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Conversation with Brian
This is technically not a part of the Liner Notes for the 1988 release of Brian Wilson, but I thought it was still an important part of the story (and parts of it are quoted in the Liners for the re-issue, so here's the full interview).

I got this in a press package of the Brian Wilson CD, which I picked up the legendary Rockaway Records in Silverlake, California. It also included a Brian Wilson biography and a photograph (which I was able to get autographed), a selected discography and the "making of the album" article.

This is a bit long, but I know you'll enjoy it.

Here you go:

A Conversation With Brian Wilson

(Brian Wilson took time out from the final mixing sessions of his album to discuss his artistic rebirth. The conversation took place at Brian’s Malibu home with David Leaf.)

DL: Brian, it’s been 22 years since you produced Pet Sounds. Brian Wilson is your first major album since then, and it’s your first ever solo LP. How come you decided to make another record?

BW: It’s the right time, a good time to make a record. The music has got to surface eventually. I think we’re all afraid of what’s inside of us and all our memories. That stuff got in the way, but you become more at peace with yourself. You have a handle on all the bad things that happened to you in your life. You say to yourself, “There’s no way to get over this,” but somehow, you do anyway. I’m driven by my ego and my love for music. You gotta get it out. To me, the highest thing in the world is to make music.

DL: So last spring, you began work on your record?

Brian: After over a year of intense soul-searching and conversations with Dr. Landy, I decided to go ahead and try a solo album. I only had two conditions. The first was that he would be executive producer and fight the business battles for me. And I said, “If I can do it at my pace, I’ll make an album.” So we proceeded to choose, from songs that I had written over the past five years. There were about a hundred, and we picked the best of the crop.

DL: You’ve spent almost a year making this record. That’s the longest it’s ever taken you to do an album. Is there a reason for that?

Brian: Yeah. About a year, a long time. The problem was that it took some time to get rolling on the vocals. The backgrounds were pretty good, but the leads, I had to keep dong them over. I was having trouble with my voice, but I found a great voice coach, who helped me out a little bit.

DL: Was the problem that you hadn’t sung much in recent years?

Brian: Yeah. You know, I wasn’t singing much. My voice is basically a falsetto kind of voice, and when I try to sing in legitimate voice, I become self-critical of my voice, you know? A lot of people said, “Brian, great vocals.” But I’m essentially a falsetto singer.

DL: Everybody who has heard the rough mixes of the album, whether they’re big fans of yours or just music lovers, has really loved it. How do you feel people are going to react to it?

Brian: I think with positivity, real positive feelings. Good sound, good lyrics, good vocals. I think people are gonna love it.

DL: When one sits down to create, it takes a lot of ego…

Brian: It sure does. Isn’t ego another word for survival?

DL: I don’t mean that kind of ego. I mean the ego that says that what I’m doing is so good that the world should pay attention. Do you have to pump yourself up like that?

Brian: Well, you gotta go by your track record. If you made good records in the ‘60s, then you’re going to have to tell yourself, “I’m a good record maker.” So you go on your past credentials, your past history.

DL: But when you were starting out in 1961, you didn’t have a track record. Where did you get the confidence and ego to do it back then?

Brian: Phil Spector.

DL: He inspired you?

Brian: Yeah, I used to listen to Spector a lot.

DL: While you haven’t been making many records in the last few years, there’s been a technological revolution with emulators and digital recording and all sorts of amazing electronic hardware. What was it like adjusting to the new machines?

Brian: It was fun, a learning experience?

DL: In a sense, the machines today can do what you were trying to do in 1966 on your own. Does it make it easier for you?

Brian: Yeah, and it makes it faster, speeds up the process a little bit. We did this album differently than I used to. I used to get a group of people out there in the studio and produce the band live. Now, everything’s done on synthesizers. I played most of the album, but now and then, we’d call in musicians for specific parts.

DL: Comparing the early tracks recorded for the album with the later material, it’s clear how much stronger and confident you sound. Does that make you happy?

Brian: A little bit. It pumps up a lot of good confidence inside of me. It’s very difficult at times to work in the studio under the guise of Brian Wilson, and the idea that I don’t want to fail. I think this album is way better than Pet Sounds.

DL: Really?

