SHOT OF SHINY DARK BLUE PIANO WITH MIC STAND. WHERE BRIAN WILSON WILL SIT FOR INTERVIEW
WILSON SITS DOWN AT PIANO. PLAYS A QUICK TUNE ON PIANO. COUGHS LOUDLY. ASKS ASSISTANT FOR JELLY BEANS.
BRIAN CHATS WITH INTERVIEWER OFF CAMERA ABOUT A PREVIOUS INTERVIEW THEY HAD DONE TOGETHER.
ASSISTANT BRINGS SOMETHING OVER TO WILSON AND HE EATS A HANDFULL OF JELLY BEANS.
INTERVIEWER STANDS NEXT TO WILSON AND THEY LOOK AT PHOTOS.
BRIAN WILSON PLAYS SHORT TUNES ON PIANO
INTRODUCTION OF BRIAN WILSON
WILSON PLAYS A PORTION OF "BEAUTIFUL DREAMER"
Pete Fornatale 5:15
just like the opening of
Brian Wilson 5:17
the beautiful dreamer documentary.
Pete Fornatale 5:19
Yeah, yeah. Fantastic.
Brian Wilson 5:21
That's the greatest documentary I ever produced.
Pete Fornatale 5:23
You know, I know that we're both impartial about this, but I agree with you.
Brian Wilson 5:27
Yeah, This this is really happening to me.
Pete Fornatale 5:30
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I've seen everything done about you, Brian, the biography two hour show the legend of a band, whatever I'm gonna call, this is the best thing I've ever seen about you.
Brian Wilson 5:42
I've never seen anything better either about me.
Pete Fornatale 5:44
And I think there's a person in the room with us who's probably more responsible for that than anyone, don't you agree?
Brian Wilson 5:50
Mr. David Loaf actually David leaf. Mr. David Leaf is here.
Pete Fornatale 5:54
David leaf is the producer of the beautiful dreamer documentary. And kudos to you, my friend for a terrific job.
David Leaf 6:02
Thank you it as you know, Pete, we've known each other for a long time, and it was a complete labor of love. Because finally, there was a happy ending to the smile story. So for me to be the person who Brian, it was really a privilege that Brian let me be the one to bring it to the screen. And it really, it was really our cameras were witnessing a miracle as it happened. It was it was so exciting. And an emotional roller coaster every step of the way. But it was worth every moment
Pete Fornatale 6:36
Very worth it. I take it even further than a happy ending. I'd call it a triumphant ending.
Brian Wilson 6:41
Yes, I agree with you. Yeah, that Yeah,
David Leaf 6:44
I think the thing that surprised me the most. There was there were three other producers on the project with me. And I wrote and directed the film, we went into it, making a film, a documentary about the most famous unreleased album of all time, what we didn't expect to come away with was a movie that was about the triumph of the human spirit. And I think that's what's most exciting is that what this shows is if you believe if you have enough faith, that anything is possible doesn't matter how old you are, doesn't matter what how scarred you might be what damage may have occurred to you in life. If you are willing to put it all on the line, great things can happen.
Pete Fornatale 7:22
And that is the story of Brian Wilson. Isn't it? Beautiful Dreamer. how did the title How did you pick that as the title?
Brian Wilson 7:28
I played it for David, you know, he should play something. He said fool around on the piano and played it and move beautiful dreamer. And sure enough, he liked it. And he said, Well, we'll use it. We'll use it for the documentary.
Pete Fornatale 7:40
Brian, do you know the expression? It's the phrase snatching victory from the jaws of defeat? Have you ever heard that?
Brian Wilson 7:48
No, I haven't.
Pete Fornatale 7:49
It sort of means that something that looks like it's going to go down in flames in defeat at the last second by some miracle, or by some redemption becomes a huge victory. That's what a lot of us feel that the smile project has been for you. Is that what you feel about?
Brian Wilson 8:10
Yeah, I think it was a victory over fear and a victory over boredom. Because I was sitting around not doing that much, you know. And meanwhile, my wife decided it was time for me to get off my my chair on my chair and do some work some solo work. So we had a little bit of work to do.
Pete Fornatale 8:27
I've told you this once before, but using the title of one of the songs from smile, there have been many heroes in your life and many villains, right your life. David has certainly been a hero. Right? Melinda, your wife is a hero as a hero. Yes. Tell. Tell us a little bit about her.
Brian Wilson 8:45
Well, she's a sweet gal. 58 years old, blond hair, five, five foot nice used to model and she's just a great influence on my life.
Pete Fornatale 8:56
Do you think that if there was one person who got you back out into the public performing, which would she be that person?
Brian Wilson 9:07
Her and I believe David, my friend David would be the two that they got me out of my chair.
Pete Fornatale 9:13
David, I know you're an East Coast guy who sort of went to the west coast because of Brian. But I don't remember how the two of you first crossed paths. Would you remind me
David Leaf 9:24
I moved to California with a specific goal. In my youthful days, I wanted to be an Edward R. Murrow type journalist. And when I read about Brian as a 19 year old I said you know what, I gotta move to California write a book about Brian. And with with the arrogance of youth, I moved to California and I was there about a year and not having any great success in my career. I decided to start a what was called a fanzine called Pet Sounds that would be devoted to Brian Wilson in the music of the Beach Boys. And so after I'd been in Calif In a little over a year I met Brian at a at a after a concert at the at the form Los Angeles and told him a little bit about myself and he wasn't particularly interested. But I was persistent. And I got to know him a little bit and got to notice know his friends more importantly, and they decided that my my motives seem good and they helped me write a book which came out in the late 70s, The Beach Boys
Pete Fornatale 10:23
The Beach Boys and the California net. I know one of the guys who did one of the blurbs on the back cover.
David Leaf 10:28
Yes, I believe it was paid for.
Pete Fornatale 10:32
Books still available, because that's another way of people to fill in some of the
David Leaf 10:35
books been out of print for close to 20 years. It's available on eBay for a lot of money. But I think in terms of you know, when I wrote the story, then I wrote it on faith, not not experience. And the work I've done with Brian in the last 15 years has been based on what really I've witnessed firsthand. So I think that the two pieces that I produced that I'm most proud of that are available on DVD are of course Bibles present smile which just came out two weeks ago and we will start trivial to get away video city back in 2001 Paul Simon's Billy Joel and John George Martin has been amazing.
