One of the great pleasures of the internet age is the opportunity it gives for musicians to interact directly with their fans — and yesterday, the great Brian Wilson joined the ranks of people who’ve taken the time to sit down and answer a bunch of questions from their admirers. He eschewed Reddit to do his Q&A via Facebook, and his answers were short and to the point — very much a case of Grandpa on the computer, bless him. Still, there were some fascinating insights into his life and work. Click through to read a selection of the most interesting things we learned.
His favorite song: The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” And his favorite “modern/more recent” song: Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” Seriously.
The best song he’s ever written: “God Only Knows.”
The most challenging Beach Boys song to arrange and sing harmonies for: “‘Good Vibrations’ — I really worked hard on that with the guys. I just wanted to make a great record — and I did!”
He cites “Help Me Rhonda” as a song he could have done better on: “I would’ve made a better rhythm – it wasn’t in the pocket.” And also: “I would have mixed ‘California Girls’ differently.”
On a semi-related note, he cites “The Little Girl I Once Knew” as the Beach Boys song that doesn’t get as much attention as it should.
The inspiration for his basslines: “Phil Spector.”
He’s a New York Yankees fan: “Because of Mickey Mantle. I played center field in high school.”
His favorite Beatle: “Paul McCartney.”
The story about him having a creative crisis after hearing “Strawberry Fields Forever” isn’t entirely true: “No, that’s not true. It was a very weird record, but yeah, I liked it.”
If he could change anything about his past, it’d be this: “I would not take drugs. No one should take drugs.”
And best of all, in response to the question “What was your favorite part about running the Radiant Radish Health Food Store? What was your biggest seller?”: “The cash register — I learned how to do it.”