Dennis Kelley AND The Beach Boys? Yeah!!


Luxuria's own Dennis Kelley, the always-reliable backup host of Heroes & Villains, knows his Beach Boys backwards and forwards!  Why does he know so much about one of America's most beloved bands of the last fifty years?  Simple - he asked 'em!
Dennis and others had a great opportunity to speak to Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love and Jack Rieley in the New York offices of Warner Brothers Records way back in March 1972.

Before you check out this Saturday's edition of Heroes & Villains at 1 pm Pacific Time, sit down and read the entire text of this incredible interview - made available for Luxuria listeners by Dennis Kelley from his own archives - and then tune in and chat with Dennis!

As a bonus, check out the entire set list of The Beach Boys with then-new members Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar at New York's famous Carnegie Hall from March 22, 1972!

Dennis Kelley:




In the summer of 1971, shortly after I’d completed my sophomore year of high school, a friend of mine who had been a fan of The Beach Boys since the earliest days of the group sat me down and “gave me the knowledge” – he had a great stereo system (including an early quadraphonic setup), and of course knew every Beach Boys record inside and out.  Over the course of a long evening (nearly till dawn, in fact), I was taken on a musical journey that changed my life.  Up until that point, I didn’t know the difference between The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean!  By the time we reached the band’s latest LP, Surf’s Up (which my friend played for me in quad, one of the first records released in that format), I was awestruck.  While my two older brothers had turned on to (and taken me to concerts by) a lot of great musicians that my peers knew little about (The Byrds, Procol Harum, The Who), this was uncharted territory.  I became a fan for life.  

A couple of months later, the same friend announced to me shortly after school began, “We’re going to see The Beach Boys next week at Carnegie Hall – I got us seats in the 4th row!”  Upon seeing the group play nearly every song from their latest album, plus so many of the songs I’d heard on that long summer evening at my friend’s house (these were the good old days, when no songs recorded before Pet Sounds were played until the encores!), I thought to myself, “This is what it would have been like to see The Beatles live, if they’d kept touring through Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour – incense burning onstage, flowers everywhere, and the most beautiful, progressive music I’d ever heard, being performed by musicians at the peak of their powers.”  

By the next time the band came to town (March 1972), I had spent enough time backstage at concerts with my brothers (including innumerable nights with The Byrds, whom we’d gotten to know pretty well) to know that a little chutzpah could get you almost anywhere.  These were the good old days, when no pop stars had yet been murdered by overzealous "fans", and security was minimal.  So, I called Warner Brothers Records in New York City and asked for an interview with The Beach Boys.  Amazingly, they told me a press conference was being held at the WB offices one afternoon midway through the group's three-night stand at Carnegie Hall, and to come on over.  I tucked a portable cassette deck under my arm, and my friend Jim Whittemore and I spoke to Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, and Mike Love.   

Shortly thererafter, I transcribed the cassette and tucked away the text – and it’s a good thing I did, because the cassette vanished a couple of years later.  But we have a record of a very interesting afternoon - one that’s even more interesting viewed from nearly four decades later.  

Dennis Kelley
October 2010



The official Beach Boys 1972 Press Kit!

All those who attended the press conference were given a press kit in an LP sized envelope with the Surf's Up logo, containing:

  • A stock copy of the Surf's Up LP with lyric sheet
  • Track-by-track production notes on the album
  • A press release (first issued March 15, 1972) headlined "Beach Boys Add Two; Expand To Eight", announcing the addition of Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataarto the band
  • A set of past press releases: BBs "History At A Glance"; a critical overview (written by Ben Edmonds); and a release describing Carl Wilson's winning his CO Draft certification
  • A copy of the large format booklet "The Beach Boys: A Short History", written by Richard Cromelin
  • A copy of a full-page Time Magazine article on the group (referenced in our discussion with Carl Wilson) dated Sept. 6, 1971






Press Conference 




March 22, 1972    2:30pm




Warner Bros. Records offices, NYC




Dennis Kelley (D) and Jim Whittemore (J), and others (Q)













D: When you’re working out a song in the studio, I would imagine you do 4 or 5 different versions…”Help Me, Rhonda”, let’s say…




Carl: Oh no, we did 2 versions of that in the studio…




D: How long do you feel it took your audiences to adjust to the Beach Boys’ newer music?




Carl: I think it’s just sort of happening naturally.




