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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys And The Satan DVD

Review by Greg Olma

One of the things that I always judge a release by is the title and packaging. In DVD terms, if they call it a documentary on a band but all you get is a bunch of videos and old interviews, then I feel that the makers have misled the consumer. That is how I feel about The Beach Boys And The Satan. The title, cover, and back notes give you the impression that it will be an in depth look into The Beach Boys/Manson Family connection but in reality, that is a very small part of the DVD. That takes away a few points right off the bat in my book.

Aside from my issues with the title, The Beach Boys And The Satan as a whole is an enjoyable piece of Beach Boys history. I think it was initially done for Germany due to some of the German credits but that does not distract from this as it is essentially in English. What you get is a lot of great footage of the early days mixed in with more recent interviews with Brian Wilson. I have not seen much of the footage but I am in no way a Beach Boys collector. Aside from interviews with Wilson, the producers also talk to Kim Fowley but these interviews seem out of place on this DVD. He’s definitely a colorful character but not essential to The Beach Boys story. The thing that I liked most about The Beach Boys And The Satan was the older studio footage of Wilson and how he arranged the songs piece by piece. There is also some good video of Dennis Wilson and you can see how he changed from a fun loving Beach Boy to a lost drug addict.

Like I mentioned earlier, this DVD does touch upon the Manson Family connection but not as much as the title would lead you to believe. The are no extras but the main feature is good enough on its own. All in all, I enjoyed The Beach Boys And The Satan but I was a little confused as to why they choose the title because it is good enough to not require the scandalous title it received.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at
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