Brian: Well, Pet Sounds is more artistic, but this one’s more commercial.

DL: You’ve called Pet Sounds your love album. Is there one word to describe this record?

Brian: Happy.

DL: And that reflects the way you’re feeling?

Brian: Yeah.

DL: In the past, you used the Beach Boys as a vocal instrument. Now, you’re doing all the vocals yourself. Is that comfortable for you?

Brian: I could always sing high or low, but my basic forte is the high voices. All the voices are me.

DL: The world has been waiting a long time for a Brian Wilson solo album. When people hear it, do you think they’ll feel it was worth the wait?

Brian: Yeah, I think so. They’ll just feel a new vibration from me.

DL: Is it a better feeling to create for just Brian Wilson and not other people?

Brian: Yeah, it’s more centered, more right there, like it’s being done for me at the time, so I can center with it. It can get centered with my album, put myself right in the middle. It’s a good feeling.

DL: When you’re finally holding the album in your hands and it says Brian Wilson, how do you think it will feel?

Brian: It will be like a baby that I had.

DL: And is it more your baby because it says “Brian Wilson” and not “The Beach Boys?”

Brian: Yeah, it’s a personal baby. That’s a good way to look at it.

DL: Who do you think this album will appeal to?

Brian: I like to write for young people, ‘cause they understand what I’m saying in my music, understand where I’m coming from. But, I think this album should appeal to people in their twenties, thirties and forties.

DL: Do you think people with hear your album and say, “That’s a great piece of art, and it’s not like anything he’s ever done before?”

Brian: Maybe people will think it’s not a great piece of art but a commercial piece of art. An artist … the ability to put on canvas how you feel, like the “Mona Lisa.” What an example of what a person felt like, created a feeling, a smile, a face. That soul. It makes you wonder. Is she smiling? What’s she thinking? A subtle feeling. As an artist, you don’t know if you’re going to be able to get it out or on paper. It’s very subtle. It can be done in every day life. You don’t have to be in a studio making music, but that is a high point of a person’s life, to go into the studio and record. To make music is the high point of my life. I value that more than sex.

DL: Do you feel that as you’ve grown older and grown up that your writing style has changed?

Brian: I write more about ideas, now. Before, I wrote about tangible kinds of things; now, I’m writing about ideas, love songs again. I’m back to love songs: “Melt Away” and “Love And Mercy” and “One For The Boys” and “There’s So Many.” There are four or five love songs on the album.

DL: Does that come out of all the love you feel for the world?

Brian: Yeah, it does. A lot of love went into the making of this record.

DL: Is there any way you could explain how you write a song.

Brian: Yeah. You just sit down and start playing around and come up with ideas. I’ll be sitting there and I’ll think (sings: “ba, ba, ba, ba, ba”). Then, I’ll think, wait a minute, do that again, try this and that. Then, you start a pattern going, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a melody. All of a sudden, you start getting lyrics.

DL: So you’re looking for a melody line first?

Brian: First a bag, then a melody line, then lyrics.

DL: What do you mean by “a bag?”

Brian: Rhythm and chords. My songwriting cycles are natural. When I get ready to go into a songwriting period, I feel that if I go to the piano and sit there long enough, something’s gonna happen, my hands are gonna be lifted up by God and plopped down on the keys. It’s that automatic.

DL: When you write a song, do you know whether it’s a hit right away?

Brian: I have a basic gut response to the song that makes me feel positive that it might make it.

DL: Of the songs you’ve written recently, which ones have given you that feeling?

Brian: “Love And Mercy,” “Walkin’ The Line” and “Night Time.”

DL: When do you like to write best?

Brian: At night. Real peaceful.

DL: When you write, are you inspired by what you see, like the view of the ocean we have from your living room?

Brian: No. It all comes from inside.

DL: Are you always writing a song in your head?

Brian: Not always. Whenever I go through my songwriting cycles, I follow through with it, keep going with it ‘cause I’ve got something happening.

DL: Is it frustrating to have the music in your head and you can’t get it out?

Brian: It’s a burden sometimes. Yeah, it is.

DL: What’s the best way to deal with it?

Brian: I get into it. “Love And Mercy” is an example of that. Of feeling a bag in my head, of carrying it around for a while and finally getting it out.

