It was 30 years ago. And I can remember it behooved me to want to create something that people could say, “That’s a good piece of love, of spiritual love.” We were trying to capture spiritual love that couldn’t be found anywhere else in the world. We figured we had that love.
We had recognized that the Beatles had cut Rubber Soul, and I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity; it felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs … of folk songs; it was like a folk album by the Beatles that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed. It really blew me out. I had to go in there and experiment with sounds. I really felt challenged to do it really good, and I followed through with it. And I actually did it.
It was like working off the top of my head. I had gone into seclusion to write songs with Tony Asher. And the songs came very quick, natural. They were not belabored. They were not in vain; there was no vanity involved. They were all inspirational songs; the whole album was very inspired, an inspirational album.
I went into a state of mind, for about three months, a pretty consistent, attitude that made Pet Sounds the special album that it was – we spent a lot of time writing songs and producing ‘em and singing ‘em.
It was a heart and soul album; I worked very, very hard on it. The thing is, I’m glad we’re doing this new Pet Sounds reissue because the Pet Sounds box set is going to be very revealing to the public as to just what sort of music makers we really are.
I did most of the singing because I thought, in a way, I wanted people to know it was more of a Brian Wilson album than a Beach Boys album. It seemed like it was my time to step out and do something, and quite a few times, I pep talked myself. I kicked myself in the butt a few times, to keep going, to keep on the track, to do what I do best, which is to write songs and produce records.
When I was making Pet Sounds, I did have a dream about a halo over my head but people couldn’t see it. But now that I think of it, a halo is what I have over my head. God was with us the whole time we were doing this record. God was right there with me. I could see – I could feel that feeling in my head. In my brain.
We did the prayer sessions to kind of get ourselves deep enough into it so we cold function at the level. We had to really work at it to cut an album at that place; it took a lot of prayer meetings and prepping each other. We knew we were into something pretty heavy, and that’s why I say I say thirty years later, I’m real proud of it coming out again.
When I listen to it today, I feel like somebody really took the time to create some honest music. Somebody like me. I cared enough to create an album that would live and live possibly into the next century. When we were making Pet Sounds we were absolutely positive we were cutting a milestone record. Carl and I knew for sure we were into something heavier than hell, and we just went with it.
I would like to thank all the musicians for all the wonderful performances on the record. And of course, I couldn’t have done it without Chuck Britz. He really helped a lot.
This album, I think, should be a personal message from me to the public, hoping that they will understand what we went through to get that album out to where we could say, “This is something we did that was very hard for us. Please realize that a lot of love and energy went into the Pet Sounds album.”
When people come up to me and tell me it’s their favorite album, I feel honored. I also think people are pulling my leg when they tell me it’s the greatest thing ever written. Nobody has to buy this album or be our fans. It’s just a matter of realizing that the songs we did in 1966 are very much alive in 1996. And to be aware of those songs and be aware of the love in those songs that is able to give the listener the feeling of being love, which is something we kinda like to do. We like to give our love.
This album is your album.