Brian Wilson On The Theremin.

Last night, Lydia and I watched a documentary titled "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey". It was a history of the worlds first electronic instrument and its inventor, Leonard Theremin. It was fairly interesting, but the highlight of the movie was the interview with Brian Wilson, who had helped to popularize the instrument in the Beach Boys' hit "Good Vibrations". Here is a transcript of what I thought was the most interesting part of the interview. I am told that it makes sense if you are on drugs while you listen to it.

This is what Brian Wilson said when asked about his use of the theremin on the hit Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations."

Well, because I thought to myself, you know, "I'm pickin' up good vibrations." And I thought, the cello was goin', ya know, "du-du-du-du-du-du-du-du-duh." Kinda... and I said, "As long as we're doing something eerie today, why not get real eerie and put a theremin on it?"

And at the high ya need is like a, ya know, "Aw-ah-aw."

Now a Theremin, when we got the theremin on there, we got it on there so that the people could understand the theremin in finite terms, in finite musical terms; in exact terms. I'm not talkin' about a... well, you know what I mean. In terms of written music, but in a sense, it had an unwritten sound to it... it didn't sound really written. And what would y... "Good Vibrations" is probably the - of all the Beach Boys records - is probably the best combination of instruments.

The most unique way of taking conventional instruments that had only been associated with adults, ya know? And children, 21 year old children, nine... 25 year old children too, ya know?! I mean children, ya know, children. Children of God! Children of God are in their twenties, you know what I mean, they are in their twenties. They are 20 year olds. And they are not really rapidly approaching 30. Right in there in like mid-25... 26 year old people, ya know, year old children. Young adults... not quite adults really, but flamboyant. A little bit, a little bit... what do you call it... whimsical. Whimsical personalities and whimsical sense of human... a whimsical sense of... the word... the situation with "Good Vibrations."

I don't think it was a funny record. It didn't make me laugh, ya know. It made me cry, because I had seen. I had seen the ide... I had s... at once made... sure that I had it grasped, the idea that when you take classical instruments and place them in the rock-n-roll environment, you have refined music. You have rock-n-roll brought to a height. A really... and ya know... now that's a really funny thing, nobody ever really called "Good Vibrations" a rock-n-roll record. It was a rock-n-roll record! It rocked! ya know? It really rocked.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Downie said...

Oh man, that was really good. What in the world was he talking about? Awesome. I'm glad you captured it forever on your blog, otherwise I would have never known! ;)