Friday, June 5, 2015


Having grown up in cold, rainy England to the Beach Boys' songs of endless summers and surfin' safaris I was fascinated to see the new movie Love And Mercy about Brian Wilson, the creative genius who composed the songs and, later, created the ground-breaking albums Pet Sounds and Smile.
 Paul Dano plays Wilson in the 1960s when he tries to move the band toward a more experimental sound and poetic lyrics and John Cusack portrays him in the 80s when, after a nervous breakdown and heavily medicated, he lives under the control of therapist Eugene Landy.
  When I talked to Brian, now 72, the morning after the movie's premiere, he told me: "It brought back memories.A lot of memories. Good and bad."
  Ironically Brian was not a surfer, despite inventing "surf music." 
  "I never learned how to surf because I was always afraid to try," he says. "But my brother Dennis was a surfer and he told me that surfing was a popular pastime and why didn't I write some songs about it? So Mike Love and I wrote Surfin'."
   Brian has seen Love and Mercy three times and thoroughly approves. His favourite scenes, he says are those in the studio when he's creating Pet Sounds with a group of talented session musicians. "It brought back wonderful memories of working with great musicians," he says.
  During our chat he played occasional riffs on the piano, including a few bars of God Only Knows which, he says, was the most difficult song he has ever composed.
   Brian is going on tour this summer following the release of his new album No Pier Pressure.
   "It's more fun and more exciting and not like it was with the Beach Boys," he says. "This is more like being on my own with my band members.We started touring in 1998 and we're still touring."

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