In spite of his ignorance

Page 3 of 3

Wilson and Parks began working together on "Good Vibrations" 30 years ago, but Parks did not write a note of the epic 3:32 pop masterpiece; he only came in to play keyboards and marimba. They began working together--drugs being their other partner--on a record initially called Dumb Angel that later became Smile, which ended up as the most sought-after bootleg of all time. Even now, after the record has leaked out in bits and pieces for 30 years on boxed sets and other official releases, Capitol hints it will one day issue Smile in its entirety as a boxed set--though the Pet Sounds box still languishes months after its completion.

The Parks-Wilson collaborations for Smile are some of the weirdest pieces of music ever put together--these brilliantly subversive things like "Vegetables" ("I'm gonna eat all my vegetables"), the Hoagy Carmichael-esque "Cabinessence," the wacky "Heroes and Villains," the oddly titled "Do You Like Worms," and the heartbreakingly magnificent "Wonderful." They're timeless pieces--the death of the Beach Boys as the voice of summer and the birth of Brian Wilson as the voice of bummer: "Pet Sounds on 20 tabs of acid," as Hoskins writes.

Wilson could not have done it without Parks, and as Orange Crate Art would prove 30 years later, theirs remains an imperfect yet infallible partnership built upon the frail ego of misunderstood genius. As Parks wrote and as Wilson sang on "Movies is Magic" from Orange Crate Art: "When you're living in your dreams/And you wake up/It's over."

"As I get older, I see that my music is to entertain," Parks says, shifting in place and looking at the floor as if to find an answer. "This is very hard to talk about. This is why I make music: It is basically to entertain. But you know there is something secret about it all beneath that jest, that veneer of...this...uh..." Parks' voice trails off as he searches for the right words.

"I would like the music to serve as a social force," he continues suddenly, hopping back on the train of thought. "I'm not sure if that means I want to tell people how to vote or whether they should smoke grass. I've never done that. And my embarrassment with Christianity is that there is a mission in it, and that's to convert someone who isn't a Christian, and I don't have those persuasions. I can't do that. But I do know that music could be a force for improving all experience, and that's what I want it to be.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky