doing. He did court the approval of the rest
of the Beach Boys, I do think, judging from what I saw and heard. He was
very pleased when they would come into the studio, say hi to all of us, and
bop to a playback, smiling and happy, and then just as fast, would leave
after only a few minutes of listening. This seemed important to Brian that
they all liked his producing.

On Phil Spector's dates, Phil even hired a few of his buddies like Mike Post
to play guitar (some rhythm, etc.). And the many of us that did Phil's dates
did do Brian's dates too, but Phil and Brian were only 2 out of dozens of
recording "accounts" that our group of studio musicians had, we worked for
everybody -- (known as the "clique" then, about 45-50 of us out of the pool
of around 350 steadily-working studio musicians). In short, our group worked
for all the rest of the recording stars too and helped build many unknowns
into stars with our ideas, musical contributions, as well as the music

Earl Palmer did do a date or so for Brian Wilson, and a lot of drum dates
for Phil, it was Hal Blaine that held the drum chair for Brian & Phil.
Brian even used the string bassist, Chuck Berghofer on a cut (he's on the
Nancy Sinatra recordings with me also, and even on some of the movie
soundtrack -- overdubbed -- of "Bird"). There are a few musicians that
didn't do the Beach Boy dates, and vice-versa. Hope this answers your


Carol:  Brian should win so many awards for just being all he is to so many
people.  He's a great boss (OK, Brian I see you saying "aw shucks" but
truth is the truth) and it was very pleasurable to work for this guy who was
quick to put us "on" with his very subtle sense of humor.  His joy in the
studio was growing by fast as he had so much at his disposal to CREATE with
and musicians who admired him too.....it was his paradise.

I wish that everyone who sees Brian could have known him like his studio
musicians did.....while his dates were sometimes long, he was always a good
guy to be around.  And yes, we all felt that somehow we were a big part of
something "great" because of Brian Wilson and his music too, but not knowing
how long his music would lastback then.

You have to be back in those days to understand the feelings that were
going around.  Studio musicians had to sometimes marry in haste as we
were working around the clock on so many record dates day and night
every day of the week which was also hard on marriages, raising families

It was a rush-rush life of eating out of cans sometimes 10-12 cups of
coffee a day, cigarettes like you can't believe, a maddening rush to cut
records...rock and roll was booming, and on top of that were the
tragedies of the 60s, civil riots, Vietnam war, assassinations, and THE
PILL.....it was a huge time of growth as the baby boomers were growing
up, a huge wave of youngsters who needed good music and got it.

No groups of studio musicians (I believe) in the music business worked
that hard so many consistent years in a row (2-3-4 dates each day, every day
of the week).  And some marriages failed too because of it as we poured
ourselves into the music, grooving all the way....

We were a bunch of experienced musicians for years before ever seeing
the insides of those studios.  So bring a bunch of happy musicians, happy
not to travel, sort of tired and maybe a little grumpy but full of jokes
too, into the studio with this super-composed young guy who had some
handwritten parts he passed out to us, and then kind of dryly he'd sit down
at the piano to perform "that day's tune" - he produced like Phil Spector,
only 1 tune per 3-hour date, and ran the whole thing himself, while Chuck
Britz, good man, good engineer, sat by after setting up the board and sort
of assisted Brian sometimes - this was what it was like.

Hal Blaine had some funny stories, and many an afternoon, Lyle Ritz
(that riveter-wielding guy on the "Fire" sessions) and I enjoyed
chatting during some of the lulls while Brian was experimenting,
guitarists would jam a little, awaiting our next cue from Brian.

BTW, I never even knew Brian was a bass player until later, I always
tho't he was a singer and pianist....but he sure knew how to write
symphonically for bass, and we admired his ideas, he was something else.

We'd get the style and attitude of the tune after the necessary
instrument balances were made sound-wise, and run down his music while
he (still very super-composed) messed around in the booth.

