Make your own free website on

In Their Own Words:
In the Studio

“We were down at the studio and Brian didn’t feel like putting down a track. We were just lying around and he said, ‘Come out here, everyone.’ So we all went out…and he had us making animal noises, incredible noises…and then he just drove us into it. We went into the studio and listened to it; he put it with music; we listened to it again and walked out knowing once again Brian had done it.”
-David Anderle (“The Beach Boys” by Byron Preiss. 1979)

“The Smile sessions were more piece-meal than Pet Sounds where we worked tune by tune…Pieces of tunes cut rather than ‘whole tunes."
-Carol Kaye (Open Sky magazine 1999 -Chris Allen, editor)

“You see, where I had always seen a musical cooperation going on was in the studio, and particularly when they were cutting tracks. In the studio, they had a happy relationship going.”
-Mike Vosse (“The Beach Boys” by Byron Preiss. 1979)

“Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Al Jardine huddle around one of the big playback speakers at Columbia Records, Studio A…Twelve takes on one small section of background voices for ‘Heroes and Villains’ have just been completed. Mike is not quite satisfied with his singing on a few bars. They go back into the studio. Over and over they rerecord the difficult and complex harmony pattern until it is perfect. Then Brian takes them to the piano and teaches them more background to be overdubbed. The creative process here is as spontaneous as in the earlier track sessions. Carl has an idea and goes to the microphone alone, laying in a lovely and funny little riff behind the chorale effect. The Beach Boys and their producer work together well. The communication is not limited to words, there is a profound spiritual rapport. They are turned to one another and it shows up in the music.”
-a semi accurate/semi-put-on by Brian and Mike Vosse (Teen Set, Volume 4)

“Every day there was recording…Brian was really working…We worked every day-some. We might work one hour or six hours. The guys were very understanding. We supposedly would start every day at two o’clock. A lot of times some of the guys wouldn’t get there unti for or five o’clock for their parts. When everybody got there we’d work. If somebody got tired then they’d say, ‘Let’s quit.’ I’d work until midnight if they wanted to go that long. I’d say, ‘Hey guys, I’m tired, let’s go home” and they’d say, ‘One more take’ or ‘One more time.’ They were cooperative. They would know if somebody really didn’t like working they did not get the best of what they wanted.”
-Jim Lockhart (“The Beach Boys” by Byron Preiss. 1979)

“Brian was cutting sections of music as they were coming to him. He was going in and recording them. He wasn’t doing them as ‘this is this song, and this is that song.’”
– David Anderle (“The Beach Boys & The Southern California Myth” by David Leaf. 1979)

“A film crew and I went to Columbia Records’s studios with Brian and his friends, and they were doing tiny little pieces that made no sense in and of themselves…just a few notes…also the sessions didn’t make a scene that was at all interesting…I had hoped to get Brian masterminding a recording session, but instead it was terribly spread out…Brian was a little spacy, but he didn’t seem drugged. We filmed a piece called ‘Surf’s Up,’ and he accompanied himself at the piano.“
-David Oppenheim (“Heroes And Villains” by Steven Gaines. 1986)


“When we started at the house we had remote equipment. It was rented and brought into his house. They have one large room which had been a music room for the former owner and there was a hallwya and an office and all the console and tape machiens were set up in the office. The cables ran across the hall into the music room and there was a closed circuit television so you could see what was going on…We started working in that method.”
-Jim Lockhart (“The Beach Boys” by Byron Preiss. 1979)

QUESTION: Comparing the Pet Sounds/Good Vibrations/Smile sessions, were there any perceivable difference in the way Brian worked? We've all head all the stories about drugs, etc. But, I imagined that Brian was like the Beatles, in that he NEVER did that stuff in the confines of the studio. The work there was too important. I know the other band members thought Brian was getting too "far out" with his new music. I'm just trying to see if you noticed any pressure from Brian with his more experimental music?

“No, there was no difference. It was apparent that he was growing fast musically, and we were all happy for him, were excited to see what was going to "come out of the kid next". He didn't seem like he was under any kind of pressure, but did say something about "competing with the Beatles" in a nice sort of way. No, never saw any drugs w/Brian in the studio at all. He knew none of us used drugs, just wasn't done back in the 60s in the studios.”
-Carol Kaye (EAR CANDY interview March 1999)

Back to the In Their Own Words