Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
Here's the bad news: Brian Wilson can't seem to write songs these days. "I have a bit of a writer's block," admits the former head Beach Boy, 57, who will be inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame next week. "I sit down and play, but I can't get anything going."
But the good news is that the once-reclusive Wilson has not only conquered his fear of the stage but has also become a poised performer. With a live double CD, Brian Wilson Live at the Roxy Theatre, now available on his Web site, Brianwilson.com, he is preparing for a symphonic tour that will feature complete performances of the Beach Boys' art-rock classic Pet Sounds. "We started rehearsing last night," says Wilson from his home in Los Angeles. "It's really spiritual playing those—particularly 'God Only Knows.' "
And though he has become such an icon that other songwriters have started writing about him (he covers the Barenaked Ladies' hit "Brian Wilson" on his new album), Wilson yearns to rediscover his muse. "You can't describe it in words," he says of writing. "Your fingers just find the right places. 'Good Vibrations' came so easily I felt like someone was guiding me along there."
To ease his frustration, Wilson has taken up running. "I'm going a couple of miles a day now, and I'm feeling a lot better," he says. "Running feels really spiritual to me." He pauses. "Man, you know what? That's the one thing I think I should write a song about."