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Brian Wilson Goes Home

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There are few songwriters as synonymous with southern California as Brian Wilson. On Friday night Wilson will venture along its beloved coastline for the cinematic release of Going Home, a documentary that chronicles not only the genesis of his most recent studio album That Lucky Old Sun but also his return to Capitol Records. Recorded in the Capitol Studios, where it all started for the Beach Boys, the album is a fittingly meditative sojourn through the life and times of Brian Wilson.

Given the well documented demons Wilson has faced over the years, his resurrection as a musical force is even more impressive. While lines from the new album, such as "At 25 I turned out the light/Cause I couldn't handle the glare in my tired eyes", hint at the challenges Wilson has faced, the real revelation comes when speaking with him. Wilson's answers might fly at the speed of light and be more concise than a haiku poem, but they are delivered with the same abundant passion that still fuels his music.

What was it like to be under the scrutiny of a documentary camera while you were recording "That Lucky Old Sun"?

It was really crazy and hectic you know. They followed me everywhere I went. It was really hectic.

Did it intrude at all on the recording process?

Oh no, it didn't intrude at all.

"That Lucky Old Sun" is a very different album stylistically. What was the recording process like?

It was a real adventure into creativity. I really liked it.

What drew you to the song "That Lucky Old Sun"?

I always liked that song because it was about an African American slave. And it's very spiritual. That's why I chose it for the theme of the album.

The record sees you back at Capitol Records. Is it good to be back where it all started?

It has been a very nostalgic experience. I am very sentimental about Capitol Records. That's where I got my first big break in the music business.

You are also delving back into some of the old hits when you play live. What do those songs mean to you now?

They take me back to when I recorded them. "God Only Knows" takes me back to Carl (Wilson). "California Girls" takes me back to the California Girls session. You know, a lot of memories.

Are you turning your thoughts towards a new recording?

Not yet. I'm trying to write a song. But I haven't written too many songs since "That Lucky Old Sun". We're trying to get some new stuff together and we might make an album, but I don't know.

You are doing a Q+A at the premier of Going Home here in Santa Barbara. Do you enjoy experiences like that?

Yeah. It kind of fascinates me. I'm fascinated by people you know.

Brian Wilson will join George Dougherty at the Lobero Theatre on Friday night for the premier of Going Home. The evening will feature a post-screening Q+A with both the director and his subject. And it all gets under way at 9:00pm.

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