D: Are you bothered when people want to hear the old songs in concert?




Carl: No, no…. we recorded it, you know, it’s not as if it never happened or it disappeared or something.




D: How do you think the old music differs from the new?




Carl: (pause) Well….I’d say that the new music is somewhat finer in some ways….and it’s also simpler in some ways. I know that’s a paradox, but it’s true. Lyrics, of course, are different.




D: How do you personally feel about your old music as compared to your new music?




Carl: I relate to the old music in a sense that it was done at a particular time…and…it just seems like the old stuff, you know, and it holds memories for all of us, I suppose…in different ways.




D: So you like doing the new stuff more?




Carl: Well, I’m more involved in the new than I was in the old.




D: When you write a new song, do you think that your ideas are interpreted by the public in the way that you’d like them to be?




Carl: I don’t know how the public interprets my lyrics. There’s no such thing as taking a song “the wrong way”, because in the end, everyone interprets it differently, everybody hears something according to their own involvement, to their own feelings. We all hear a statement differently, so I don’t know how you could take something the wrong way.




D: When the Smile album was being made, were the touring Beach Boys an integral part of its performance, or was it mostly Brian?




Carl: Well, we all took a part. It was Brian who really initiated the thing; you could say that Smile was his album, sort of, I guess.




D: Will Smile ever be released in its original form?




Carl: Right, that’ll be later this year.




D: I also understand that the last 5 albums you did for Capitol have been scheduled for re-release by Brother/Reprise.




Carl: Right – we figure we’ll give them away, one at a time, as the second disc of the next 5 Beach Boys albums, the first of which will be called So Tough, By Carl And the Passions.




D: Is there any reason why you didn’t perform any material from So Tough at Carnegie Hall?




Carl: We were planning to. We just didn’t get to it. There were just other things that needed to be done.




D: Will everyone in the group be writing songs for So Tough?




Carl: Yeah, we’re all writing for this album.




D: When Brian writes a song and it’s credited to his name, is it totally his creation? Or does everyone put his own ideas into it and, just for the sake of convenience, you put “Brian Wilson” under it?




Carl: He wrote it. He arranged it…




D: Does he ever figure out the lead guitar solo for a song?




Carl: Yeah. Well, you see, writing a song is different than recording it, ‘cause the melody and the lyric and the form are one way, and there are the arrangements, which don’t have too much to do with the composition of the song, although at one point it got blended into the song.




D: I understand that you went to a [sic] Hollywood Professional School?




Carl: Right.




D: When did you find the time to do it, and what did you get out of it?




Carl: Time to do what?




D: When did you go, did you go in the early ‘60s…?




Carl: To school?




D: Yeah.




Carl: Uh-huh.




D: Were you recording at the same time?




Carl: Yeah. I had to be at school at, I think, ten…ten minutes to ten, and I got out around 12:30, so it wasn’t too hard.




D: And did you learn scales and all that sort of thing…?




Carl: I didn’t take music.




D: Oh, you didn’t?




Carl: No – English, History, uh…I had a Drama class, Physiology, and something else, I forget now….oh, Student Service or something like that. I helped teach second graders and stuff like that.




D: So you haven’t had any musical training?




Carl: Right…I took guitar lessons for a short while and got very bored, so I stopped.




D: Seeing the personnel changes that have just taken place in The Beach Boys, so you see a time when Daryl Dragon [BBs pianist and arranger for the past several years] will be an official Beach Boy?




Carl: I didn’t think so before you just said it (laughs). No, I don’t see it right now, but…we’ll see.




D: One of the 2 new guys in the group is a drummer. Does that mean that your brother Dennis won’t be playing drums?




Carl: Dennis doesn’t really want to play the drums anymore.




D: Is that because of his hand injury, or because he just doesn’t want to play?




Carl: It’s mainly because of his hand, but it’s a little of both.




D: He won’t be playing drums anymore at all?




Carl: Well, not for a long time.




Q: Who would you say is the biggest influence of your career?




Carl: Me? My career?




Q: Yeah.




Carl: Brian.




Q: Wouldn’t you say that Chuck Berry had a lot to do with it too?




Carl: Yeah, when I was growing up I was really into Chuck Berry….really into it.




Q: When you do a song, you try to keep it simple and add on more parts later on, right?
Carl: I don’t know - see, I just started writing about a year or so ago…and I’ve never thought about what I was gonna do; I just sit down at the piano and put my hands down, you know, it’s just that simple.