He'd give out directions for some rhythmic styles maybe to the guitars,
to Hal, and maybe he'd change the bass parts, back and forth like that
as we'd run down the tune.  After quite a while, we'd do a take.

You have to understand, not every time would the studio musicians go
into the booth on dates with other artists, other dates, to listen to
the music, but we always went into the booth to see what Brian would be

Even the great Barney Kessel (himself a subtle kidder like Brian) after
listening to Brian's recording of his a capella multi-voice OD's, said
something like "Brian, I take back everything I ever thought about
you"......Brian acknowledged that with a slight smile ---- he knew this
little joke of Barney's was a big compliment.  He really impressed us.

We were all professional all the way but excited for Brian with the
recording of every tune which turned out to be a "hit" and would talk about
this "genius kid" on our other dates....."are you working a Beach Boys date
tomorrow?" "yeh good, are you?"....and on and on, happy to be a part of this
process of growth Brian was exhibiting.

Every date was more and more musical....he was getting deeper into his
natural talents and abilities.  He seemed to feel at home with us and we
certainly did feel that way with him.

One time I remember we were recording and Brian kept motioning for us to
keep going keep going on the end of a tune.  He was holding the phone up to
the speaker so whoever on the other end could hear us, and appeared really
happy about our take.

So we kept our noses to the grindstone and kept the intensity up.....4
minutes, 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7, 8....aw Brian, get off that darned phone,
and he finally ended the lonnnng take.

It was quite a few bass notes to play hard on.  When a musician records, you
play much more intensely and harder than you do live, and especially for
horn players they have to be careful, they could blow out their lips
(forever) if playing that hard for so long.  Well, I knew that Brian was
happy with the take but on that one,my fingers were almost bleeding (no, am
not a wimp, but that shouldn't have been such a long take either).

He smiled at me "great Carol" as I was leaving, and for the only time in my
life I gave him the finger.....he was a little shocked I think, but we laugh
about it now.  He watched the actual lengths after
that....thanks Brian.  That was "Help Me Rhonda", his written part.

If I act as struck by Brian as his fans are, there's a reason for that.
I know him to be a good man, not full of himself, and certainly caring
about other people etc.  Just those qualities alone are wonderful, but
add to this his huge talents and great spectrum of all the kinds of music
that has come from this man, no, he's more than just a "good man", he's got
it all together........

Nancy Sinatra said very movingly back-stage at the Wiltern, I was
there, a little late because of work, as if to an audience "does anyone
know how much great music has come from this one man?"

And the audience at the theatre reflected that as they watched their
idol, and I know he felt it too.  It was a pure ecstasy, pure joy
floating around in that theatre, so beautiful to see and experience.

Plus, one fellow next to me who recognized me, kept hugging me after
each song...hey Brian, this is kind of nice!

I hope journalists will someday "get it", and write about the focus of
the real Brian Wilson, the joy, yes he had joy in the studio too, and
the real strong man he is.

Thank God he has his beautiful daughters all 4 of them, wife Melinda, David
Leaf, Alan Boyd, other true good friends, and fine band of the
Wondermints, Jeff Foskett, good musicians with him, but it's still the Boss
up there onstage and it felt like I was on another record
date seeing him onstage, dispensing songs out, the songs that have
changed the whole world and made it seem like he knows how everyone
feels inside, and he's there as a "friend".

He is our friend, thanks Brian Wilson for being YOU.  Love, Carol Kaye


Carol:  Brian is a genius, and definitely still has something.  But like
powerful composers, he needs powerful fine musicianship to play his music,
that's why we were all a good match back in the 60s.......our generation was
from the WWII generation and had tough growing up lives, we all knew what
starvation was like also....where you realize that after a big war, how
precious life really is and how petty things are just that.......and not
worth any attention.  That is reflected in our generation's way of playing
music and thinking.