DL: You’re an autobiographical songwriter?

Brian: Yeah, “Love And Mercy” and “Melt Awa” are the two philosophical records that I made on this album.

DL: “Love And Mercy” is what I call a diary song. Like “Busy Doin’ Nothing” on Friends, “Love And Mercy” gives you an idea of what it’s like to spend some time with Brian Wilson. Do you remember when you got the idea for that?

Brian: I was in my piano room, and I was playing “What The World Needs Now, Is Love, Sweet Love,” and I just went into my own song. I worked very hard to get out of me what was in my heart on that one. I called up Dr. Landy and we worded on the lyrics together. I was going for a spiritual, semi-Beach Boy kind of background sound, but more of a Brian Wilson lead vocal thing. “Love And Mercy” is a real positive vibe; it really is.

DL: Your music has always spread a really happy vibe to the world.

Brian: Yes, it has. It has. Some of it’s sad. “Caroline No” from Pet Sounds was a sad song. But I’m a positive kind of artist. I see my whole career as a stab at trying to get across some messages to people. My first and foremost message of all is to bring out love, it so bring love to people. Then, comes exhilarating music that makes people feel alive, rock ‘n’ roll.

DL: You consider your music to be spiritual, don’t you?

Brian: The spirituality of my music is explained by the fact that if you don’t take it upon yourself to create something, no one will. If you don’t take that attitude, who’s gonna take it? That’s why I say the spiritualness of my music comes and goes. Some of my songs are very spiritual, like “The Warmth Of The Sun” from the early Beach Boys days. And “Love And Mercy” is very spiritual. Maybe love and spirituality are about the same. How can you really differentiate love and spirituality?

DL: You seem very inspired these days. Is the attention of a hit record what you need to be inspired to keep doing it?

Brian: People should realize that there’s even more than just this solo album that I’ve got in me. I worked hard, did the best for you all; it’s something that you do out of love.

DL: When you know people are listening, do you just want to give them more? Does that work for you?

Brian: Yeah. I plan it like this. I say, “If there’s a listening need, then there is an artistic supply.” In other words, if there is a need, then the art must be created for that need. It’s a beautiful thing. Very spiritual. Music is all over the place.

DL: In 1970, you made a terrific record called “This Whole World” …

Brian: (sings a verse of “This Whole World”) Yeah, I remember that song.

DL: But the world didn’t pick up on it. What happens when you do your job as an artist but the world doesn’t do their job and get your message? Is that discouraging?

Brian: All that is trial and error. You put the record out and it bombs. Who do you blame it one? Yourself or the public? Was the record not good enough or did the public feel too fickle to buy your record? Neither. It’s bad karma.

DL: Getting back to the songs on your album … what can you tell me about “Night Time?”

Brian: The process of twilight, dusk turning into total darkness has always fascinated me. All of my life. I’ve always been a night person, never did like the daytime, which signifies work time.

DL: What do you like to do at night?

Brian: I like to bowl, watch MTV, stay current with what’s going on on TV. I watch MTV for entertainment purposes, and also because I want to get a feel for how warm this world is, like the way the music has warmth and coldness too. Because MTV, new wave, is both warm and cold. The lyrics are warm, they talk about love, and the other is like coldness, one fleeting image to another. And it’s all tied together with warm and cold.

DL: Do you feel your music is real warm?

Brian: Some of it.

DL: What’s the warmest thing you’ve ever done?

Brian: Probably “Surfer Girl.”

DL: Of everything on the album, “Melt Away” is one of the warmest.

Brian: That’s a spiritual sound. How many different ways can you say “Merry Christmas?” But if you try, you can find a new way to do it. What Gene and I wanted to do on “Melt Away” was find a new way to say that “you make my blues fade away.” That theme in music has been done so many times, it’s ridiculous; but there are new and innovative ways to say that, and I think we said it in this song.

DL: You told me that “Melt Away” also came right from your life.

Brian: It’s about the identity crisis I have in my life – the way I see myself and the “me” that everybody thinks I am. You go through some hassles over that some times. I might feel one thing inside, but you get feedback from people that you’re not that way. It’s a strange trip; it really is.

DL: Do you remember what you were feeling when you wrote “Melt Away?” You sing, “the world’s not waiting just for me, the world don’t care what I can be.” Do you believe that?