Q: Do you get a big satisfaction when you get an idea and…




Carl: Yeah, it’s really fun when your fingers start playing something, ‘cause you don’t know what you’re gonna play – I mean, I don’t know what I’m gonna play…




Q: What do you think of artists copying your style, for example, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Lullabye” by B.J. Thomas…




Q #2: Well, man, the radio says that’s The Beach Boys on the backup vocal.




Carl: Yeah, they say that, but we, uh… we had nothing to do with that song.




Q: Do you have any respect for people who do that sort of thing, or do you call them lazy and uncreative?




Carl: No, I don’t mind… it’s okay, you know? They can do what they want.




D: When you do “Heroes And Villains” live, you put in that part from another Smile track called “Bicycle Rider”, right?




Carl: That’s what we do to the original Smile version of “Heroes And Villains”. There are more parts to it, which we’ll do on stage – eventually, when we get around to it.




D: In Rolling Stone, an interview was published with Terry Melcher as part of a two-part story on The Beach Boys, and in the interview Terry describes how Brian brought the 45 of “Heroes And Villains” down to the biggest station in L.A. to give them an exclusive on it, and the DJ said something like “Sorry buddy, can’t play anything that’s not on the playlist”, and it really killed Brian.




Carl: Yeah, that’s what the story said, but that was…I believe he may have taken some record down, but it didn’t happen the way Rolling Stone and Terry said.




J: I understand that after Brian recorded Smile’s “Fire Music” track [“Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”], there was a big rash of fires all over L.A. – was that true?




Carl: Well, a big building burned down right across the street. As a matter of fact, that week there were a lot of real bad fires. But the “Fire Music” tapes weren’t destroyed, as a lot of people reported.




J: What ever happened to David Marks?




Carl: He’s in Huntington Beach, I think, in a meditation group; I’m not really sure. I know he was in Boston studying music for a few years, but I don’t know from day to day…




J: Why do you think he left? Too much pressure?




Carl: Yeah, the pressure was a little heavy at the time – and, you know, he just did other things.




D: He was the youngest of you at the time, wasn’t he?




Carl: Yeah.




D: How much younger is he than you?




Carl: Ah, a couple of years younger than I was, and I was 15; he was 13, that’s rough, you know, for a 13- or 14-year-old to be under that…Brian was 19, I was 15, Dennis was 17…




Q: Do you think it’s mostly glamour or mostly hard work?




Carl: I think it’s mostly music.




Q: Well, being in a studio for 12 hours at a time sometimes, it must get to be a drag….




Carl: It’s good even if it’s bad, you know?




D: It’s your life - can’t just throw it away….




Carl: I wouldn’t want to – for anything.




D: I remember reading that last September Brian publicly pledged to appear at your Carnegie Hall concert later that month, but he never showed up…




Carl: TIME said that I said that Brian promised, but that’s [softly] bullshit.




D: Does Brian plan to ever appear with The Beach Boys again? Would he like to?




Carl: He… there aren’t plans. There are no plans.




J: The instrument you play onstage when you do “Surf’s Up” and “Wonderful” – is that a Mellotron?




Carl: No, that’s a Fender Rhodes…it’s a Fender Rhodes electric piano [painted white].




J: Is that a Moog synthesizer in the back of the stage?




Carl: Yeah, it’s an ARP…we have a Moog in the studio, but that’s an ARP – it’s a synthesizer, it’s the same basic idea.




D: Since you’ve done a few songs on recent Beach Boys albums yourself, playing all the instruments and singing all the parts, do you ever get the urge to just record a lot of tracks yourself and release a solo album?




Carl: [quickly] No.




D: Really? Any particular reason?




Carl: See, the thing is that we all make music, right? So, we all help each other no matter what – so…uh…[laughs] to me there’s hardly any difference between…by yourself or…with the group…so either way, it’s just makin’ music.




D: So you’d just as soon do something yourself and put the “Beach Boys” name on it as an album of their stuff?




Carl: No, not necessarily; I’m for whatever goes down.




D: Oh, so if you just by chance happened to do a whole lot of tracks by yourself you might…




Carl: Yeah, that’s exactly it, like it just happened that I did “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows” by myself.









