Brian Wilson Album: That Lucky Old Sun Sept 11, 2008 0:21:15 GMT -5
Post by yerblues1968 on Sept 11, 2008 0:21:15 GMT -5
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys
BEACH BOY'S REBIRTH
September 07, 2008
YOU CAN cross the Beach Boys off the list of veteran musical giants likely to reform for a reunion tour.
While the Stones never went away, The Who continue to tour with half the original members and even the mighty Led Zeppelin got back together for one night only this year, the chances of the remaining Beach Boys appearing on the same stage seem marginally less remote than all four Beatles recording a new album of death metal covers.
Mike Love and Al Jardine, the other two original
remaining Beach Boy members.
Although the three surviving founding members of the Californian surf band -- Brian Wilson, his cousin Mike Love and old school friend Al Jardine -- supposedly settled their differences over who had the right to use the Beach Boys name this year, there clearly are still other issues to be resolved.
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds Album
It has led to the bizarre situation in which Love toured Australia last year as the Beach Boys, cranking out the old hits, followed weeks later by the outfit's undisputed genius Wilson, who was reviving the 1966 masterpiece album Pet Sounds as well as previewing his long awaited concept album That Lucky Old Sun.
Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun Album
"There isn't anybody I know -- my publicist, my wife, my managers, myself, my current group -- I don't think any of us think there is any hope for a Beach Boys reunion," Wilson says vehemently over the phone from his home in Los Angeles where his neighbours include Robbie Williams, Paul Stanley and Avril Lavigne.
Given the troubled years of band life that ultimately would claim the lives of his younger brothers Dennis and Carl, Wilson can be forgiven for not wanting to re-hash history.
But he is indulging in his own personal nostalgia. That Lucky Old Sun, released yesterday, is described as "a musical love letter from Southern California" and an "autobiographical travelogue."
Van Dyke Parks signing autographs
at SMiLE premiere in London 2004.
Inspired by Louis Armstrong's version of the classic 1949 song, Wilson looks back at his life and LA upbringing and its joy, horror and hope, sometimes with startling honesty. Wilson's songwriting is as exquisite as ever and by reteaming with his long-time collaborator, producer and arranger, Van Dyke Parks, the concept album shines and shimmers with the lavish production and sweet harmonies that made songs such as Good Vibrations and God Only Knows among the finest pop songs ever written.
The Beach Boys "Good Vibrations." (4:05 minutes)
The Beach Boys "God Only Knows." (2:52 minutes)
"It is an introspective album -- some of it is, but not all -- it's a very expressive album," says Wilson.
"It's a concept album involving five series of 35-second narrations about poetic images of LA and California which we call the heartbeat of LA, it has That Lucky Old Sun theme and 10 original songs. How can you go wrong with something like that?"
Brian Wilson sings, "That Lucky Old Sun." (3:04 minutes)
The album represents something of a late-career renaissance for Wilson, 66, following the belated release of his SMiLE album in 2004, 37 years after it was first conceived. After the promise, invention and ambition of the early Beach Boys music -- Pet Sounds famously inspired the Beatles to write Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band -- Wilson's career was derailed by decades of drug abuse, binge eating and mental illness.
HE addresses the missing years on the song Midnight's Another Day, singing:
"Swept away in a brainstorm -- chapters missing, pages torn, waited too long to feel the warm, I had to chase the sun."
Still scarred by the dark times, but determined to make up for them, Wilson recognises the influence drugs such as LSD had on his music -- and not always for the worse.
"Of course many people besides myself took a lot of drugs in the 1960s and '70s," he says candidly, if a little irritably.
"A lot of people took them and a lot of people suffered the side effects. But the creative aspect of drugs is a good thing. The side effects are a bad thing. Drugs do inspire music -- there is a correlation between drugs and the inspiration to write music, but it is not a wise thing to do."
So knowing what he knows now and the price he paid, would he do it all over again?
"No, I wouldn't have. I would have done it without drugs," he says.
Ultimately it was music that was Wilson's redemption and a recognition that his talent was too rare to squander.
The line "I heard my sound and found my smile" from the new song Going Home recognises the ecstatic reaction that the SMiLE album and tour earned.
Brian Wilson sings, "Going Home." (3:21 minutes)
He says he feels both surprised and blessed to still be writing music at his age and is still as hard on himself in the studio as he ever was.
He is physically fit thanks to a daily 8km walk and brimming with ideas (he says another concept album, Pleasure Island, a rock fantasy, is in its very early stages).
"I think that you have a choice," he says. "You either throw something away or you go for it. I choose to go for something. If you throw something away, that's like finding money and throwing it away. If you found $100,000 cash on the street, would you throw it away? No, you would keep that money. It's like I would not throw away a new song."
That Lucky Old Sun is out now.
Brian Wilson - "That Lucky Old Sun" Album preview. (5:16 minutes)
Brian Wilson Ages Into a 'Lucky Old Son' interview. (3:06 minutes)
Brian Wilson Official Website
Brian Wilson MySpace Website(s)