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Nik Venet Comments

Nik Venet
(Capitol Records A&R)

(During the fourteen years he was a Capitol Records A&R executive, Nik Venet signed and/or produced such million-selling artists as the Lettermen, Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Lou Rawls, Jim Croce and Bobby Dunn. During his award-winning career, he has produced over three hundred albums, working with artists as diverse as Carl Reiner & Mel Brooks on their 2000 Year-Old Man series and Orson Welles. A trustee of NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), he currently teaches songwriting and creative production, lectures nationwide and produces records. Nik begins his reminiscences with the day he signed the Beach Boys to Capitol.)

Nik: "1962, Capitol Tower, Hollywood. Brian Wilson, [the late] Gary Usher (co-author of 'In My Room') and Murry Wilson walked into my Capitol Records office for a 2:30 p.m. meeting. At 2:55 p.m., Murry Wilson left the office to find an ashtray for his pipe, and Gary Usher left to flirt with my secretary. Brian Wilson lingered by the window with the view of the Hollywood Hills. He asked me who my favorite songwriter was. I said Hoagy Carmichael (and Mitchell Parrish). Brian stared out the window for about five minutes and then said, 'Yeah, yeah. I love the thing they wrote before the song ("Stardust"] starts for real.' He shook my hand and said, 'Thanks a lot, Mr. Venet.'

I told him to please call me Nik. I gave him my card and watched as the three of them stood by the elevator, hardly containing themselves. Gary Usher was trying to suppress a wide grin and Murry Wilson, with his pipe clamped between his teeth, was trying not to look pleased. Brian, as serious looking as when he entered my office, was busy reading the song titles on a Nat 'King' Cole album cover on the lobby wall. They boarded the elevator at 3:15. I knew I had just signed a hit group, but I had no reason to believe that this was going to be the beginning of a major and historical musical landmark.

"That was almost thirty-five years ago. But despite being in an industry that has a 'Kleenex' mentality...a world where your 'friends' disappear between hits...Brian and his music have survived. So my hat's still off to Brian Wilson. He is an artist, a gentle giant and a spirit that will always be with us. He is as brilliant and understood in the studio as he is scattered and misunderstood outside of his sound-proofed electronic canvas.

"I know that the best of Brian Wilson is to come. Enough to keep my sons, myself and every Brian Wilson fan's future sons and daughters in words and music. I was glad to be part of it. Thank you, Brian."

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