I Am Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman
Due October 11 from Da Capo Press
For the first time in his own words, the legendary musical genius of The Beach Boys reflects on his tumultuous life and astonishing 21st-century comeback to live performance and renewed creativity.
I Am Brian Wilson is the story of Brian Wilson's life, told by Brian Wilson. But he's not the same man who had a nervous breakdown on an airplane in 1964 or the one who ballooned to 300 pounds and couldn't get out of bed in the 1970s. This Brian Wilson is older, calmer, filled with perspective regarding his extraordinary accomplishments and forgiveness for the people who complicated those accomplishments, and his life. Wiser, more measured, though still possessed of the youthful spark that helped him rise to the top of the rock and roll world, Wilson relates his life with a level of emotional honesty that has eluded authors of scores of previous works on Brian and The Beach Boys: "Telling my story honestly means remembering things I sometimes prefer to forget. I would like people to get to know what I've gone through, and I hope that my story will give them strength."
Read some early reviews!
“Readers seeking a tell-all will find instead delicate, thoughtful reflections on how music is made as well as wistful remembrances…As a study in creativity, superb…Essential for any Beach Boys fan.”
– Kirkus (starred review)
“I Am Brian Wilson slipstreams through the past like a message in a bottle…It has moments of personal testimony that are poignant and indelible.”
– Vanity Fair
“1960s Beach Boy on mental illness, sorrow, drugs, destabilization, demons, turbulence and discord."
– New York Post
“Music journalist Greenman helps keep this meandering memoir coherent and poignant.”
“Plenty of authors have written about this Beach Boy and now he'll get his say.”
“Wilson tells his own story: his battles with his abusive father, the pressure to score hits in the Sixties, and his long struggle with mental illness.”
– Rolling Stone
“Wilson delves into his battle with mental illness and how he created the band's pioneering sound.”
“[A] charming and powerfully written memoir that will engage a readership beyond the multitude of Beach Boys fans…Despite his fame and success, Wilson comes off as a genuinely modest and gentle soul…Wilson’s emotional authenticity is beguiling as he takes readers deeply into his mind, voices and all, to describe his unique manifestation of musical genius.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Following is an excerpt from the upcoming book:
"My life has been written about over and over again, and that’s mostly okay with me. Other people can talk about my life. Sometimes they’ll get it right and sometimes they’ll get it wrong. For me, when I think back across my own life, there are so many things that are painful. Sometimes I don’t like discussing them. Sometimes I don’t even like remembering them.
But as I get older, the shape of that pain has changed. Sometimes memories come back to me when I least expect them. Maybe that’s the only way it works when you’ve lived the life I’ve lived: starting a band with my brothers that was managed by my father, watching my father become difficult and then impossible, watching myself become difficult and then impossible, watching women I loved come and go, watching children come into the world, watching my brothers get older, watching them pass out of the world. Some of those things shaped me. Others scarred me.
Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. When I watched my father fly into a rage and take swings at me and my brothers, was that shaping or scarring? When we watched him grow frustrated with his day job and take solace in music, was that shaping or scarring? Those are all memories but I can’t get to them all at once. I’ve had a whole lifetime to take them in. Now I have a whole book to put them out there."