Brian Wilson owes the world nothing. Nope, not you, mega fan. Nor you, guy who owns a mint condition 45 of Heroes And Villains. Nor you, guy who traded in his Sublime records for a copy of Pet Sounds.
But Wilson made a super rare public appearance and held an autograph session for the long awaited, never-completed-album-until-now, The Smile Sessions boxed set. Did he have to do it? Of course not. But he did and he chose the perfect venue for the evening: Fingerprints Records.
Wilson signed non-stop for a little over two hours for approximately 350 fans filing politely in from a line stretching down 4th St. and around Elm. The flock consisted of the old, the young, the hip and the not-so-hip, all holding onto prized copies of favorite LPs or brand new CDs. Here's a sampling of the kind of people we met in line.
1. Frank Skeens
The second person in line (first dude wasn't so keen on chatting), Skeen flew in from Columbus, Ohio just for the event: “Yup, 1,932 miles,” he says with a smile.
A self-proclaimed Beach Boys nerd, Skeens got in line at approximately 2:30 P.M. on Tuesday after reading the announcement on Facebook and securing his RSVP last week.
Fun fact: Skeens had easily the most amount of items we spied any fan with in line–Smile, Summer Days, vintage photos–the limit was officially two, and so he had two of his items signed. However, after Wilson's (beautiful!) wife Melinda learned just how far Skeens had traveled to be there that night, she brought the rest of the albums to Wilson who signed them promptly after she told him he'd come from Columbus.
2. Edward Huerta
Long Beach resident Edward Huerta first caught my eye because of the canvas he was carrying–after pulling the protective plastic sheeting off, he revealed a painting of Wilson he had done himself. His second one, actually.
Huerta says he's seen the Beach Boys/Wilson 15 times and tonight would be the second time he's met Wilson.
“[Wilson] was a huge influence in my life growing up,” he says.
I ask if he's going to give Wilson the painting: “If he likes it, sure!,” Huerta laughs. “He can have it.”
So what was his last meeting with Wilson like? “Scary,” Huerta responds right away. “I said one word: 'Thanks.' He had said that he really liked my painting.”
3. Jonathan Halperin
Jonathan Halperin, also from Long Beach, was in line further down the block, almost around the corner when I spotted him. Halperin, talent buyer for the Glass House(/art enthusiast/cool-apartment-owner), clutched in his hands the very first record he ever purchased: Best of the Beach Boys, procured when Halperin was just seven-years-old. In the corner he had scrawled his name, probably from when he “brought it to school or something.”
He gestures towards Fingerprints. “This has to be the most iconic thing they've ever done,” Halperin says. “I mean, [Fingerprints] is always doing things up there,” he holds his hand high, “But this is up here.”
P.S. Dear Jon, I want your Vivienne Westwood brooch.