Nov 042012

Looking at neighbors masturbating, with love

Rockin’ the Man In the Boat

I’m glad so many of my brethren in Rock are finally getting over the electricity/gas/flooded basement pain that Sandy left in her wake. Having said that:  suck on this — Mike Love‘s tasteful ode to female masturbation, “Rockin’ the Man In the Boat,” from his 1980 solo LP, Looking Back With Love. The lyrics, as you can imagine, are key to enjoyment of this song. Be sure to hang around for one of the later verses, where Love explains exactly how he knows about the main protagonist’s, uh, “habit.” That particular moment literally caused my wife to shudder with revulsion.

Just wanted to show you fine people that thrifting for vinyl ain’t always a walk in the park.

I look forward to your responses.


Sep 262012

You’ve probably heard that visionary Beach Boys leader Mike Love fired Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks from his band following the Boys’ amazing 50th Anniversary Tour. Happy anniversary. You’re fired. Only original replacement member Bruce Johnston remains on the Good Ship Love.

I’m disappointed and can’t understand why Love doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me. We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys. – Brian Wilson

I’ve seen a few friends bemoaning this sad state of affairs on Facebook. It’s one more chance to state that Mike Love is an asshole. You know what I think?

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Aug 302012

L to R: Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Carl Wilson, Hawaii, late August 1967; Bruce Johnston missed the trip as Brian decided to go. Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis Images.

Aug 222012

My parents had a family picnic this past Saturday. Early on, my sister, my wife, and I drove to the local ACME to pick up some last-minute party things. My sister had Pet Sounds playing in her car, and she asked me if it was possible that the Beach Boys might be better than the Beatles.

I hedged my bets. I acknowledged that the Beach Boys’ rich five-part harmonies can sound richer and more dazzling than the Fabs’ mere three-vocal frontline. But, I said, no one in the Beach Boys could sing loud, nasty rock ‘n’ roll like John Lennon.

My sister is four years younger than me, in her early 30s. I pointed out that the Beach Boys have so many albums, many of them with a lot of crap, but also a lot of great songs that people of our generation didn’t always get to here at first—like “Let Him Run Wild,” “Darlin'” and “Surf’s Up.” All we knew of the Beach Boys growing up consisted of their many ’60s hits on oldies radio, and of course Mr. Mod’s beloved “Kokomo.” On the other hand, the Beatles have fewer albums and, growing up, there was always a Beatles Sunday Brunch or somesuch weekly show on oldies, classic-rock or AOR radio stations. So once you get into the Beatles—as I did in fourth grade—it’s surprisingly easy to get familiar with the entire canon. This breeds familiarity which eventually can breed you-know-what, or at least make it difficult to hear those songs with new ears after x amount of years.

Now, I can think of at least one Townsperson who definitely prefers the Beach Boys. But, just as we once contemplated the ways the Kinks might be preferable in some ways to the Beatles, can we all think of ways that the Beach Boys might be better? Are, in fact, some of the preferable ways related to the weird lurking corners of the post-“Do it Again” era?

Incidentally, it’s no contest as far as my wife is concerned. She like the Beatles better, and thinks they were much more influential and significant. For example, she points out that the Beach Boys didn’t inspire male teenagers all over the world to stop cutting their hair.

Also, isn’t it funny that the battle is always “Beatles vs Stones,” rather than “Beatles vs not-Stones”? Some media narratives die extra-hard, I guess.

I look forward to your responses.


Fun, Fun, Fun

 Posted by
Jul 032012

The Beach Boys, Columbia, MD, June 15, 2012.

I suspect I have been to/go to far fewer concerts than most of my fellow RTHers. And I’d guess I’ve seen far fewer acts as I tend to see the same folks over and over.

Still and all, I’ve seen some shows that I think would inspire envy: Springsteen from second row center at the Tower in December 1975; Dylan’s 4-hour club show at Toad’s Place in New Haven; Beefheart, Talking Heads, and Costello in the very early days; Sinatra a couple of times…

But 2 weeks ago I saw what may have been the best concert in my life. which I suspect many of you won’t believe; I can hardly believe it myself. I’m talking about the Beach Boys’ 50th Reunion Tour.

First, the back story. (I’ve told some of this before but can’t find it to provide a link; maybe it was back in the RTH v1 days.) My kids are Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fans from back in the day when I could control the radio dial / cassette player / CD player in the car. We listened to oldies and Brian and the gang naturally figured prominently. So they’ve known the classic BB songs since they were toddlers.

In 1997, I took my daughters, then ages 9 and 6, to see the Beach Boys (of course without Brian but with Carl, who was only to live a few more months). It was the first time I had seen them as well. It was a fine concert that the girls absolutely loved. They sang along, danced in the aisle and still talk about it 15 years later.

In 1998, when Brian was promoting Imagination, he did a signing session at Borders in downtown Chicago. I took my daughters and my then-18-month-old son to meet Brian.

My daughters had been listening to and loving the Imagination album and were excited to meet Brian. We drove 2 hours into Chicago (we lived 35 miles northwest of the city but 2 hours wasn’t unusual for that trip), then waited 45 minutes in line. My daughters, in anticipation of meeting Brian, had drawn a poster for him. It contained little pictures depicting each song from the album. When it was our turn, they presented their original poster to Brian, while I explained what it was. Brian, sadly, didn’t acknowledge the poster or my daughters or son or me at all. He kept his head down, scrawled his name on the copy I had had made, and that was it. On the way home, my 7 year old, bless her heart, said that the whole thing was kind of disappointing but still she was glad that we went and she had the chance to “meet” Brian. (To add insult to injury, 6 years later his Getting in Over My Head album had a cover with little pictures depicting each song. I’m not saying he stole Kate & Rebecca’s idea, I’m just saying…)

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