SURF CITY ALLSTARS
By David M. Beard
Drummer David Logeman and fellow Surf City Allstar, keyboardist Gary Griffin (known throughout the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean community for his work with everyone and everything), took an idea that began several years ago, and pursued it through to fruition.
The idea: Take selective Beach Boys classics, break them down, and reconstruct them in an acoustic setting using completely different arrangements. Along the way, Logeman and Griffin reached out to founding Beach Boys Al Jardine & David Marks, and Jan & Dean's Dean Torrence -- the trio tour together as the Legends Of Surf Music -- to incorporate their classic individual styles into this formulaic approach. The end result is quite astonishing. To provide more insight into this new collection, and the arrangements therein, I asked David & Gary to share their thoughts on the background of these recordings.
David Logeman: The inspiration for this CD came from the original production of "God Only Knows" that I did with my wife, Shannon Beaty, for one of her projects. I took that idea and expanded it to the full Acoustic Vibrations concept. Gary Griffin and I had so much fun coming up with new arrangements that would honor the great melodies and lyrics of these fantastic Brian Wilson and Mike Love compositions. Having Al Jardine, David Marks, and Dean Torrence use their significant talents on this CD was such a plus. I have never had so much fun and fulfillment recording before. The highlight of the Acoustic Vibrations record was being able to see this CD grow from my initial concept to working hands-on and experiencing everyone’s incredible talents, especially Gary Griffin’s, all the way through to the artwork and packaging.
Gary Griffin: The genesis of Acoustic Vibrations came from an arrangement of “God Only Knows,” which David Logeman and his wife, Shannon, had created a few years back. From that, the idea was born to do a complete Surf City Allstars CD of “scaled down” acoustic arrangements of the repertoire we had done for so many years.
Our version of “Caroline No” opens with the sound of a duduk, a Turkish double reed instrument, which sounds a bit like a cross between an English horn and a drunken clarinet. Phil Bardowell did great on this vocal and sang all the background’s, too. “Don’t Worry Baby” opens with acappella voices and percussion, features Matt singing in the vocal range where he totally rules. Phil played a very cool mandolin solo on this. The arrangement “Sloop John B” came about a few years back when we were rehearsing for our I Get Surround DVD. We sort of tipped our cap to the song as it existed in its original state; a simple folk song. But we added a very cool bridge section (“I wanna go home.....”). I’m not sure whose idea it was, probably Phil’s or Randell Kirsch’s, but it adds a real dramatic element to the story. Phil sings the first verse, Don the second, and I did the third verse. Matt’s vocal sounds very child-like and innocent on “In My Room”; he sounds rather vulnerable which is perfect for the lyrics. We used some chord changes and harmonies that are a bit unsettling which I think helps give the song a little tension, a little angst.
We kept “The Warmth of the Sun” pretty faithful to Brian’s original vocal arrangement. It’s such an incredibly beautiful melody and once again, Matt nails it. Al sings a really cool vocal on “California Girls” which features xylophone and ukulele. The intro is a sort of abbreviated obtuse take on Brian’s original guitar intro with cello, English horn and harp.
*For the rest of this review read the Winter 2009 edition of Endless Summer Quarterly