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Bruce Botnick
Bruce Botnick

(The day he got out of high school, he talked his way into a job at Liberty Records recording studios as an apprentice engineer. During his time there, he worked with Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, the Ventures, Leon Russell, Jackie DeShannon and David Gates. After three years, when he was only nineteen, he moved to Sunset Sound where he was hired as a mixer, primarily doing children's albums for Disney. Very quickly, he developed a reputation as a rock 'n' roll engineer, and he recorded all the Doors' albums and produced their LA. Woman. He also produced the Love album Forever Changes, engineered Buffalo Springfield's classic "Bluebird" and the Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed” among hundreds of other albums. Bruce also produced the original Broadway cast recording of "Beauty And The Beast" and won a Grammy Award for producing the original Broadway cast recording of "Lenny." He has produced the soundtracks for movies such as "Rambo," "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," "Basic Instinct," "Total Recall," "Gremlins" and "E.T.")

BRUCE: "Steve Douglas was in the A&R department at Capitol, and the Beach Boys needed to record, and they couldn't get into Western, so Steve suggested they come over to Sunset Sound. The minute I heard that I was working with Brian I was impressed, because I was really taken with their sound. The structure of the harmony, and how modern it was in their approach. I immediately liked it.

"As a producer, Brian wanted particular sounds and we would get it for him. Nothing super magical. I regarded Brian more as a contemporary than a ‘boy wonder.’

"But I did take note of his sense of meticulousness. However, I was just doing the tracks, and as he didn't have that many tracks to play with, the feel of the band was everything. From what I could see, he was more interested in saving the tracks for vocals. We didn't know he was a genius at the time. But it was a thoroughly amazing time, if you think of the new music that came forth from him during that period. I always felt that he dealt on an emotional level with his music.

"I've worked with a lot of artists and composers. The worst thing that can happen to you in your life is to stare at the blank page and try and conjure something up. There is a lot of pressure. Some can handle it, some can't. The majority can't. In 1966, the search for enlightenment was taken to an extreme by Brian.

"At the time Brian did Pet Sounds, it seemed to me that it wasn't a business. He just wanted to make that album. When I worked with him on ‘Good Vibrations’ I had the feeling that they thought it was going to be the definitive and sell lots of records.

‘After Pet Sounds was done, and I had heard what he had done, I was very happy, and when he called up and told me what he was trying to do with ‘Good Vibrations.’ I knew that he was into a space that nobody had been before. He had a vision in his head.

“I spent more time with Brian on 'Good Vibrations' than Pet Sounds. I remember doing a session of choruses for ‘Good Vibrations,’ and a session of verse and bridge. At the time, he would have me edit in the new pieces and edit out and destroy the old pieces. He didn't want to have anything else around.

"It was a very special time. I've been very fortunate and lucky to be a part of all this music. I look at my resume, and even I'm amazed. I was there at the right time, and I was able to respond and give back what was necessary. It was totally a collaborative effort, and we all contributed. But Brian was the inspiration."

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