Brian Wilson's Genius: Readers Discuss a New Discovery
What if everything you thought you knew about Brian Wilson was wrong? What if he wasn't just a bubble-gum pop star who spiraled into crippling depression but a musical genius who, in addition to recording the long-delayed Smile, has a wealth of other tracks just waiting for an audience? The revelations in Brian Chidester's cover story last week, "The Secret Brian Wilson Bedroom Tapes," excited longtime fans and more casual listeners alike.
Dbpcservice writes, "Fantastic article."
Sean Broderick agrees: "I enjoyed reading this well-written article. As a person who very much appreciates music, I love to learn new information about truly great artists, such as Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. If and when Brian Wilson's Secret Bedroom (Music) gets released, I'll be buying it the first day it's available. When the 2011 Beach Boys Smile album was finally released, it was a thrill to hear the whimsical lyrics and music with all of the Beach Boys participating and singing. One of the big reasons the Beach Boys have been so successful is that they have six excellent lead singers, not just one or two. Thank you!"
Drmiguel.deleon writes, "Good article, except that the writer alluded twice to Brian Wilson's diminishing songwriting and experimentation, ostensibly ending in the mid-'70s. This, however, doesn't account for his ongoing work as a solo artist — just as there are many demos from that period, so also are there many unreleased songs Wilson has either composed or recorded since the late 1980s. The Beach Boys' reunion album, That's Why God Made the Radio, is a case in point. The story is that most of the music for that album was written and demo'd by Brian back in 1996, and the plan was a Beach Boys album at that time, but that Carl Wilson's losing battle with cancer sidelined the project.
"Would that Brother Records — and Brian himself — would release the demos, or else Brian could complete the recordings and send them out to a world that now appreciates his gift and the journey he's taken."
Finally, Killabagger reminds us of one factor affecting Wilson in the late '60s: "You all have to remember 1964-66 was the heyday of LSD use in L.A. It was legal, and pure, and it was everywhere. Brian and others were eating LSD like Tic-Tacs. As enlightening LSD is, too much makes you mental. I was there as a kid, and saw it big-time in Laurel Canyon."
Let's Go Ride a Bike
Stevie St. John's "First Person" column about giving up her car for a life of bicycling and public transit was a hit with readers ("Yes, I Am Car-Free in L.A.," Jan. 31). Writes Inspector Hound, "A fun, optimistic and informative read. I don't think I could go car-free, but I admire Ms. St. John for doing so."
Lady_blood_vamp666 adds, "Good article. Living car-free is workable; I've been car-free for five years, and I prefer it this way. I had to cringe at the phrase 'sex workers,' though — that euphemism sounds so pretentious!"
You Write, We Read
Please send letters to L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or email us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.