Re: Serious Omission - Where's Dennis Wilson?
Hi guys, I'm new to this forum but had to respond in some fashion to this old thread regarding Dennis Wilson. 1st off the fact that Dennis Wilson didnt play on studio recordings is a massive myth. I also think that the overwhelming attitude towards his drumming (he's been called a basher) has more to do with his brother Brian's attitude than anything else. Dennis played on alot more Beach Boys material and hits than you might realize.
He played on pretty much everything on their 1st four or five albums but did NOT play drums on "Surfin USA." song.He did however play on: "Don't Worry Baby," Surfin Safari," "Surfer Girl," "Wendy," "Do it again" " I can hear music" "Got to know the woman" and many, many more. The fact is he WAS the drummer in the beach boys. In later years, basically from 1977 on is when his drumming really began to suffer due to substance abuse problems just like Keith Moon. One only has to view later Who material to see that literally Keith could not play anymore, Dennis' talents suffered similarly.
Alot of people simply don't think Dennis is a good drummer. But I on the other hand disagree. In fact the early albums/hits that he played on are very good. They all have distinct hooks minus tons of fills.To this day I find it kinda strange that Ringo Starr is worshipped but Dennis (who in many ways was a similar self taught drummer) is never mentioned.
After 1967 he can also be heard on plenty of BB's material and this stuff shows off his drumming best of all. From 1967-1977 is when his drumming was at it's best due to plenty of road work. He however, took his songwriting most seriously and this talent including all the songs he lent to the BB's as well as his "Pacific Ocean Blue" album are incredible artistic contributions. As a drummer for 25 yrs of both tons of live and studio work I think I'm a pretty good judge of a drummer and I happen to like Dennis' drumming. It's not perfect, but then again he never took it seriously enough to make it that way. He has interesting phrasing and creshendos that he relied on, probably because he played 'open handed' although he was right handed.
Most of all- he endorsed Camco drums and up until 1975 he is ALWAYS seen playing either a Camco or a Rogers kit. He almost always used a Rogers Dynasonic snare-thus he had fantastic taste in drum gear. For anyone looking to judge Dennis' for themselves I'd suggest: The Beach Boys lost Concert which can be seen on youtube from 1964. And some parts of The Beach Boys Live at Knebworth from 1980. Albums to listen to- any of their 1st four proper albums as well as "Sunflower," "20-20" and the strangely interesting "Love You" from 1977.