Interviews

Brian Wilson on Songwriting: "I'm Always Anxious to Make Each One Better"

Brian Wilson is arguably the most creatively influential musical mind of our time. With the Beach Boys, he crafted soaring harmonies and immaculate arrangements. And on bizarro opus Smile -- which it's been said he dubbed as "a teenage symphony to God" -- Wilson turned pop-music sounds upside down and even made vegetables fun.

In recent years, his well-publicized struggles with substance abuse and his mental health have taken a back seat to news of his revival. Wilson appears to be in full creative mode. There was last year's reunion tour with the original Beach Boys, and there's an upcoming album and current tour, featuring appearances from bandmate Al Jardine and ace guitarist Jeff Beck.

The prospect of actually interviewing Wilson would make anyone's hands damp and voice shaky. He may be brilliant, but he's also known for unusual behavior. During our conversation with the musician, we faced some perfunctory answers and a few awkward moments but still enjoyed every minute of it.

See also: Beach Boys' Al Jardine on Touring With Brian Wilson: "We're Not Done Yet"

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Lee Zimmerman