Entertainment & Arts

Brian Wilson confirms he's working on new album

Brian Wilson Image copyright Brian Wilson
Image caption Wilson said his new album could be out before the end of the year

Brian Wilson, the creative genius behind The Beach Boys, has confirmed he is working on a new album.

He said his next project would be an album of of rock'n'roll classics, but he did not rule out contributing his own material.

Speaking ahead of the publication of his memoir, I Am Brian Wilson, he said: "I can write rock'n'roll."

He said he did not know when the album would be released, but added: "Maybe by the end of the year."

As part of a wide ranging interview, Wilson, who is responsible for classics including Good Vibrations and God Only Knows, also talked about his struggles with depression and drug addiction.

At the age of 22 he had his first breakdown. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was important to be honest in the book about the mental illness he has suffered since then.

"I didn't want people to think I was a liar. I wanted people to know that I told the truth," he said.

"My biggest regret was taking psychedelic drugs because it screwed my brain up."

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Media captionThe Beach Boys' Brian Wilson talks about his music and his struggles with drugs

After taking LSD for the first time in his 20s, Wilson started hearing noises in his head. And he still hears them "every day".

He says they sometimes "threaten" to kill him.

When I ask him how he gets rid of them, he said: "I yell. I say stop it - and like that they stop."

But in the old days, at the height of The Beach Boys fame, those voices were harder to silence. One reason, Wilson says, why he never felt comfortable playing live with the band.

In the book he admits performing frightened him.

"It just makes me feel a little bit nervous to go on stage and have all those people cheering at you."

He said he was worried he might disappoint people or that he "might sing off key."

Image copyright Guy Webster
Image caption Wilson taught the rest of The Beach Boys their parts during the 1966 Smile sessions

He stopped touring with The Beach Boys after suffering a panic attack on a plane to Houston in 1964. Since the late 1990s however he has been performing live again, with concerts taking place around the world.

When I ask him why, his answer is revealing: "Well there's nothing else to do with my time so I decided just to stay on the road and just keep plugging away."

He insists no one is forcing him and that he does not need the money.

Wilson added "it was not that easy" working on the memoir with a ghost writer for a year, revisiting the highs and lows of his extraordinary life.

Nonetheless, he "wanted people to know my life story, what I went through, what I learned what I sang and produced".

With hits of the early 1960s about cars, girls and surfing, Wilson created the soundtrack to the Californian dream.

He went on to see how far he could push the limits of the way pop music should sound with albums such as Pet Sounds and Smile.

Wilson says it is not for any of those songs that he would like to be remembered. Instead it is "as a good singer". At this point, aged 74, he thinks he is only "about average".

His fans will be able to judge for themselves when his new album is released.

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