Brian went through a lot as a kid, had that kind of deep talent, and we
understood him and appreciated his talents, not knowing what he went through
as a kid at all....we knew he felt things deeply but was still a kid full of
fun and mischief like he should be, like other composers like him are
too....I know of no fine composer that isn't a kid at heart....kids his own
age didn't understand him back then but we knew what he was
after....expression of his innate-born talents.

He kept growing bigtime in the studio work he did....surrounded by people
who cared about him, including Chuck Britz who I think was a father-figure
to him.....Brian not only enjoyed working with us, but kibitzing with us

He's fine as a composer...but so many ignorant people would love to declare
him this or that...makes them all feel important to be judgemental when they
know literally nothing about what happened and what is happening except
those who read those questionable books....books I've seen on other people
too -- just the same kinds of slander, made-up stories written to "sell" to
the public -- journalist wannabee's.

Brian is happy and doing well but of course went through a trying time for
years and was strong enough to come out of it with the help of friends and a
wife who truly loves and cares dearly for him - still has some ups and downs
but is OK.  Plus he knows the regard and esteem of his fans and studio
musicians also and that is a big blessing.  Regards, Carol Kaye


Carol:  Yes, we all knew that was a mile-stone when we cut it w/Brian
Wilson.  Brian wrote all bass lines except for one impromptu lick I played
on Calif. Girls, very different from all the other record dates I was then
doing -- you had to make up bass lines (mostly) in the 60s for all the
other producers/arrangers etc.

But Brian wrote mostly all the parts.  However, he let the rhythm
guitars play mostly what they wanted.  Yet, he always had suggestions for
parts that he didn't personally write down (he wrote his own parts but
sometimes the notes would be on the wrong side of the stems -- we didn't
care, we knew he had a ton of talent and all the ideas were all coming from
him - we'd just re-copy his parts to be able to read them better, no

I think the stereo mix on the new multi-CD album is wonderful, a chance
to really hear all the parts, especially for people who love that music
and love to hear the different parts so well.

Yes, Brian wrote the line for Sloop John B, we loved recording that
tune.  As well as loved the others too.  God Only Knows had especially a big
meaning too.

We were all raising our children then and they were then mostly
teenagers, and we were all going through, what you may call, some
worrying times sometimes.  A few of us were going through divorces, etc.
too, so that song of Brian's sort of hit home with us all - very
poignant.  No, I didn't "cry" as one magazine quoted, while recording
that, but it certainly did affect us all.  You never "cry" in a
recording studio, it's a business.

We didn't especially have any personal opinions on this line or that
line per se.  You have to understand, our bunch of "clique" musicians
(as we were then called, we were all independent contractors, everyone
worked with everyone else, there was no "set rhythm section" at all with
anyone), worked for ALL the hit-making producers/record companies/artists
then.  It was our job to help everyone get hit records.  Talking about
recording probably 16-20 songs every day, I did over 10,000 dates, that's
about 40,000 songs.

You couldn't afford to have "opinions" about anything, you had
to get everyone a hit, and whatever lines it took to do that were "good" for
that particular tune -- you kept your personal opinions (if you had any) to

Like I said, Brian was the ONLY young person of the 60s to write his own
music (outside of Frank Zappa) and produce it so completely.  Others had
some talent to do that, but relied on the studio musicians to carry out
their thoughts, 2nd-guess what they wanted/needed for the recording, try to
interpret what they were saying etc., and come up with all kinds of creating
musically.  And then the arrangers finally learned from us and were able to
arrange more and more in rock and pop very late 60s & still relied on us.

Jack Nitzchie did some memorable arrangements, some innovative stuff
w/Phil Spector, but they all still needed us to make it happen, and you
still invented to pad out what was written in arrangements (or
substituted your lines for failed arranged lines, etc.).

