Clash Chats To Reclusive Collaborator

Now that you can get your music recorded, web-hosted and reviewed in minutes, the old industry methods can seem interminably slow.

That said, thirty-nine years between making an album and getting it released is a little excessive.

It was way back in 1969 that idealistic young poet Stephen John Kalinich headed over to his friend Brian Wilson’s house to cut a concept album they hoped might change the world. War was raging in Asia, there was political strife back home, and so Kalinich and Wilson set to work on the ambitious ‘A World Of Peace Must Come’. Something went awry upon completion, however, then Kalinich and the Wilsons drifted apart and the young poet went back to his old job. The tapes, meanwhile, disappeared completely.

“For years even people like [Beach Boys biographer] David Leaf didn’t think it existed,” says Kalinich, who’s currently based both in California and our own Brighton. “I was working at a petrol station when the album was started, and then again afterwards. One night Al Jardine from the Beach Boys came in after I’d lost my contract with the band and I think he felt terrible - here I was pumping gas. I hit really dark times.”

It was sometime in the 1980s that Kalinich finally recovered the tapes from Wilson, and after the inevitable disputes about who owned the rights, he’s now about to let it loose on a world that, let’s face it, is in a certain amount of strife.

Lyrically, it could almost have been written this decade, as amid Kalinich’s emotional, echo-laden imagery are heartfelt pleas for the world’s warring populations to “live together as brothers” and similarly apposite sentiments. Musically, meanwhile, the album is a splendid artefact of a legendary era, as Wilson’s subtle accompaniments, effects and harmonies evoke those grand dreams of the Sixties. Well, apart from the tracks that sound like the work of a medieval minstrel. They don’t make records like this anymore.

“It may seem square to a lot of people but it is relevant,” insists Kalinich. “It was Vietnam then, now it’s Iraq. The young people of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen are relating to my poems now, and I think there is a message there.”

Kalinich rediscovered his mojo in the mid Seventies and Eighties, wrote songs for artists like disco outfit Odyssey and soul queen Randy Crawford and hooked up with Wilson again, co-writing the tracks ‘California Feeling‘ (1976) and the Paul McCartney duet ‘A Friend Like You‘ (2004). More recently he’s been collaborating with young Brighton singer-songwriter Paul Steel, and is planning a war-poems project with American actor Stacy Keach.

They don’t make artists like him anymore either.


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