That review I ran yesterday of Bill Pohlad‘s Love and Mercy reminded me of a brief encounter I had with Brian Wilson in ’74. I was living in an upstairs one-bedroom apartment at 648 14th Street in Santa Monica, doing nothing, working as a tree surgeon…my lost period. (I began my adventure in movie journalism the following year.) Right below me lived a guy named Eddie Roach and his wife Tricia. At the time he was working with the Beach Boys as a kind of staff or “touring” photographer. Dennis Wilson fell by two or three times and hung out a bit, and one time I was part of a small group that played touch football with him at a local high-school field. Dennis mocked me that day for being a bad hiker, which I was.
Anyway it was a cloudy Saturday or Sunday afternoon and I was lounging in my living room when I began to hear someone tooling around on Eddie’s piano downstairs. It sounded like the beginnings of a song. It began with a thumping, rolling boogie lead-in, complex and grabby, and then the spirited vocal: “Back home boogie, bong-dee-bong boogie…yay-ee-yay…back home boogie, bong-dee-bong”…and then he stopped. One of the chords wasn’t quite right so he played a couple of variations over and over, and then he began again: “”Back home boogie, bong-dee-bong boogie yay-ee-yay!” and so on. Then another mistake and another correction. Then he stopped again and started laughing like a ten year-old drunk on beer: “Hah-hah, heh-heh, heh-hay!” and then right back into the song without losing a beat. It was great stuff. Who is this guy?