We all loved what Brian Wilson was able to do, and he was a good person
to work for also, very good at producing etc.  Your message also had
something in it about Wild Wild West, which I also played on - just learned
from Russ Wapensky, like many other TV shows I forgot I did, they wanted
that high-impact sound and creative lines (much of the time) there too --

Electric Bass was relatively a new instrument then, and no-one really
knew how to write for its role back then -- they relied heavily on your
inventing as well as being able to read the cues well and also
invent/interpret what to do with the parts -- it made the
arrangers successful as well as being appropo for the kinds of music
they wanted -- pop-rock-funk-Motown-blues-latin/soul whatever.

The book by Russ Wapensky about studio musician credits has been
slightly delayed (research is almost done now) and will be out probably
late 2002 -- based on the Union contracts.


Carol:  I did not know that Brian was a bass player until much later.  He
never played bass in front of me at all.  He either played a little
piano on the date to give us a feel for the track we were going to lay
down, and then went into the booth and gave instructions from there the
rest of the time.

Being busy in the studios, you really don't know what is going on on the
outside, so I never knew he played bass until after 1969.  I always
thought he had extraodinary ears for basslines, writing for it
symphonically and always enjoyed playing his lines.  He never told me he was
a bass player.

The Beach Boys would sometimes visit the studio when we were cutting
their tracks.  They were always a very happy nice bunch of guys, would
exchange a few jokes w/Hal Blaine, listen to the track, say hi to us all and
then quickly leave.  They were very appreciative of us cutting the tracks
which they were getting big hits with.  Always liked them all, tho't they
were cordial and nice, young of course.  Very tragic about Dennis and Carl
and their mother, she was nice also.  Carol Kaye

More:  I'm sure that Brian liked Gold Star for what it was, a very fine
studio.  He also recorded at Sunset Sound.  Am sure at first, he probably
did things and hired certain musicians because of Phil Spector, but he
quickly got going on his own strengths and talents and didn't need to be
doing things just because Phil Spector did them - he was a man, and was very
strong and sharp in his own right - that stuff on the mini-series II is
absolutely wrong.......


Carol:  I was on those dates of "Fire" at Gold Star with Brian Wilson, Hal
Blaine, etc. and don't remember any "fire" built in a bucket.

We did those things at Gold Star, and I was amazed at the beauty and
depth of sounds he wrote, especially of the cellos that Brian wrote
for....the eerie sounds they got sounded just like fire engines going to a
fire, and fire sounds, etc., plus we all did the "rebuilding" sounds of
hammers pounding, Lyle Ritz operated the riveting machine while I helped
Gene Estes hold the wood while he pounded it, others were having a ball
sawing away, doing all kinds of carpentry sounds.

Brian did bring firehats to the recording session, but from what I
remember only he and Lyle Ritz were the only ones who wore them,
otherwise it was a usual record date scene except for the after-date
carpentry thing which we got a lot of money for, and it was kind of fun,
like group therapy or something.

You're probably right about Brian getting a little spooked about all the
fires around LA, but as I have understood it for years now (studio
musicians talk about this stuff too) from long ago:

There were 2 big fires around LA, like we have every year with our
santana winds.  The 3rd fire was the biggie tho', the Malibu fire which
was the straw that broke the camel's back....everytime Brian played his
master, coincidentally one of those fires started and the 3rd time was the
start of the fire with the Malibu fire which the worst and the cause of him
giving up on the project imo.

I finally got word to him later (I think - not sure what time-frame
here) that I personally saw the Malibu fire start.

I was driving in on the 101 from Camarillo (where I lived for about 8
mos.) to master the Joe Pass Guitar Style book recording I had just cut with
Joe Pass  -- and rounded the bend at the Malibu turn-off, saw this wisp of
smoke in what turned out to be a little fire in a trash-can and saw a small
truck w/camper-shell driving off from this little rest-stop alongside the
freeway - evidently that it had just deposited some burning trash.