Pete Fornatale 11:22
Brian when when these people at that tribute, and in this documentary, sing your praises. How does that make you feel when George Martin
Brian Wilson 11:31
I'm a genius are things like
Pete Fornatale 11:33
stuff like that?
Brian Wilson 11:34
Yeah, I get off. There's I'm jealous of people and people are jealous of me. I'm jealous of Elton John Elton John is jealous of me. And that's just how it's gonna be.
Pete Fornatale 11:46
Maybe that's the way it has to be.
Brian Wilson 11:48
That's the way it has to be. Yes, yes.
Pete Fornatale 11:50
Just to put some perspective on the documentary. I just want to bring you back not not to the badness of it right to what was going on. When you originally got the idea for smile. Now my recollections see if you agree or not, is that you had a lot of pressures and challenges right? I knew at the time right one was how do you tap Pet Sounds?
Brian Wilson 12:17
Yeah, that that was impossible to do. Very impossible. There's no way to top pet sound but you can do something different than Pet Sounds you know, so smile was just different wasn't any better than pets sounds it was just a much more jovial uplifting album than pet sound
Pete Fornatale 12:33
right? Another pressure was from the record company who
Brian Wilson 12:36
Capitol Records right? They said no, we want some more surf song surf song. I said no, I'm doing something completely different. I played him a few of the tapes and they go we don't like that at all junk it you know, I said no, no, we're gonna finish it. So we finished up the first few movement and we put it on the shelf for 38 years
Pete Fornatale 12:55
that's it that's the story. Thanks for being with us Brian. No, no move don't move at all. Another thing was some sense as you just mentioned of competition with the Beatles
Brian Wilson 13:07
Yes. Yes friendly competition
Pete Fornatale 13:09
friendly competition but which which album of theirs was the one that turned you around?
Brian Wilson 13:15
Rubber Soul I believe. Rubber Soul
Pete Fornatale 13:18
do you remember specific songs from it that
Brian Wilson 13:20
I just a good girl and isn't it good? Norweigen Wood was a song that Michelle my Belle got this beautiful album. I fell in love with it. I fell in love with rubber Soul
Pete Fornatale 13:33
Okay. The last one and this might be the most sensitive one was misunderstandings and differences of opinion from the other members of the group.
Brian Wilson 13:46
Well, Carl I'm excuse me, Mike and Dennis didn't like it. Carl, like it Al didn't know, you know, so. I just went ahead with VanDyke Parkson finish it up finished up the album.
Pete Fornatale 14:00
They gave me a hard time about it
Brian Wilson 14:02
They sure did. They did the cut of the record company in the in the boys gave me a rough time.
Pete Fornatale 14:06
That had to hurt Yes
Brian Wilson 14:07
it hurt a little but it wasn't I wasn't I didn't really care because I was so into the music that didn't hurt my feelings.
Pete Fornatale 14:15
It became such a legend particularly when after everyone's expectations of it. A very watered down album came out called called smiley smile.
Pete Fornatale 14:28
Pete Fornatale 14:29
And that really also marked your disappearance from active participation in the group for a while,
Brian Wilson 14:35
Pete Fornatale 14:36
The documentary almost jumps from that period to your comeback to performing in the mid 90s. And then what we referred to earlier as the triumph of smile. Were you involved? Were you engaged in any of those records that happened? After Pet Sounds that the Beach Boys put out
Pete Fornatale 15:04
Which ones do you feel you made a contribution to that were worthy of the album's Brian Wilson songs or albums?
Brian Wilson 15:12
Oh, say I have to say surfer girl surfing USA
Pete Fornatale 15:16
those were before until. Here's what I'm talking about Brian. I'm talking about after smiley smile. There was Friends wild honey or wild honey there was friend right? Then there was the very slow comeback in the 70s. The Sunflower album and 70. Surf's Up finally in 71 did what did you feel actively involved in those projects?
Brian Wilson 15:42
I didn't really feel involved because I felt a little bit insecure. But I I managed to squeeze out a few of those albums over a period of time.
Pete Fornatale 15:54
And there are moments of sheer Brian Wilson brilliance on on many of them on Surf's up the one that comes to mind is the one you refer to in the documentary till I die. Yes, tell me about that song
Brian Wilson 16:08
Till I die till I die was inspired by I was sitting you know, I had taken some Hashish. Have you ever heard of hashish? and I was in a sensitive to kind of mood, right. And I started thinking about how small it was in the overall scheme of things. So I just went to the piano and I'm a I'm a cork on the ocean. Roy wrote them a regency I went on leaf leafy day, pretty soon I'll be blown away, you know, just like, hey, I'm very insignificant and small. So I made that July die was born out of that kind of thing.
Pete Fornatale 16:38
Okay. Brian, this is perhaps the most serious and important question.
Brian Wilson 16:46
All right. Gotta Shoot. Shoot. Okay, shoot.
Pete Fornatale 16:49
Tell me the name of your favorite vegetable.
Brian Wilson 16:53
My favorite vegetable is squash. I'm sorry, broccoli, broccoli. I like broccoli. I like Bella Lagosi I like and I like was the guy who's the guy. I can't remember his name. Somebody Warlock, Boris Boris Karloff. Boris Karloff. Ah, yes. Yes. And I love the albums I did
Pete Fornatale 17:22
you know why I asked you about the vegetable?
Brian Wilson 17:24
Of course. Yeah, of course. We did a song called vegetables. Yeah, yeah. And we mentioned toss me a carrot in there. Right? Once you taught me a carrot. But I like broccoli.
Pete Fornatale 17:35
And you also say, you feel that? You don't feel bad when you send us in a letter the name of your favorite vegetable? Are people still now with the DVD and the album? Are they sending you the names of their favorite vegetable?
Brian Wilson 17:50
No, they're not actually we haven't been having much luck with that one.
Pete Fornatale 17:52
Oh, my will start a campaign right here.
David Leaf 17:55
Okay, just don't send vegetables.
Brian Wilson 17:58
Don't Don't do that.
Pete Fornatale 17:59
No, please don't
Brian Wilson 18:00
stay with me. That's the killer.
