Sunday, February 10, 2013

Good Music Goes Up

Is there anything u want?
Paul: go up in the sky
What do u mean?
Paul: (pointing upward) Good music goes up

A relative asked Paul this in early January , and now it seems so very poignant as he weakens, loses interest in food, and draws into that perpetual ball-shaped position .


Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, and the Beach Boys, won their first ever Grammy today for best Historic Album.

Paul loved, loved (!) Brian's music. He wrote about Smile in 1993, for the restart of Crawdaddy Magazine, (some of Smile was included in the newly released Good Vibrations boxset):

"Putting aside the myth (which David Anderle and I certainly helped create, in our published conversation way back a long time ago) of the genius artist frustrated on the brink of his greatest masterwork, these tracks are clearly the work of someone very stoned, a powerful creative artist very much under the influence of marijuana and amphetamines. He was also stoned on power, the power of having the money and the reputation, the intelligence and the talent and the fear/respect of the people around you, that allows you to do whatever you feel like, whatever you think of. And of course the people around him, the witnesses to his "genius", David Anderle, Van Dyke Parks, Derek Taylor, the journalists like myself, were also very stoned.

There are moments of great sensitivity and deep feeling on the Smile tracks (notably Brian's vocal performances on "Wonderful" and "Surf's Up"), but in it's overall character it is not at all a heart album ( as Pet Sounds certainly is); rather it is, and was clearly meant to be, a sort of three-ring circus of flashy musical ideas and avant-garde entertainment. Many of the tracks contain brief segments of truly extraordinary beauty and musical originality (it was hearing some of these tracks as acetates, that got me and other visitors so excited)."

And from pg 149 of How Deep Is The Ocean: Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Paul writes about the magnificent Surf's Up the penultimate song on Smile:

"....Am I babbling? This song does that to me, reduces me to pure feelings with millions of specific images loosely attached, floating by, all contradictory and all true at the moment that I see and feel them."


Today when I told Paul that Brian had won his first Grammy, and for Smile, he opened his eyes for a second,  looked up at me and said "good."


  1. It was Paul who directly started me on a long never ending obsession with the Smile music. His ability to write from the heart and shoot direct darts of his love and experience of the music he appreciated into the minds of his readers remains unequalled in the world of music journalism. There will forever only be one Paul.