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Interview: Brian Wilson

The story by now is well known: genius songwriter has a panic attack and stops touring with his acclaimed band, then retreats to the studio and writes and records one of the greatest albums of all time. That, in a nutshell, is the story of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, an album that Wilson is currently revisiting on tour. With a songbook that includes the likes of "Good Vibrations", "California Girls", "God Only Knows", "I Get Around", "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Surfin' Safari", and "Help Me, Rhonda", there can be no dispute that Brian Wilson is a musical genius, and many believe that Pet Sounds was his crowning achievement. For example, Rolling Stone Magazine ranks it as the second best album of all time, behind only The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which itself drew inspiration from Pet Sounds. The rest of the story is also by now well known: genius songwriter tries to follow up Pet Sounds with an ambitious album called Smile, but can't because of deteriorating mental health, an issue that plagues him for the rest of his life. Happily, Wilson did revisit Smile with a new recording in 2004 and the release of the original sessions in 2011. Even more happily, he is still performing his songs in concert. This interview was done for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the Brian Wilson concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 5/28/17. It was done by phone on 5/12/17.

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