Jack: Carl, let’s hold up for a second….[to everyone] Apparently we’re already running into a lot of repetition…so, uh…I think everyone is here now except Alan…Jardine… so if we could just cover a few points without making this a formal thing…




The main thing Bob [Earl, of Warner Brothers] wanted me to talk to you about, and I guess you all have copy on it now: the new members of the group, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, on lead guitar and drums & bass respectively.




I guess there’s another story going around that Brian’s in town, and it’s not true…




Bruce: Then who was that I was talking to this aft---? Oh, never mind…[everyone laughs]




Q: Carl, have you found Jack Rieley a big help and influence on your songwriting?




Carl: Oh, yes, he’s a great influence.




Q: Have you collaborated with Brian on any songs?




Carl: Yes, a little bit…




D: Carl, since Flame have broken up, are there any other artists you plan to sign with Brother Records?




Carl: No, we won’t be signing many other artists, you know, we didn’t intend to have a Warner Brothers or something…




Bruce: I found a girl up…uh…




Carl: Oh yeah, she’s really good…




Bruce: …in Washington, DC, that I…freaked for…and dragged Carl and Al…and Jack…down to see…and her name is Emmylou Harris. I don’t know if we have time to cut other acts, but if we really don’t, I’ll probably try to field her to someplace. She’s really good, man…and there’s…well, there was another girl a few years ago, but she was a little too young…but this chick really had it. We’re gonna see her in a few days, and I’m gonna talk to her and see what she’s done. She’s a lot like…Melanie I guess, if I had to compare her to anybody…




D: Does she play piano…




Bruce: No…




D: …or guitar?




Bruce: …plays guitar, and has a very laid back…FIRE in her voice…she has real drive…




By the way, could you put down that I’ve been in the group seven years – as of the 9th of April? The press release has it wrong.




D: I recall that you used to play in a duo called Bruce and terry, with Terry Melcher.




Bruce: Right.




D: Are you still in contact with Terry at all?




Bruce: He just called me just before we left on this tour to make an album with him and, of all people, Dean Torrence, and Sly [Stone], and Doris Day – all on the same album.




Jack: Hey, everybody…




Bruce: Oh, Jack, we were just getting into something here….




Jack: Bob Earl has just pointed out a few things which…everyone seems to be asking…one of them seems to be the “Rock And Roll Lullabye” thing; everyone’s saying that that’s The Beach Boys playing on singing on there and it’s not.




Bruce: Did we sing flat on it? [everyone laughs]




Jack: Alan, incidentally, is on his way over…




Dennis Wilson: Yay!!!




Jack: …and that should make…everybody? Yeah. The Beach Boys are going to be going to Europe on May 1st – and for the first time, I guess, will be moving their location. We’re moving our studio to Europe – and the next album, the album following Carl And The Passions, will be recorded outside of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. We’re allotting about two months for the recording of that project, actual recording time. The group will be in Europe at least until about the 15th or 18th of August, at which time they’ll come back here to do, for the first time in about 3 or 4 years, a summer-type tour, a late summer tour, which will run 2 weeks and end about Labor Day…and that’ll be followed by a West Coast tour, and if I understand correctly, we’ll follow that up with some more work back here, right?




Mike Love: Right.




Q: Any concert albums planned?




Jack: Ahh, we’ve been talking about doing a live concert album – you can talk to all the guys about it – but I think Dennis has suggested, for example, that it be all new material, rather than, you know, like a “hits” live album - and we’re talking about places to do it in. The nicest place – well, you know, you can’t determine the nicest place until you’ve heard the sound, so it’s difficult to…




What we’re working on, most of all, though, is trying to put together a tour that would hopefully run, around New Year’s Day, for a few days, in the Republic of South Africa. What it would be – if we are successful in negotiating with the government of the Republic of South Africa – is a tour which would cover Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, at which anyone could attend, you know? This is contrary to the law of the Republic, which stipulates that any person of a race which has been designated “colored” may not attend the same functions as those who are not “colored”. But, of course, we would also insist that, in addition to having the audience mixed, that the acts would also be integrated.




Q: Are The Beach Boys still doing voter registration concerts?




Jack: Right. Newsweek called this morning and said that 115,000 kids have registered as a result of our action. That figure would make the number of kids who registered on this tour about 35,000.




Q: Jack, is there any possibility of your performing “A Day In The Life Of A Tree” in concert?




Mike: It’s been done already.




Q: Where?




