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Interview:
New album, film have Brian Wilson riding a wave of popularity
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The critically acclaimed "No Pier Pressure" is Brian Wilson's first set of new material in six years, and his first since the Beach Boys toured in 2012 to celebrated their 50th anniversary.

One would think that might have influenced Wilson in some way, but he says not. "No, not really," says Wilson, 73, who in addition to the album is also the subject of the film "Love & Mercy," which is getting its own share of critical raves for its depiction of Wilson's well-chronicled troubled and ultimately triumphant life. "It just inspired me to write songs -- about my family and my wife and myself, just life. I was just inspired to do that."

Writing and arranging songs -- particularly the Beach Boys' groundbreaking harmonies -- is what Wilson does best, of course, and "No Pier Pressure" unites Wilson with a cadre of new and younger collaborators to do that with. Co-produced by longtime friend Joe Thomas, the album finds Wilson working with Kacey Musgraves, fun. singer Nate Ruess, She & Him and Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian.

"We chose them," Wilson explains by telephone from his home in California. "We heard them on the radio, and we chose them one by one to come down and sing, so I wrote songs for them. Their input was very well-taken; I thought they did really good. And each one was different."

There are some familiar faces on "No Pier Pressure" as well. Recording with guitarist Jeff Beck, who Wilson toured with during 2013, didn't pan out, but original Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks and later band member Blondie Chaplin appear on several songs. "It was good to work with Blondie and Al and David, 'cause they're Beach Boys," Wilson notes. "They're very good singers and they learn real fast." Jardine and Chaplin are also touring with Wilson this summer, which Jardine, 72, says is "like riding a bike. You jsut pick up where you left off. You don't even think about it much.

"It's like if you haven't had a conversation for awhile, you just pick it up where you left off the last time. It's very easy with us -- natural I should say would be a better word. Natural. It's a very natural phenomenon to do what we're doing, I guess. It's like being in a family, I suppose, a family member. I guess I would be considered an honorary Wilson."

Wilson will be on tour through July 12 and recently announced the cancellation of a European tour due to the success of "Love & Mercy" in the U.S. -- which presumably means more shows on this side of the pond. But Wilson did announce a final European trek for next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys' landmark "Pet Sounds" album, which Jardine hopes will lead to another full-fledged Beach Boys reunion.

"We definitely should go out and do it again," says Jardine, who feels like he's in a position to broker such a deal between Wilson and Mike Love, who tours with Bruce Johnston under the Beach Boys moniker. "It shouldn't just stop at the 50th. We could still have fun doing it, that's the important things, and ('Pet Sounds') is so important and such a milestone, I think it should be done. Hopefully others will feel that way, too."

Brian Wilson (with Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin) and Rodriguez

8 p.m. Sunday, July 5.

The Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $39.50-$100.

Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.


Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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