Saturday, June 21, 2008

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) interview

Extract from interview with Brian Wilson, voice hearer and musician. Note reference to abusive father ....

Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) interview

"Brian Wilson founded The Beach Boys in 1961 but, despite the group’s success, his life has been plagued by mental health problems.

21 June 2008

EDP24 News (UK)

.... Carl and Dennis are long gone; Carl died from cancer in 1998, Dennis drowned in an alcohol-related incident in 1983. Somehow Brian outlived them. That seemed unlikely for much of the 1960s and '70s. His gargantuan drug intake - LSD, marijuana, amphetamine and cocaine - shattered his mental equilibrium permanently, his weight ballooned, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, he began hearing voices in his head.

He is much recovered but in 2004 he confided to American TV host Larry King: “I can still hear things like 'I'm going to kill you', but I don't hear very many other kind of thoughts. Just usually negative thoughts…”The mental health issues dated to his childhood, however, and owed much to his tyrannical father Murry.

In his autobiography Brian wrote that “playing the piano… literally saved my ass. I recall playing one time while my dad flung Dennis against the wall… That was just one of many incidents when I didn't miss a note, supplying background music to the hell that often substituted for a family life”.

Be it the drugs or the upbringing, the result was a dysfunctional personality. Stories of his eccentricity are legion and have been repeated ad nauseam. His revival during this decade has been wondrous and unexpected. It is a far cry from the 1970s and '80s when he lived under the influence of the controlling Dr Eugene Landy, whose method of therapy involved restricting Brian's contact with his family and friends and demanding complete obedience. In short, he has suffered more than most for his talent. I wonder whether he might have preferred a happy life to a brilliant one. The 'genius' tag has attached itself to him for the past 40 years, I suspect rather like a millstone at times. So does he ever consider this to be a burden; how does the word 'genius' make him feel? “It makes me feel I'm very clever or smart.” And do you agree with them, Brian?“Yeah, I do. Yeah!”

Full interview here

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