David Marks – Beach Boy Through-and-Through
The first part is the Beach Boy part – from David’s early association and friendship with the Wilson family to his “departure” from the famed California iconic group. A lot is packed into David’s brief stint with the Beach Boys, from his somewhat reluctant invitation to replace Al Jardine, up through his clash a few years later with the Wilson Clan manager, Murry Wilson.
Seems the intention of the book first and foremost is to convincing establish that David was:
- A true founding member of the group
- An accomplished guitarist (if not the most accomplished of the group)
- A stylist of the patented “Beach Boy Sound” via his Fender Stratocaster
- A tested member of the group in both the studio and on the road
- David was promptly written out of the Beach Boy history until now (actually until 2008 when this book was published)
The account begins by establishing David’s relationship with the various members of the Wilson’s. David and family resided directly across the street from the Wilson’s who lived in the California community of Hawthorne. The street they resided on was a border for the neighboring community of Englewood, and thus, while the Wilson’s attended Hawthorne High School, David would be enrolled in Englewood High.
Beyond living in such close proximity to Brian Wilson, another early influence on David was a friend of his cousin, young musician John Maus. John, along with his sister, had experienced some local chart success recording as “John and Judy”, being promoted by their mother Regina, who also composed tracks for the duo.
John Maus would later become a member of The Walker Brothers – Judy was his sister and composer Regina Maus was their mother. Early on, Maus mentored David Marks, who was captivated by the Sunburst Fender Stratocaster which Maus employed. Several informal music lessons would follow for David with Maus.
Judy, John and David made their way to American Recorders Studio in the L.A. area and cut a Marks’ composition titled “China Sea”. Marks proudly returned home with an acetate in hand of his first recording. Maus lent David his Stratocaster for the session and back the young Marks (11 years-old at the time), on rhythm guitar.
The Beach Boys Enter the Studio
So the young Marks would befriend his across-the-street neighbors – Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson – Both David and Carl would take guitar lessons from John Maus, both taking big strides toward landing that great Beach Boy sound so prevalent on the early Beach Boy hits. David spent much time casually playing with the Wilson’s in their home and around the neighborhood. So when the time came for the boys to enter the recording studio on behalf of the Candix Records, David was surprised when he was not invited to tag along. Instead, neighbor and high school classmate, Al Jardine would join the brothers along with cousin Mike Love (calling themselves “The Pendeltones) to record two tracks “Surfin” and “Lua”. The group – now calling themselves “The Beach Boys”, would be pleasantly encouraged when the single entered the Billboard Charts in early 1962 – peaking at number 75. (The two tracks were initially released on Candix 331 (Nov ’61) followed by the very hard to find and very valuable “X” label 301 (Dec ’61), before again being released on Candix 301 – numerically a little bit strange – in January, 1962 – The “331” release is credited as being the charting version on Billboard).
Jardine was a folkie at heart and didn’t place much stock in casting his lot with a surfing band, and so in short order, he turned his attention elsewhere and Marks landed firmly in the classic Beach Boy line-up.
Shown below- 1st Issue Promotional label 301 Candix followed by the commercial 1st issue – Next the “X” label #301 – 2nd issue and finally by the third issue Candix 331 – the single which charted.
After “Surfin'” the Beach Boys settled in quite nicely and launched their fantastic career with the classic hits. David Marks was firmly on board for the first three long plays, over 100 public appearances, and serving as a more-than-proficient guitarist with his surfin’ Stratocaster in hand.
The Last Wave
The end as a Beach Boy came during a road trip in the Midwest United States. The Beach Boys had been traveling on an extended tour without the guidance of Murry Wilson who remained in California for business reasons. The boys were not behaving so well to say the least, to the point where Murry was forced to fly in to join them – fire the acting road manager, and then launch an admonishing verbal assault to the band but directing a focused attach on the 15 year-old David who Murry had never been fond of.
From Jon Stebbins account: David took the assault up to appoint before finally bursting out with “‘We’ve been out here busting our butts for a month and a half!’ he shouted. “We’re making you rich. Don’t we get any credit for that?’ Murry replied in a superior tone, ‘You broke all the all the rules, my boy. You disrespected me, Andree (his wife) and your parents. You boys should all be ashamed. I set the rules, David. If you don’t like them you are welcome to leave.’ And if was at that point that David fired back the words that would change Beach Boys history: ‘OK, I quit.'”
For all practical purposes, this was the end. Marks held on for a few more months, some additional appearances, but it was over. The “Little Deuce Coupe” album was the next project. David had worked with the group on several of the tracks and was pictured on the back of the jacket. After that, he simply “vanished” from the Beach Boys, and their following would see a new face on future LP jackets and single picture sleeves. In February of 1964, the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” single picture sleeve, followed by their 4th LP “Shut Down Volume 2” would both feature the “new” reluctant Beach Boy – Al Jardine.
Al Jardine – Like He Never Left
I was always very curious as to what happened to the “mystery Beach Boy”. No internet in 1963, no access to trade publications, no magazine articles – just simply “Al Jardine” out of nowhere. As of September of 1963, David was on his own. His contract with the Beach Boys would provide royalties for several years but not a fortune, and eventually he would be nudged altogether from Beach Boy earnings – missing out on what has been estimated to have been several million dollars.