Beach Boy Brian looking forward to Kenwood - and the English rain

PUBLISHED: 20:28 21 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 September 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Former Beach Boys songwriter, Bassist and singer Brian Wilson talk to the medias at the press conference at the Capitol Records building on May 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Former Beach Boys songwriter, Bassist and singer Brian Wilson talk to the medias at the press conference at the Capitol Records building on May 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

Brian Wilson tells Marc Mullen he can t wait to swap the California sunshine for English weather when he performs at Kenwood House this summer Kick-starting the return of the Kenwood summer concerts after the series year-long sabbatical, forme

The Beach Boys legend tells Marc Mullen he can't wait to swap the California sunshine for English weather when he performs at Kenwood House this summer

Kick-starting the return of the Kenwood summer concerts after the series' year-long sabbatical, former Beach Boy Brian Wilson is no stranger to grand returns.

The creative force behind one of the most distinctive and quintessentially American sounding bands turned 65 last June. But far from retiring, his return to playing and writing music has shown no sign of abating.

Last month he signed for Capitol Records, taking him back to the legendary record label which released the Beach Boys' first album Surfin' Safari.

And, in September, it will release his latest album That Lucky Old Sun.

This summer, he travels to Britain to play three special concerts and is looking forward to getting away from that California sunshine.

Speaking exclusively to the Ham&High from the US, he says: "I am looking forward to the concert and to the rain. I just love the English audiences, they are great.

"The English are very nice people and are far more receptive to the music than American audiences."

In 2004, he treated English audiences to a premiere which Beach Boys fans around the world had been waiting nearly 40 years - his interpretation of the album SMiLE in its entirety at the Royal Festival Hall.

The band started recording the album in 1967 as the follow-up to the seminal Pet Sounds, which was incredibly poorly received at the time - in the main because of the experimental direction Wilson was taking the Beach Boys sound.

SMiLE was shelved amid creative differences within the band and Wilson's growing problems with drugs and mental health.

Good Vibrations, arguably the greatest pop song of all time, was the only release to see the light of day from the sessions - although bootlegs abounded.

Wilson is tight-lipped about what will be on the agenda this Saturday at Kenwood, but is sure about one thing: "There will be no Pet Sounds and nothing from SMiLE."

But he hints that he is likely to dip into the back catalogue for some of the Beach Boys earliest classics - California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, Wouldn't It Be Nice and God Only Knows.

He says: "I have a kind of nostalgic feeling when I play all those old songs. It brings back all the memories.

"I do feel a little bit nervous about my records, but it is fun to perform them.

"We try to do them as best as we can. We don't change things, we try to do them right to the record."

He says apart from "hanging out" at his hotel, he will try to take in some of the sights of Hampstead and Highgate.

After Kenwood, Wilson travels to Ipswich to play the Regent Theatre and then returns to London for a night at the Royal Albert Hall.

Throughout Wilson's darkest days, the Beach Boys remained a huge influence on many bands - some less likely than others.

Welsh psychedelic rock band Super Furry Animals are heavily influenced by Wilson, the Jesus and Mary Chain released an

un-Californian version of Surfin' USA in the 1980s, and techno guru Aphex Twin cites Pet Sounds as his favourite album.

But Wilson is oblivious to the widespread influence his genius has had. "I don't really listen to any of them. I just listen to American rock and roll," he says.

But he is touched by the incredible response to his rediscovered zest for performing he has received on this side of

the pond.

"It is 10 years since I started again. I couldn't believe how well my music was received when I started again. It's great.


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