....the ZEN interpretation............HEROES AND VILLAINS..... ..


"When two thieves meet they need no introduction:
They recognize each other without question."

".... He (Brian's friend Loren) was very skillful at asking people what 'the sound of one hand clapping' was. You'd think this guy was really out there. He could impress people with his intellect, which was genuine, but wasted. Loren was something of a social manipulator. He turned Brian on to all this literature. Well, Brian just got overawed by it."~Loren Schwartz as described by a "school chum" in Steven Gaines' Heroes And Villains, (pg.124.)

"For Brian, this influx of new people was both stimulating and scary. It was what Brian wanted, but it was all so new. These people were very different from the Hawthorne crowd that had surrounded Brian, be it his brothers or cousins or his nice, most average, "square" friends. Tony Asher was one of the first outsiders from a different, more sophisticated upbringing. Another was Loren Schwartz, purportedly the man who turned Brian on to LSD. Loathed by Brian's family, this ever-widening circle turned Brian's head. It was both their use of drugs and the new ideas they constantly introduced into Brian's consciousness that the family didn't understand or approve of."~David Leaf, The Beach Boys, (pg.92.)

There were two major groups of people in Brian Wilson's life during SMILE. These two groups were the heroes and villains.

The two major groups in Brian's life could be described as the "in" group and the "out" group, the turned off and the turned on, the old and the young, the culture and the counter-culture, and perhaps even the "unenlightened" and the "enlightened."

"People who experimented with psychedelics---no matter who they were---were viewed as 'enlightened people,'
and Brian sought out the enlightened people."~Van Dyke Parks

"Who were these people? They have been labeled Hippies, Mystics, Longhairs, New Youth, Neo-primatives, Heads, Flowerchildren, Artists, Freaks, Students and many more flattering and derogatory names--none of which can fulfill the rich diversity of the people involved."~from "Where Did When What" by Paul Jay Robbins, Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!, (pg.180.)

"We need the far-out visionary as well as the uptight academic council which sits in learned judgment on Socrates, Galileo, Bacon, Columbus, Thoreau. The protagonists in these dramas are neither good nor evil. No villains, no heroes. They just are."~Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert from a 1963 Harvard Review article.

Brian's personal heroes and villains were, on one hand, the Hawthorne crowd, his parents, brothers and Beach Boys, Marilyn, and on the other hand, Loren Schwartz, Michael Vosse, David Anderle, and Van Dyke Parks.

The 60's American culture/counterculture dynamic of Brian's own situation was explored in "Heroes And Villains." There were heroes and villains squaring off in living rooms all across America just as they were squaring off on the Sunset Strip. Appropriately, "Heroes And Villains" has a very American setting and it is interesting to note that the unenlightened & enlightened dynamic was nothing new to America.

"When European explorers and settlers set foot on the North American continent, they encountered a number of Indian tribes in which there existed the custom of sending adolescents on solitary trips into forests or deserts. The youths returned from these retreats with exciting stories of dramatic visitations from their guardian spirits. Whether these visions were the result of imagination, expectancy, physical privation, a sparse diet or the accidental ingestion of psychedelic plants is not known; however, a tradition was firmly established which dealt with mystical experience....
The European missionaries were horrified at these practices and attempted to stamp them out, referring to the Indians' visions as 'fantasies of the Devil.'"~Dr. Stanley Krippner, from the Afterword of LSD The Problem-Solving Psychedelic

A SMiLE based example of this is the unenlightened "bicycle rider," the Eurocentric white man, on one hand, and the enlightened "Church of the American Indian," with its peyote inspired spirituality, on the other.

Van Dyke Parks referred to SMiLE as "the American saga."


LSD and its inspired spirituality offered a beautiful vision of what could be. Through SMiLE Brian would be able to bridge the generation gap, uniting the unenlightened with the enlightened. The Beach Boys HAD to sing on SMiLE because that was what "Heroes And Villains" and SMiLE were all about, it was an inclusive vision.

"About a year ago I had what I consider a very religious experience. I took LSD, a full dose of LSD, and later, another time, I took a smaller dose. And I learned a lot of things, like patience, understanding. I can't teach you, or tell you, what I learned from taking it. But I consider it a very religious experience."~Brian Wilson, Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!, (pg.167.)

"He (Brian) feels deeply the new closeness of his family. It was not always so and the sensitive Wilson boys are painfully conscious of yesterday's fireworks. All three attribute this new sympatico to their mutual discovery of God. None values organized religion, but all agree on the concept of God."~Tracy Thomas, from an article that appears in Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!, (pg.138.)

Brian chose the logo for Brother Records. The logo united the spiritual, via the Ute American Indian image, to the Beach Boys.

"Allen Ginsberg has pointed out that, with Sergeant Pepper, The Beatles offered an inclusive vision which, among other things, worked to defuse the tensions of the generation gap. Had they been in America, where the clash between establishment and counterculture was already violent, Sergeant Pepper would have been a reactionary pig, Lovely Rita an uptight bureaucrat. The Beatles, their age-prejudice dissolved by LSD, were having none of this. Theirs was an optimistic, holistic view."~Ian MacDonald, Revolution In The Head: the Beatles' records and the sixties, (pg.185.)

