“These albums are me, the real me that I put into these albums. The moods I go through, the different kinds of love I feel for people, the different kinds of way to exchange a cooler kind of love, you know?”
The great Brian Wilson has just released a new album, No Pier Pressure. PAUL DENNY reports.
When the Beach Boys reunion ended in acrimony in 2013, Brian Wilson set about writing and recording his own album.
The result is No Pier Pressure,another fine inclusion on the evergreen singer/songwriter’s catalogue.
“I think the album is fantastic,” he notes happily. “There are a lot of really good lyrics on this album, really good. Excellent lyrics, great melodies, really good music. After we did The Beach Boys album (2012’s That’s Why God Made The Radio) it inspired me to make more of my own music, it made me want to record more music. Writing and recording No Pier Pressure was great, it’s a good way to get rid of some bad feelings and make the good feelings come.”
When approaching work on a new album, Wilson goes into an intense period of reflection regarding what he is about to do and how he’s going to create it.
“When I’m here [at the end of the writing and recording process], it takes me back to when I first originally conceived of it. When I reflect, I see a mountain that I’m going to try to climb. That mountain is an album, and I’m sitting at my piano, starting on my first song, I’m looking up at that mountain like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this album or not’, you know? It starts with one song and it builds. Each one of them was like a step up the mountain. Brian Wilson needs to make music to show the way he feels. It works for me on my brain and my soul. The sound of the harmonies kind of caresses my soul. It’s like it makes me feel I can live again, I can see, I can feel. It’s a flow – mellow, loving and happy.
“I’ve been trying to write some songs about what I’ve been going through, and what it’s like to be in my 70s. We’re giving them [the listener] 14 different kinds of moods [on the 14 songs on the album], that’s the way to put it. I relate to the moods because I went through them. Some of them pertain to me and Melinda [Wilson, Brian’s wife since 1995], and then there’s some that pertain to me and The Beach Boys’ interaction together. These albums are me, the real me that I put into these albums. The moods I go through, the different kinds of love I feel for people, the different kinds of way to exchange a cooler kind of love, you know?”
Wilson reacquainted with original Beach Boys member Al Jardine during the reunion and with the latter’s son, Matt Jardine, collaborated on No Pier Pressure.
“It was great, Wilson says. “Al is really a great singer. He brings joy to the music. The blend is Al Jardine, me, and Matt, and we meant a lot together. Matt is a great singer. He sounds a little bit like Al, not a lot, but a little when he sings high.”
Wilson also recorded Sail Away with Blondie Chaplin, who toured with the Beach Boys back in 1972-73.
“Sail Away is just a song about, ‘hey, have a happy day, sail away’ and it was sung by Blondie Chaplin and me together. Blondie’s voice, oh God, he has a classic voice. He’s really, really out of this world. One of my very favourite singers. Blondie Chaplin has a lot of soul in his voice. “
Also appearing on the album are She & Him, AKA Zooey Deschanel and M Ward.
“My favorite song on the album is On The Island with Zooey Deschanel and Matt. Unbelievable song, great performance. It was a thrill, great to work with those guys; Zooey can sing very low and very high. I heard love and energy. The energy’s in the way they punch their notes, you know? ‘Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah’, you know? Took me back a little ways.”