Brian Wilson is keeping the Beach Boys' music alive on his current greatest hits tour. Wilson, who tours with fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, had been performing the group's 1966 Pet Sounds album in its entirety over the past few years, but is now focused on tackling more of the band's hits and deeper cuts on the new dates.
During a chat with Washington's WTOP, Wilson saluted the Beach Boys' classic '60s lineup, recalling, “(My brother) Dennis (Wilson) brought drumming, (my cousin) Mike (Love) brought singing, I brought producing, (my brother) Carl (Wilson) brought singing (and) Al is a great singer. Dennis was a very, very nice person. Very, very friendly. Carl brought joy and happiness. The way he talked to us when we were recording, he’d say, 'OK, guys let’s get going.' Mike could sing bass or regular. . . I realized I was creating a (genre).”
Brian spoke about quitting the road for the most part in late-1964 for 12 years: “It gave me time to go in the studio. The psychedelic drugs helped me write my melodies. I close my eyes and I start playing the keys, then comes the melody, then comes the lyrics. We used bicycle horns, tambourines (and even) my dogs.”
Wilson, who has been dubbed a “genius” countless times over the years, explained, “Genius is just another word for clever.” Still, accolades from his peers — including his then-chief competition, Paul McCartney did his soul good: “That made me pumped up. That made me feel proud.”
Brian Wilson is a man who has literally logged thousands of hours in the recording studio. When asked to name his favorite Beach Boys track — he didn't hesitate: “Ah, 'California Girls.' That's my favorite, 'cause of Mike (Love's) singing. My biggest memories are working with the voices. Giving the guys chords to sing and parts to sing. That's my favorite.”
Al Jardine admitted to us that back in the late-'70s and '80s, he — like several of his other bandmates — took Brian Wilson for granted while he struggled with major bouts of substance abuse problems and mental issues. Jardine assured us that these days, he puts Wilson first — even above himself: “I sit at the feet of the master when we're on tour with Brian. I know where I owe my allegiance. Thank God we still have Brian. It's so wonderful to be in his presence. At the time we were so into our egotistical self, that we thought we were the show — but we were just the messengers. That's what Mike (Love) doesn't get. He's just the messenger. In all deference to (Mike), he's a great talent (and) singer and writer himself, but we're just messengers (for Brian). And if we could all just coalesce around this wonderful music that we created together, then that's what you're behind.”