Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Van Dyke Parks

I was fortunate enough to have a short chat last evening with Van Dyke Parks, the lyricist/composer/producer/performer best known as Brian Wilson's collaborator on SMiLE, the "lost" Beach Boys album that finally saw the light of day in its entirety (as a remade Brian solo album) last year. Parks will be in Austin for SXSW next month to discuss SMiLE with Brian and David Leaf, who directed a documentary about the SMiLE saga that recently aired on Showtime.

Although I've gotten better with time, I still get a little of the "Chris Farley Show" syndrome when I conduct an interview, particularly with someone well-known or whose work holds particular personal significance. It's not really my nature to just start asking people questions and I feel weird about doing it even when I have legitimate credentials to back me up. I'm thankful no one besides me will ever hear the tape of my interview with Brian Wilson, a notoriously uncomfortable interviewee who couldn't have been put any more at ease by all my hems, haws, uhs and you knows.

By contrast, my interview with Parks went quite well. He was very genial and full of great anecdotes about working with Brian Wilson and the Los Angeles music scene in the Sixties. There's a lot more to his career than SMiLE. For example, Parks told me David Crosby asked him to be in the Byrds and he turned Crosby down, saying "I didn't want to be a Byrd."

I'll have more than enough good stuff to write up a short feature for the Chron SXSW dailies; perhaps I'll post what's left here as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard Parks was going to be working with Dengue Fever(one of my favorites)on their next album, but I don't know if it's true.