In 1966, "Good
Vibrations" by the Beach Boys hit #1 on the music charts, wowing listeners
worldwide with its distinctive electronic sweeps and trills never before
heard in pop music.
For years listeners have asked "What is that sound?" Was it a theremin? No, it was not a theremin. Then what was it? Thanks to David Miller, now we know.
Brian Wilson comes to Austin!
Theremin? Tannerin? What's the difference?
Other Tannerin Information
I quickly return emails to those
who properly identify themselves.
I was thrilled to learn that Brian Wilson was bringing his "Pet Sounds Live" tour to Austin, because I would finally get to meet Darian Sahanaja (Brian's music director) who actually commissioned the instrument I built. I hoped to meet Brian!
Darian contacted me ahead of time requesting a refurbishing of the instrument. I took the whole day off from work and met Darian at his hotel. Darian introduced me to some of the musicians, particularly Probyn Gregory, who is the one who actually plays the instrument. We made arrangement for me to show up at the 3:00 sound check with the refurbished instrument. I took it to my workshop and got to work.
The circuitry was completely redesigned to fix some stability problems. My job was to replace the tone production module and the job was going well. Around 1:00 I was about to put the instrument back together when I broke the main linkage that connects the slide to the pitch module. I was both horrified and gratified, horrified because this was a several hour job to repair, gratified because it had weakened and would have broken in another city if I'd not broken it here. The repair caused a two hour delay, and I arrived at the sound check at 5:00 instead of the agreed 3:00.
I expected to find some disappointed and nervous musicians. Instead I got treated like royalty. I cannot say enough about how warm and respectful Brian's and Darian's musicians are. ("You're Tom Polk? Hey, everyone, here's the man!" ) They were glad to have the instrument back, put it on-stage, and marched me backstage where they laminated an "all pass" badge, complete with my photograph. I got to finish hearing a preview of the show at sound check, then Darian invited me to eat BBQ with Brian and the crew.
There were wonderful conversations with Darian, Probyn Gregory (who plays the instrument), Paul Mertens (formerly of Poi Dog Pondering, and who did much of the orchestration), David Leaf (Brian's biographer), and even Brian's wife, Melinda. We talked about children and fun stuff. Then Darian asked me if I'd like to meet Brian. Of course you know the answer. Darian led me to a small room in a kind of basement of The Backyard, where I heard some piano riffs floating down the hall. When he opened the door, there was Brian, doing his thing, working something out on an old upright piano. Darian introduced me to Brian, took our picture, and Brian said some very kind words about the instrument. I was in heaven!
Then I met my wife and daughter to enjoy the show. After the show, we went backstage where there were tables of snacks set up for the musicians and guests. I was particularly impressed with Taylor Mills taking the time to talk to my teenager, making her instantly comfortable in what could have been an intimidating setting. My family got to meet Brian, too.
The experience was repeated almost exactly in October 2004, when Brian brought his "Smile" tour again to The Backyard. Again, we were treated like royalty. This time my brother, who first introduced me to the Beach Boys, got to meet Brian. What an experience. And this time my younger daughter got to come. She fell in love with Scott Bennett, "the good looking one," who made her day by giving her a hug. These are good people.
This time I didn't need to refurbish the instrument. It continues to work well, and has stood the test of time. I feel gratified by it all.
Many thanks to Darian for crediting me on the program and CD.
Stanberry & Associates has operated as a real estate brokerage firm licensed in the State of Texas since 1985.
Tom Polk is a real estate broker licensed in the State of Texas.
Counter added July 28, 1999