Monthly Archives: September 2012

All You Need Is Love? Beach Boy “Boss” Fires Band’s Heart and Soul

“God only knows what I’d be without you” God Only Knows, The Beach Boys

As every Gen X hipster with a turntable and vinyl collection knows, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is one of Rock and Roll’s seminal recordings. And it’s equally gospel that the genius behind Pet Sounds and the entire Beach Boys oeuvre was and remains Brian Wilson. Brian, along with brothers Dennis and Carl, their cousin Mike Love, and pal Al Jardeen, were the surfer dudes in the red and white striped shirts that wowed us on Ed Sullivan and on A.M. radio with hits such as “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” Help Me Rhonda,” “Good Vibrations,” and other legendary tunes celebrating sports cars, racing, surfing, and adolescence.

But after sailing through the ‘6o’s on their golden harmonies, the “Boys” hit some shoals. Brian Wilson battled demons and retreated to his room, eventually inspiring the Barenaked Ladies song “Lying In Bed Like Brian Wilson Did.” Brian’s breakdown was followed by the tragic and untimely deaths of brothers Dennis and Carl. With Brian on “injured reserve” and two other Wilson Boys gone to Rock and Roll Heaven, Mike Love was left to carry the Beach Boys mantel. That he did for several decades, leading makeshift or ramshackle assortments of journeymen in incarnations that were mere shadows of Beach Boy glory. (I once saw the Love- led Beach Boys performing as the opening act for a pro soccer game in D.C back in 1982–it wasn’t a pretty sight.) Also not pretty were the legal wranglings and machinations that accompanied the Brian Wilson/Mike Love schism. After years of internecine infighting, Love apparently wrested control of the “Beach Boys” trademark. The question then loomed: Would Mike share the love and be a benign and beneficient steward of the Beach Boys legacy?

This summer, five decades after the Beach Boys caught their first wave of hits, the answer seemed to be yes. Since last spring, Love, Brian Wilson, and Al Jardeen, launched the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour. With all the surviving members on hand and in fine form, and backed by a tour de force collection of singers and players (even including one of the Cowsills), the Beach Boys anniversary show transcended nostalgia and kitsch. It featured robust, muscular, and pitch perfect versions of virtually every Beach Boy classic, as well as a number of credible songs from their new album “That’s Why God Made The Radio.”

All was well in Beach Boy land, or so it seemed until yesterday. In a press release either intentionally or unwittingly timed to coincide with Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, Mike Love revealed that his reign as keeper of the Beach Boy name would be benign no longer. He announced the firing of Brian Wilson and Al Jardeen from the band. See the full report at:

What this move portends for the Beach Boys remains to be seen. Will the newly reduced ensemble return to playing Vegas lounges and state fairs? Will the shadows return over the Beach Boys legacy?

One thing is certain. After such a glorious restoration of the Beach Boys to their much-deserved glory this past summer, and after rekindling so much of the goodwill attached to the Beach Boys name, this jaw-dropping and demoralizing move by Love will give him and his management team enough to atone for on subsequent Yom Kippurs for years to come.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.” John le Carre


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Lawyer in ‘Toon With Brevity

Updated: A lawyer who opposes the Justice Departments proposed antitrust settlement with three publishers of e-books has filed an amicus brief PDF in the form of a comic strip. Bob Kohn tells Bloomberg and the New York Times Media Decoder blog that he opted for the unusual format after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of Manhattan limited his brief to five pages. I thought of the idea of using pictures which, as we know, paint a thousand words, Kohn told Media Decoder. He calls the cartoon a graphic novelette and says it complies with court rules requiring 12-point or larger type and one-inch margins, Bloomberg says. The illustrator attends school with Kohns daughter, Katie, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in film studies at Harvard. The U.S. Justice Department filed suit in April against Apple and five publishers claiming a

via Faced with a Five-Page Limit, Lawyer Files Cartoon Amicus Brief with Proper Font Size – News – ABA Journal.

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Summertime Things

Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

It’s been a long time between posts–largely because a trial in San Jose, CA beckoned me out West and I’ve just begun to settle back into the blogging routine.

While I was away, the Olympics took place in London, largely without any of the ambush advertising/trademark incidents many feared might infiltrate the event. Hanes, the underwear maker, produced a tv commercial featuring a well-muscled model swinging on a series of metal rings, perhaps bringing to mind the Olympic rings symbol without paying to become an official Olympic sponsor. But mostly, the advertisers that aired commercials during the Olympic fortnight played by the rules while the athletes swam, ran, dove, dressaged and rhythmically tumbled their way to gold, silver, and bronze, if not to lucrative commercial endorsements.

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and the quintessential American hero, passed away, but not without NBC committing one of the most egregious gaffes in recent memory. “Astronaut Neil Young, first man to walk on the moon, dies at age 82,” read the online report’s headline at One small step for man, one giant screw up for journalistic kind. Neil Young, by the way, is alive and well, tearing up stages with his longtime band Crazy Horse adding their unique brand of raw rock to Neil’s Ragged Glory for the first time in years.

The Republicans held their convention in Tampa, undermining their claim to competency by scheduling the event in Florida during the height of hurricane season, and by inviting Clint Eastwood to interview an empty chair.

And just last week, legendary lyricist Hal David died. David teamed with Burt Bacharach on a string of top 40 and Oscar-winning hits during the 60s and 70s, including “Do You Know The Way To San Jose,” “Alfie,” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” His keen and provocative lyrical sense was typified in this line from Alfie: “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie? Are we meant to take more
than we give or are we meant to be kind?” I vote for kind.

On the trademark front, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit give Christian Louboutin a qualified victory in the “Red Shoes” case I wrote about in one of my earliest posts. The lower court had kicked out Louboutin’s claim of trademark rights for the red outer soles of its shoes, reasoning that a single color could never function as a trademark in the fashion industry. But the Second Circuit booted that categorical rule, concluding that an earlier Supreme Court case upholding a single-color trademark for an industrial product applied equally to the realm of fashion. Still, Louboutin again failed in its effort to block YSL from selling a monochromatic shoe that was red, top to bottom. The appeals court ruled that Louboutin’s trademark only covered red soles with contrasting uppers, where the red created visual “pop.” So, in the spirit of Neil Armstrong, we can conclude that the Red Shoe decision was one small step for Louboutin, but not a giant leap for shoe-kind.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Carl Sagan

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