Mike: In Long Beach, in December.




Jack: Brian played the organ.




Mike: Brian played the organ and Jack sang it….it was very spontaneous.




Jack: It was very fucked up. [great laughter from all]




Bruce: I liked the way you swung the mike around. [laughter]




Jack: That wasn’t the mike, those were my hips. [great laughter]




Bruce: You’re beyond draft age, Jack – you don’t have to talk like that.




Q: Is there anyone in the group who’s leaning toward a “Greatest Hits”-type album, or is everyone on favor of making it a new album?




Carl: Well, we all probably think all those things, you know, that it’d be good to do a hits concert album, and it’d be good to do new stuff, or a mixture of both…maybe we could…




Q: [jokingly] How about “Rock And Roll Lullabye”?




Carl: Yeah, you know, like, we’ll record it and listen to it…you know, you can’t – that’s one thing, you can’t sell us on the idea of doing a song before we hear it.




Q: Have you recorded most of your recent concerts?




Carl: Nothing. We haven’t recorded anything lately.




D: Did you record the 10th anniversary concert?




Carl: No.




Bruce: We didn’t have one.




D: Really? Why not?




Bruce: I don’t know….I was in Mexico….




Q: Jack, will the European trip be some concerts, some tours, and some recording sandwiched together?




Jack: Well, as for specifics, the first 3 weeks we’ll be touring Europe; I think it’s Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the U.K. After that there’ll be a couple of weeks off to work on the album, although we may do a couple of unscheduled concerts while we’re there. Brian has expressed a strong interest in doing some concerts in Europe, in which he would appear with the group. He said a couple of weeks ago that that might be an easy way to get back into it. Brian lives with Howard Hughes now… [laughter]












Q:  Is that last section of “Surf’s Up” – that line “The child is the father of the man” – isn’t that from a song on Smile with the same name?




Carl: Yeah. All of the songs on Smile are all interrelated; “Cabinessence” and “Who Ran The Iron Horse”; “Heroes And Villains” and “Bicycle Rider”…




Q: Did anything in particular inspire Brian to make Smile?




Carl: Inspiration is usually personal….usually….




D: Do you think that the creation of Smile, during the era of Sgt. Pepper’s recording sessions, might have been the result of Brian trying to prove himself?




Carl: He couldn’t help that music comin’ out; it just came out, he couldn’t have stopped it if he tried.




D: it’s been said that Brian didn’t really like Van Dyke Parks’s lyrics for Smile.




Carl: Oh no, Brian likes Van Dyke’s lyrics a lot. Van’s really an artist, you know? And a poet…




D: Does Brian think that Van Dyke’s lyrics were right for Brian’s music?




Carl: I don’t know; it was a great marriage, you know?




J: Do you like Van Dyke’s album Song Cycle?




Carl: Oh yeah…it’s a little esoteric, but it’s good.




J: He has an interesting voice – unusual….




Carl: Van’s one in a million – his voice, you know? He sings on “A Day In The Life Of A Tree”, at the end.









[As we approach the conversation group, Bruce is discussing the rate at which he turns out songs.]




D: Do you consider yourself prolific?




Bruce: Uh…kind of – uh, in slow motion.




Q: Will we be hearing more songs from you?




Bruce: I don’t know – there’s hardly any room on albums to give each guy a few songs. I wrote a song that might go on the next album – it’s called “Ten Years’ H armony”, and it’s a history of The Beach Boys in abstract terms. It’s like the language they used in Atlantis before it went under. I haven’t finished it yet.




D: Are you going to do a solo album?




Bruce: I don’t know. I want to make sure that The Beach Boys’ scene is right. I wanna make sure our American recognition is where it should be before I…I just wanna make sure that people aren’t coming up to us to ask us to do “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” – Jan & Dean, y’know?




D: Is the reason that you’ve released 2 live albums in Europe in the past 3 years, and none here, that you –




Bruce: the reason for that is, we didn’t have any control.




D: The albums were released without your consent?




Bruce: Yeah, it was a “legal affiliate bootleg”.




D: You mean, contract fulfillment or something like that?




Bruce: Well, we set up equipment to put our albums out, I mean to record them, just to see how we sound, and they just took the tapes and put ‘em out.




D: So you had no control over the mixing or production?




Bruce: No.



D: Have you ever played with The Byrds?


Bruce: Oh yeah, once – it was really great.