Pete Fornatale 18:03
Please don't do that. I'm gonna make one last comment about the documentary. As I said earlier, I've seen everything done on you. And the difference with this one is that it's told by an insider. It's told the every one of the talking heads in the documentary is the right one to be telling their part of the story. The cast of characters is extraordinary. But I think over and above anything else, the main ingredient of this program is that it was done with love. And affection,
Brian Wilson 18:42
love and affection is what got us got us to get those. Yeah, love and affection
Pete Fornatale 18:47
and well deserved.
Brian Wilson 18:50
Well, thank you.
Pete Fornatale 18:51
As I said, I can't. I'm supposed to at times take on this objective journalism point of view. I just can't do that with you. Or your music. There's a whole bunch of stuff. I'm going to ask you I just last night sat down and said What are things that I haven't asked Brian about?
Brian Wilson 19:07
Go ahead and shoot and let's see how it goed
Pete Fornatale 19:08
all right let's see how it plays out. How do you spend your time when you're not writing, working or touring?
Brian Wilson 19:15
I spend my time exercising I exercise two to three hours a day. I go to go to lunch. I do a couple hours of meditation. I hear auditory hallucination in my head all day. So that takes a lot of my time up.
Pete Fornatale 19:30
Do you mind talking about that a little
Brian Wilson 19:31
I took some drugs since 1965 and ever since I've had voices in my head auditory hallucinations and I can't get them out of my head you know it's like I'm it's a real handicap for me. You tell me how I spend my day I spend my day dealing with with voices that I've managed to squeeze out a little exercise and get a little bit to eat and hear enjoy some tuna or something you know
Pete Fornatale 19:54
those voices is it like a radio is the volume sometime
Brian Wilson 19:57
no, no, no. It's one level is one level of sound or at all for 42 years now, it's been one sound level.
Pete Fornatale 20:06
And they're saying pretty nasty
Brian Wilson 20:08
Nasty negative uncool things.
Pete Fornatale 20:11
Yeah, yeah. So I guess one way to counter that is with positive things like the messages that you put into your song. Like the message that is the
Brian Wilson 20:23
right love messages, love messages and just whatever we can do.
Pete Fornatale 20:27
Okay. What makes you the happiest?
Brian Wilson 20:32
Oh, boy. I don't know. I would say sex, but that's obvious. Everybody loves sex
Pete Fornatale 20:37
Brian Wilson 20:40
Really happy to see my wife asleep. And that's the weirdest thing.
Pete Fornatale 20:46
Now that you know why that's weird. Because I can see an upside to it and a down side to it
Brian Wilson 20:52
Right? No, I get off. I'm watching my wife sleep. You know, I just
Pete Fornatale 20:57
wait a minute. I know why. Beautiful dreamer
Brian Wilson 21:01
she's beautiful dreaming beautiful. Oh, yes, I know, I should say.
Pete Fornatale 21:06
See it all. It all connects here, Brian. It all connects. What are the best conditions for you to create music.
Brian Wilson 21:16
Making music is best when I have had a good night's sleep. And when I get up in the morning, like 6:3 7 in the morning. It's the morning itself was what inspires me to write music. The beauty of the morning, you know, the sun just rising. And I have a little breakfast that I go to my piano and I play the inspiration for song
Pete Fornatale 21:49
you talk in the documentary about how you started opening to cow California Girls? Do you mind repeating that for us?
Brian Wilson 21:58
Well, it was it was please repeat the question.
Pete Fornatale 22:02
California Girls you tell the story in the documentary of how for 45 minutes you played the same?
Brian Wilson 22:08
Oh yeah. For for? Play that for about 40 minutes.
Pete Fornatale 22:14
What happened after the 40 minutes?
Brian Wilson 22:16
Well I added....(plays piano) turned into California Girls,
Pete Fornatale 22:22
one of the best known and most popular Beach Boys songs of all time.
Brian Wilson 22:27
Pete Fornatale 22:28
Did you ever expect that your music would come to represent, in a sense the lifestyle of that entire state?
Brian Wilson 22:38
No, I never ever, ever did think about that.
Pete Fornatale 22:41
And that people would get it even if they lived in the Midwest or in Alaska.
Brian Wilson 22:46
I never really gave it much thought. I know. I don't really know what you mean.
Pete Fornatale 22:49
Well, you know, I thought about it. Because here I was a kid from the Bronx. And I'm thinking to myself, What the hell do I know about surfing? And the answer was nothing. So as I thought about it, it occurred to me that yeah, the songs were about surfing, but they were also about freedom. Right? They will also about making choices of things to do with your
Brian Wilson 23:12
Being able to make a choice and not not like get your Clippy about it. Yeah, yeah. Again, a cool way.
Pete Fornatale 23:17
Yeah, yeah. So that isn't about surfing, that's about something much more than anybody could relate to. And I think that's the unit you touch. You touch universal courts in love this. This free ride. You know, it is not at all awkward for me to think in terms of mentioning you, in the same breath with some of the greatest composers that ever were or will be, I don't want to embarrass you
Brian Wilson 23:47
or you're not going to. Pete shoot, shoot. Shoot your shots. Sit up
Pete Fornatale 23:56
You've gotten better at this
Brian Wilson 23:59
Shoot your shots.
Pete Fornatale 24:00
Alright. The one I was going to mention was Gershwin. And I didn't realize that he was one of the first to touch you.
Brian Wilson 24:07
Well, when I was two, I used to listen to him. When I was two I used to listen to George Girshwin. At 2
Pete Fornatale 24:14
do you were you already do. Were you already aware that you had a talent for
Brian Wilson 24:19
no no, no, I didn't know. Tell us around 10 or 11
Pete Fornatale 24:22
All right when you got to a keyboard Yeah, and you had Gershwin right what are the sounds that came out?
Brian Wilson 24:29
Well the part that goes yeah, I learned that part when I was 32 years old.
Pete Fornatale 24:39
Wow. Okay, can you do a little bit more than you mind?
