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God Only Knows

By Diego Allessandro

originally published: 10/06/2017

God Only Knows

In 1965 The Beatles released Rubber Soul, an eclectic mix of songs influenced by folk psychedelia and even African-American soul music after returning from their North American Tour. At the same time Brian Wilson, the creative force behind The Beach Boys was taking time off from the road due to intense anxiety attacks to focus purely on writing and recording music. Seeing Rubber Soul as the first complete album he was set on creating the best album ever made. Most have argued, and I personally tend to agree, that full length LP’s (that’s a 33 and 1/3 RPM 12-inch record kids, ask your parents) were mostly two or three good songs and ten pieces of filler. Rubber Soul was a collection of all good songs that thematically fit together and with Brian’s 1966 artistic masterpiece Pet Sounds the concept album was born. 

In celebration of 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys immortal 1966 Brian Wilson took the road last year to perform a series of shows in which the second act was comprised of performing Pet Sounds in its entirety. The 2016-2017 50th Anniversary Pet Sounds Tour includes founding Beach Boy Al Jardine, his eldest son Matthew who not only shares lead singing duties with his father (masterfully I might add) but also former Beach Boy and Rolling Stone Blondie Chaplin. Darian Sahanaja leads a band of pros, all of whom with the exception of drummer Mike D’amico and bassist Bob Lizik sing. As the tour winds to a close this October it’s important to note that this is the final time that the 75-year-old Wilson will perform the album in its entirety, hence why I was so desperate to see it September 26th at The Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. With Mr. Springsteen in the audience until the encores, I watched a frail but proud icon of music and personal hero play his masterpiece. 

The first act was full of some hits, some lesser known songs and some great guitar work from Blondie Chaplin. Matthew Jardine’s beautiful falsetto which reminded me who I love “Don’t Worry Baby” a song that could have fit wonderfully on ‘Pet Sounds.’ The second set the band returned to the stage after a short intermission to perform the album in its entirety. Al Jardine hasn’t lost anything and can still sing beautifully. If you closed your eyes you can hear the ghosts of Dennis and Carl Wilson serenade your soul from the ether. The eleven musicians did a great job filling in for The Wrecking Crew who performed on the original album and wonderfully created the lush harmonies the Beach Boys were famous for. In the encore the band kicked it into a whole different gear and had the whole house rockin’ boppin’ shakin’ dancin’ and explodin’ with the Beach Boys biggest hits, excluding Kokomo. The night ended with Brian’s wonderful ballad from his self-titled solo debut “Love and Mercy.”  

The album Pet Sounds has since gone on to be beloved by fans and musicians alike. Rolling Stone placed it number 2 on it’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Uncut, Mojo, New Music Express and The Times all placed it number 1. Paul McCartney was inspired to create Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with The Beatles, released in 1967 and regarded by many as the best album of all time, it was the album that was number 1 on the previously mentioned Rolling Stone list. The album is at the center of the 2014 Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy in which Paul Dano plays young Brian creating his lasting masterpiece and John Cusack plays the elder Brian struggling later in life to reconnect with the world after years of being a recluse under the care of Dr. Eugene Landy. 

I spent most of my 20s trying to make an album that was conceptually tight and musically pleasant as Pet Sounds. The results were 2013’s Magical and 2014’s The Losin’ Kind and while I’m still very proud of both albums I know they aren’t Pet Sounds. The closest I came was the lone Lot 25 release, 2016’s Eden Boulevard. Lot 25 was a big reason why. The arrangements and instruments used to create its post-apocalyptic tone and the lightning fast, relentless tempo of the album wouldn't have come about without the influence of Reid Weinman, Brian Morelli and James McIntosh our original drummer. Joey Preziosi added the climatic solos on the second half of the album I couldn't have played and Marissa Cohen gave the album the female presence and strength my solo work had been lacking. My cousin James Dellatacoma, the unofficial member of the band, helped craft the presentation with his guidance and knowledge particularly with loops and sound effects. Through them the ideas I had found their place on the album. Eden Boulevard was how I felt, heard, saw and reacted to the world. What angers, scares and haunts me as told through its central narrative characters Jerome and Nicholas.

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One doesn’t need to be a musical genius like Mr. Wilson to create a good concept record, nor does one need to be signed to a record label. Probe the deepest sections of your soul and speak or sing your truth over music that encompasses how you hear the world. That’s what Pet Sounds was. Those familiar with Brian Wilson know the auditory hallucinations he is prone to and the album he created was back in 1966 is littered with bicycle horns, bells, ambient talking, and even coke bottles. The album ends with dog barking and a loud train passing by. That’s how Brian Wilson hears, sees, and feels the world. God only knows what I and countless other artists would be without that example to follow as we seek to shine a mirror at the world around us. Every true artist wants you to see, hear and feel the world as they do. That is true legacy of Brian Wilson and Pet Sounds.  

For more on Diego Allessandro and his own music visit  For a great look at Brian Wilson's solo career, check out Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology - a new album (released on September 22) that covers more than 30 years of music with selections from nine of Brian's solo albums including remastered and live takes.


PHOTO BY Christian Bertrand /, taken during his performance at the Primavera Sound 2016 Festival on June 4, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Bobby McFerrin To Kick Off the 125th Season Of Princeton University Concerts
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- On Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:30pm, 10-time GRAMMY award-winning artist Bobby McFerrin launches Princeton University Concerts’ (“PUC”) 125th Anniversary Season in a special event performance at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. The concert will feature McFerrin alongside members of his a cappella group Gimme5 in a program titled “ Circlesongs ” -- an evening of spontaneous music-making through shared improvised sound, in a language growing out of tribal chant and sacred music. 
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at

“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!
“Unleash the Love” The Beach Boys LIVE! at The Great Auditorium
So what were you doing at 8:18 pm on 8/18/18? Well, we’re not sure what you were up to, but we know that on that hot August night, we were listening to “America’s Band” — The Beach Boys — and watching them “Unleash the Love” while performing their incredible catalog of hits at Ocean Grove NJ’s Great Auditorium!

Event calendar
Friday, Sep 21, 2018


Talib Kweli @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 9:00pm

JESSIE’S GIRL @ The Wellmont Theater, Montclair - 8:00pm

Bill Staines at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, , Morristown - 7:30pm

FELIX CAVALIERE AND GENE CORNISH’S RASCALS @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm

MICHAEL MCDONALD @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Up Close & Personal 2 with "Them Lean On Me Boys"...RIFF @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Marshall Tucker Band with special guest The Outlaws @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

The Jeff Jensen Band @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 1 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 8:00pm

OPEN auditions for Sondheim on Sondheim @ Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood - 7:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Harlem Quartet" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College , Princeton - 7:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Portrait de Ludmilla en Nina Simone " @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 9:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 8:00pm


Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


Monty Python and the Holy Grail Quote-A-Long @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 7:00pm

New Jersey Film Festival @ Voorhees Hall #105, New Brunswick - 7:00pm


AN EVENING WITH DR. SANJAY GUPTA, MD @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

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