Here’s a piece that we are able to reprint with permission from our friend Iman Labadedi whose way cool site rocknycliveandrecorded.com is the place to go to for what’s happening in music.
The article is written by Ed “The Big Huerta”, aka “The Prince of Primative”, who has done many interviews and articles here at Jackaboutguitars.com. Many thanks to Iman and Ed for this story. – Jack
My Meeting with Brian Wilson(or how I grew up to be a man and love “The Bomb”)
Folks, I was born in Los Angeles, a stone’s throw from Hawthorne, California (this is our Liverpool), and grew up in California, (and still live there and will probably die here), listening to my brother’s copy of “The Beach Boy’s Live In Concert” from 1964.
As I grew older and became increasingly uncomfortable in high school, I explored “Pet Sounds” and read as much as possible about The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. Brian was painstakingly shy and introverted and escaped through music and seemed to wish his life away, just like myself.
We all know of Brian’s troubles so I will not bore you even further, but Pet Sounds led me to harder stuff, like Friends, 20/20, Smiley Smile, Sunflower, Wild Honey, Surf’s Up, Holland…folks, are you starting to see a pattern here?
The year 1976 brought us15 Big Ones and heralded the return of Brian to the creative fold. I bought it and wasn’t super fond of it, but it had Brian, sure he was bigger and raspier but it was still BRIAN!
Fast forward many years, life goes by, one gets married, has mortgage, bills, fall breaks back to winter etc..Brian is now older, happier, solo and doing shows again. I went to as many of his gigs as possible, often dragging my wife with me, and also in the company of my pal and ex co-worker Allen Barker and his wife.
Allen saw The Beatles play in Seattle so he was A-ok in my book from the get go. He is also a great guy that supported me throughout my wife’s illness and passing. He is a truly great dude.
Finally to our story…Allen emails me and says “I have a ticket for you to a Tribute to Brian Wilson at the Henry Fonda Theatre in March, YOU are going! Okay, sez I, well lo and behold, he breaks it to me gently that we are going to meet Brian and he is going to sign a few things for us at Capitol Records before the show.
In a bit of providence, we had dinner before meeting Brian and who walks in, but 4 members of his band, and they sat right next to us. Gracious guys they all were. We even got a picture of them and chatted a tad. So anyways, this is how I got into the famed Capitol Records building and it is so cool in there.
We were ushered into Studio A and there behind the glass was Brian and a few photographers. I felt like I was at the zoo and looking at some rare, nearly extinct wild animal. It was a strange feeling just being in that building knowing that Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Bobby Darin, Gene Vincent, The Beach Boys, Zooey Deschanel and a ton others have wandered around these hallowed halls and recorded musical history in these echo chambers.
There were about 30 or so people that got to meet Brian that evening. They all made a nice charitable contribution to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund so it was for a very worthy cause.
When I was ushered in, I showed Brian a pic on my phone of a painting I did of him that he signed in Long Beach. He said he dug it and that he remembered seeing it. Well, that was pretty bitchen’ to say the least. Again, here was my musical hero and I hardly had much to say to him. What do you say to a modern day Mozart or Beethoven? What do you say to a musical genius?
We all want to be around greatness and peeps, it doesn’t get any greater than that in my world. This man shaped my musical life and took me through some many painful years and events. What else can you say but “Thank you for all of the joy that you have given the world” and I did. The world and my life is greatly enriched with this treasure to mankind and to the naysayers that don’t get it, well, listen a little closer to what’s going on in his songs.
The instrumentation that was used in “Pet Sounds” alone was innovative, layered and complex, not to mention the symphonic, spiritual harmonies and throwing it all down on 4 tracks!
Folks, Brian was only 23 years old when he composed the greatest rock album of all-time and I am not even going to go on about the hits or tons of gems out there that are waiting for the non-believers to discover one day.
In conclusion, I just want to say “Thank you” to Allen Barker for giving me a very joyous day in a time in my life when joy was nowhere to be seen. Meeting Brian Wilson on his home turf will be a day that I will never forget and will treasure for the rest of my life.
Our thanks to Iman Labadedi, rocknycliveandrecorded.com, Ed Huerta, and Brian Wilson.