In my rear-view mirror - it was a long stretch of road there, I watched in
horror as I saw the winds just whip that little trashcan fire up the side of
the adjoining mountainside so quick it probably took all of 2-3 seconds....I
had a long-time sweeping view as it was fairly straight, very long
slight-curve road after that.

Couldn't believe it as I saw that whole mountainside catch fire, and was
hoping they would catch that fire, saw many cars really slow down at that
checking it all out --- the winds were blowing hard that day.

Went to master the Joe Pass Guitar Style tape of Joe's in the Valley,
and then late that day (around 4PM) barely got through all the smokey haze
to return home.  It looked like the whole world was on fire.

The next day I was out in my yard watering down my roof-top, preparing to
move the publishing company masters and photos, other important documents
were in my car ready to evacuate at a minute's notice as the flames were
coming up to the top of the hill I lived on in Camarillo, coming in the back
way, and this was about 30 miles from where the fire originally started, the
wind was so fierce.

Ashes were raining down on my roof (house was 2/3 the way down the hill, I
had a little time but flames were licking at the top of the hill, you could
see them) - was all pretty scary.  And fire companies managed to stop that
part of the fire (this was in 1970 I believe).

Somehow I do believe that Brian never realized his own talent so much that
he tho't (maybe) it was a direct feeling of connectedness with God.  Jaco
Pastorius the bassist also has been quoted speaking this way but you cannot
compare the two at all, very different people.  Brian simply is a nice guy,
hugely talented naturally, and is a survivor, good person, not
self-destructive like some think at all.

Don't forget, Brian had to deal with all the hoopla surrounding the success
of the Beach Boys, his productions, etc. too....that's pretty difficult and
a lot of pressure on a young man, especially if he's had a tough childhood.

But the rumors surrounding the way Brian recorded (and thought of) his
sessions of "Fire" should be laid to rest once the truth is understood.

Just a mistaken feeling caused by the drug-use....another reason to STOP
using drugs which includes pot, another brain-fooler which leads you to
believe "nothing about the way you think is wrong".  Such a waste of time.


Carol:  I 2nd that opinion about the fact that yes, Brian Wilson was
absolutely fine and "normal" (contrary to rumors out there) when we cut the
Fire sessions.....he was just having FUN on the dates, and we understood
that and respected him.  We sort of had fun ourselves!

And yes, he did have to have enormous talent, genius type talent actually,
to command us.....of course we worked for "everybody" in LA, didn't matter
if they had a "degree in music" or not -- if they paid, we played.  But it
was sure easier to work for people who knew what the heck they were
doing.....a lot of those younger producers didn't and it was OUR JOB to help
them in spite of their lack of experience and their ignorance of real
music....we got hits for them no matter what, but we also called these kinds
of dates "ditchdigger" dates.....get the shovels out and get it done, etc.
and were usually telling some great inside-joke one-liners (to stay awake
etc.), those dates were tough to work, even tho' we'd cut 3-4 songs which
should have made it more interesting.

Brian, like Phil Spector only did ONE song per 3-hour date (or longer - Phil
would do a quickie back-side tho' of a jammed blues for the B side in 3
min.) but it was interesting and we knew we were cutting history, and the
respect for Brian was in hushed tones believe me.

All of us would check each other on the other dates to make sure we were
"all" working for Brian......it was the top of the month to work for
Brian....we knew he was the genius-kid.

Plus he was strong - knew exactly what he was doing (what he wanted), he
paid us well, and he loved being around us too, felt completely comfortable
in his element being around us, and yes, we were needed by Brian to cut his
special kind of hit-music.  Such was his talent, you're right!

He needed our experience and expert performance values to pull it off....he
knew this.  The Fire sessions (I believe) was sort of a culmination of his
breaking away from the surf-rock stuff, and going on to his real music
career of writing/arranging/producing/ etc.  That stuff is very tame
compared to some of the greatest classical writing ever done (sans fire
hats....but do we really know what it took for the classic masters of those
early times, what did they do to "get in the mood" to write the great music
*they* did?  And weren't they probably considered a little strange in their
time for having fun with their music too?  Booooooo!).

