4 comments on “Recording the Beach Boys in Hawaii

  1. Thank you very much, Mr. Manquen, for a fascinating story and post! As a Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fan, I was very excited to read more about these two concerts. In the past several years I have done some research and study on these specific shows, which are almost legendary in the Beach Boys saga, and if you wouldn’t mind fielding a few questions, I’d love to ask a few questions about certain unanswered details.

    First: There was film shot of these concerts. It was assumed for years that the Beach Boys were filming the Hawaii shows as part of a multi-media live album and film release, but it was revealed that the existing film footage was for personal use instead, and was shot rather poorly on 16mm film (which appeared too dark for the stage shots). This footage has been used in several Beach Boys documentaries, and is always cut to a different audio track, substituting live tapes from London for example for the actual Hawaii recordings. Do you remember anything specific about the filming of these concerts, i.e. who was involved, what the film was to have been used for, and most of all, if there was either film or video shot of the full performance on either night?

    Second: A small part of that existing Hawaii footage seems to have been shot in a control room, with the Beach Boys present and standing around a mixing board. It looks to be Jim Lockert at the board, and at one point Brian Wilson reaches over, makes a change or a suggestion to Lockert, and listens to the track. If it were Bill Halverson and yourself working the concert, could this mystery studio control room footage have been shot at Wally Heider’s in LA, after the band had returned and begun mixing your live recordings? Or was Jim Lockert there in another capacity for those concerts, since he had become Brian Wilson’s unofficial “official” engineer after Chuck Britz recommended him for the Smiley Smile home-studio gig? The Beach Boys and various family and friends gathered around Brian and the board in this brief clip are wearing Hawaiian shirts, too!

    Third: Again in one of those brief control room clips, there is clearly a television monitor visible and sitting on top of the board above the meters, and the image being projected is of the Beach Boys performing on stage. Do you remember if this was a closed-circuit broadcast strictly for the engineering staff to monitor the activity on stage? Or was there a video remote shot of the full concert for purposes yet to be revealed? It looks like the same board as in the Brian-Lockert scenes, so was this film of this video monitor perhaps also shot in real-time during either night’s performance?

    Fourth: It is a legend that Brian’s home organ, his Baldwin theater-model which is all over the Smiley Smile album, was crated up and shipped to Hawaii specifically for these two shows, at great cost. Do you remember anything about this Baldwin organ, and having to deal with it on stage?

    Last: The Beach Boys, several weeks after returning from Hawaii in Sept. 1967, went into Wally Heider’s in LA to re-record and replace a handful of the scrapped tracks from Hawaii. Do you have any additional information or any personal anecdotes about those re-record sessions?

    Thank you again for a great story about an interesting part of Beach Boys history. There are many questions still left unanswered about the whole Hawaii affair, but any new piece of information, however small, is appreciated by the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fan base. I may be able to get clips of and post some screen captures of the control room scenes I mentioned as well, if there is an interest in seeing the control room, the Heider equipment used for the shows, and anyone who was in the room and made it to the film. I’d be happy to do so if there is an interest. Thanks again!

    -Craig

  2. Craig, I can’t tell you anything about film or video related to this show. At this point in my life, I was only 2 years into my career. I was still so busy learning about tape recorders and audio that I hadn’t discovered things with pictures yet.

    I’m trying to remember what went on. Jimmie Lockert and I were good friends, and I guess maybe we met on this trip. I don’t know why else I would have bumped into Jimmy. Now that you mention it, I vaguely recall having a drink at the hotel and sharing the Chinese dinner with Jimmy and his wife.

    Jimmy had an HO train layout that he was working on, and I remember borrowing it from him for a while and working on some of the trackwork to help the trains run better. (You can see a tour of my Lionel train layout on my website at http://www.manquen.net.) He and his wife were always happy to spend time with me, and I felt very comfortable at their home.

    Bill Halverson was responsible for the equipment – setup, etc., – as the Heider man on scene, and Jimmie was probably the actual recording engineer. Bill probably served as his assistant during the concerts, or maybe Bill ran the knobs and Jimmie ‘produced’. I don’t remember.

    I can remember Jimmie’s frustrations with the eccentricities of working with the Beach Boys. Things like irregular hours, recording in the dry swimming pool and the general problems of dealing with an undisciplined group.

    I remember one story about a luxury car – probably something like a Rolls – that was parked at the Beach Boys house, and someone left the door open. It sat there with the door open for quite a while, collecting dust. Finally someone decided to get the car cleaned up. When they were done and the car was all spiffy again, they parked it and left the door open….

    The tracks from the concert were pretty bad. I guess most of the Boys were quite stoned by the time they hit the stage, and their music suffered.

    Sorry I can’t be more accurate and specific.

  3. Mr. Manquen, thanks again for adding more to this story! Any information from this era is much appreciated, as it is not as widely available as other parts of the Beach Boys’ story, and thank you very much for taking the time to respond. The Wally Heider facilities in LA did play a big role in what Brian Wilson was recording in the Summer and Fall of 1967, and it’s great to read personal stories from someone who was there.

    Apparently the tracks were bad enough to the band’s ears as well that they scheduled the re-record session a few weeks later at Heider’s, trying to recreate the stage sound they had in Hawaii, but with better performances. That’s where my question about Brian’s Baldwin organ came up, because it seems that after shipping it to Hawaii at that high cost, they also had it shipped to Wally Heider’s for these re-records, then apparently back to Brian’s home studio! The whole Hawaii story is fascinating in many ways, and it’s challenging to try and piece it all together from the available information (and recordings).

    About Jim Lockert, it is unfortunate that he didn’t go on the record about his experiences working with the Beach Boys as much as he may have done if he were here today, especially with the renewed interest in Brian Wilson’s music over the past several years. To the best of my knowledge, Jim Lockert may have gone on the record in detail one time, in the late 70’s, about his working with the band, including a description of a marathon Smiley Smile mixing session done at Wally Heider’s Studio Three. That is about all that’s been available so far as firsthand accounts from Jim Lockert, and I could post Jim Lockert’s words if it would be of interest to the website.

    Thanks again for the great stories about Hawaii!
    Craig

  4. By all means, Craig, this is the place for such stories! Please post the article, and not just in the comments!!

    sqb

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