Legendary Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds with a world tour that hits the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Sunday, Sept. 11. We asked Wilson about the album and his career.
Q: You’ve said this is the last time you’ll perform Pet Sounds in full. Definitely?
A: Yeah. We duplicate it on stage exactly like it sounds on the album. We’re going to do the whole album.
Q: When you listen to the record now, what stands out the most?
A: I enjoy mostly the vocals we did—Carl [Wilson’s] voice on “God Only Knows,” and our harmonies throughout the album.
Q: Do you ever worry that Pet Sounds overshadows the other great music you’ve recorded?
A: Actually Beach Boys Love You and 15 Big Ones were very well received by the public, so no, it doesn’t concern me too much.
Q: Do you ever get tired of performing songs from so long ago?
A: Are you kidding? Never. I never get tired. The songs are great songs to sing.
Q: How hard is it to find musicians and singers who can perform the material?
A: I’ve been with my band for 18 years. We’ve been practicing for years. We practice one guy at a time and then we assemble and do it all together.
Q: You’ve released big boxed sets with all the songs recorded during the Pet Sounds and Smile sessions. Do you have much more unreleased material that might come out one day?
A: In 1978 I recorded an album. I can’t remember the album itself. It’s been a long time.
Q: You’re releasing a memoir, I Am Brian Wilson, in October, with writer Ben Greenman. How did that collaboration work?
A: After I saw my movie, [2014’s Love & Mercy], I thought about writing my book. I wanted people to know my full life story, from my childhood all the way up till now. [Greenman would] interview me once a week for about a year and so we covered all my life. It was rough. I had a lot of ups and downs in my life. It was a tough book to write but we got it written.