by Ray D'Arianol

One day last week we're out on the sound on the "Sloop John B," and I was searching high and low for a Who CD that I was sure I brought along. While feeling around under a bunk I found a cassette tape, a long lost interview with Brian Wilson. Thought you might like to read some of Brian's insights recorded on a summer day back in 1988. I remember the day it all took place. As I rode up the elevator in the Sherry Netherlands Hotel, I thought about the guy I was going to meet&Brian Wilson&the sand box in the living room, man child genius, who won Paul McCartney's heart with "Pet Sounds", and lost his mind with "Smile"&the big slick daddy of Wendy, Carnie, and California cool&the deaf in one ear, Phil Spector worshiping rock icon who revealed his secret Maharishi mantra on the Mike Douglas Show: Eye Nay Ma... Eye Nay Ma... Eye Nay Ma... and author of "Surfer Girl."

It was all baseball, apple pie, and two girls for every boy before acid and fear fried his fragile psyche. So he stayed in bed a few years just to pass the time, smoked and toked his beached boy'd brains out, and proved he was the music biz' undisputed heavyweight champion, tipping the scales at three hundred plus pounds. The Blues Brothers dragged him to the beach, the evil Godsend, Ol' Doc Landy got him back down to his fighting weight, and now in the Summer of 1988 we are meeting for a little chat.

I arrived at his room, rang the bell, the door opened, and it was the man himself, Brian "The Big Kahuna" Wilson. I gave him a cassette of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue," for his Walkman and we proceeded to sort everything out. Here are some highlights from "Remember The Zoo?" - The Lost Brian Wilson Interview:

