In Town

Beach Boys' Brian Wilson Comes to Sarasota on Sept. 11 in Celebration of Pet Sounds

We asked Wilson about the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds and his career.

By Cooper Levey-Baker August 31, 2016 Published in the September 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Image: Shutterstock

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.

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