If only the late Dr. Eugene Landy could see Brian Wilson now. Landy, a controversial psychiatrist who controlled one of the greatest creative forces of the '60s, would be surprised to see how well-adjusted Wilson seems these days.
The iconic Beach Boy, who has been curt and cryptic during interviews and sometimes taciturn during concerts, seems awfully sunny now.
“I feel great,” Wilson said while calling from Los Angeles. “I haven't felt this good in years.”
It's evident that's so. During a chat with his cousin Mike Love last year plugging the Beach Boys reunion and 50th anniversary, Wilson, 71, had little to say. Love did virtually all of the verbal heavy lifting. But things have changed for Wilson. He's back in his comfortable space. Wilson, who performs Saturday in a co-headlining show with Jeff Beck at Ruth Eckerd Hall, is once again on tour with former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks.
“Last year was fun,” Wilson said. “The audiences really inspired us but I like being back in this band. We love doing a lot of the classics, like 'Good Vibrations,' 'Do It Again,' and 'Wouldn't It Be Nice.' It's wonderful to be doing those songs. I've had a very interesting career.”
Indeed. That's why a Brian Wilson biopic is in the works. John Cusack has been cast to play Wilson in the film, which is tentatively slated to hit screens in 2014.
“It's been a really interesting life,” Wilson said .”I still look back and think about the '60s. I remember John Lennon calling me up and saying, 'Brian, I really love 'Pet Sounds.' The thing is that John is the only Beatle I never met. I loved the Beatles.”
Wilson revelled in the creative tug of war the bands had during the most turbulent decade of the last century in America. “It was great to have so much creativity out there,” Wilson said. “We challenged each other. I remember hearing 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and I was just blown away by it. It challenged me to make better records.”
Wilson still writes and records music. It's a compulsion for the most complex Beach Boy. Wilson enjoys playing the hits but he loves tossing in a deep album cut in concert and he can't help but look forward to the next album he creates.
“I love to make music and I don't see that ever changing,” Wilson said. “I want to make a new album that rocks and rolls and moves people. I'll make another album. I'm not a quitter. I'm a winner and I love what I do. I can't just be content playing the old songs. New songs are coming through me. I love where I'm at right now.”