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Stan Ross
Stan Ross

(Right after graduation, Stan went to work at Hollywood's Electrovox Studios in 1946 where he learned his craft. In 1950, he and David Gold founded the legendary Gold Star studios, a place most famous as the home of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound." Stan was an engineer and a producer ["Tequila" by the Champs, Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba, " and he engineered numerous Brian Wilson sessions.)

STAN: "The first time the family came in, it was before they were even called the Beach Boys--Murry and Audree were in with the boys to do some demos. I don't recall what they were exactly, but I do remember that Brian was always leader of the group. He had the ideas, and he would tell them what to do. Murry would tell Brian what to do. Murry would let them go and not say anything, light up his pipe while they did their thing. If he thought they were going in the wrong direction, he would lay his pipe down, go into the studio and correct them. 90% of the time Murry was on it. But when he was wrong, well, you've heard the stories.

"H.B. Barnum [Lou Rawls, Nancy Wilson) was the first of the young producers who worked at Gold Star. Barnum, Spector and Brian--they watched each other, came to each other's sessions. But they all worked very differently. Larry Levine and I had a rule, that we didn't put these guys down because what they were doing wasn't orthodox.

As a genius, there were certain things you were allowed to do.

"Anyway, here's how I saw it. Barnum was a musician who was an arranger, orchestrator and conductor, and he was able to go into the studio and put down his arrangement. Phil, on the other hand, would come in and do a track at a time and build. He didn't know what the next thing was gonna be. He didn't have the strings live. His main concern was getting the bass line to match the keyboard line to match the guitar line and put drums in between. Then he would figure out where the voices should go.

"Brian was different from both of them in that he had to hear what the Beach Boys would sound like as a group. It was like cutting tracks with the Four Freshmen. You didn't want it to cancel the voices, because the voices were the thing. Brian would get a sound going, and know what it was going to be all the way through. The tracks were really rhythm pads that would be sweetened after the voices were put on.

"Brian liked the sound Gold Star got on the instrumentation, but he did the voices elsewhere because we were limited to two or three tracks and that wasn't enough for voice overdubbing.

"The 'Good Vibrations' track he cut at Gold Star was a spectacular thing. He brought in that Theremin, and dropped it off. With all the loose wires, it took up the whole room. The making of that track was very exciting. He would sing it in the control room while he was playing it back, just to get an idea of how it would feel.

"At that time, we were not creating history. It was just to create a record to sell. I still listen to Pet Sounds and enjoy it objectively. It is a great album. I'm glad that I was part of it, and I'm happy to see that the Brian I knew is coming around again. That he is back to being Brian."

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