The Best of the
TVD Interview 2013:
Brian Wilson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 1, 2013 | “Some people say I’m a genius like Gershwin. I don’t know if I’m as good as Gershwin, but I know I’m good at music, you know?”

The public forgives everything but genius, or so the saying goes. But that doesn’t account for Brian Wilson. Few rock stars have endured the prolonged tragedy that followed Wilson throughout his career, and fewer still have enjoyed the kind of creative resurgence which lifted one of the greatest American songwriters out from under decades-long descents into addiction and mental illness. That’s the power of genius for you.

The 71-year-old Wilson is experiencing a creative reawakening that began in earnest with his live performances of his opus, Pet Soundsin 2002. When he finally completed the long-shelved Pet Sounds follow-up as Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE in 2004, the musical floodgates opened again. The formerly (and notoriously) reclusive Beach Boys co-founder has been more prolific in the last decade than he has been since his brilliant ‘60s heyday, releasing six albums since 2004, with a seventh on its way.

“Well, it’s quite an adventure to make music,” Wilson tells The Vinyl District. “I actually don’t have as much energy as I used to, but I can still write songs and I can still sing.”  This yet-to-be-released project is largely a collaboration between Wilson and co-producer, Joe Thomas, and will be Wilson’s first album of original material in five years.

“He and I wrote a bunch of songs in 1998,” says Wilson, “and we finished a lot of them now.” There is no official release date, but it will follow his co-headlining US tour with fellow music icon and guitar legend, Jeff Beck, who also plays on Wilson’s new album. It may seem like a baffling musical alliance, but Wilson is ecstatic about it. Given reviews of the first show, audiences feel likewise.

“[Jeff’s] guitar playing is so damn good you wouldn’t believe it,” says Wilson. “He can play anything on that guitar. He can play ANYTHING on that guitar! Ever since he played on my MusiCares awards program, I’ve liked his guitar. We finally called him up and had him come down to the studio and play guitar.”

The Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck US tour will also include original Beach Boys David Marks and Al Jardine. As one might expect for two of rock’s most inscrutable stars, not much else about this tour (or the album, for that matter) is set in stone. But Wilson and Beck will play classic songs from their back catalogs, with jamming and new tunes not out of the question.

“We wanted to try to please the Americans this time because they need music; the Americans need good music, and we have just that kind of thing for ‘em. Mostly, we’ll be playing Beach Boys classics. There will be some Brian Wilson songs, and songs that aren’t quite well known. Just a lot of good songs.”

In addition to this flurry of musical activity, a film about Wilson’s life while under the care of controversial therapist Eugene Landy finished production this summer and is tentatively scheduled for release sometime in 2014. Titled, Love and Mercy, Wilson is pleased with the way it turned out. Asked if it was difficult to relive that part of his life, he answered simply, “It was very sentimental to me, very sentimental for my life… I saw some of the rushes, and it was very well done. They depicted that part of my life very well.” Wilson is also working on an autobiography, but that’s “coming along slowly.” Right now, it’s all about the music.

“I’m looking forward to doing another tour, plus I’m looking forward to doing another good rock and roll album.”

Brian Wilson: Official | Facebook | Tour

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