Brian: Yeah. Absolutely. I’ve been through it. I know. I lived it.

DL: “Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long” also sounds like it was written with a strong point-of-view.

Brian: It is, of course, a sexual song, a song about sexual ideas. At first, when I wrote the melody, I thought maybe it should be a love song. ‘Cause it started sounding like a love song to me. And I tried a working lyric that had a lot to do with love and affection and that kind of thing. But I didn’t like it. Most of the lyrics were romantic, but then I put in a couple of sexual lines. And then I said, “Wait a minute. Let’s get rid of some of the love aspects, the romantic aspects of this song, and put in more sexual lyrics.”

DL: When I first heard “Baby…”, I thought of the end of Pet Sounds when you sing “where did your long hair go?” It’s kind of like you’re singing to that same thing. Do you feel that at all, or is it just my imagination?

Brian: No, it’s still the same mood. That mood is sexual.

DL: I thought the lyrics were sung to yourself.

Brian: It’s just the opposite; it’s for others.

DL: The line, “There’s gotta be something you’re living for, you’ve got to try a little more,” sounds to me like you’re giving yourself a pep talk.

Brian: It’s a pep talk, but not to myself. It’s like when girls whack their hair off short, and they don’t give a shit. Sometimes, if you prompt a girl, prompt someone to hit the road and get on the stick and let your hair grow long and try harder. Instead of saying, “go out and exercise and eat health foods and all that stuff,” and all the messages that most of the people missed. That’s one song in itself; another song is called “Poor Old Body.” But if you’re just saying, “You’ve got to try a little more,” that generally means you’ve got to get your head a little more into success, orient yourself towards more success in your mind. A mental success mechanism. That’s what I meant by “you’ve got to try a little more.”

DL: Does hair symbolize something to you?

Brian: It exemplifies beauty in a girl.

DL: So you’re saying …

Brian: Make yourself beautiful again.

DL: The whole musical feeling of “Baby…” makes me think it could have fit nicely onto Pet Sounds.

Brian: That could have been on Pet Sounds because it’s a classic piece of art, a work of art that I worked on for many months, changing it and molding it and shaping it and reshaping it and fine-tuning it, to get the sound I like. I came into the studio with the attitude that I could do it. I never felt any less than perfect. So when I go into the studio, I know I’m shaping something together.

DL: How did you produce “There’s So Many?” When you sing, “The planets are spinning around,” you give the listener the feeling that the planets really are spinning around.

Brian: There are lines that come out of me. “There’s So Many” has more love appeal than anything else on the album. It’s like a dive into a voice sound, into an arrangement. That line is subtle inference that astrology affects our lives. There’s gotta be 15 or 16 voices on there. I really thickened it up, made it real thick and fat, which, I understood a lot of people like that “fat” sound.

DL: Was this really a spiritual song for you?

Brian: Very much so, especially the harmonies in (sings) “Planets are spinning around.” Probably the most spiritual part of the whole album. It just had a vibration to it, you know? It was like, “Whew.” I didn’t know where it was coming from. I listened to it, and I (felt) “what!?”

DL: Does that ever scare you, that those things come through you like that?

Brian: No. A creator is never afraid of what he creates. Never. Because it’s too natural. A person who creates a vibration is never afraid of it, because it’s just natural. Do you think a bee is afraid of a flower? No.

DL: What about the astrological aspect of “There’s So Many?”

Brian: Michael Bernard, who is the greatest programmer I ever met, brought a telescope to the studio one night, and I looked at Jupiter, and I saw the craters on the moon. But just the idea of looking through a telescope, thinking about the planets and do they really have an affect on our minds? And do they really affect the way people react to each other and interact with each other? Is there some kind of reaction between people that has something to do with planets in the sky? A lot of people feel this is true.

DL: Another song on the album is “Walkin’ The Line.” Do you walk the line?

Brian: Yeah, every day. The lyrics are all about me, how I’m always walking over thin ice, could fall through at any minute. I tread lightly on everything I do, walk the line so to speak.  Not all the time, but it is one of my sub-theme songs of my whole life. When I wrote that, I was at the piano, and I was remembering an old bass line that I had written, a left hand. And I said to myself, “I want to record a song that has bass sounds like a ‘60s record but has an ‘80s feeling to it, an ‘80s vibration. So I took that old bass line that I had never finished and incorporated it into a new kind of sound. It was all in remembering the feeling, the spirit I had when I wrote the bass line a long time ago. I always felt good about that left hand, a good vibration about it.

