BECOMING THE BEACH BOYS – THE GARY USHER ANGLE –

Having finally purchased a copy of the book, I was immediately astounded by how much of the book can be found in my THE BEACH BOYS 1961-1963: INCEPTION AND CONCEPTION. When author James. B. Murphy approached me in late December 2011 (at the urging of his publisher) to get my okay for his use of “quotes” from a number of my books (including INCEPTION & CONCEPTION), I was immediately concerned about his statement “I have quoted extensively from a number of your books”, the word EXTENSIVELY being the basis of my concern. I was assured I would receive full credit, which I have via end notes – for the use of my first person quotes – but many of the facts, new discoveries and even hypothesises found in author Murphy’s book can all be found in my earlier book. Nonetheless, I must congratulate author Murphy on getting most of the facts accurate. His few mentions of Gary Usher are accurate – as just about all of them are based on my quotes from interviews with the man himself. HOWEVER, the ill-informed and ridiculous revelation that Usher stole a microphone during one of his sessions with Brian and this was the reason given why he was subsequently “banished” from “Beach Boys’ circles,” defies comment. As I was finally forced to reveal in the THIRD edition of my book THE BEACH BOYS 1961-1963: INCEPTION AND CONCEPTION, it was BRIAN WILSON who stole the microphone, a point Usher did not want me to reveal in his biography and so the incident was not mentioned, largely because Usher did not want it to reflect badly on Brian. Also, the whole episode is irrelevant. There is only ONE reason why Murry Wilson wanted Gary Usher out of the Beach Boys picture, and that was because he felt threatened by him. Usher knew alot about the then burgeoning West Coast music scene because he had been personally involved in it some years before he and Brian Wilson became friends. Up to that point in “Beach Boys circles,” Murry had presented himself as the mover and shaker. With Usher’s arrival, Murry knew he was in trouble and so tried everything to get the new arrival out of the picture.

In an effort to present the facts, I have included a list of corrections as regarding BECOMING THE BEACH BOYS. These were initially directed to author James B. Murphy:

 SOME INSIGHTS AND CORRECTIONS CONCERNING BECOMING THE BEACH BOYS

 16

Pom Pom Playgirl written by Usher and Brian.

23

Band was The Safaris not The Surfaris

58

Jennie Lee was by Jan & Arnie, not Jan & Dean

78

No release of Let’s Go Trippin’ on Rendezvous Records

“Trippin’ was the name of the dance they did at the Rendezvous which became the surfer’s stomp.

86

You say the group is calling themselves The Pendletones. Any proof? – except 50+ year old memories?

87

It would have been nice to have had a date for the clipping. – Ahh I see you mention it (in a note) on page 143!

93

You criticise the dates, but what else have we. Best to accept the “known” rather than the unknown until something better comes along. I personally feel this is just an effort to inject something “new” into the mixture, but there is no basis for doing away with known/accepted dates unless there is a GOOD reason.

109

All of Saraceno’s – and Gordon’s – stories are rubbish. When I interviewed them in the early ‘90s, they were VERY cagey. I thought it had something to do with the fact that many thought (at the time) that Candix was a Mob run label for laundering money. In hindsight, I think their cageyness (sp?) was because I was talking about Candix and although at that point I was unaware of the Shy Shy Boy/Surfer’s Stomp rip-off, they probably thought I might have had an inkling. Saraceno and Gordon were the crooks, not Candix nor the Dix Brothers. According to the paperwork that I received from Brad Elliott (via the Dix Brothers), the two Mar-Kets’ tunes feature the actual rhythm tracks to Shy Shy Boy and That’s A Lie – to which Saraceno overdubbed some additional instruments! As yet, I have been unable to find a copy of Claire Terese’s single on Corsair, but a version by Anna Valentino of Shy Shy Boy (also on Corsair) has the Surfer’s Stomp chords – although it is a re-recording and does not feature You Told A Lie as the flip. I tried to track the songwriter down, but was unable – most likely dead. I checked all address from social security sources (don’t ask me how!!). Claire Terese is dead (and apparently went crazy). She was Jack Andrews’ wife. A search of her “belongings” by her daughter failed to unearth a copy of the single. I have many stories about Saraceno. He appears a nice guy when you meet him, but don’t turn your back!!!!! I also think he was gone from Candix by the end of December 1961. According to John Fisher, he was summarily dismissed before the end of the year.

117

Regan’s phone call to Saraceno is unlikely. Russ told me the same story. Acetate proves it can not be true. They were ALREADY The Surfers!

120

Brian’s story is unlikely. Does not fit with the facts. If the lyrics/letter of Surfin’ (page 95) with The Pendletones written on it is genuine and not a later day addition, this would be the ONLY evidence that the PENDLETONES existed, in at least name only. Same applies to the master box legend which says PENDELTONS surfing song. I was misinformed as to the actual spelling by Brad Elliott (I think it was; perhaps David Beard) – but the tones/tons scenario as outlined in my book would still apply.

121

Coffee shop story makes sense if the group was called The Surfers and it was changed at the last minute to Beach Boys – even though the go-ahead had been given with The Surfers as the name. This is most likely the way it happened. It had to be a last minute change … on the spur of the moment. My scenario (which author Murphy repeated) of there actually being/was Candix singles/labels with THE SURFERS on them would still apply, especially white label promos. No white label promos of any “Beach Boys” Candix singles have surfaced. It is possible that the promo for 331 actually had “The Surfers” name on it and these were destroyed (probably less than a 100). There would have been no need for white label copies of X-301 or Candix 301 because the single was already charting by that stage.

