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Jon Stebbins

Jon Stebbins

Member Since 12 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 25 2012 10:33 AM

In Topic: Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Hal Blaine Myth

13 September 2012 - 10:07 PM

John ,

I read "The Lost Beach Boy " ! Great read.I am so glad I got to see Dave with the Beach Boys this summer.He is a great lead player.


Cool Thanks. I talked to Dave today, he had a great time on the tour. I get to see him (and the Beach Boys) in L.A. on Tuesday at the Grammy Museum.

In Topic: Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Hal Blaine Myth

13 September 2012 - 06:49 PM



How they got their sound! Perhaps a replica of the mixer they gave Murry who thought he was mixing them.

I love the "producer" console. Murray was indispensable in starting their career, but was definitely overbearing when it came to their sound. Brian and Chuck Britz had everything in control, but Murray had to put his two cents in.

I believe Glenn Campbell toured with them in late '64 through '65, starting with Brian's breakdown until Bruce Johnston joined the group. Previously, he was a studio musician that played on a number of their songs.

Yeah Glen played from December 26, '64 through May '65, Brian subbed for him a few times within that span. Bruce also subbed for Glen a couple times in April, and finally came in full-time in May.

In Topic: Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Hal Blaine Myth

13 September 2012 - 03:16 PM

I am surprised that Al isn't mentioned more per his singing. When I first saw them up close and live, his voice seemed to have that special sound. "Help Me Rhonda" comes to mind, This was in Houston about '66 and I don't remember Brian in that line up. Ace

Yeah Brian would have been gone from the touring unit in '66 with Bruce Johnston playing bass instead. 1964 (US, Australia and Europe) was the only year that Brian was on tour full-time with the band with no exceptions. And we know how that ended...he broke down in December. He wasn't much for touring and by '65 he usually only did the L.A. gigs and the TV stuff. By '66 he was gone almost entirely other than a few gigs here and there. In the post 1975 years he did come back and tour with the Beach Boys quite a bit, but it was still on and off.

In Topic: Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Hal Blaine Myth

13 September 2012 - 02:23 PM

All that I can add is that on 8/24/63 our band, the Exports, played a double bill with the Beach Boys at The Midway Ballroom in Cedar Lake, Indiana. Their band consisted of the three Wilson brothers, Al Jardine, and Mike Love. They played their recorded songs and some cover material including the d**k Dale version of Maleguena/Miserlou medley. Carl nailed the lead guitar part. They all seemed very competent with their instruments. Even Mike could play those two notes quite well on tenor sax. Their harmonies performed live were mind-bogglingly good. I wish that I could remember some of the other details better. But, I think that Dennis used my Rogers set that was arranged identically to his Camco set-up. He and I were both lefties playing open-handed on a four piece righty drum set. Dennis was no slouch on the gig. He was probably more valuable as a singer than as a drummer in recording sessions. I'm pretty sure that he was happy to use my drums, and leave his Camcos in the station wagon that Murry had hired a lackey to drive the group on an extended Midwest tour.

It was very common for studio recordings to feature studio musicians to some extent. Some acts toured while studio musicians and singers made "their" records.

This is great info, and FYI I'll be adding that your band was on this bill in my upcoming book "The Beach Boys In Concert" which is a day by day account of their entire touring career. The book is due out on Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard next June. We already have the 8/24/63 date in our manuscript, and several photos of the Beach Boys on that tour including one taken the following night in Iowa at the Melody Mill in Sageville. One correction to your recollection that the photos prove is that Brian Wilson was not on that portion of the tour...the Beach Boys lineup was Dennis (drums), Carl Wilson (guitar), David Marks (guitar), Mike Love (vocals/sax) and Al Jardine (bass). Brian missed several tours in '63 as he was already avoiding the road and concentrating on writing and arranging. He invited Al Jardine to return to temporarily replace him after Jardine had quit the band in its earliest stages in Feb. 62. During the months of April to October '63 Brian used the above lineup as a fallback when he didn't want to tour. Most people don't know, but some of the Surfer Girl LP, and all of the newly recorded tracks on the Little Deuce Coupe LP also feature the above lineup plus Brian. Yes there were six Beach Boys on tracks like In My Room and Catch A Wave. When David Marks quit the group in October of '63 Brian was forced to come back as a full-time live bassist and Al moved over to rhythm guitar in place of Dave. Anyway thanks for the info, and we'll make sure the Exports get a mention in the book.

Jon Stebbins

In Topic: Dennis Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Hal Blaine Myth

12 September 2012 - 05:09 PM

Another point: Theres no way that Dennis is playing on the recorded version of "I Get Around". Listen to him playing it live....his approach is 100% different than the record. Dennis plays "I Get Around" the same way he plays "Dance Dance Dance" with those fast Triplet snare fills. You cant MISS Denny's style.

Hal is playing on the master take for I Get Around, I'm sure of it.