DL: When you walk the line in your life, have you ever crossed onto the wrong side of the line?

Brian: Sure. I’ve fallen through a lot of times. Now, I’m back on my feet. You know, it’s not a serious song.

DL: “Little Children” is also a fun song, kind of a “wall of sound” old – style ditty. What was there about kids that inspired that one?

Brian: There is no responsibility when you’re a kid, and I admire the freedom from responsibility that kids have. I’m jealous of it. That track was one as an attempt to make people feel younger. (Imitates the sound of the record.) I feel that the way it was put together, if you’re 60, it should make you feel 40. When I hear it, I feel a lot younger, about 20. You can have a child in you that’s playful and young.

DL: Do you wish you were a kid again?

Brian: Oh yeah, I think about that all the time. I’d like to be 17 again, if I could.

DL: “One For The Boys” has a very melancholy feel to it.

Brian: That is a love song that has feminine characteristics. It’s the feminine side of me.

DL: “Let It Shine” was done with Jeff Lynne. What was it like working with somebody who was so influenced by you?

Brian: I thought it might be too sterile, but as we did it in the studio, I said, “You know, Jeff, this is coming out real good.”

DL: “Poor Old Body To Move” was a song you worked on with Lindsey Buckingham, somebody else who is a big fan of yours. You obviously think exercise is important.

Brian: It’s the most important thing in the world if you want to have a brain to think with.

DL: What’s “Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight” about?

Brian: It’s about a guy and a girl who love each other on a certain level that’s higher than real life. A fantasy song. We wanted to get the sound like “Sweet Talkin’ Guy,” that kind of ‘60s feeling in a record in the ‘80s.

DL: Everybody who has heard “Rio Grande” is just blown away by it.

Brian: That was a labor of love, and that’s probably the best thing on the whole album. It’s taken the longest to do, and we tried to pull it together so that it makes sense. So that people can hear it and it will flow naturally from one thing to another. Real hard to do at first.

DL: How did you decide to even try a song like that?

Brian: Lenny Waronker thought I could do it, and it looks like Lenny was right.

DL: Were you reluctant to do that kind of thing at first?

Brian: Yes, I was. But Andy Paley helped me out a little bit with songs and gave me a new direction in it.

DL: What exactly did Andy do?

Brian: Andy Paley conceptualized lyrically what was happening. He did a little more of the lyrics than I did; but I did a little more music. The two were a perfect marriage.

DL: When Lenny came to you and said he didn’t want you to write another song, he wanted you to do a piece of music, that must have seemed pretty strange. Don’t record company presidents usually tell you to write more hits?

Brian: Yeah, but he figured that there was one left in me, that there was a suite, a rock opera that I could do. And we did it.

DL: Lenny’s a big fan of the kind of stuff you did in ’66 and ’67, “Heroes And Villains” and “Cabin Essence.” Those songs have lots of different sections; they were written in pieces like “Rio Grande.” Did Lenny have to work hard to convince you to work in that style again?

Brian: Yeah. He wanted me to get a little bit into that kind of Smile bag, and I did. Some of it took on characteristics of the Smile album, but that’s all, just characteristics. It wasn’t directly influenced by Smile, just the vibes of it, the basic feeling of it.

DL: It’s been a long time since you’ve worked that way. Was it hard for you to do “Rio Grande?”

Brian: As I remember, at first, it was uncomfortable for me.

DL: You just did the final mix on “Rio Grande” yesterday. Was it very satisfying to finish it?

Brian: Yeah. It completes a musical thought in my head. It makes something complete (bangs on the table for emphasis). And the completion of the project is the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done it; you’ve gone though it and you did it.

DL: “Rio Grande” sounds to me like it could be a ride at Disneyland.

Brian: That would be great.

DL: What would you like people to feel when they hear “Rio Grande?”

Brian: I would like a person to feel joy.

DL: There are six or seven different sections to the song. What’s your favorite part?