Brian Wilson 24:43
I don't want you to sentimental for now. No,
Pete Fornatale 24:45
that's that's perfectly all right. The point that I wanted to make was
David Leaf 24:48
we want to we want to hear some Rhapsody in Blue
Brian Wilson 24:51
No I'm really too emotional for that. It's too much of an emotional drain
Pete Fornatale 24:55
Alright we'll help out to have that. Let's go on the other direction of what kind of music that is. No was influential to you early on and that's Boogie Woogie
Brian Wilson 25:05
you know what the boogie woogie you know like
Pete Fornatale 25:18
you put some of that stuff on the early beach.
Brian Wilson 25:20
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. You were drawing
Pete Fornatale 25:22
You were drawing from a whole lot of sources. Yeah. That you respected. Tell me some of them just
Brian Wilson 25:29
well, you know darn well who I who influenced me the most?
Pete Fornatale 25:34
Are you gonna watch the trial? No, I mean either.
Brian Wilson 25:38
No, actually, Phil Specter did did turn me on to records to producing records and you know, I was he turned the lights on for me.
Pete Fornatale 25:46
Can you play the opening notes of your favorite Phil Spector record or maybe favorite record?
Brian Wilson 25:51
Pete Fornatale 26:22
you surprise me. You know what? I thought you were gonna
Brian Wilson 26:24
be my baby, right?
Pete Fornatale 26:26
Still number one for you?
Brian Wilson 26:28
Pete Fornatale 26:30
Oh, how about that? How about that? You know, I? I recently decided that I was going to get rid of my 45
Brian Wilson 26:37
Oh, that kind of thing.
Pete Fornatale 26:38
Yeah. But I wanted to save 40 of them. 40 singles for this. Oh, jukebox. Do you have a jukebox?
Brian Wilson 26:46
I used to. I used to have a Wurlitzer. Yeah,
Pete Fornatale 26:50
Brian Wilson 26:51
I had one of those
Pete Fornatale 26:51
it's always been my dream to have one of those. Hey, it's a deal. Sparky. What do you call us, Sharpie Sharpie. But my point is I picked 40 And this was number one, numero uno. Good Vibrations.
Brian Wilson 27:14
Was Number one,
Pete Fornatale 27:15
my number one choice.
Pete Fornatale 20:27
Okay. What makes you the happiest?
Brian Wilson 20:32
Oh, boy. I don't know. I would say sex, but that's obvious. Everybody loves sex
Brian Wilson 27:16
Pete Fornatale 27:17
I'm telling you true.
Brian Wilson 27:19
You know what good vibrations was a synthetic pop Symphony with no rock'n'roll and no guts. It was absolutely um, symphonic kind of thing. It was like a symphonic symphony.
Pete Fornatale 27:33
But you're not putting that in a negative category.
Brian Wilson 27:35
No not negative. I just say that good vibration doesn't rock brings back bad memories.
Pete Fornatale 27:42
Well, it is part of the smile project
Brian Wilson 27:44
Yeah, it brings back memories of drugs and man was all cluttered up fogged up and you know, but that's okay. It's alright to have the memory.
Pete Fornatale 27:52
But you know, see if you follow me on this, Brian, all right. When an artist whether it's a poet or an playwright or novelist, when they put their work out into the world, oh, it's not theirs anymore. It's not theirs anymore. You know, if I say that this is my number one choice for my Wurlitzer Jukebox. Right. That's as valid as you saying, I'm I'm sorry, that brings up bad memories for me, so I wouldn't
Brian Wilson 28:20
so so what was number two?
Pete Fornatale 28:24
That would be well, the I you know, I just flipped through and pick them. Do you believe in magic lovin spoonful?
Brian Wilson 28:29
No kidding is definitely present high for that. Hi, Phyllis.
Pete Fornatale 28:33
Yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah. Because because of the line that says, believe in the magic of young girls start up right, believing the magic of a young girl's soul believe in the magic
Brian Wilson 28:45
rock and roll roll. I love that fucking record. Delete that word fucking please.
Pete Fornatale 28:50
We're on a satellite. So
Brian Wilson 28:52
I absolutely adore that record. I adore that record.
Pete Fornatale 28:57
Well, okay. You know, I bet you that we would probably overlap on many of
Brian Wilson 29:02
the right what was number three that you remember
Pete Fornatale 29:04
that many of the 40 choices are I'm going to try and think of one where when I saw it, I said, I got to have this. I've got to have this in there. Let me see. Let me try and think of a surprise one that one might not automatically assume would be there. Well, you know what I kept? You might I don't even know if you remember this. I kept one called roses and rainbows by Danny Hutton.
Brian Wilson 29:28
I remember. I do remember that.
Pete Fornatale 29:30
He was Was he supposed to record Good Vibrations. Is that the story? What was with Danny? Well, David, you might even know more about what he's supposed to. Why was he supposed to record Good Vibrations was that no, he's single. That's a that's a myth.
Brian Wilson 29:45
That's a myth. That's not true.
Pete Fornatale 29:47
But he did. He did work with you before
Brian Wilson 29:49
I worked with he and Chuck and Cory on song called Darla. And then they left and we pulled back to Ireland and put it another way different things
Pete Fornatale 30:01
but he did some solo things before three
Brian Wilson 30:04
roses and rainbows and new he did I remember that roses and rain great record that was a good record it
Pete Fornatale 30:14
was it should have been a hit. It's one of those was one
Brian Wilson 30:17
of the records you can you can play anytime of the day or night. You like it
Pete Fornatale 30:20
Yeah, absolutely. Two and a half, you know, at their best singles for two and a half to three minutes. Pure.
Brian Wilson 30:26
Pete Fornatale 30:27
The way you hold my hand.
Brian Wilson 30:29
I loved it. I thought it was fantastic music. That's, I love it. I thought it was very, very, very, very sweet and sensitive music. Yeah,
Pete Fornatale 30:38
yeah. And he's one of the witnesses as they are called. In the smile documentary, the beautiful dreamer. Yeah, documentary,
David Leaf 30:46
Danny was actually in the studio. And we wanted to get as many of the people who were there when the record was being made to talk about both the environment in which it was being created and Brian studio prowess because without, without the witnesses, it's hard to understand the alchemy that was at work
Pete Fornatale 31:04
completely. And the way the story is woven together, you really feel as if you get the complete picture, David and release recollections mixed in with Van dykes certainly make so many salient points about what was going on at the time. Brian talked to me about Van Dyck for a minute because there's a wonderful moment at the end of the documentary where you bring him on stage and it's almost like,
Brian Wilson 31:30
cheers, cheers. Yeah, did you cry.
Pete Fornatale 31:33
Very, very, very emotional. I felt myself.
Brian Wilson 31:36
I got a little bit emotional myself when I'm not happy here. I can hear and know he and I are not unreal. We're not real good friends. You know what I mean? But we respect each other's ability. But we're not really that close friends.
Pete Fornatale 31:54
Well, there was that big gap in your working relationship.
Brian Wilson 31:57
Right? Yeah, exactly.
Pete Fornatale 31:58
But wasn't it your notion to have him come back into the smile?
Brian Wilson 32:03
Oh Yeah. Cuz I knew I knew right away that he was the right man for for the third movement of the smile thing. He was like, one of the men of the whole deal.
Pete Fornatale 32:14
Yeah, yeah. And, again, your acknowledgement of him at the end of the show, right? That's chilling.
Brian Wilson 32:21
Hey, he and I both talked about you talking about when we both took a bow? Yeah, I remember that. Yeah, that was like, really something.
Pete Fornatale 32:27
You almost made yourself sick before that show Didn't you.
Brian Wilson 32:30
I was almost ready to throw up. I was so nervous.
Pete Fornatale 32:34
Was your biggest fear that the demons would come back was
Brian Wilson 32:38
that yeah, I was afraid of that. Yeah, they come back in the demon from bombarding me with things so loud that I will be able to do my concert, the voices, but I forced myself to do it. And they the voices backed off a few feet. I forced myself to do it.
Pete Fornatale 32:55
There was never a time, Melinda says that there was never a time she asked you once or twice. You want to cancel and you said no. I'm going to do this.
Brian Wilson 33:04
I was given the option. And I didn't take it. Because I wanted to be a man and face up.
Pete Fornatale 33:10
Did you feel sort of like the lion tamer who goes into the cage to try and control Yes.
Brian Wilson 33:14
To handle the tiger you me? Yeah. Yes. I just feel like that kind of guy.
Pete Fornatale 33:20
And not only that, but but but but to beat it to
Brian Wilson 33:24
to be victorious. So yeah, yeah. Yeah. That's the last name Wilson. You know, there's the will to live in the world to succeed in my name. So that's my secret. Nobody knows that. Nobody really knows.
Pete Fornatale 33:37
Fornatale in Italian means Christmas oven. No kidding.
Brian Wilson 33:43
That is amazing. fascinating thing.
Pete Fornatale 33:46
Do you like Christmas?
Brian Wilson 33:47
Oh, I don't know. I'm never happy at Christmas. Isn't that weird?
Pete Fornatale 33:50
No, it's not.
Brian Wilson 33:51
Christmas season is always a depression for me now know why that is?
Pete Fornatale 33:55
Okay. Listen, why do you think
Brian Wilson 33:58
that's I feel like Christmas. I can't explain
Pete Fornatale 34:01
why. No, I know exactly what you mean. I used to be I don't want to. I don't want to overdramatize this. But on New Year's Day. I used to feel this tremendous emptiness.
Brian Wilson 34:13
Me too. You mean like the seasons holiday season's over right back? eggnog and on gin and
Pete Fornatale 34:18
draw? Exactly on Yeah,
Brian Wilson 34:21
well, Pete, I share that with you. I get that way too
Pete Fornatale 34:25
deep do you? Do you buy gifts for the kids and
Brian Wilson 34:29
we buy we go to stores and we buy gifts for kids and our friends and you know we get as much as we can. We try to get it done in early I mean late November not you know just before December, so we don't have to get all mom ago. You know, get out of my way to shop in a crowded store. You know
Pete Fornatale 34:45
Actually this would be a good time to do Christmas shopping.
Brian Wilson 34:48
Pete Fornatale 34:49
Avoid the crowd.
Brian Wilson 34:52
Pete Fornatale 34:53
Listen, you even infiltrated holiday music. It's not Christmas for me unless I've heard little St. Nick. What 30 40 times
BRIAN WILSON PLAYS A SHORT PART OF "LITTLE ST. NICK" ON THE PIANO
Pete Fornatale 35:15
you should do one of those animated specials. Oh, we could do that to that song. We could be right there with Charlie Brown. And what's the other one? Rudolph?
Brian Wilson 35:24
Rudolph the reindeer Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Oh, next question.
Pete Fornatale 35:29
Moving moving right along. Who's your favorite comedian who makes you
Brian Wilson 35:32
Pete Fornatale 35:33
Yeah, who makes you laugh?
Brian Wilson 35:35
Who makes me laugh my wife
Pete Fornatale 35:44
Okay, these are non professionals. I'm talking. I'm talking more about somebody comedians. Yeah. Somebody who does what they called Stand up
Brian Wilson 35:51
Pete Fornatale 35:52
You Like Cosby, Cosby
Brian Wilson 35:52
makes me that he's a very funny man.
Pete Fornatale 35:55
Because he touches it because
Brian Wilson 35:56
he gets to my gut. He's there's something about that guy that makes me laugh. You know?
Pete Fornatale 36:02
This also is a this has a little sadness attached to it. But I know, like myself, Johnny Carson was a favorite of yours. Yes.
Brian Wilson 36:12
Yes, he was. He was quite quite the man quite a stud.
Pete Fornatale 36:20
I felt very badly twice
Brian Wilson 36:22
when he died.
Pete Fornatale 36:23
Yeah, when he died, but also when he left the show.
Brian Wilson 36:26
Yeah, everybody felt that, you know.
Pete Fornatale 36:28
And you wrote a tribute to him?
Brian Wilson 36:31
Yes we did
Pete Fornatale 36:33
do you remember why you did that song?
Brian Wilson 36:35
On the beach? Boys love you. Yeah. Well, how did I go? I remember where
WILSOM PLAYS TRIBUTE THE BEACH BOYS WROTE FOR JOHNNY CARSON
Pete Fornatale 36:57
did he do you know if he ever heard it. Did he ever get have in response?
Brian Wilson 37:01
I never found out.
Pete Fornatale 37:02
Okay, fair enough. What's your favorite movie of all time?
