miércoles, agosto 20, 2008

Adiós Paco, guitarrista de The Goggles

Hoy he salido a dar una vuelta por Gijón. Me quería pasar, entre otros sitios, por el Casino para ver la programación de conciertos. Iba en busca de The Goggles, banda gijonesa de maduros admiradores de The Beatles y a la que he visto cientos de veces actuando en bares de la ciudad, cuando era más joven y vivía aquí, y ya de mayor, cada vez que venía aquí a descansar. Fui al Casino por que sabía que solían tocar allí, de hecho el verano pasado dieron un concierto memorable. No fue la última vez que les vi, pues tuve la suerte y gran honor de compartir escenario con ellos el pasado mes de septiembre (aún no hace un año) en Navia, en la gran boda de David y Olaya, yo a los platos, ellos a los instrumentos. Y otro concierto memorable. (La foto es de entonces y Paco es el primero por la izquierda).

Bueno, el caso es que no venían en la programación. Lástima pensé. Y mientras me tomaba un café he estado ojeando el periódico. Allí me he encontrado con esta noticia: Francisco Bouzón, guitarrista de The Goggles y cirujano del Hospital de Cabueñes, había muerto.

No sé si existen las casualidades, pero esta en concreto es una auténctica putada. Y no es justo.

Paco era el guitarrista de The Googles y un gran cirujano. Estaba orgulloso de su trabajo y de su hobby, y lo hacía todo muy bien. Se queda pendiente esa maldita entrevista que le dije que le iba a hacer para el periódico y se queda pendiente poder volver a disfrutar de su guitarra en directo. Se queda pendiente ese MySpace que iba a intentar hacerles y se queda pendiente esa versión de The Beach Boys que me dijo que se iban a preparar, pero claro, el amaba a The Beatles, lo mío era casi como pedir peras al olmo.

Y ahora... ¡joder!, quiero volver a escuchar a Paco tocando con The Goggles.

"Honey don't" de The Beatles

Le dejo aquí su cación, una de las que mejor le salían de su grupo fetiche. Seguro que la ensayó mil veces antes de ir a tocar a The Cavern, un sueño cumplido. Bueno, eso, que le dejo aquí su canción y que espero que allá donde se encuentre sepa que para mí él es una persona inolvidable. Aunque no nos conociésemos demasiado, aunque nos separasen más de veinte años, la gente que ama la música suele congeniar así, a lo grande.

Allá donde estés, Paco, toca de nuevo todas esas canciones que tanto nos gustan. Y haz que bailemos para siempre.

Y mil y un abrazos para Pablo, Julio y Óscar, sus otros compañeros a bordo de la mítica goggelina, la furgoneta con la que paseaban sus sueños de ser algún día como The Beatles.

Maldito mes de agosto.

más sobre The Beatles en el Cuaderno de Escuchas


Anonymous Alan W. Wolf said...

Brian Wilson opens up about life, lyrics and 'That Lucky Old Sun'
By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
BEVERLY HILLS — Brian Wilson's new sun-splashed throwback to the fun, fun, fun '60s started inauspiciously with an even earlier touchstone.

"I always liked that song," he says of That Lucky Old Sun, first popularized in 1949 by Frankie Laine. "A couple of years ago, I went to the record store, got Louis Armstrong's version, brought it home and learned it. I rearranged it and taught it to my band."

TIMELINE: Take in the key events in Brian Wilson's life

Wilson's version became the title track of his critically hailed concept album, in stores today. Part travelogue and part autobiography, the collection functions as a valentine to Southern California that revisits the singer's blissful Beach Boys history while also dipping into its darker chasms.

It's a conceptual cousin to 2004's long-dormant Smile, which arrived in Billboard at No. 13, the highest entry for a Wilson or Beach Boys studio disc since 15 Big Ones in 1976. It also marks a return to Beach Boys springboard Capitol Records, which anticipates healthy sales and is giving Lucky a high-profile launch.

Nostalgia pervades such L.A. snapshots as Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl, California Role and spoken interludes written by Van Dyke Parks, Wilson's Smile collaborator. The mood downshifts on Going Home, when Wilson reveals, "At 25, I turned out the light 'cause I couldn't handle the glare in my tired eyes."

Despite Lucky's moments of difficult candor, Wilson tackled the project with reborn vitality and imagination, sparked largely by his completion of Smile.

Crafting Lucky "brought up a lot of happy and exciting memories," he says. "But there was a little pain involved in squeezing out these songs."

In Oxygen to the Brain, he sings: "How could I have got so low/I'm embarrassed to tell you so/I laid around this old place/I hardly ever washed my face."

And in Midnight's Another Day: "Took the diamond from my soul and turned it back into coal/All these voices, all these memories, made me feel like stone."

Though other tunes are breezy and upbeat, Midnight's Another Day is a personal favorite because "I feel the meaning of the lyrics. I can really relate to that line about feeling loneliness even though I'm with people."

Wilson's past is familiar to even casual fans. A string of bouncy beach hits (Surfer Girl; I Get Around; Help Me, Rhonda; Fun, Fun, Fun), followed by "pocket symphony" Good Vibrations and 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, which inspired The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then the doubt-doomed Smile, shelved for 37 years. A three-year bedroom retreat. The deaths of brothers Dennis in 1983 and Carl in 1998. Wilson's ouster from the band and feud with cousin Mike Love. Drugs, mental illness, paranoia, isolation, burnout.