Brian is playful, and that side of him, except in a negative vein (denoting
"see how he was on drugs" ugh, so sick of that crap now.....how about when
he DIDN'T DO DRUGS and was still PLAYFUL!), is not really known much.

He was certainly in his element in the studios, doing his thing - he was
masterful, had fun, yes worked hard, it's fun when you work hard on
great music, no matter the physical part of it or not, and it's a joy to see
someone enjoy *his talent* like Brian did....we all felt it, we admired him
(unlike some of others we had to work for, altho' most were good) and
watched him grow so fast back in the 60s, once he got away from the mundane
things of travelling with the group, and doing the "public thing".  He grew
like you won't believe, because he was HAPPY in the studios, creating with
our gang of musicians who were *for* him........

I hate the way so-called *expert writers* pick and judge him -- they're
looking at their own opinions of the man, and have no couth to look for the
beauty of the INSIDE of the REAL MAN where Brian resides....but his real
friends, studio musicians, fine fans, they all know the real Brian and
they're correct.


Carol:  Brian not only had the jazz elite of the studio musicians (mostly)
on his dates and of course we'd sometimes quickly jam for a few short
moments (13th chords, different jazz chords), but think he was highly
influenced by the likes of the 4 Freshmen which everyone knew were highly
influenced by jazz chordal structures etc. Brian also played some of
Gershwin stuff, and Gershwin during his lifetime always spoke of going to
hear (and sit and play a little too) in the smoky jazz clubs of NY, etc. and
his writings were highly influenced by his exposure to good jazz.

 Things like this leads me to believe that his great ear quickly picked up
on the chord structures and select certain sounds therein. You don't hear
those sounds from rock and roll chords, he was highly influenced directly
and indirectly in his writings by jazz chordal structures. He also had the
typcial caring and warmth of the finest Hollywood jazz musicians around him
too: Howard Roberts, Barney Kessell, Jay Migliori, Pete Jolly etc.

The notes of the "Good Vibrations" lines were fairly typical of jazz walking
lines I'd say, well almost. His early-on experimenting with vocal chordal
structures were from the jazz approach, jazz chords. That's why I say jazz
was a very big influence on Brian. Most players learned jazz right on stage,
one of the finest, Hampton Hawes couldn't read a note of music, many were
self-taught howbeit the hard way to go at first.

They used their ears to hear music, not go at it from scales which don't
work, but from the chordal structures of all the tunes you had to play back
then. Someone on stage would start a tune, and without a moment's
hesitation, everyone joined in on the right key, right chord changes, etc.,
something very few musicians know how to do today, their ears are so
wrecked by scales etc.

And......as for the other post about magazines, I deplore how a few
take it upon themselves to "re-write" history because our group was not
credited with the proper credits back in the 60s, but one book, by Russ
Wapensky is due out in 2000 will lead the way for more truth to come out.


Carol:  He [Spector] was the loudest!  No-one even came close.  Brian Wilson
yes, sometimes he would add echo when we'd record, but usually not -
he'd put it on later.  But at least Brian kept the play-back levels
decently "normal", never really loud and he never did what Phil did:

play it back on a "car-speaker" at all, that was a criteria of Phil's,
that his hits sounded great on car-speaker-sized speakers on the radio.

With Brian, usually no, he didn't have us work recording "with echo" and as
to the amount of Phil's recordings actually "recorded with echo", common
sense said he didn't too much (you'd have to ask Larry Levine, he'd have the
correct answers on this)....you always add echo *later*, that was the

It's a bear to record with echo, as you can't take it off later, so I'm
assuming he played everything back "with echo", but kept adding it on
and/or taking it off temporarily in the booth.

Phil loved the sound of the Gold Star echo, which I understand speaking
to other recording engineers was sort of a "dirty-sounding echo", I
don't know, just repeating what they said...