Brian: I personally like the “Take Me Home” section.

DL: Is that all autobiographical?

Brian: It’s a song that expresses the need to be.

DL: How did you come up with the “Rain Dance” section? You were talking before about Smile, and it’s kind of like …

Brian: The “Rain Dance?” That was something I didn’t like. That’s the only part I really didn’t like as much. The mood of the “Rain Dance” is too scary.

DL: But it fits in with the rest and completes the suite?

Brian: Yes.

DL: One of the things you’re known for is your use of unusual instruments …

Brian: First of all, I’m a genius at music, at instruments. I could play a piano and make it happen without anything else. I could make the groove to a point where we wouldn’t need anything else. Although records need more than piano, I could do it. A piano and a voice, that would be perfect.

DL: This album represents a whole new kind of record making for you. Do you like modern recording studios?

Brian: Yeah. Multi-tracking is much better. The track on “Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long” was something you couldn’t have done back in the ‘60s without screwing up.

DL: On “Baby…” you used an electric saw.

Brian: I’m known for a Theremin or something weird. That saw is a little like a Theremin.

DL: You’re playing a lot of different instruments on emulators. Instead of working with a musician, you’re working with a machine. What was that like?

Brian: It saved time, and it made me more able to play it myself, to make it sound more rhythmically right. There are a lot of reasons I like working with emulators rather than live musicians.

DL: Back in the sixties, didn’t the studio musicians you worked with give you lots of positive feedback, some good ideas? Don’t you miss that?

Brian: No, because it all rests in my head. That’s where my music is.

DL: What are your favorite musical touches on the album?

Brian: I liked the sampled saxophone on “Walking The Line.” On “Love And Mercy,” I cut the track in Hawaii, cut the background track in Honolulu. It had such a good left-hand sound, you know what I mean? It had a good vibe to it.

DL: Somebody once said you had the best left hand in the business.

Brian: That’s not true.

DL: Who’s got a better one?

Brian: Motown.

DL: Any other instrumental parts you especially liked?

Brian: In “Baby, Let Your Hair Grow Long,” the oboe, and the background voices in the verse. In “Night Time,” the part that drones. I thought that was really good.

DL: As an artist, it’s been quite a long while since you made a big statement. What took so long?

Brian: It’s the right time. I had to get my head and my health together first. I had to take care of basics. In my therapy, I’ve been learning to be less afraid, more confident and more independent. I had to get in shape first before I could make another creative statement. I’m pretty positive about this record. I think it’s a spiritual album; I think it’s gonna be a hit. I really do.

DL: Is there one central theme that unites this record with your previous work?

Brian: Love is the theme of my whole album.

DL: Because this is the first Brian Wilson album, do you feel like you’re beginning a new career?

Brian: Yeah. For sure. This is my new album. This is the first time I’ve ever had an album. Twenty-six years in the business, that’s a lot of years.

DL: What does it feel like to have a solo record?

Brian: It feels good. It feels like an expansive mood. (I’m) moving forward. You’re doing something; you’re initiating something. It’s a good feeling.

DL: Are you concerned about the way it’ll be received?

Brian: I think so. It’s not like forcing somebody on your stuff. It’s just an easygoing album that I think will and should be well-received.

DL: The world has an image of you …

Brian: Yeah, you and I were talking about that dilemma between that image the world has of you and you have of yourself. What does the world think of me?

DL: I think you know the legend. What do you see as the man behind legend as opposed to the way the world sees you?

Brian: A much more creative person than the legend. Somebody with many more personal ideas floating around in his head than any person that considers me a legend would be able to conceive of.

DL: What kind of ideas do you have inside that you’re getting ready to share with the world?

Brian: Love and my voice. I can only give my voice.

DL: People have this picture of Brian Wilson as a reclusive genius who doesn’t get around in the world very much. Did that bother you?

Brian: It bothered me a little bit.

DL: Is it hard to live up to people’s expectations of you?

Brian: It’s pretty hard. It’s interesting to do. It keeps you on your toes. It keeps you going.

DL: When people buy this album, it’ll be part because of the legend and part because of the man. Which do you like better?

Brian: The man.

DL: Is that what really comes through on Brian Wilson?

Brian: Pretty much, yeah. I want to present a new image to the world. Here I am. This is the new solo album.

