Surprisingly, however, Johnston says, “I blame myself for bringing Brian into a downfall in the studio.”
He suggested that Wilson move to a studio with eight-track recording, like what he had worked with at Columbia, instead of sticking with the four-track recording — three useable tracks and one for mixing — he had used to craft The Beach Boys’ biggest hits.
The move, however, ran counter to Wilson’s most productive and creative work habits.
“Brian had to make instant decisions and mix as he recorded because he didn’t have a lot of tracks,” Johnston says about four-track recording. “You get into multi-tracking, and you can put off mixing decisions, for a guy like Brian, or you don’t make your tracks as big, so you miss that leakage of the drum track going into the string track. … He’s the kind of guy who would have it totally together in the studio, he’d have it nailed, and then we’d do our singing.”
Johnston believes Wilson would have eventually followed the technology where it led, but he regrets pushing him into it.
ANDREW S. HUGHES, August 13. 2009
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