Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dennis Wilson (of Beach Boy fame) on Jesus of Nazareth:


"I know a carpenter who had a dream. You killed the man, but you couldn't kill the dream."

(In the comments below, someone wrote the following: "I once read someplace that Dennis was married twelve times. I'll have to double-check. But I'm fairly sure that the last woman he married before he died was Mike Love's 19-year-old niece, Sherry Love. Since Mike and Dennis were cousins, I can only assume she and Dennis were related as well." Here are my thoughts on the matter. Whoever wrote that, you're flying pretty close to the sun!):

Actually, it was Mike Love's illegitimate 18-year-old daughter (even worse). He impregnated her seemingly out of spite for Mike Love. He also regularly used to take women into Mike Love's "Meditation Chamber" on the Beach Boys' touring airplane. I like to think of it more abstractly as an acrimonious apologetic against Eastern Religions. Anyway, as far as Mike Love is concerned, the stories involving Dennis are painfully terrible. Mike actually got a restraining order against Dennis! An amazing, almost unbelievable story.

With the Beach Boys, nothing is ever simple. They are impossibly difficult to reduce to a simple interpretive paradigm. As David Zahl (the real Beach Boys expert, who is at this moment researching a book he is writing about the Beach Boys, the definitive Biography!) once remarked: "One thing you can't say about Brian Wilson is that he has completely lost it!" "Wow," I thought, "I was always pretty sure that that was the one thing you could safely say about Brian..." That's more or less how I always feel when I start interacting with the Beach Boys.

As far as I'm concerned, Dennis Wilson was the ultimate rock star. He bought and totalled a Rolls Royce in the same day. He is by far my favorite beach boy, and the only member of the band who could surf. Dennis may have been the world's most sentimental song-writer as well. And like the infamous "Smile" album, that remained uncompleted and secretly traded for so long, Dennis himself had a secret solo project, the Smile within Smile, called (no kidding) "Bamboo". I've spent hefty dough to get most of that material. It's some of my favorite stuff ever. His songs: "Companion" and "Love Surrounds Me" are all-time faves, and the break on "Pacific Ocean Blues" will have you convinced your listening to an instrumental out-take from the Beastie Boys "Check Your Head" sessions.

But, in light of his profoundly sentimental tendencies, and his severe alcoholism, he prayed and sought the Lord in times of distress. He wrote songs about Christmas, songs about Jesus, endless amounts of songs that describe in mushy detail the need of the heart for love from outside, and, in a binge-y moment with his brother (Brian) he recorded a song called "Oh Lord" in which he cries out to God: "Oh Lord, let me see what there is to see...etc". It is gut-wrenching (as is most of Dennis' most heart-felt gravelly singing), and a fantastic call from the sinner seeking God's absolution. In CS Lewis terms, we are dealing with the ultimate Edmond! I'm convinced we'll see him in heaven.

P.s., DZ was joking about Two-Lane Black Top. I got two copies of it for Christmas a few years ago. Unbearably slow. I tried to watch it all the way through twice, and after what seemed like hours, discovered I'd only reached the 45-minute mark (both times). --JAZ

9 comments:

bonnie said...

Guess the Southpark episode:

"I killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"No, I literally killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"I nailed him on the cross and killed the man!"
"I killed the man."
"I killed the man."
"Darn it, I killed the man. I crucified the man!"

Jeff Dean said...

Passion of the Jew?

Anonymous said...

Let's not get side-tracked here. Dennis Wilson was a beautiful man, not just the only Beach Boy who could surf, but also the only one who died by drowning. When Brian checked out after Smile, Dennis picked up the slack in a big way. Check out the Sunflower album if you don't believe me. True, he harbored Charles Manson in his house for a while, but he was also the guy that Christine McVie wrote "You Make Loving Fun" and "Brown Eyes" about. Dennis hated Mike Love and loved his brothers. I really hope Capitol Records re-releases his solo stuff within my lifetime but i'm not holding my breath. Sometimes when i get really sentimental, i think of John, Simeon and me as Brian, Dennis and Carl. Since Dennis was the middle child though, i guess that makes me him! Not that you can really go wrong when comparing yourself to a Wilson. Which one are you? -dw(f)z

Anonymous said...

Also, you may be unaware that Dennis Wilson starred in one of John Zahl's favorite films of alltime, Two Lane Blacktop. His co-star? That's right, none other than Mr "Sweet Baby" James Taylor. Rent it if you get the chance. It's action-packed.

bonnie said...

Hi Jeff - no, it was inspired by two days before the day after tomorrow. ("I broke the dam...")

Anonymous said...

I once read someplace that Dennis was married twelve times. I'll have to double-check. But I'm fairly sure that the last woman he married before he died was Mike Love's 19-year-old niece, Sherry Love. Since Mike and Dennis were cousins, I can only assume she and Dennis were related as well.

Joshua Corrigan said...

also, I am pretty sure that Dennis had seven children with seven different women. This is the part that reminds me of DZ.

Cate West said...

josh-

it reminds you of who!?

(pretty) curious,
Cate West

Joshua Corrigan said...

Delano Zelderflomp. Dont you know him? Oh!....you thought I meant...how silly of me! Cate, have no worries. The DZ you know doesnt have nearly as many children with nearly as many girls.