Sorry but you are wrong. Dennis is the drummer on the I Get Around tracking session. Hal plays timbales. So many people think they know what they know because of countless years of conditioning that Dennis didn't play much in the studio. This came about because Hal Blaine actually did play on a good amount of classic Beach Boys sessions like Help Me Rhonda, California Girls, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Good Vibrations and a bunch more. But the truth is that other than the Pet Sounds LP and the early Smile sessions, Dennis Wilson was never really completely replaced by Hal or anyone else...and he played on a huge number of Beach Boys classics and hits. As was stated up the thread he injured his hand in 71 and did not play much again until late '74. But here's the bottom line. Dennis played on the MAJORITY of Beach Boys tracking sessions. Hal played on a lot too, but on a minority number of them compared to Dennis. The myth that has grown that Dennis was not a studio drummer is not the fault of Hal, his anecdotes only match what he remembers in a blurred and long career, but the true blame goes to journalists and historians who took such anecdotes as gospel without researching them. To a degree i was among them, as my 2000 book on Dennis "The Real Beach Boy" may have given Dennis more credit as a drummer than any Beach Boys book of that time, but it was wrong on many of the details. Since then a core of historians and archivists including Craig Slowinski (the guy who wrote the Smile Sessions box session-notes), Alan Boyd (Beach Boys archivist), Andrew Doe (Beach Boys Britain) and myself (Four books published on the Beach Boys) have begun to turn this Dennis/Hal myth around a bit.

Its not even a matter of guesswork anymore, or solely relying on AFM sheets. The actual tracking sessions are available to hear, dissect, analyze ...and a great deal of them have been... and dozens of them reveal it was Dennis playing drums on many of the Beach Boys sessions. Its a crime of rock history that he has gone uncredited on so many classic tracks that feature his playing. No one with a reasonable grasp, including me, would ever claim Dennis was a great technical drummer, he was not, but he did have great power and feel, and his passion and humanity comes through on those records in a lasting way. In fact, Brian would coach Hal to play more like Dennis when he used him because Brian liked the Dennis vibe as a drummer. So why did he use Hal on so many of the top tier BB's tracks? simple...Hal could play things that Dennis couldn't...but even more important Hal could play in three takes something it would take Dennis 25 takes to get right. Retrosonic mentions that Dennis couldn't be the drummer on I Get Around because he plays it differently live. The truth is Dennis could barely play anything the same way twice because he played from the soul not from his head. He was untrained and undisciplined. Same with When I Grow Up To Be A Man, that is DEFINITELY Dennis on the studio cut, and when he plays it live he plays it way differently. He probably walked out of the studio that day and never practiced it again until they played it on TV in the UK.

But the research the above people and others have done the last five years or so has uncovered Dennis playing a so many BB's sessions that it has begun a new appreciation of him as a studio drummer. We can hear the talk back and engineer Chuck Britz setting levels and talking to Dennis, Brian too instructing his brother, sometimes becoming impatient with him. But also becoming excited about the snare sound Dennis was getting or that dramatic tom fill. A good example is when I actually found the missing Shut Down Vol. 2 multi-tracks a few years back...story here... http://www.newtimess.../the-reel-deal/
When we listened to the many takes of Don't Worry Baby the players on it were Dennis -drums, Brian - keyboards, Carl - guitars, Al -bass. For years many writers had given Hal Blaine credit for that track...but not true, its Dennis, plain as day on the master tapes. He and Chuck Britz work out that short intro on the drums a few times and then they start doing actual takes. Same with the rest of the Shut Down Vol 2 sessions... other than Why Do Fools Fall In Love which is Wrecking Crew. BTW that's the first real full Wrecking Crew sessions on a BB's track Jan '64. Hal played a few earlier BB's sessions - timbales on Hawaii backing Dennis' drums, and Hal is the drummer on Our Car Club. On some things like Fun Fun Fun and Don't Back Down they both play the drums. On things like Dance Dance Dance and I Get Around - Dennis is the drummer and Hal plays percussion.

What follows is a PARTIAL and SELECTED list of classic Beach Boys tracks that feature Dennis Wilson on drums. He played on many more than this list reveals. Again, this is not guess work. This is solidly researched by some of the best people in the business.

Surfin Safari
Ten Little Indians
Shut Down
Surfer Girl
Little Deuce Coupe
Hawaii with Hal Blaine timbales
Catch A Wave
In My Room
Little Saint Nick
Fun Fun Fun with Hal Blaine additional drums
Warmth of The Sun
Don’ Worry Baby
I Get Around with Hal Blaine timbales
All Summer Long
Little Honda
Girls On The Beach
Don’t Back Down with Hal Blaine additional drums
Dance Dance Dance with Hal Blaine percussion
When I Grow Up To Be A Man
I’m So Young
She Knows Me Too Well
Then I Kissed Her
Girl Don’t Tell Me
You’re So Good To Me
That’s Not Me
I Can Hear Music
Do It Again
Student Demonstration Time
Rock and Roll Music
Its OK
Honkin Down The Highway
Good Timin’