Michael Kenny attended more of the trial for the Love vs. Wilson lawsuit regarding songwriting credits than anyone else not involved with the case. He wrote about his experiences in six installments for the Pet Sounds Mailing List. For the first time anywhere, his accounts are presented here in their entirety.
I read about the suit in the LA Times, but got my first break when another local paper, the Daily Breeze mentioned the judge's name. The Daily Breeze is based in the south bay so they have a special interest in the Beach Boys. Well, I made my way to the courthouse, found the judge's courtroom and entered.
I was amazed that the only other person in the gallery was Mike. He was sitting in the gallery, behind his lawyer, who was on the jury side. What's interesting to know about that is that Mike would stand and smile at the jury as they left the room. He was basically "working" them, much the same as he does the crowd when he is on stage.
Mike's lawyer seemed somewhat flamboyant, though compared to the walking dead that Brian had for his lawyers, that wouldn't be hard. The whole essence of the suit was this: Murry sold Sea of Tunes (all the Beach Boy written tunes) to Irving Music for $750K, or thereabouts. Well, as it later turned out, the same lawyer represented both the Beach Boys and Irving music, this being a complete conflict of interest. You have to remember this is when the boys told Murry to get lost and he was bugging Brian about it so Brian gave him the rights to do this just so he'd leave him alone. Well, as it happens, the conflict of interest came out and the Brian sued Irving music. Brian's lawyer for this suit settled for $10 million, took his share of around $4 million and split, leaving Brian to fend for himself.
Well, Mike wanted part of that money and also wanted to be added to the copyright on 39 songs which he said he had written. That's what this suit was about. Now remember, I was 100% behind Brian going in. The first guy on the stand was the lawyer that got the $10 million for Brian. Mike's lawyer (Michael Flynn) was going through the whole Irving thing. Some of the things that were brought up was that whenever the Beach Boys have a meeting, which they do on a semi-regular basis, they all bring their own lawyers. That's why when some of you ask why the original songs might not have been used in IJWMFTT, that's probably why. All those lawyers in one room, what a nightmare.
Well, Mike wanted to settle out of court for about $750K and his name on the copyrights of the 39 songs, and Brian's lawyers said no. This lawyer was on the stand for a couple of days and still Mike and I were the only ones in court. Then one day during a break, Mike's lawyer approached me and asked who I was. Apparently, I bear a resemblance to one of Landy's sons! They wanted to make sure, plus they wanted to make sure that I wasn't a future witness as witnesses can't listen to other witness' testimony.
Anyways, a couple of days later Brian, along with two handlers entered. The gallery is in three sections, myself in the middle one, alone. Brian was across the aisle from me, about 3 feet away, and Mike was to the right of me in the far gallery, about 20 ft, away. In other words I was directly between them. Then Mike decided he wanted to stare at Brian, and I was in the middle. I could feel Mike's eyes and I became very uncomfortable, it was an eerie feeling. This went on for about 10 minutes, finally Brian just kind of leaned over and went to sleep. It was weird. He just went out like a light. He didn't have any idea, not seemed to care, what was happening. He was very pale, and seemed, well...under the influence of something, which will come out later in the trial.
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