The word “legend” applies only to a few people on this planet. One of those people is Brian Wilson. The man behind the Beach Boys is a bona fide musical genius and most certainly a legend in my book, which is why everyone reading this should stop what they are doing and go to Fingerprints in Long Beach right now because Wilson will be there Tuesday at 7 p.m. signing copies of the Smile Sessions box set.
Pretty awesome, right? Right.
However — and it pains me to say this — don't expect much from Wilson other than his signature on your record. I “met” Wilson once and have done two phone interviews with him and to say he is uncomfortable around people he doesn't know is like saying Pet Sounds is just “some record.”
The time I “met” him went like this: I was backstage at a Brian Wilson/Paul Simon show at the Greek Theatre. There was a small room of about 20 people waiting for the post-gig meet and greet, which should have been titled the “Brian Wilson walks into a doorway, sees 20 people waiting for him, makes a face like he caught his parents having sex, then tries to escape before anyone notices but can't because the entire room starts clapping as he is quietly high-tailing it out of there.”
I waited for everyone to take pictures and have Wilson sign things. I
was one of the final four people in the room. The pressure was too much
and his mental exhaustion was apparent. I decided that I was such a
Brian Wilson fan that the only thing to do was to leave him alone. So I
On a side note, Paul McCartney walked four feet away
from me on this same night, so within an hour I was within spitting
distance of my two favorite bass-playing, song-writing singers from '60s
About those two interviews…I could literally write
10,000 words on them. I had approximately 60 questions for him (which I
knew was way too many) and assumed I'd get through maybe 10 or 15. Five
minutes later, we've got through all my questions because all I was
getting was one-word answers. At best, he'd respond with an actual
sentence that went something like, “Because I wanted to.” I prepared
myself for the second interview and instead posed questions that forced
to him to answer. Technically, this time went better in the same way as
saying that having your pinkie finger chopped off is better than having
both of your pinkie fingers chopped off.
That said, you should
go. He's Brian friggin' Wilson and last I checked, social anxiety and
all, that's still an opportunity you don't want to pass on. Plus, you
get the chance to purchase the new Smile Sessions box set, which
according to Amazon.com (where I get all my product information from),
includes five CDs, two LPs, two seven-inch singles and a 60-page bound
book detailing the lost-then-found Smile sessions. This is important because those who heard Smile claimed it was the best record ever, but all we ever really got from the aborted project (it's a long story, but basically Smile is credited as a major influence on Wilson's mental decline) was snippets of songs across Beach Boys records and the Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys box set. There's also Wilson's 2004 solo rendition of Smile, which is pretty darn amazing, but (call me an elitist) I want, no need, to hear those Beach Boys vocals whenever I hear a Brian Wilson song.