Brian Wilson 37:07
My favorite movie? Gosh, I don't know. I mean, think about that. 13 days probably was what my favorite
Pete Fornatale 37:15
really? Yeah. Wow.
Brian Wilson 37:16
Did You see it?
Pete Fornatale 37:17
year you were a little while ago?
Brian Wilson 37:19
Yeah. You seen it? Right?
Pete Fornatale 37:20
Brian Wilson 37:21
Is that one of your favorites?
Pete Fornatale 37:22
I wouldn't have come up with that. One of my favorites. I'm more in the
Brian Wilson 37:25
third year and Bobby Kennedy was plagued by, you know, wonderful performance for Bobby Kennedy was really wonderful.
Pete Fornatale 37:32
Now that's very funny because that event happened in 62.
Brian Wilson 37:36
Pete Fornatale 37:37
The Beach Boys were probably
Brian Wilson 37:39
just starting out on that rocket during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yeah, right.
Brian Wilson 37:43
You wrote a song on the night JFK was killed
Pete Fornatale 37:46
Yeah. Even though, you know, no one would necessarily know from the lyrics that it was. Yeah, that was written. But the feeling you can't that's the thing you do is you capture these emotions. In music, and you certainly did that.
Brian Wilson 38:13
Yes I did. Okay.
Pete Fornatale 38:16
What about do you go to the movies? Do you go out to a theater or do you rent?
Brian Wilson 38:19
You know what we don't we rent movies? We don't go to theaters.
Pete Fornatale 38:22
What are your last two or three rounds?
Brian Wilson 38:24
Well, we got we bought. We're not cabaret. What's it called? That movie? Where the guy goes to heaven and he goes back down to the
Pete Fornatale 38:34
heaven. Heaven can wait with Warren Beatty? No,
Brian Wilson 38:37
it was carousel. So we're moving on carousel.
Pete Fornatale 38:42
That's that was a Broadway show originally? Is that the one with the soliloquy in it where the guy is going to? He's thinking about having a baby.
Brian Wilson 38:50
no not carousel.
Pete Fornatale 38:52
What can it be? There's a lot of those movies with not not sixth sence or
Brian Wilson 38:59
something. Anyway, forget it. I
Pete Fornatale 39:02
can't remember what something else that you do remember renting and liking at home
Brian Wilson 39:06
Renting and liking it
Pete Fornatale 39:07
Is it a cartoon is it a comedy?
Brian Wilson 39:10
the movie Ray? the story of Ray Charles. Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool.
Pete Fornatale 39:15
What did you like about it
Brian Wilson 39:17
I just liked the way that guy sent sang. You like Ray, he really really got across a vibe. You know about Ray.
Pete Fornatale 39:28
I'm getting ahead of myself here. But did you ever have any collaborations with Ray
Brian Wilson 39:32
With Ray? I never he played with me one time in 1986 in Honolulu, he played San Jose there and he was one of the one of the acts on the show. That show cost the spirit of rock'n'roll
Pete Fornatale 39:45
right because of your position Brian. There are a lot of people that want to meet you. There are probably also people that you want to meet and work with.
Brian Wilson 39:55
You know, I wanted to meet Frankie Avalon never got to meet. Really? Yeah, I really wanted to. And then also wanted to meet Chuck Berry and I never got to meet him
Pete Fornatale 40:07
man although he's shares a credit on
Brian Wilson 40:10
He's got to be in his 80's by now right?
Pete Fornatale 40:12
Close to not quite it his longtime collaborator Johnny Johnson, who passed away recently was 80. And he was slightly older than Chuck. So Chuck somewhere
Brian Wilson 40:23
78 79 Somewhere in there. Anyway, I never met him and I wished I could have
Pete Fornatale 40:29
Is there a television show that you try? Nevertheless?
Brian Wilson 40:32
Yeah, Wheel of Fortune believe it or not. I love that show.
Pete Fornatale 40:35
Is it vanna white or is it the
Brian Wilson 40:37
No you're way ahead of me, aren't you?
Pete Fornatale 40:40
Well, I asked you what made you happiest and
Brian Wilson 40:42
You enjoy looking at Vanna White's legs when she walks by
Pete Fornatale 40:46
Nobody turns those letters.
Brian Wilson 40:49
I know. I don't know. Wheel of Fortune Yeah, but you know what? I think a bachelor, the Bachelor is a pretty good TV show. All about all my guys choosing girls choosing guys or actually even girls.
Pete Fornatale 41:01
Well, it's funny. You remember the old show? What was the dating game? Right or any of that stuff? It's amazing. Some of the people who
Brian Wilson 41:10
Yeah, I used to like that show. I really liked it.
Pete Fornatale 41:12
I think this it's still runs on some reruns somewhere.
Brian Wilson 41:15
There's still a trace of it happening,
Pete Fornatale 41:16
right? Let's see. Let's see. What celebrity living in the world today? Would you really be excited to meet? It doesn't have to be music could be from any walk of life?
Brian Wilson 41:36
I can't answer that question of
Pete Fornatale 41:39
the night you were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I got to meet Muhammad Ali.
Brian Wilson 41:44
Pete Fornatale 41:45
Who was sitting at the Beach Boys table.
Brian Wilson 41:47
Muhammad Ali. What did he do? Did he hit you? Did he box you
Pete Fornatale 41:55
David you see him day to day to day to day to day?Would you say that? Brian is relaxed and in a good mood today?
David Leaf 42:00
Yeah, you know, one of the things that we're really thrilled about with with the documentary and the whole DVD package is for people to get to see Brian the way he really is. Because Because television has not been friendly to him. And I think with this film, we we got to, we found a way to show people what an interesting, articulate, informed aware, the sense of history has everything that you wondered about Brian Wilson based on public image in the film, and on the DVD, I think you finally get to see him as those of us who are lucky enough to call him a friend get to see him when there aren't cameras around when there aren't a lot of people around that he's he's a fun guy. He's a smart guy.
Pete Fornatale 42:46
That sense of humor that we've seen a number of times
Brian Wilson 42:49
there's some sense of humor involved. Yes.
Pete Fornatale 42:52
There has to be too isn't there
Brian Wilson 42:54
without it? I think we'd be some.
