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Gonzo Latest News: 07/05/2012 ANT-BEE: Do You Like Worms?

Date Published: 7th May 2012

Back in 1990, after I recorded the first ANT-BEE LP 'Pure Electric Honey' for Voxx Records in CA, I ventured back into the recording studio in Van Nuys to record the next single. At the time I had been heavily listening to unreleased recordings of the Beach Boys legendary 'Smile' sessions from 1966/67 (Brian Wilson's lost masterpiece). I decided to do a cover of one of the more obscured songs from those glorious sessions called “Do You Like Worms?” (At this point, nobody had ever covered this particular track). I intently studied the outtakes of the song I had acquired and then with the help of Jon Criss on piano, Rick Snyder (from Capt. Beefheart's band) on bass and Roy Herman on guitar I began to record my interpretation of the song. I performed all the vocals, percussion, keyboards and tape manipulations on the track.

Before the recordings were actually complete, someone had gotten a hold of an early mix of my version of “Worms?”, and mistaking it as an unreleased 'Smile' outtake from 1966, proceeded to play the recording on a Beach Boys radio special. The show's DJ touted my cover as a rare unreleased gem from the 'Smile' sessions, forever confusing the public at large as to the origin of this recording. From there the track was bootlegged on several European Beach Boys 'Smile' bootlegs. On one such bootleg from France, a DBL CD and a TPL LP with colored vinyl, copies of original track sheets from the sessions are enclosed. When it comes to my version of “Worms” the track sheet says it was recorded in November 1966 – I was only 6 years old then!



For many years I have argued (in vein) the position that this version of “Do You Like Worms?” is not an outtake from the Beach Boys 'Smile' sessions of 1966, but in fact is a cover by ANT-BEE (me), recorded in 1990. The track in question was even released on the second ANT-BEE album 'With My Favorite Vegetables' – yet for the most part people still believed it was a rare Beach Boys outtake. Finally, back in 2004, when Brian Wilson recorded his version of the 'Smile' album, he did a live tour to support the release. In the tour program that was available at the shows, there was an actual mention about ANT-BEE being the first band to cover “Do You Like Worms?”, vindicating my efforts finally after 14 years!



Billy James



JON: I think this is The Beach Boys, but after Billy's story, I'm not too sure...


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