Brian Wilson, interviewed
CITY PAGES Gimme Noise: After finally completing SMiLE, were you intimidated to begin work on another concept album?
Brian Wilson: No, actually, I got right into it.
GN: What inspired the concept for the album?
BW: I just love that song “Lucky Old Sun.”
GN: Who’s the original composer?
BW: I don’t know. I bought the Louis Armstrong version, learned it, changed the chords around and tossed it to my band.
GN: Did that single inspire the entire album?
BW: No. I wrote the songs separately.
GN: Your music has remained so bright and positive despite having survived such hardship in your life. How do you maintain such musical positivity?
BW: I just sit down and write the songs.
GN: Is there a space for the darker parts of you in your music?
BW: Not really, no. I like to look for the sunny parts.
GN: You mention that you don’t like to listen much to music being made today.
BW: That’s true.
GN: Is it because you don’t like it?
BW: I don’t like it. I don’t like the music being made these days.
GN: What don’t you like about it?
BW: I don’t know. I just don’t like it.
GN: How has pop music changed since your youth?
BW: It’s taken a decline.
GN: You’ve had so much influence on pop musicians in every genre. Who are you proudest to have influenced?
BW: The Beatles.
GN: After so much celebration of your career and so much critical analysis devoted to your music, is it ever difficult to live up to your own praise when you start to write new songs?
BW: No. I just write from my heart. I don’t try to outdo myself. I just write from my heart.
GN: Your music is so complex. And yet your process, as evidenced in this interview, seems so simple. But when you create these challenging harmonies and time signatures, are you trying to challenge the ear?
BW: No. It just comes naturally. When it comes naturally, it happens.
GN: Does it come to you in dreams?
BW: No (laughs).
GN: What do you dream about?
BW: My friends.