Pete Fornatale 42:56
Okay. Here's a question that I asked Jimmy Webb when he was a guest on the show. Jimmy is also in the documentary. I asked him which composers or songwriters from the previous generation that he admired the most, from his own generation that he admired the most. And from the younger next generation, I'll address the same thing to you. Let's take them one at a time. From the previous generation. What composers do you admire the most?
Brian Wilson 43:26
Does that mean the 60s Or is it mean 50?
Pete Fornatale 43:28
Could be you could be I mean, we already covered? We already covered Gershwin, which would be even further.
Brian Wilson 43:35
If you were up to the 60s now. Yeah, well, yeah, I would have to say Bob Crewe, because of Palisades Park. I thought that was a brilliant record. Phil Spector because of his records, and of course, Motown for some of the wonderful records that he made. And
David Leaf 43:52
less producers and more songwriters like Burt Bacharach,
Brian Wilson 43:56
Burt Bacharach, for sure Bacharach Beatles. The Rolling Stones, of course, and the BeeGees in my own group, the beach boy, I think
David Leaf 44:06
there was a song there was a songwriter we saw last night who you were pretty excited to see.
Brian Wilson 44:10
We ran into Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Carole King last night. We ran into them. we walked by this place this building where they used to work in the 60s the Brill Building. Yeah, amazing. We in about 10 minutes later, we ran into him back. We couldn't believe it. That is very so we walked over there we go. Let's go over there saying a little bit of you've lost that loving feeling for Barry and Cynthia. So David, me and Ray and Jerry whenever you never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips Barry Mann clapping. You know, I started clapping away man. He loved it. Loved it. He loved it.
Pete Fornatale 44:43
That's the most played song on radio.
Brian Wilson 44:45
Yeah, it's the biggest played song and BMI song of all time.
Pete Fornatale 44:49
It's in my jukebox.
Brian Wilson 44:50
Mine too. It's on mine too
Pete Fornatale 44:52
See I told you we'd have a lot
Brian Wilson 44:54
Pete shoot fire Oh, shoot.
Pete Fornatale 45:00
Alright, we get we gotta keep going. We are going to keep going. You have received many honors in your career, which ones mean the most to you
Brian Wilson 45:10
being inducted into the Rock Roll Hall of Fame with one of them playing for people in Washington DC at the Washington Monument sending around 50,000 people once a July 4 of July 4. And I guess recording California Girls, some of them
Pete Fornatale 45:30
well, the tribute at Radio City. Right, right. A few years back. As David mentioned earlier, it would be hard to beat the lineup of people. Yes. Came out to honor you that night. Yes. In fact, I didn't know this until I saw the documentary. But that was the first night that you had read that you had played perform one of the songs from smile,
Brian Wilson 45:56
Which one was that
Pete Fornatale 45:56
was a key to getting this whole project off the ground. What was that heroes?
Brian Wilson 46:04
The heroes and villains was really a great song.
Pete Fornatale 46:06
Is there any of that? instrumentally and you can do? No, actually, that's fine. We want you to be comfortable more than anything else. All right. Okay. I asked you what a typical day is like in the in the Life of Brian Wilson. Your life these days? Is your we touched on this earlier. Is your struggle with those demons a daily struggle?
Brian Wilson 46:34
Yes. Yeah, it's daily. Yeah, even even as we're talking now, there's some stuff going on at the same time. Interesting. Interest. Yeah, it's been an adventure in self control and being cool.
Pete Fornatale 46:49
And I suspect it is. It is going to continue. I hope to be an adventurer. Someone listening to us right now? Who's dealing with their own personal torture, and thinking that they're the only ones in the world with those problems? What? Counsel, what advice would you?
Brian Wilson 47:09
Well, my advice would be if you hear auditory hallucinations, and you're and you have a lot of mental troubles, and you feel like him and insanity problem. My advice is to look up a psychiatrist, talk to a psychiatrists and tell him what kind of medication would be appropriate for the condition they're in? And that's how that's what my advice would be.
Pete Fornatale 47:29
Okay. That's on the personal health level. What about someone listening to us right now who wants to devote his or her life to music? Maybe even wants to be the next, Brian Wilson? What advice would you give?
Brian Wilson 47:45
I would say, good luck. I don't want to go into it. I would say good luck in trying I'm trying to make it these days. But have fun trying.
Pete Fornatale 47:57
Yeah. Do you think the business is more difficult now then when
Brian Wilson 48:01
Oh, much of the business is in a in a very embarrassingly low place?
Pete Fornatale 48:09
Yeah, I I agree with you.
Brian Wilson 48:12
It's embarrassing, but you know, you don't have to get embarrassed about it. But it is embarrassing.
Pete Fornatale 48:19
A lot of pop music is disposable. Right? It comes and goes. It has long been my feeling. I'm not the only one. That 100 years from now. People will still be listening to Brian Wilson songs
Brian Wilson 48:38
And the Beach Boys music. Yes.
Pete Fornatale 48:40
Yeah. How do you feel about that? What is what is the Brian Wilson legacy?
Brian Wilson 48:46
Well Bach. Bach was an innovator. And my group was an innovator for group sound harmonies. So I'm most proud of the harmony.
Pete Fornatale 49:01
What do you miss most about Carl and Dennis?
Brian Wilson 49:04
I missed the friendship. The cocaine days with Dennis and I used to snort cocaine. I miss those days. I really,
Pete Fornatale 49:10
Brian. That's what partially got you into some trouble though.
Brian Wilson 49:14
I know. But I wished I could have kept doing it. I put into a doctorate program. And they took me off alcohol, cigarettes and drugs all in one. On one time. It was the toughest thing I ever had to go through. You know, toughest thing just kicking cigarettes, alcohol and cocaine all in one. One swoop. You mentioned
Pete Fornatale 49:32
You mentioned earlier that you still meditate Is it is it the transit No
Brian Wilson 49:36
no no no. I don't meditate with transcendentally well I can't do that i i tried to do it but I can't
Pete Fornatale 49:40
so what what do you know I
Brian Wilson 49:43
go I go like I close my eyes and I go come on come on. Come on, get on get on and get it up again. Everything like that and I felt like I was doing let's do it. We can do it. I know I can do it. I know you know
Brian Wilson 49:55
before show Yeah, yeah.