D: How long ago was that?




Bruce: A few months ago, at a college in North Carolina, or Virginia, someplace like that.




D: What did you think of Clarence White?




Bruce: Oh, yeah, man….I was marveling, though, at Clyde Battin – I was thinking of him singing with Skip and Flip – oh, Skip Battin, right, oh shit, I blew it! His real name’s Clyde, he’s an old friend…I just remembered “Cherry Pie” and “It Was I”, and Skip about 35 years old with hair and a beard, playing bass, you know…




D: What did you think of the latest Byrds album?




Bruce: I haven’t heard it.




D: Do you think McGuinn –




Bruce: I think McGuinn is brilliant, man.




D: There are a lot of people who think McGuinn is The Byrds.




Bruce: Well yeah, he is.




D: Oh, I don’t think so…




Bruce: The Byrds – well, he is, and it so happens that The Byrds have been my favorite American group for the past seven years…they still are. They’re just the best group.




D: Well, Clarence White is just brilliant as a guitarist – I mean, Roger rates Clarence much higher than he does himself –




Bruce: He might be as a player, but maybe for ideas and direction, McGuinn…




D: Well, Clarence has been writing a lot lately – it’s a new sound – do you think that the new direction The Byrds are taking is inferior to their old style?




Bruce: Well, I’m always gonna wanna hear, uh, Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, David Crosby, and…you know, so I can’t answer that. You know, it’d be like Carl Wilson with all new members of The Beach Boys…or Brian…it’d always be good, but you’d always…long for the old way.




D: But do you think their new stuff is good?




Bruce: Oh, of course it is, of course it is…









D: I have some very specific questions about some old songs. On “Here Today” from Pet Sounds, there’s a lot of talking going on in the background during the instrumental bridge –




Mike: That’s probably the tape running, and we’re waiting for the next part to sing…maybe somebody’s saying “Shh – cool it”, or something like that.




D: When you recorded “Student Demonstration Time” the week before the night you played at the closing of the Fillmore East, did you do a couple of different versions in the studio? I noticed that the version you played at the Fillmore was a bit different. Was that a different arrangement that you’d used in the studio, and later dropped?




Mike: Yeah, some things are done more effectively in performance by changing them a little; sometimes it might seem a little empty here or there, so we’ll put something in – like, “Heroes And Villains” is a different arrangement…




D: Is that closer to the version on Smile?




Mike: I don’t know – like, the one on Smile is uniquely different also – there are maybe about 10 different versions of “Heroes”. The songs on Smile are all different from the versions out now. “Wonderful” is much different…




D: Did you think of Smiley Smile as a replacement album for Smile?




Mike: Smile was the album that was being worked on, and then Brian felt it was too much of a production-oriented album…he’d really gotten into an arms race with The Beatles or something [laughs].




D: Do you think he was trying to prove himself?




Mike: No, I don’t think he thought he was proving himself, I think that he thought he wasn’t being himself; it was too much of an ego thing. He’s more unassuming, he’s quieter, shyer…and so what he did was, he dropped way back and did a very light, very spacey Smiley Smile.




D: I noticed that Carl did most of the lead vocals on that album –




J: What made you decide to do “Let The Wind Blow” last night?




Mike: Carl decided.




J: You hadn’t been doing it – I’d never heard you do it…




Mike: I know, it’s a nice song.




J: Is it a favorite of your songs?




Mike: Uh…I like it a lot as a song – it’s tough when you ask about favorites, ‘cause there are all different styles of music with different characteristics, and they’re all nice…




J: Why’d you cut the piano part out of “Student Demonstration Time”? Daryl Dragon used to do really a really loud piano solo during the break




Mike: Right…good old Daryl on piano…




D: Why isn’t he playing as much onstage?




Mike: He’s playing the synthesizer in the background, and cello sometimes.




J: When I saw him from the balcony, he seemed rather down…




Mike: Yeah, well, he is kind of…introverted…but that’s just his personality, I guess.




D: Is he happy doing what he’s doing, or would he rather do piano?




Mike: I never asked him.




D: Who made the decision?




Mike: I’m not in that department. I’m not the musician – I’m more the poet, and, ah, Carl is more the musician, and he’s into that, getting the band together. He’s really the bandleader.




