Brian Wilson Looks Back on Pet Sounds at 50
2016 sees the legendary Brian Wilson out on the road in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ watershed Pet Sounds album. Joining Wilson on the road once again, in addition to his world-renowned band for over 15 years, is Beach Boys co-founding guitarist Al Jardine, and early-‘70s bandmate Blondie Chaplin—best known for his lead vocal on the classic “Sail On Sailor” and his decade on the road and in the studio with The Rolling Stones.
Wilson and co. have been delivering a stunning 40-song set of Beach Boys classics, solo Wilson favorites, and a top-to-tail performance of Pet Sounds each and every night.
On June 10th, The Beach Boys will release a revamped and expanded version of its Pet Sounds Sessions box set. The collection will be available in several configurations, including a four CD/Blu-ray Audio collector’s edition presented in a hardbound book featuring the remastered original album in stereo and mono. The collection also includes hi res stereo, mono, instrumental, and 5.1 surround mixes, session outtakes, alternate mixes, and previously unreleased live recordings.
Also available is a two-CD and digital deluxe edition pairing the remastered album in stereo and mono with highlights from the collector’s edition’s additional tracks.
Today on the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds’ release we look back with Brian Wilson.
What is it like for you to sit on stage on any given night and hear your ultimate studio-based effort performed in a concert hall?
It’s great! It feels great!
How is it different for you to perform Pet Sounds in concert as opposed to Smile ?
It’s easier to do Pet Sounds. Smile’s kind of a rough album to do. Pet Sounds is shorter.
Before you head out on a major tour – and “Pet Sounds 50” is a massive International undertaking – what goes through your head? What are you thinking about prior to hitting the road?
I think about the music, the songs and their arrangements. Y’know, how I’m gonna sing.
It’s a backbreaking schedule this time out. Is it tough getting into a groove on tour?
Well, I try to sleep the best I can. I try to eat good, healthy foods, and I take little walks in the morning—y’know, like that.
Of course, your secret weapon on stage these days is your high school buddy, Al Jardine, who remains one of the greatest voices of any generation.
He’s a great singer, one of my favorite singers, and he’s always good, he never ever screws up. He’s always good.
On this tour, you once again have Blondie (Chaplin) on the road with you. What does Blondie add to your show?
Well, he adds a really good, soulful singin’ performance. He does three songs and they’re all really good. Blondie’s great. Blondie’s a great singer.
Is there any chance that Blondie will eventually be incorporated into the Pet Sounds portion of the show?
I don’t think so. No, I don’t think he’ll be on Pet Sounds.
When you think of your brother Dennis’ contributions to Pet Sounds – what comes to mind?
He was a great background singer.
And where was his vocal line placed in the aural mix?
He was above Mike (Love).
I always thought he added the sandpaper to the mix.
And getting Bruce Johnston in the mix during Pet Sounds, where would you place him? Above Carl?
He was above Carl. He was with me. He doubled with me on some of the background parts.
“God Only Knows” has gone down as your masterpiece and the greatest love song. Paul McCartney and everyone else is in love with the song.
It’s my favorite song I ever wrote.
Wow. I like “This Whole World” more than “God Only Knows,” but I love ‘em both.