Pete Fornatale 49:57
Questionn for you. Do you pray?
Brian Wilson 49:59
Oh, yeah, sure.
Pete Fornatale 50:01
Do you pray in your mind or out loud?
Brian Wilson 50:04
I pray inside my head and bed at night. I pray mostly when I'm in bed.
Pete Fornatale 50:08
Would you share any?
Brian Wilson 50:10
Yeah, I say prayers for my wife and my kids, my friends. And I asked God that he, he'll be good to my people I know. And then like, go to sleep, get the next day. Forget all about my prayers till the next night
Pete Fornatale 50:25
and start all over. Yeah. You know, your music, of course, has been described by many as spiritual.
Brian Wilson 50:33
Spiritual is not the word way spiritual. Very spiritual.
Pete Fornatale 50:38
I was listening to the Pet Sounds bucks set just the vocal. Oh, yeah. And heard Carl. Oh, cause lead vocal on God Only Knows. That could make you cry and of course, it happens. On the smile project, too. With our prayer, we're certainly not going to ask you to recreate that here. But yeah, I was lucky enough to be at Carnegie Hall, where we call what at Carnegie Hall
Brian Wilson 51:24
Carnegie Hall, the great Carnegie Hall. It was a thrill was a very big thrill for me to sit there. And Carnegie where George Gershwin was like 20 40 years ago, 50 years ago, or even more than that, yeah. 60 70 years ago. Yeah. Same stage as George Gerswhin was one that was blown out. It was very, very proud.
Pete Fornatale 51:42
Do you know that joke about Carnegie Hall?
Brian Wilson 51:43
Pete Fornatale 51:44
Man's on the street in New York. And he asked another guy, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Yeah. And the guy says, practice.
Brian Wilson 51:52
That's a great damn great saying that's really cool. That is very, very funny.
Pete Fornatale 51:57
That's one of the oldest jokes in humanity. But if you're hearing it for the first time
David Leaf 52:03
Aren't you embarrassed?
Pete Fornatale 52:05
No, no, absolutely not.
Brian Wilson 52:07
I wish, I wish. I wish people good luck, making it to Carnagie Hall
Pete Fornatale 52:12
And then, one, one last reference. And David again, I addressed this to you or, or making a statement to you as well as Brian, there is a built in drama in the film in the documentary because you didn't know if this thing was gonna fall on its ass, or its face or not. And right up to that moment, where the band is onstage. And Brian walks out, and our prayer begins. You're not really sure what's gonna happen. And when you guys finish our prayer, and that audience goes berserk. That must have been the moment for you, Brian, where you said, I did the right thing.
Brian Wilson 52:56
Pete Fornatale 52:59
I'm glad you did it. I once told Bruce Springsteen that he was the bravest man in rock and roll when he put out his Nebraska album and Tom Joad album, right. But I think you're right up there, right up there with Bruce as as one of the bravest.
Brian Wilson 53:14
Or he's a rock star. I'm a pop star. I see. I'm not a rock star. I'm a pop star.
Pete Fornatale 53:20
Well, and he's a working class hero. You're a genius. I mean,
Brian Wilson 53:20
well, so are you
Pete Fornatale 53:26
You're too kind, you're to kind David,
David Leaf 53:28
you know, the drama of 2003 2004. There was nothing artificial about it. We lived it every day. Our cameras were rolling every day. And we really didn't know what was gonna happen. We didn't know if Brian was gonna walk up the steps to the stage. I mean, it was it was a real drama
Pete Fornatale 53:44
And you don't whitewash it. Because there are moments in the film like the first day of the vocal rehearsals where Brian you you might as well have been on Mars. You looked a little scared, a little bored, a little angry, a little disinterested. And if you're a viewer, you're saying, Oh, my God, I already know the ending and I'm saying, Oh my God, is he going to do it?
Brian Wilson 54:09
Well, you know what, in order you did, you wound up doing it?
Pete Fornatale 54:14
Yeah, he had the courage to go through with it. He's an amazing guy.
Brian Wilson 54:17
He had the courage to go through that whole trip.
Pete Fornatale 54:20
Yeah. David, how do people add this to their DVD collection? What's the best way to stay in touch with
David Leaf 54:27
with Brian Wilson
Pete Fornatale 54:28
with this project and what you're doing
David Leaf 54:30
Brian Wilson present's smile is available, as he said find record stores everywhere in the 21st century, I'm sure amazon.com And all the online distributors have at Brian wilson.com you've got you know Best Buy Costco all the places where you would expect to see a DVDs, tower and Virgin Megastore. Oh rhino.com You don't want to forget rhino.com Because rhino is the company that that put this all together. Put it out
Pete Fornatale 55:00
terrific. As I said, I can't be objective about it but I advise everyone listening to the show whenever and wherever they're listening to go out and get one for their collections
David Leaf 55:12
Pete it's been a pleasure talking with you
Pete Fornatale 55:14
Brian, you end your concerts with love and mercy why? Why do you do
Brian Wilson 55:19
well we try to take people down off a rock and roll like make the show come to an end
Pete Fornatale 55:32
would you make the show come to an end?
WILSON PLAYS A PORTION OF "LOVE AND MERCY"
PETE FORNATALE GETS UP AND HUGS BRIAN WILSON WHO IS SEATED AT HIS PIANO. PEOPLE IN STUDIO APPLAUD.
FORNATALE HANDS WILSON A STACK OF DVD'S TO AUTOGRAPH
SHOT OF BLUE PIANO. FORTNATALE AND CREW WALKING IN FRONT OF CAMERA. (NO AUDIO)
INTERVIEW IS OVER. BRIAN WILSON BACK AT THE PIANO PLAYS A COMPILATION OF SONGS.
WILSON FINISHES. PEOPLE IN STUDIO APPLAUD
WILSON AND FORNATALE CHAT CASUALLY. CAMERA CREW OBSCURES SHOT
Description: 2005 INTERVIEW WITH BEACH BOYS' BRIAN WILSON
Enter a name for the new bin:
Select the bin you'd like to add the clip to:
Share this by emailing a copy of it to someone else. (They won’t need an account on the site to view it.)
Note! If you are looking to share this with an Historic Films researcher, click here instead.
Enter the security code you see below:
Oops! Please note the following issues: