LYNN — Just a minute or so into my recent interview with Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson I was, to quote the title of his 2004 solo album, gettin’ in over my head.
I immediately fell into the journalistic mode of presuming that all interviewees understood that each question was an invitation to elaborate. I forgot I was talking to the most laconic of icons.
Thankfully, Wilson, 77, published his memoir, I Am Brian Wilson, in 2016. To flesh out his ever-so-terse responses, I have included material from that book in his responses.
I hope this “enhanced” Q&A serves as a suitable preview to his “Greatest Hits Live Tour” performance at Lynn Auditorium on Friday. This show is rescheduled from last year’s concert, which was postponed due to Wilson’s “mentally insecure” state of mind.
Q: “Pet Sounds” is considered to be your masterpiece. Is it your favorite Beach Boys album? If not, what is?
A: No, it’s not. My favorite is “The Beach Boys Love You” . I was back in the group starting right around the Bicentennial, and we were making the kinds of records I wanted … I wanted to make a record to help everyone around me feel better … “Ding Dang”…is one of my favorite songs ever…It makes the whole record for me.
Q: Other than The Beach Boys, who do you think are the greatest bands of all-time?
A: The Bee Gees. I love their music and their harmonies. I really admire [Barry Gibb]. He is like King Kong … We met at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1997. I presented them for their induction … Before the show Barry came down to meet me and he just sat in the room. I heard later that he was nervous. I was nervous, too.
Q: Is there anyone whom you’d like to work with?
A: Elton John. I love his singing. He’s great singer.
Q: Have you had personal or professional contact with Elton?
A: When Carnie [Wilson, his first-born child] was six, she invited him to her birthday party. He couldn’t come but he sent her back a note with a teddy bear … [In 2001] there was a tribute show at Radio City Music Hall. People could pick any songs they wanted … I sang “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” with Elton. [On “Gettin’ in Over My Head”] he did a song called “How Can We Still Be Dancin’,” which is one of my favorites of all my solo stuff …
Q: Did you hear the Barenaked Ladies’ song “Brian Wilson” when it came out in 1992?
A: Not really, no. It was not until later on that I heard it. That was the strangest song we played [on the 2001 tour]. I didn’t know about it until the guys in the band brought it to rehearsal … In the song, the guy has a dream that he gets up to 300 pounds and the starts floating until the ground is so far away that he can’t see it anymore. I never had that dream, but I was cool with playing the song if we did a good job.
Q: What inspired you to record the album “Brian Wilson Reimagines George Gershwin” in 2010?
A: I like George Gershwin’s music very much. It’s been a lifelong love of mine.
1955 … was the year I got my hands on “Four Freshman and 5 Trombones,” the first album I ever bought. It had two beautiful Gershwin songs on it, “Somebody Loves Me” and “Love Is Here to Stay.” “Rhapsody in Blue” was the first Gershwin piece I heard, or at least the first piece I heard that I knew was by him … I must have been two or three, which meant that the record was only about a year old. When [my grandmother] played it for me, I was blown away … When it was over, my grandmother asked me how I liked it, and I couldn’t answer. My mother asked me the same thing, and I still couldn’t answer. I guess I was still trying to take it all in … His music…taught me one thing early on, which was that music could be perfect.
Q: Did you do any consulting on the movie “Love & Mercy?” How does it compare to other movies about you?
A: No I didn’t. Actually, my wife did. It’s more accurate than the others. There was a TV movie called “The Beach Boys: An American Family” that Melinda didn’t even let me see. She told me that it didn’t show who I really was, or how I had ever really been … The actor John Stamos, who is a huge Beach Boys fan and was involved in that movie, even apologized to Melinda for how I ended up looking … Having the real story out there was very appealing to me, because it did a job that was hard for me to do in conversations or interviews … [Love & Mercy] put it all out there. It was honest about everything I went through, and how I survived it.
Q: What is it about playing live that has kept you touring into your 70s?
A: Well, I like the audiences. They are very good. They are very receptive.
A good audience is like a wave that you ride on top of. It’s a great feeling. But a crowd can also feel the other way around, like a wave that’s on top of you.
For ticket information, go to lynnauditorium.com.
Blake Maddux lives in Salem and writes for North Shore and Boston-area publications such as The Arts Fuse, the Beverly Citizen, and the Somerville Times. You may follow him on Twitter (@blakeSmaddux) and Facebook (@blakeofnotrades).