Brian Wilson

This tag is associated with 10 posts

Interview: Brian Wilson

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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.

Interview: Mike Love and Jeffrey Foskett

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Mike Love has been a Beach Boy since the band began way back in 1961, and wrote lyrics to some of their best-known songs including “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, and “Good Vibrations”. And that’s him singing lead vocals on the recordings of the first three of these, plus “Surfin’ U.S.A”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, and more.

Guitarist and singer Jeffrey Foskett first joined The Beach Boys in 1982, and stayed on for about a decade, including for their Live Aid performance and for the recording of the hit song “Kokomo”. He then spent 16 years as the musical director for Brian Wilson’s band, and performed on the Brian Wilson Presents Smile and That Lucky Old Sun albums. He was part of the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour which reunited Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and rejoined The Beach Boys permanently in 2014.

This joint interview with Love and Foskett was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for the 3/8/17 concert by The Beach Boys at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. It was done by phone on 3/2/17. (Udo Spreitzenbarth photo)

Interview: Linda Ronstadt

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Linda Ronstadt’s career in music has taken many twists and turns. She began in country rock with the Stone Poneys, and had the hit song “Different Drum”. She then earned the nickname “The First Lady of Rock” with 1970’s / early 1980’s hits like “You’re No Good”, “When Will I Be Loved”, “Heat Wave”, “Blue Bayou”, “It’s So Easy”, and “Hurt So Bad”.

She also had notable success with her “Trio” recordings with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, was nominated for a Tony award for her Broadway performance of The Pirates of Penzance, and recorded traditional pop standards with Nelson Riddle and hit duets with James Ingram (“Somewhere Out There”) and Aaron Neville (“Don’t Know Much”). Mixed in were acclaimed recordings of the Mexican music that she grew up listening to.

It’s probably safe to say that Ronstadt had one of the most diverse singing careers of all time. And certainly one of the most successful.

Ronstadt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December 2012. This has made it impossible for her to sing, but her voice carries on in a lifetime of recordings.

This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for “A Conversation with Linda Ronstadt” at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 4/21/16. It was done by phone on 4/4/16. (Rocky Schenk photo)

Interview: Bruce Johnston

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Bruce Johnston has had an incredible career in music. In the early days of rock and roll, he played shows as part of the backing band for Ritchie Valens, and he did one performance in the backing band for Eddie Cochran. Then, after a stint as a young producer for Columbia Records, he was asked to fill in for a few concerts with The Beach Boys, which turned into membership in the band for thousands of concerts and the recordings of some of their best-known albums including Pet Sounds, Smile, Friends, Sunflower, and Surf’s Up. Along the way, he also did vocal arrangements and sang background vocals for Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and wrote “I Write the Songs”, which was a Grammy Award winning Number 1 hit for Barry Manilow.

This interview was for the 1/30/16 concert by The Beach Boys at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA. It was done by phone on 1/8/16. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Interview: Danny Hutton

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Three Dog Night had an amazing string of hit songs from 1969-1975 – count ’em, 21 straight Top 40 Hit Singles including three – “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”, “Joy to the World”, and “Black and White” – which reached Number One.

The original line-up for Three Dog Night was notable for having three lead vocalists, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells, each bringing their own unique flair to the material, which usually came from outside writers. Negron left the fold in the 1980’s, but Hutton and Wells have carried on with the Three Dog Night name.

This interview was for a preview article for the Three Dog Night concert on 8/20/15. It was done by phone on 8/4/15.

Interview: Al Jardine

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Al Jardine was a founding member of The Beach Boys, and apart from a year off in the early days, he was a key member of the band up until 1998. He was also part of the 50th anniversary reunion tour that visited the Santa Barbara Bowl in the summer of 2012.

You can hear Jardine’s harmonies and/or playing on many classic Beach Boys recordings including “Surfin’ Safari”, “I Get Around”, “California Girls”, “Barbara Ann”, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “Good Vibrations”, and many more. His best-known lead vocal is on the Number One hit “Help Me Rhonda”. He also brought the song “Sloop John B” with Brian Wilson’s attention, and helped to arrange The Beach Boys’ version. His songwriting credits include “California Saga: California” and “Susie Cincinnati”.

This interview was for the performance by musical genius Brian Wilson and Al Jardine on 9/27/14 at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles. It was done by phone on 9/16/14, and has been edited slightly for continuity.

Interview: Mike Love

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Mike Love has been a Beach Boy since the band began way back in 1961, and wrote the lyrics to some of their best-known songs including “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “California Girls”, “I Get Around”, and “Good Vibrations”. And that’s him singing lead vocals on the recordings of the first three of these, plus “Surfin’ U.S.A”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, and more. Overall, The Beach Boys have had three dozen Top 40 hits, and they were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

This interview was for a preview article for The Beach Boys concert at the Ventura County Fair on 7/31/14. It was done by phone on 7/28/14.

Concert Review: Beach Boys at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Review of The Beach Boys at the Santa Barbara Bowl, 5/28/12.

Interview: Justin Roberts


Justin Roberts was in the Minneapolis-based indie rock band Pimentos for Gus before becoming an award-winning children’s musician who writes clever, thoughtful songs with a well-crafted power pop sound. His latest CD is 2008’s Pop Fly.

This interview was conducted in person in Evanston, IL on 6/25/08.

Concert and Film Reviews: Brian Wilson

Review of Brian Wilson concert 9/10/09 at Lobero Theatre. Also, review of documentary about Brian Wilson called “Going Home,” world premiere showing on 1/30/09 at Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara International Film Festival