"I should have passed on the LSD and marijuana and all that," he says. "It kind of screwed my mind up."

Positive environment

These days, he ping-pongs between gloom and cheer. Heavily medicated for schizoaffective disorder, he occasionally hears voices or dreads getting out of bed but usually greets the day with boyish enthusiasm. Mention of his age, 66, elicits a hearty "Right on!"

"I can still create music," he says. "I'm surprised. I didn't think I'd still be this interested."

Lingering anxieties now compete with a host of positive forces. He has been happily married for 13 years to Melinda Ledbetter ("A beautiful gal!"). They live in a posh two-story home in a gated hillside enclave with their three children: Daria, 11, Delanie, 10, and Dylan, 4. (Wilson says he seldom sees daughters Carnie, 40, and Wendy, 38, from his first marriage.)

He flashes a crooked smile when the family's pack of 15 dogs — most of them Yorkies, Maltese and poodles — erupts in a chorus of yaps from the patio. "We love dogs!" he says brightly, sinking into a sofa and planting his feet, in brown Louis Vuitton loafers, on a coffee table. "I didn't have pets as a kid."

Nor, perhaps, enough encouragement, his wife surmises.

"He needs a positive environment," she says. "It's improved his mental state to be with a band that respects him and has such a clear understanding of who he is. Now he can be creative and not worry about the fallout.

"Based on his disorder, he'll always feel pressure," she says. "It's something we control by medication and visits to his doctor. But if he has a bad week, it's nothing like it was in the past. I mean, here's a guy who went to bed for years. He's better because he gets all this positive reinforcement from his family, his bandmates, the music community.

"He never realized what he meant to anybody."

Finishing Smile unleashed buried creative impulses and boosted his self-esteem, she says.

"Everything opened up. If he's not making music, he's not happy. He did an incredible job on (Lucky). It's uplifting, funny. It makes you cry. It has every emotion you could wish for. It's a way to tell fans what happened to him all these years."

'He's still got it'

Lucky got rolling when Wilson and multi-instrumentalist Scott Bennett began composing and recording 18 demos, including a version of Good Kind of Love with Carole King that didn't make the final cut. Bennett, who joined Wilson's band after playing guitar on 1998's Imagination, had seldom been summoned to collaborate the preceding eight years.

"Then Brian got amped and called every day," he says. "He liked my small apartment and studio, my studio being a computer and two microphones."

Revamped for a stage commission by London's Royal Festival Hall, That Lucky Old Sun had its world premiere there a year ago in six sold-out concerts. The 10-song piece with narrated breaks was then recorded. "The whole thing kept evolving, and I was nervous at every turn that it was losing the charm of the demos," says Bennett, who thwarted a Phil Spector-esque bloat by mixing the tracks himself.

He also wrote the bulk of the lyrics. Wilson didn't alter a syllable. "Brian told me, 'It's like you're in my brain.' Writing as if I'm Brian was tricky. It has to be interesting but not so clever that a 66-year-old guy goes, 'What's this?'

"We kept a lot of Brian's lyrics. He wrote the lion's share of the vibe of Oxygen," he adds. "It was invaluable to have him address his lost chapters."

Bennett quickly learned that Wilson functioned best as the alpha male and that his composing and arranging gifts haven't faded. When Bennett was at an impasse, Wilson's change of key "was like driving into a vat of butter," he says. "That's the money chord. He's still got it."

Energy and love

So when Wilson pushed for soapy sentimentality in Southern California, Bennett relented.

"It seemed OK to go out in an overtly nostalgic way," he says. "He should celebrate his triumphs. He's had some dark times, but he's got phenomenal songs that are going to live forever. It's OK to look back."

The song recalls boyhood days harmonizing with his brothers. "I think about them every time I'm on stage singing our songs. When I sing God Only Knows, I think of Carl. When I sing Do You Wanna Dance? I think of Dennis. It's not a good feeling. I miss them a lot. Every now and then, I miss the Beach Boys a little bit."

He sees no chance for a truce with Mike Love, however, whose 2005 lawsuit argued that the band's future sales were threatened by a Smile-related promotional CD of Wilson's re-recorded Beach Boys hits, issued free in the U.K. The suit, dismissed last year as meritless, "made me not like him," says Wilson, who lavishes praise on his current 10-member band. "I trust my band. They're better than any band I've ever worked with. I pick up energy from them. And love."

They've helped him overcome stage fright with pep talks and neck rubs, and they relish dipping into his Beach Boys catalog. He loves the oldies, too, with rare exceptions. "I don't like singing the lyrics to Sloop John B," he says. "You know: 'Drinking all night, got into a fight.' It's not my image. It makes me uncomfortable. I'm California, positive, social, cars, good vibes."

And when bad vibes creep in?

"I'm getting better at letting go of bad feelings," he says. "I force myself to feel a little better. I still get scared. John Lennon was killed, and it makes me feel like someone's going to kill me."

Wilson escapes his demons with simple pleasures. He takes his kids to movies, watches cable news ("They have really pretty girls"), enjoys a steak at Herb Alpert's Vibrato nearby. He's happiest sitting at his piano conjuring fresh melodies.

"It's harder being Brian Wilson the person than Brian Wilson the solo artist," he says. "Being myself is the hardest of all. I just wake up in the morning and say, 'Uh-oh, another day.' I try to keep walking every day. I go to the park by myself and listen to an oldies station on the radio. My music comes on sometimes.

"It's a good feeling to have the sun beating down on my neck."

10:11 a. m.  

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