5 Minutes With Brian Wilson, Co-Founder Of The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson is not a man of many words. The co-founder of The Beach Boys, who has been called a genius throughout his career—and for good reason—truly lets the music do the talking.
I had the opportunity to interview Wilson to ask him questions about his tour, career, life struggles and more. Throughout our phone conversation, Wilson kept the answers short and to the point, never giving an anecdote or long explanation during the five minutes we spoke.
Wilson is known for giving simple, short answers in interviews, but he is far from a simple man. He’s been open about his childhood and his complicated relationship with his father; has struggled with schizoaffective disorder, a condition characterized by auditory hallucinations, since the 1960s; and is known for being a patient of Eugene Landy, who was infamous for his unconventional therapy methods.
Yet, Wilson is also the man who wrote hits like “I Get Around” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” He’s the man behind “Pet Sounds”—he produced and arranged the album, and wrote and composed almost all of its music. The album is home to classic Beach Boys songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows.”
In total, Wilson is a complicated but very successful man. Perhaps, he keeps his answers short because he feels like everything has already been said before, or that everything fans still have questions about can be found in the music—and that’s OK. Wilson has earned the right to be reserved. He’s a Beach Boy, after all.
Read my full interview with Wilson, below. He will present “Pet Sounds: The Final Performances” at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater on May 20, at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, or to find out more information, visit theamppompano.org.
You’re one of the few people in the music industry who’s known for creating and playing beach music. Did you ever expect The Beach Boys' music to become so legendary?
Yeah, I thought it was very legendary.
What do you think makes the music legendary?
I can’t answer that question.
When did you realize that The Beach Boys had made it?
1963, when Mike did “Surfin’ USA.”
Is that one of your favorite Beach Boys songs?
What has been your favorite solo album to create?
My first one in 1988 [“Brian Wilson”].
Why was that your favorite?
I don’t know. I just liked the songs.
During your tour stop in Pompano Beach, you’ll be performing “Pet Sounds.” What’s your favorite song to perform off that album, and why?
“God Only Knows,” because Carl did a great vocal.
What is something most people don’t know about your career?
They don’t know how I like to write songs.
Do you prefer writing over producing?
I like the writing and creative process.
Is performing in Florida extra special since it’s known for its beaches?
Well, I like Miami a lot. I like the recording studios there.
Do you miss performing with the band or do you prefer touring as a solo artist?
A solo artist.
Why is that?
Because it’s fun to do concerts.
What do you want your legacy to be as a solo artist?
As a good singer.
You’ve been open about your mental health throughout the years. What is your biggest advice to people who may be struggling with their own mental health issues?
Well, do not take drugs.
Is there anything specific about your tour or your albums that you think our readers should know?
Well, I just hope the audiences in Florida like the songs.
Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach; 954.519.5500; theamppompano.org
Photos courtesy of Brian Bowen Smith
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An interview with Brian Wilson about his tour, career, life struggles, The Beach Boys and more.