I find it very interesting, the different things that have happened along the way, you know?  
It must be a trip, the influence you've been on other people, just by living your life.  
We tried to be an influence without people knowing it so that, you know, it appears as if somebody was loafing, but they are more hard at work at peace and things like that than somebody might realize. Like, when you sing a song, if you sing it right nobody hears it. It just goes in their soul. They don't really hear it. It's just too deep to hear. I mean, that's music, right? Because we all need it. How are we joined together? By what? By a handshake? That's a very flimsy way to be joined together. By music? Maybe. Sex is another way to enjoy, to share something with somebody. There's a lot of ways you can share things.  
What's better, music or sex?  
Music because it leaves you with a little more permanent feeling.  
First line of Love and Mercy, " I was sittin' in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin&Oh, the violence that occurs seems like we never win"&was that a real movie you're singing about?  
No, actually not, it covered 30 or 40 movies I'd seen. Unbelievable movies, but real bad. Real spine tingling bad&  
I heard you had a meeting with Bob Dylan about a possible collaboration.  
Yeah I did. I had him over for lunch one day. I met him at a little emergency hospital called the M.E.R., The Malibu Emergency Room, and uh, he lives in Malibu, and he got his thumb hurt, and he had his thumb fixed. I was down there to weigh in and he, I don't know, I don't know how to explain it. I met him, I said come on over for lunch and he came over and he heard a couple of my songs, and he never called me back. Then I saw him at his concert, and he said something about&we never got back in touch with each other. I said maybe we'll write a song. So maybe we will.  
On your first solo album you thank Gene Landy for saving your life&  
He did. I was 311 lbs. I blew up to 311, which is not a cool weight to be at.  
What is the main thing he taught you?  
The main thing he's taught me is to exercise self-control, and to be self sufficient, and be responsible for the things you say and do.  
What do you say to those people who criticize him or his relationship with you?  
I say that he's being sent down the river by people who don't know the true situation. They have not investigated; they have no way of knowing what's been going on behind closed doors or in the program. So how could somebody know if they weren't in the program?  
  2002 Update: Brian's weight is still under control. Eugene Landy, who got songwriting and executive producer credits on Brian's first solo album, has lost his license on ethical grounds. Since breaking up with Landy, Brian has released 5 CD's: "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times," "Imagination," Live At The Roxy," Pet Sounds Live," and he teamed up with Van Dyke Parks for "Orange Crate Art." The first solo CD has been re-released by Rhino with 14 bonus tracks. At this point in the conversation we were talking about a track from that album called "Night Time". . .  
This tune is a little different from a lot of the Beach Boys stuff where all the activities were taking place in the daytime, like "Surfin' U.S.A.," and "Warmth Of The Sun," and everything, and now you're saying night time is the right time&.  
Have you changed your attitude about . . .  
Well, no, all my life I've really gotten off on twilight time, just before it gets dark&.what a time of day! The sunrise can go and&I don't know what it can do. Sunrise to me represents an invasion of privacy, you know, in my nice dark room. It represents going to work. It represents getting up and being like everybody else and not thinking I'm someone special that I don't have to get out of bed, you know? It represents all those bad things to me.  
Maybe an end of some peace?  
Yeah, an end of some peace, and I thought to myself I don't think I'll get out of bed now. I'll do it this way, and live the whole day through and just pray for night. I'm a night worshipper.  
Yeah, all right, that's great. Your late brother Dennis once said, "Brian Wilson is The Beach Boys, we're his messengers. He's all of it, period. What do you think of that quote?  
I think it's a good quote. I don't think it's true. I'm not everything and they're nothing. I don't think it's true.  
How's your relationship with your brother Carl?  
It's sparse. It's not as much, you know? We don't talk to each other as much, but we're still Beach Boys together, you know?  
So you're Beach Boys before you're brothers?  
Yeah, that's how we all relate, yeah.  
Is that how it's been?  
  Brian: Yeah, we set ourselves up to be not really friends.  
  2002 Update: At the Tribute To Brian Wilson show at Radio City last year Brian dedicated and sang his composition "Lay Down Burden" to his late brothers Carl and Dennis. You can hear the song on his "Imagination" CD or see him do it on the Tribute DVD.  
  Ray: Are The Beach Boys part of you or are you part of The Beach Boys?  
  Brian: I'm part of them. We all considered The Beach Boys as the main bowl of soup, you know. The main deal.  
  Ray: What's your favorite Beach Boys music?  
  Brian: I like "Good Vibrations," and "California Girls," and those kind of records.  
  Ray: Do you think you'll perform with The Beach Boys again?  
  Brian: I don't know if I like the aspect of the internal problems we have, you know? I asked Mike to please let me use his microphone. I was going to walk out to the front of the stage and sing a song, and he said, get your own microphone! He got upset with me so ever since then I thought to myself, gee, I guess he doesn't like me on stage. I never thought of that, you know?  
  Ray: Maybe he just didn't want you to use his microphone.  
  Brian: (laughs): Yeah.  
  Ray: What's Mike Love all about?  
  Brian: Mike Love is all about really singing good. He's a good singer. I think he's a great singer. He has a great voice.  
  Ray: Did you two guys have a hassle over songwriting credits early on?  
  Brian: One time my dad accidentally axed him out of the credits on "California Girls.' He was half writer on "California Girls," and he never got credit for it because it was my dads mistake, and my, like, not really having presence of mind to say, hey dad, you didn't put Mike Love on the song as half writer. Now Mike's going to get all upset. I didn't think about that till 20 years later. Than I finally talked to him about it. Talk about not having presence of mind, That was my problem.  
  Ray: Yeah, but give yourself a break, you were a young kid at the time, there was a lot happening.  
  Brian: Yeah.  
  Ray: Since we're talking about those early days. In retrospect, what do you think caused that breakdown on the plane?  
  Brian: It was a lot of things, it was my dad, it was the idea of becoming famous. I might have been a little subconsciously worried about that, thinking how am I going to handle all this success. All those things put together cracked me up. I cracked up on the plane and refused to get off the plane and it was a whole trip.  
  Ray: Paul McCartney said, if it wasn't for "Pet Sounds" The Beatles could have never made "Sgt. Pepper."  
  Brian: As a matter of fact Paul McCartney told reporters many times that "Pet Sounds" was the greatest&is his favorite album ever made, and it really got him juiced up to do "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band."  
  Ray: And didn't "Rubber Soul" inspire you?  
  Brian: "Rubber Soul" is what got me to do "Pet Sounds". When I heard that I got all jazzed up. I thought, Geez, what a conceptual album.  
  Ray: I wonder what music would now exist if you guys, from across the world, didn't keep inspiring each other.  
  Brian: It seems like they shouldn't have broken up. If they had been together we could still be going at it.  
  Ray: Your music, going all the way back to "Warmth Of The Sun," right up to now, it's very spiritual.  
  Brian: Yes it is.  
  Ray: Are you a spiritual guy?  
  Brian: Very much so. That's my whole trip, (laughs) is being spiritual, singing spiritual. "Warmth Of The Sun" was a spiritual love thing, you know? It had love in it. I was proud to bring that kind of love to people.  
  Ray: For a long time people have called you a genius. Has this been a burden to you?  
  Brian: No, no, no, the only way to interpret that is positive because if I am a genius, and I have musical genius inside of me, then I should be proud of it and not think, ah I have to live up to this and live up to that. I don't think of it that way as much as I do just accepting it with pride that I can be called a genius at music.  
  Ray: There's been some rumors that you are working on "Smile" again.  
  Brian: I've heard some tapes from the old "Smile" album, some different tapes that were sent to my house by my engineer, and I couldn't remember half of them. I don't know what the deal is. I couldn't remember.  
  Ray: How do they sound to you?  
  Brian: They sounded alright. We're working on them. We may be able to patch it up. We might have to add some original songs with it, you know, with the old tracks, some original songs, but I don't know what.  
  Ray: Who do you think is the greatest rock and roller?  
  Brian: Phil Spector&&&&I think.