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the genius of Dave Gold who
masterminded the system there at Gold Star, everyone in Hollywood did and
does also...he's a great guy btw, so is Stan Ross, his partner and first
engineer for Phil for awhile.

The Gold Star echo ran right through the women's rest room -- if I took
a break and they were playing it back, they'd ask me not to flush the

Producers were sort of "alone" in the booth, trying all sorts of things,
especially Phil and Brian.  We'd hear all kinds of wild things in our
earphones as they'd try this or that to the music.  Really had nothing to do
with us, but we usually heard all the experimentation.

Sometimes the studio musicians would sit and wait 10-20 min. at a time
and instead of listening to all what they were doing in the booth, we'd
take our earphones off and kibbitz in the room during that time, always
waiting for them to get done with experimenting and we'd go on then.

Your time is not your own, but sometimes there was time to take a quick
hike to the bathroom, but usually you waited right there in the studio
throughout any experimenatation with sounds Phil would do.

So to answer your question, yes, Phil would normally record with echo in our
phones, but the am't varied with how much we'd complain.  And I
suspect it wasn't the same echo, maybe it was, but I doubt it - he
probably added it on again later when mastering.

Or maybe cut with some slight echo and add more on later, that makes
sense too.  Phil loved echo, no doubt about it.

Brian worked a different way.  Phil was a showman, he'd always love to
have an audience in the booth -- he'd get off on everyone being awed at
his producing, including us studio musicians....we had a great
admiration for him and he knew it, he respected us too, altho' he'd
sometimes playfully pick on someone, sometimes a little too hard.

 Brian would sometimes have his wife and sister-in-law in the booth, but
that's it.  He loved to work alone with Chuck Britz at his side to
assist if he needed it, sometimes, but he loved to toy around with
everything himself.

There were a few moments of that, then we'd go for a take, then change
the music, then he'd toy around with sounds, or come out in the studio
and play a different feel he wanted us to try, things like that.

Phil had some music charts (arrangements or chord charts are called
"charts"), and this got more complex as the years rolled by, written

We'd add to these charts mainly our ideas and he'd yea or nay them, or a few
times would give us his ideas of how the parts should be

Brian wanted only his ideas, but sometimes would listen to others,
especially Hal Blaine who got to play what he wanted to play.  Sometimes the
guitar players too, but Brian was more in charge speaking as a
composer/arranger there.  Phil depended upon arranger Jack Nitzsche and
input from the musicians a lot more altho' he had some definite good musical
ideas sometimes too.


Carol:  The Beach Boys tracks have a good groove because of mostly the fine
jazz musicians who were on that stuff. And that's Billy Strange
("Goldfinger" hit-maker in his own name, he's also arranger for the Nancy
Sinatra and other big hits including Elvis Presley), and Glen Campbell
co-soloing the fine guitar solo parts on the Beach Boys recordings (Carl did
play some elec. 12-string rhythm
in the booth 3-4 times, but the guitars you hear are the studio
guitarists), but Brian did write all the parts (except for some of the
rhythm guitar parts), those were his notes Brian wrote (I invented
only one lick on "Calif. Girls").

It was Dr. Paul Tanner on the "Theremin", actually called "Electro-Theremin"
his version of the "Theremin" on "Good Vibrations".  As I was navigating
through the halls of Western, on another date in their big studio, I saw
Paul in Brian's studio there, overdubbing it, went in to say hello.

Paul Tanner is the very tall good-looking fellow you see in the old films of
the Glen Miller band, standing up playing trombone.  Long a much-hired
trombonist in our studio musician group (LA), he was also head of the Music
Dept. at UCLA some years, hired me for seminars there, etc. 70s.

He is now retired and living in Carlsbad, Calif.  He used a sort of
modified version of the Theremin that he built himself, same technique, just
a little easier to control sounds with he said.

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