124

The release date for Surfin’ is not to my satisfaction satisfactorily ascertained – unless you have an ACTUAL release date on Candix letterhead. It appears to be only a surmise. The Delta numbering system is too loosely devised for ACCURATE dating – and just because a record is on a chart does not mean it was RELEASED. I came across this for example with The Hondells. I had the release dates on Mercury cards saying one thing and the records’ first appearance on a Top 40 chart being at least a week earlier! Unfortunately, an end of the month date like you have ascertained could easily spill over into the first week of the next month. Unless you have an actual release date by Candix, I just don’t think you can be so specific. I always felt the December 8 date sat better, apart from it being a Friday. I would have preferred it to have been a Monday. Most labels chose a Monday.

131

If the PENDLETON shirts were such a big thing with the group, why did they not wear them at their first appearances?

142

According to Ginger Blake – Ginger & The Snaps is NOT her!! The Ginger And The Snaps single on MGM is her and the girls. I cleared this all up in both my books SOUND WAVES AND TRACTION (VOLUME 1) and BIKINIS, BLACK DENIM AND BITCHEN SOUNDS and now the MISTAKE has again been reintroduced as fact!!!!

145

Concerning Mike Love’s claim on writing some Beach Boys songs, I was contacted by Brian’s attorney at the time of the lawsuit and I told them I had first person quotes on tape from Usher debunking Mike’s claims, but they ignored them. Great attorneys.

You should also have made it clear that the Usher-Wilson songs that Mike stole, he was only awarded 50% of Brian’s 50%. In other words, the breakdown per songs is Wilson 25%, Love 25% and Usher 50%. Mike would not have dared to pull this if Usher was alive.  Scumbucket!!

157

You make the point that the Randy Records catalogue number “was randomly selected to make it appear Randy had many prior releases.” This indeed is a recognised procedure, American International Records being a classic example – as explained to me by label manager Al Simms. However, on page 128 in reference to the selection of 301 as catalogue number for the new X label, you make the point “a decision was made to assign it number 301, just like Candix’s inaugural release in September 1960.”  Why would not the Dixs have assigned it a more random number to give the impression of a label in operation and not starting operation. I’ve always wondered this – especially if it was an obviously one-off. You should have made this point if you introduced the Randy Records catalogue # scenario later on.

168

The date of the April 16, 1962 for the sessions with Brian, Usher & The Beach Boys is the date that was written on the tape which I discovered in the Usher home some two years after Usher had died.

171

It is Shelley Fabares and NOT Shelly.

199

Beginning Of The End was not written by Roger Christian. When it was later demoed by Glen Campbell for Beechwood Music, Usher gave Christian credit for hopefully placing it. The song predates Usher’s songwriting partnership with Christian, as I explained in THE CALIFORNIA SOUND.

255

Ah … Mike Borchetta. He was introduced to Brian by Usher and DID NOT co-write anything with Usher. He put up the money for the sessions and thought he was due half producer credit and half songwriting credit, not simply half the profits. Brian was most likely NOT at the session, as neither Usher nor Dick Burns said he was there. Al Jardine was definitely NOT at the sessions. I specifically asked the musos present if any OTHER Beach Boys (besides Dennis) were in attendance – and I mentioned them by name. There was a unanimous no!

255

Regarding the “microphone” story.  This is an old chestnut and I am surprised Al Jardine has never brought it up. Usher and I discussed this during my first trip in March-April 1983. Sitting around Usher’s big log fire he was in stitches recalling the event and who the real culprit was! It was BRIAN!!!! Just fooling around in typical Brian form. Brian did it as a joke but it turned into something more and Brian had to throw the mic in the trash a couple of blocks away so he would not be found out. Usher recounted all the stories they worked up for what happened, but they decided to say nothing. I wanted to include it in the book but Usher felt it reflected badly on Brian. How anyone could have even thought it was Usher amazes. Here is a 23 year old guy who had served his country, worked in a bank and lived a rather straight life and they thought it was him! Why on earth would Usher in particular steal a microphone!!!! The most likely suspect would have been Dennis, but it was Brian (being Brian).

265

Jan Berry never “collaborated” with Usher. Usher however did sing (with Brian) on the LP version of Dead Man’s Curve.

268

The reason there was no other Usher songs on SURFER GIRL was because Usher was involved with a whole lot of other projects. It was not “evidence of their drifting relationship.” Far from it.

299

There was no soundtrack album to RIDE THE WILD SURF. The Jan & Dean RIDE THE WILD SURF LP was just a straight album “made to look like a soundtrack album” because it had Ride The Wild Surf from the film on it. It also was NOT the film soundtrack version.

301

You seem not to make such a big deal of In My Room, apart from quotes from later-day artists. What about the writing behind it?

314

The Vettes produced the LP REV-UP from which the single you noted was culled.

322

Surf Route 101 by Jan & Dean was written by Jan Berry-Roger Christian-Brian Wilson

Surf Route 101 by The Super Stocks was written by Usher-Christian

They are two totally different songs. The title was Christian’s.

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