British Airways High Life

Notes From a Traveller

Notes from a traveller: Brian Wilson

January 2012

 Page 1 of 1
The former Beach Boy talks Beatlemania, California Girls and canine companions
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys
James Minchin III

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Any American visiting the UK is obsessed with knowing where The Beatles hung out. To this day I am still very jealous of their fame, John [Lennon] and Paul [McCartney]'s singing and their group harmonies. I didn't think what I did musically was anywhere near as good as The Beatles. Maybe other people consider me a genius, but I don't.

British audiences are very sensitive to American art. I couldn't believe the standing ovation I received when I re-recorded Smile and Sweet Insanity and played at London's Royal Festival Hall for the first time. And all of those buildings on the South Bank are testimony to the great British tradition of the arts.

I love playing the outdoor-festival circuit. The smaller ones are the best — ones such as GuilFest in the UK (guilfest.co.uk). One day I may go back there and play again for the older hippie crowd, as it's set in a beautiful part of Surrey.

I'll always live here in California because of California Girls. Is there a better reason? People are surprised when I tell them I never even learnt to surf because I was too busy making music and watching the girls walk past.

I live in an amazing neighbourhood in Los Angeles called Holmby Hills, only eight miles from the coast. But I don't really go to the beaches these days. Even though they're spectacular, I prefer to think of them through my songs. LA is the most beautiful city in the world.

When I'm on tour, I walk every morning. It's the best therapy, great exercise and the number-one way to see a city in all its glory. When I walk in LA, it's just me and my 14 dogs. I have my baseball hat pulled down, but still everyone's like, 'Hey Brian... how's things?' And I'm like 'How the heck do they recognise me? Oh, yeah, maybe it's the 14 dogs.'

Interview: Andrew Threlfall

Posted by Andrew Threlfall

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