BRIAN WILSON: His astonishing genius

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Brian Wilson

Alexis Petridis writes: "First came the drugs, then the voices. Brian Wilson's brain has taken a battering. Alexis Petridis tries to get inside the complicated mind of a musical legend.

I meet Brian Wilson in the tiny, windowless conference room of a Mayfair hotel, where he is promoting his latest series of British concerts accompanied by his musical director, Jeffrey Foskett. The former leader of the Beach Boys sits bolt upright, a portly, 69-year-old man with his grey hair arranged in a kind of quiff. There is, as everyone who meets him seems to note, something ineffably sad about his eyes, even when he laughs, which he does in a gruff, mirthless shout. He rattles through questions as if being interrogated – yes, no, I don't know, I don't understand the question – but insists that he enjoys being interviewed. Indeed, his insistence that he enjoys being interviewed is one of his more verbose responses: "Yeah. It's like therapy for me. It's like making a record, right? I'm the artist, you're the producer, we're making a great record here!"

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