DL: You’re not a choir boy anymore.

Brian: That’s the part of the image people have of me that’s hard to accept. ‘Cause I changed my image, but people still hang on to that old image.

DL: You changed it a long time ago, back in 1966?

Brian: Yeah.

DL: Do you think the world is finally going to catch up to you?

Brian: I don’t know. I hope so. I just hope that I get a fair chance to sell records.

DL: But for an artists, isn’t there a lot more satisfaction that you get just in the creating?

Brian: Yeah, that’s true. That’s something I thought about. And you know, when you work with music, there’s a satisfaction that goes along with just making the record, rather than wondering whether it’s gonna sell.

DL: Are you real satisfied with the record you’ve made?

Brian: Yeah. Very.

DL: Do you think you’ll be more satisfied with the next one?

Brian: Yeah, I might. If I’m not careful, I might wind up getting my mind blown (laughs). What I’m trying to say is that I could blow my own mind with music.

DL: Is that what happened the last time?

Brian: Yeah.

DL: So you needed time to recover from that?

Brian: Yeah. It blew my mind to make all that music. It just did.

DL: “Rio Grande” is kind of walking down that road again.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah.

DL: Is that scary?

Brian: No, I’ve been there.

DL: Are you ready for it?

Brian: Yeah. Sure. If you are (laughs).

DL: In the ‘60s, your records had a major impact on the business. Will the Brian Wilson album affect the music industry?

Brian: It will bring back love to the record industry.

DL: You to quite an ovation at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this year.

Brian: It’s a good feeling to get an award. I made a speech … talked about the chronology of the Beach Boys … how music is something that touched people, and that we all share that feeling in this room, that feeling of music … you’re just a human being, but God writes though you.

DL: You said that “music is the voice of God.”

Brian: I believe it. Yes. Absolutely.

DL: That’s quite a responsibility isn’t it?

Brian: It is, but you can immerse in it.

DL: Is it hard for you to live up to the “gifts” God’s given you?

Brian: No. Not anymore. It used to be. I went through a few trips of hell about that, not being able to handle those things; but I’ve been there so many times that I’m getting good at going there and getting those places together. Regardless if it’s a lost feeling or a threatened feeling, feeling threatened or feeling lost, it’s just one of those things.

DL: When everybody hears the new record, they’re going to want to come and see you in person. Any plans for a tour?

Brian: Absolutely. I have to get an act together.

DL: Besides the new album, any songs from the past that you would like to perform?

Brian: Yeah, a couple of Beach Boys songs. “Sloop John B.,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “Surfer Girl.” I gotta put a band together, a band similar to the Beach Boys. I’m looking for guys that can learn fast. I gotta teach these guys how to do it. It’s like walking up a hill again.

DL: Besides music, what’s on your mind these days, what’s interesting you?

Brian: I follow athletics a lot. I try to keep in touch with them, but it’s very hard ‘cause I’m always on the run, and I don’t have time to watch TV too much. I like basketball. I’ve always liked baseball. I think it’s a cool game. Just the thought of somebody moving around, throwing a ball, jumping in the air is kind of exciting. Athletics have always inspired me.

DL: One of your newer hobbies is going to the racetrack. What do you like about watching the horses?

Brian: I like it all. I like to see them run, and I like to see the people just sitting around. Real relaxing.

DL: Are you a big bettor?

Brian: No. I only bet two bucks at a time.

DL: When people hear the record, they’ll wonder what your life is like. What’s a typical day for Brian Wilson?

Brian: Exercise, watching my calories. Basically doing my job, which is making music. Lately, a typical day has been to go to the studio, and absorb all the pressure that I can and keep myself cool. And make good music for people, you know? Make music that will make people happy, ‘cause that’s what makes me happy. It does. It really does.

DL: Your album will be out soon. What are you thinking about?

Brian: I think it’s the right time for me to emerge. I should definitely put my soul on the line for people and see how far I can take my music. Music goes forever.

DL: And that’s your job?

Brian: Exactly.

DL: One last question. Is there anything you want to say to the people who won’t get a chance to talk with you?

Brian: I hope that everybody realizes how hard it was for us to make this album and how much it means for us to make music for people. So I hope they like it as much as we liked making it.

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