The undivided heroes and villains SMiLE project eventually began to come apart. The cord that once pulled the poles together began, instead, to feel the tug of the poles.

"It was a tug of war...I felt like I was getting pulled to pieces."~Brian Wilson talking about SMiLE in the Don Was film "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times."

"Heroes And Villains, Just see what you've done."

Perhaps Brian felt like the "little man" from his late 80's solo album.

"It told all about how the 'little man understands the Indian's upper-hand.' He just has so many obstacles that he just wants to go home. He wants to run away from all that stuff and go back to his home...."~Brian on "Rio Grande"

I've been in this town so long that back in the city

"...I convinced myself he was God, leading me on a journey of my entire life, showing me the tiny seed I'd once been and taking me to the place where I'd finish my life."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.117)

This song's basic "looking back at life" viewpoint is LSD inspired.

I've been taken for lost and gone
And unknown for a long long time

'"What's happening to you Brian?" she sobbed. "I feel as if I don't even know you."'~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.118)

Marilyn's declaration is the basis of the "lost, gone, and unknown" lyric.

Fell in love years ago
With an innocent girl

Marilyn was young when she and Brian became involved.

From the Spanish and Indian home

Marilyn had purchased a long Spanish table while Brian had purchased a tent with Indian print fabric for their Laurel Way abode.

Of the heroes and villains
Once at night Catillion squared the fight

"One day when I wasn't home, my dad rounded up Mike and Al and drove to my apartment. Marilyn let them in, and they searched for drugs, which I kept hidden from Marilyn. They turned everything upside down until they finally discovered my stash. Then they sat on the sofa and waited for me to walk in the front door. I stopped dead in my tracks.
"What's this?" my dad asked, pushing an old shoebox across the living room coffee table.
"Where'd you get that?" I demanded.
"I asked what is this shit?" my dad repeated.
The confrontation seemed to confirm what I was beginning to fear--they were all against me. I'd had those thoughts but had always talked myself out of believing them. With all of them on one side and me on the other, it was going to be impossible not to think that way.
"Well, let me see," I said.
In the box, I saw a red light bulb I liked to put in a lamp and turn on when I got home, some rolling papers, and a baggie containing about half an ounce of pot. I didn't say a word.
"Cut the crap, Brian," my dad yelled.
Marilyn started to cry. My dad, whose temper had run out, began yelling. Looking as if he wanted to hit me, he flipped the box off the table, spilling everything onto the carpet. I got angry. Supported by Mike and Al, my dad threatened to call the cops, though when everything was said and done, the only concrete thing said was that no one wanted my new friend Loren to have access to me anymore."
"What the hell does he have to do with this?" I asked.

"He's your goddam pusher," my dad snapped.
"How do you know?"
"I know."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.115)

And she was right in the rain of the bullets that eventually brought her down

"Marilyn had returned to the room. Knowing she was the one who had told my dad about Loren, I gave her a nasty look. No one was going to tell me what to do."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.115)

But she's still dancing in the night

"Finally, Marilyn issued an ultimatum--it was either her or Loren. I couldn't handle that and ignored her. Frustrated, exhausted, and downright mad, Marilyn packed her belongings and moved into an apartment of her own."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.122)

Unafraid of what a dude will do in a town full of heroes and villains

In the cantina
Margarita's keep the spirit high

"One day in late January or early February Lou Adler...invited me to attend a Rolling Stones recording session....there seemed to be a hell of a party in progress. Tables overflowed with booze, drugs, and food....
He (Mick Jagger) said they did get high and then pulled out a huge, fragrant joint from his shirt pocket.
"You want a hit?" he asked.
"Sure," I said, taking a puff."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.137)

There I watched her

"Girls were everywhere."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.137)

She spun around and
Round in the warmth her body
Fanned the flame of the dance

'"You're listening to the Rolling Stones," she said, dancing."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.138)

Margarita don't you know that
I love you

'"I love you," she said, kissing me on the cheek and dancing off into another part of the room."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.138)


You're under arrest!

"Go near him (Loren)," my dad warned, "and I'll call the cops."'~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pg.115)

My children were raised
You know they suddenly rise
They started slow long ago head to toe
Healthy wealthy and often wise

At three score and five


"Several days before Christmas 1965, I pulled my Corvette out of the garage, wound down Laurel canyon, and, twenty minutes later, parked in front of Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood....
As the buzz subsided into a manageable burned-out sensation, I remembered Loren once explaining that hallucinations were comparable to Zen riddles, mysteries full of meaning."~(Wouldn't It Be Nice, pgs.128&129)

I'm very much alive
I've still got the jive to survive with the heroes and villains

Brian is up to the task and is gonna make it all work out...via SMiLE.

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