a terrific and thought provoking question...
My first reaction was to go back to childhood..
Growing up I was not a Beach Boys fan, oh I loved some of the songs; “In my Room”, “Surfer Girl”, “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Wouldn’t it be Nice”, “God Only Knows”, “Caroline No”, and “Good Vibrations”. But I was a huge fan of the Beatles and from an early age I devoured their records and read anything I could get my hands on regarding their story. My earliest memory of the Beach Boys were references in Beatles books to their album PET SOUNDS and I remember thinking that it was weird that all these familiar songs were together with so many unfamiliar titles . The problem was that when I was growing up it was not cool to like the Beach Boys, they were square and unhip, and sadly to this day most people feel the Beach Boys to be some archaic musical group with some nice harmonies. When I was 9 or ten a friend gave me a cassette tape containing the Motown classic “What’s Going On” album on one side and the Beach Boys PET SOUNDS on the other. To say that I was blown away is an understatement, I was frankly floored by both albums....
From the first few times that I really listened to Pet Sounds, it was clear that this was the cohesive and very personal vision of one man.When I was twenty, I was newly in love and just beginning my first committed relationship and it was uncanny how songs composed twenty years before I was born could resonate so deeply with a 20 year old young man.. Songs of love and of longing.. songs of beauty and loss.. songs about not fiiting in and wanting to simply " Go Away For Awhile"..
Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is on record as stating what an influence Pet Sounds was for him, and if you listen to the album, thats not much of a stretch....
I began to collect other Beach Boy albums at this point, later period gems like Friends, Surf’s Up, Sunflower, 20/20 and Holland. When I heard Brian Wilson's first solo record it became very evident to me who was responsible for producing all the great Beach Boys’ music. The papers began to mention an unreleased project called SMiLE in articles and reports were that Capitol Records was preparing a boxed set of the sessions for release (which never happened). For all the albums flaws, I still love that first solo record, especially Love & Mercy, Melt Away, Rio Grand, and I began to collect the Beach Boys records as they were released on CD for the first time.
Soon I had an idea of what SMiLE would have been and I began making my own SMiLE tapes, using SMILEY SMILE versions and later period songs like “Diamond Head” in an effort to hear for myself what SMiLE might have been like. When I was 13 or 14 I went to a record collectors “swap” and while browsing vendor’s collections of rare and unreleased vinyl albums I discovered my first SMiLE bootleg, a beautifully packaged collection that included a huge full color poster of the SMiLE cover, session log sheets and three albums of outtakes and sessions pressed on colored vinyl. Now I could make tapes that included the original sessions and I was truly converted. I have since collected every single scrape of SMiLE that has ever been bootlegged; it is a collection that contains hundreds of alternate and rare session recordings, so now I make CDs, collecting some of my favorite SMiLE pieces to give a more detailed example of the brilliance and prolific genius of Brian Wilson. In February 2004, days after the London Brian Wilson presents SMiLE performances, I began to collect computer files of the SMiLE shows and was bedazzled by what I heard, of course Brian was able to compile the greatest SMiLE of all, surprising and amazing me with every selection. I have terrific memories of attending Brian’s Santa Monica tribute show (where Brian met the Wondermints), millennium New Years Eve show, PET SOUNDS and SMiLE shows, I have met Brian twice and treasure my signed copy of his autobiography
Other records that are intensely personal for me..
Forever Changes- Love a masterpiece that is like a walk through the world before I was born
Welcome To The Boomtown-David And David
an amazing cinematic album that’s like a walk through Hollywood on an overcast day
Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars-Davis Bowie
the first ROCK record I ever heard and a personal journey through a world of sound that led to the Jesus And Mary Chain and to the depths below
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret-Soft Cell
a walk through the neon colored corners of my mind.. a world of alienation, casual sex, drugs and loss
Psycho Candy –Jesus & Mary Chain
The album that introduced this impressionable child to Lou Reed, New York and Noise..
I am still shaking its hand and making its acquaintance
Temple of Lowmen-Crowded House
If you wanted to know about me.. and frankly who would even care to… I would offer this album as evidence of thoughts and, dare I say it, emotions.. “I feel Possessed”.. I have gone “Into Temptation”.. I live in a “Mansion in the Slums”… I will “Never Be The Same”… I am going down “In The Lowlands” oh well Like Gibberish I “ Better Be Home Soon”……