Beach Boys: A California Saga, Part II

Page 2 of 6

Now, here's the Venet version:

"I don't think the father really knew where his son was at. Murry Wilson once told me that his son was the next Elvis Presley. I said, 'Mr. Wilson, I think Brian might be as big as Presley in sales, but I don't think he wants to be Presley.' He said, 'No, he's doing everything Presley does – but he's doing it better.' I said, 'Mr. Wilson, I think Brian's doing a different kind of music which is really Brian Wilson music' He kind of shook his head, looked at me and walked away.

"I thought at first that the father would be an anchor, but later I found out he had his own theories and he was also a songwriter, in the great style of Albert Crankshaw. Albert Crankshaw died in 1936. People who knew him well called him Mr. Show Business. That was in Cleveland. He wrote three or four songs: 'I Want To Go Back To Copenhagen,' 'Mary Sweet Mary Come Back Home.' He also wrote a song called 'Adios, My Buddy, Adios.' Murry wrote in this flavor, and I think Murry wanted to be more involved with the Beach Boys' music. Because in those days you would put one side on the record for the kids and one side for the grown-ups – terrific!

"I think Murry wanted to 'elevate' the boys by putting them into 'pret-ty music,' nice music, terrific music, a rhumba, a fox trot, a mambo. I think that was an underlying thing in Murry's mind. They had a few fights about music and things. Yeah, I think Murry really fucked up the group for a couple of years. Oh, I'm gonna get sued again ...

"I used to get locked up in the office with the man. I was into all kinds of great things with Les McCann and Lou Rawls, and the next morning I would have to come to work at 9 o'clock after being up all night with great music – and I would walk into that office and there would be Murry Wilson. And that motherfucker would sit there till 5 or 6 o'clock and tell me about his songs and play me his melodies, and I had to listen to him because somewhere in the conversation he would always drop to me what Brian's next record was gonna be. Everyone in the building avoided him but I was stuck with him, 'cause I was the 'producer.'

"The father kept trying to worm his way into a recording deal. Eventually he made one with Capitol. This is a bust, this is hilarious, now that I'm not with Capitol. Capitol made a whole album and released it for that asshole, just so they could satisfy him and so he wouldn't hassle them so much on some of the Beach Boy things. It was the worst fucking album, and Capitol put it out, and they had to advertise it.

"One day I looked out my window and My God! he had cornered the president of Capitol in the parking lot. I was sent down there. They said, 'Get out there and somehow draw his attention.' I had to bump into him and say, 'Oh Murry, I've been looking for you all day. I have some new pictures on the kids I have to show you.' Just to get the motherfucker away from the owner of the company so he'd get something done for the day.

"I think the father did nothing but hinder them, but I think he assumed a lot of credit. If he heard them doing something good, he'd say, 'Right.' And he was about three beats behind Brian. For instance, Brian would say, 'Let's do that again.' He would say, 'Let's do that again.' Got to the point where Brian would say, 'Le . . . ' and he would say, 'Let's do that again.'

"The old man got to the point where he could see when a cat put his instrument down out there, that he was gonna stop the take. And Brian wouldn't see, say for instance, that the drummer had put his sticks down or waved his arm to stop the take. The father would say, 'Let's stop that take.' And of course, Brian thought for a while, there, the old man knew what he was doing.

"I used to hide under my desk. He used to look in my office to see if I was in there so I ordered a new desk because it had a front on it. The chick downstairs would buzz me: 'Man, here he comes.' I would tuck myself under my desk, 'cause there was no exit but the front door. And he would come in, wouldn't take the secretary's 'he's not in,' would walk into the office; he would look and I wasn't there and he would split. Well, one day he came in and used the fucking phone, man, and I got to tell you, I sat under that desk for five hours. And when I came out I couldn't use my left leg for two days. But I would rather sit under that desk than face that man and his never-ending success stories of 1920 melodies.

"I could never get along with the father. He's rather Bomb-Hanoi-ish, but he's a very nice kind of guy."

* * *

This album is a first! Because it features Murry Wilson – songwriter!

Until this time, the public has known Murry Wilson only as the father and initial personal manager-recording director of the world famous Beach Boys. The man who rocketed them into a phenomenal career.

Now, it's Murry Wilson's turn! You will hear a side of Murry that only his family and close friends are aware of – the songwriter with a flair for melodic structure! And you'll also hear a fantastic mixture of sounds uncommon to most recordings!

– Album notes to 'The Many Moods
of Murry Wilson'
Capitol T 2819

File under: Wilson – Instrumental

* * *

Nick is a nice guy," reflected Murry. "He's got a lot of talent, apparently, 'cause he's still around. He may never get rich, but he's made a lot of records.

"I had to get rid of Nick Venet out of the Beach Boys' careers because he was not doing right by them. He was responsible for having the big shot at Capitol, Voyle Gilmore, hear the song, 'Surfin' Safari.' Nick acted real cool. He says, 'You come back in an hour and we'll let you know if we want you to be Capitol recording artists.' He didn't act like he was too excited.

"So we walked out of there, and I said, 'Brian, let's make them wait five minutes, you know, let's don't act too eager.' This is the truth. And we got back in an hour and five minutes.

"In the meantime – we found out later – Nick Venet rushed across the tower on the 12th floor, raced across the offices, burst in on Gilmore and says, 'Boss, I've got a double-sided smash for Capitol.' And he was right.

"We knew we were good. We told Nick Venet right at the outset we thought 'Surfin' Safari' was the A side. He says, no, '409.' So Capitol put all the push on '409' and had to turn the damn record over in about three weeks. 'Surfin' Safari' was the song that made them surfing kings, vocally and lyrically, around the United States.

"Actually, the truth is, Nick started out Ok. He called me up one day, after I handed him the tapes on 'Surfin' Safari,' and said, 'Now, we can't have two producers. You're over the hill, old man, and I'm young and I know the tempo and I sold $50 million worth of records for Capitol last year, so move over and let me take your sons and make big stars out of them.' That's what he told me in a nice way. And I said, 'Ok, well, do a good job with them, Nick, they're your babies.' And I was kinda glad because it was a lot of pressure. You can work with strangers easier than you can your own goddamn kids, you know.

"But the boys refused to have Nick as their producer because he didn't tell the truth to them. He'd say, 'Brian, be here at 2:00; we're going to master out your record,' and then he would do the mastering himself, before Brian got there. What he did was outsmart Brian.

"So Brian came home one day from Capitol very blue, and he broke into tears and said, 'Goddammit, Dad . . . '" Murry made some boo hoo noises with his lips. "'Bub-ub-ub-ub, will you go down and tell Capitol we don't want him anymore, he's changing our sound.' So Dad went down and talked to Voyle Gilmore, the vice president, and I told him right to his face, 'You folks don't know how to produce a rock and roll hit in your studios downstairs.' See, their engineers were used to good music, not rock and roll. We wanted to use Western Recorders. I told him, 'Leave us alone and we'll make hits for you.' He got red in the face. But that's all petty shit, I mean petty crap, sorry.

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