D: Since Carl leads the band on the road, and some people even say he – well, like, he did “Long Promised Road” and “Feel Flows” by himself, does Brian have as much of a role as he used to, or does he sort of step aside for Carl?




Mike: I think, more or less, that Carl is sort of an apprentice to Brian, and Brian is the master…the master-disciple relationship?




D: So Brian just tells Carl what he wants and Carl –




Mike: No, Carl learns, by listening and watching and doing…and, ah, Brian knows everything there is to chords, and harmony, and music, so he doesn’t have to do anything, and when he does do something – I mean, us even being at Carnegie Hall tonight is Brian…Brian…a manifestation of Brian’s music.




J: Why did you stop reading poetry at your concerts?




Mike: I haven’t stopped; I just didn’t read to that audience last night because all week I’ve had sort of – not a sore throat, but a laryngitis-y type of thing, and I just wasn’t doing it – though I like to do that poem [“Rishikesh”, which later appeared on Charles Lloyd’s LP Waves]…but we don’t want to be redundant either, if such a thing could be possible with that poem. I don’t know, I don’t think everybody would grasp the thing about that poem –




J: Very few people seem to listen to it.




Mike: Yeah, well, that’s another reason – unfortunately there are a lot of people who don’t come to listen, they just come to mouth off. For that reason, it does limit our artistic expression. We have to stop just a little bit short of what we could do; you know, maybe we could do an a capella thing, “The Lord’s Prayer”, 4-part harmony thing, but you can’t do it when some idiot’s out there goin’ [grunt voice] “Surfer GUURRLL!” This is why I became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, to help people use more of their consciousness; to feel better toward their surroundings; to be more creative and intelligent.




J: Do you work through SIMS?




Mike: No, I don’t work through any given organization – as of yet – but I will work through any organization that’s the same teaching.




J: SIMS is the same teaching.




Mike: Yeah, whatever it is, SIMS, SRM, IMS, all that stuff [laughs], it could be anything, I just – teach wherever’s possible. In the world today, it’s very necessary to find some simple little thing to neutralize the tensions. Alan and I teach it…and it’s not a waste of time, it’s just needing of a lot of repetition because maybe people don’t hear it the first time, or the second, or the third, or the fourth, or maybe the fifth or the seventh or the ninth, so…you know, “Eyes to see, and ears to hear”?




J: Is everybody in the group involved in Transcendental Meditation?




Mike: Everybody’s been initiated into it, except, I guess, Blondie…they practice it in varying degrees. Some are very – like, Alan and myself, obviously, are regularly into it; Carl is; maybe a couple of the other guys are sporadic, y’know.




D: Is Bruce initiated into it?




Mike: Yeah – I don’t think he practices it though…but if he did, he wouldn’t tell us anyway – he’s kind of secretive about his….self.




Q: Will you be writing for Carl And The Passions?




Mike: I’ve been in Spain, and haven’t done any writing lately, but maybe if we have time we’ll do a few.




J: Do you think it might’ve been a mistake last night to put “Good Vibrations” after “Student Demonstration Time”? “Good Vibrations” sort of calms the audience down after “Student Demonstration Time”, and seeing how it’s the last song, don’t you think –




Mike: I don’t know, what do you think?




J: I didn’t like it that way.




D: What do you think about Daryl Dragon as the 9th Beach Boy?




Mike: Daryl’s been with us a long time…




D: Do you consider him a Beach Boy?




Mike: If he considers himself a Beach Boy, I consider him a Beach Boy. I consider anybody a Beach Boy or Beach Girl who considers himself a Beach Boy or Beach Girl. Really, you know, that’s the way it is: we just happen to be making music, and others seem to be enjoying it; there’s no real separation. The one adds to the other, and makes a whole.








THE BEACH BOYS at CARNEGIE HALL – Wednesday 22 March 1972








Wouldn’t It Be Nice




Long Promised Road




Sloop John B.




Take A Load Off Your Feet




Cool, Cool Water




Disney Girls (1957) [Bruce solo]




Do It Again




Heroes And Villains




Wild Honey [vocal: Blondie]




Surfin’ USA [vocal: Mike and Ricky Fataar]












Surf’s Up




Let The Wind Blow




My Friend [Dennis solo]








Wonderful/Don’t Worry Bill




God Only Knows




Help Me, Rhonda




Student Demonstration Time




Good Vibrations












California Girls




Surfer Girl




I Get Around











Fun, Fun, Fun