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A 60 Second Sound Clip of "God Only Knows" will load & Play
Onstage Photos !!!!
Bull Session With…
Phil Interviews John Foster
John Fosters Web Site Click Here
John, when were you part of the Beach Boys band and how did that come about?
Phil, I sang and played guitar with the Beach Boys from January to March in the year 2002. It was truly a miracle that a musician in Nashville got the opportunity of a lifetime. What happened was I had done some local gigging with a couple of guys; one, an old friend from Oklahoma named Michael Summers and a new acquaintance named Gregg Jennings, who was part of the country group "Restless Heart". So as part of the gig, I sang and played guitar and got to know Gregg a little better. Months later, Gregg was out on the road playing with country artist Pam Tillis and somehow hooked up crossing paths with the Beach Boys. They have a wonderful singer/musician playing the guitar and singing the Brian Wilson parts named Adrian Baker; Adrian is originally from England. He was having some trouble getting his work papers in order and was going to have to take some time off, so Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys asked Gregg Jennings if he knew of anyone in Nashville who could possibly cover the parts. When Gregg got back to town, he called my Okie friend Mike Summers, who in turn called me and thought I’d be perfect for it. He gave me Gregg’s phone number, who in turn gave me Bruce Johnston’s phone number. So one bold day, I called Bruce out of the blue; he answered and I told him that I got his number from Gregg and that I heard they were looking for someone to play guitar who could also sing the high Brian Wilson signature parts. Bruce immediately said "sing ‘I Get Around’ in the key of G," so I grabbed an acoustic guitar, put the phone down and launched into it. Then he said "sing ‘In My Room’ in the key of B" , so I proceeded to do that. Then he asked me to record an inexpensive demo tape of several Beach Boy songs to play for the others. I immediately went out and recorded it, all along doing my best to imitate the Brian Wilson sound. Several months later, they needed me to fill in. The first show was at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. No rehearsal with the band; just rehearsing by phone with bass player/singer/band leader Chris Farmer. It was a truly mind blowing trip; we opened every show with "California Girls" ; people dancing, waving glow sticks, etc. it was like a dream.
What can you tell us about being on tour / on stage as a Beach Boy? Audience reaction? Travel schedule? Variety of venues? Other surprises or unexpected experiences … ?
As far as being on tour, we flew everywhere and the accommodations were tremendous; very busy schedule. Being on stage and singing those songs along with Mike Love and Bruce, as well as the other sidemen was amazing. Often times, I would have to put out of my mind what I was really doing because the magnitude and the history of the group could play tricks on my mind; however, I was always able to remember that God made this happen and would give me the strength to do the job He had for me. Audiences were thrilled to see and hear the Beach Boys. I got to sing lead on chorus of "Cal Girls" "Surfer Girl" "Don’t Worry Baby" "In My Room" "Hawaii" "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" etc.
Can you remember when you first heard a Beach Boys song? Did it have an impact on you?
My dad bought my brother and I "The Beach Boys in Concert" when I was about 5 or 6. We went to sleep night after night for years with that record playing. They were burned in my brain early on. Fast forward thirty something years later. Whew!!! that can blow your mind if you think about it. But God can move circumstances easily. He knew it all along.
Which was more difficult, learning the vocals or the music?
I definitely think learning the vocals was much more difficult. There are many intricate vocal parts that you don’t always clearly hear; Chris Farmer was great with working with me over the phone. We would just go down the list and I usually could sing the correct part; however, a number of times, he had to sing me the proper part.
Are your favorites the old hot rod and beach songs or the tunes of the late 60s and early seventies?
As far as favorites, I would have to say that my favorite part of the show was Pet Sounds/Good Vibrations part "Sloop John B" "God Only Knows" "Wouldn’t It Be Nice" "Good Vibrations". Brian Wilson was hitting his peak with those; having parts in his head that on their own sound extremely odd, but within the context of the rest of the parts made genius music.
Has the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys influenced your music in any way?
I sort of feel a kinship to the writing of Brian Wilson from the standpoint that many of my songs are very orchestral in nature; they involve many parts, harmonies, textured instruments, reverb, echo, etc. – songs that don’t always pass the "campfire test" (one guitar, one vocal) but come alive with all of the other factors.
Tell us about your musical career? How you got started? Your style? Aspirations?
I grew up in the church and am very appreciative to have grown up singing some tremendous hymns; "Great is Thy Faithfulness" "I Need Thee Every Hour" "There’s Room at the Cross", etc. Not only great messages but beautiful music to carry the sentiment and spirit of the song. I’m also a major Beatles fan from a young age; I know their catalog like the back of my hand. Growing up in the 70’s, I was heavily influenced by James Taylor, Eagles, Boston, Kansas, etc. as well as R and B when I got into college. Right now, I live in Nashville with my wife Lynn, who is a singer, a real music lover, and a tremendous artist. About 4 years ago, we lost her youngest son in an auto accident. We truly know some of the deepest pain that people go through. But even though there are times for hurt, we embrace it, move through it (not over, under, or around it) then move on to God’s wonderful service. This experience has truly affected her art and my music. My music has been described as "heartfelt, vibey, echoey, soulful, compelling, etc." I even did a cover of "God Only Knows" on the CD.
How can prayforsurf readers hear more of your music?
I can be reached by emailing at email@example.com or by checking the website at http://www.johnfostermusic.com. It can be ordered directly from me or cdbaby.com.
John, prayforsurf is unique in that some of our enjoyment of the Beach Boys music is how it connects to various scripture from the Bible. Are there any songs that make a spiritual connection for you?
The awesomeness of God is that even in the works of the Beach Boys, Beatles, etc., the beauty of the music is a mere reflection of what God does everyday. He creates music of all kinds and moods.
How does faith in Christ impact your life?
Faith in Christ has taught me that I am truly saved by grace and not of anything I’m able to do myself. I want to please my heavenly father because just like any healthy family, you want peace, love, and respect from your children. That is a big part of the calling; obedience. He has the plan; He knows what we really need; He knows what can cause us trouble. No good father wants that for his children.
Any wisdom for someone who has questions about God?
If I can end with one point, it would be this: God’s ways are so above our ways. It’s okay that there’s some mystery to Him. He created the DNA of the dust mite all of the way to the multiple galaxies. All we are responsible to do is to walk obediently where He has placed us; don’t try for ego’s sake to do more nor try less (this is a lesson it took me years to learn).
How can prayforsurf pray for you?
If I will concentrate on serving daily with what’s in front of me, He truly makes amazing things happen. Just ask an Okie who found himself singing songs of sun, sand, and surfing. God bless – John Foster
John Fosters Web Site Click Here