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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Brian Wilson's Contribution to Punk Rock

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Mumps Kevin Kiely and Paul Rutner in Brother Studios, 1978

Back in 1978, the NYC punk/glam/pop band Mumps settled into Los Angeles for a spell to record some songs, play some shows and try to get a record deal. They recorded those songs in the hallowed halls of pop music's most brilliant purveyors, The Beach Boys.

Brother Studios, in Santa Monica, was ground zero for Mumps, Pleasant and me for an extended period of evenings and overnights as the band and producer Earle Mankey made music together.

Oh my musical hero, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson probably had no idea the hijinx we punk rockers were playing in his place....

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The irreverance of punk rock encouraged Kevin Kiely to pose for this fun photo with a Beach Boys gold record award. I found a beautiful Bluthner grand piano and sat myself down to play a little Beethoven (the adagio movement from his Pathetique Sonata... and I was impressed that Mumps guitar man Rob duPrey identified it, revealing to me his own personal experience with classical training. Oh the deep dark secrets of punk rock musicians....)

This afternoon in Nashville, the very same Beach Boy, Brian Wilson stopped by Grimeys New and PreLoved Music to sign copies of his new album, That Lucky Old Sun. On this brisk (ok... it was COLD) autumn morning, fans lined up to wait for the 1 PM store opening and Brunch With Brian Wilson. The genius was quiet, seated behind a counter, graciously signing his name on his albums and listening to hordes of people lavish their praise and worship upon him.

I had considered making him a print of Kevin "stealing" his gold records but decided against it. Instead, I had him autograph 2 copies of his new album, and one of my friends (who probably doesn't even read this) is getting one for Xmas...

Thank you Brian Wilson for being you and for letting my best punk rock friends and I go crazy in your recording studio. Thank you for letting me play your piano and thank you for talking to me in 1986 about Paul McCartney for that TV special I worked on. You rule.

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