PBS takes viewers inside the mind of musical genius Brian Wilson in a new clip from the American Masters special Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road. The feature documentary on the Beach Boys co-founder premieres on June 14th at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.
Filmed in a series of car ride conversations between Wilson and his longtime friend and Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine, Long Promised Road peels back the layers to reveal the inner machinations of one of the 20th century’s most influential musicians. In a new snippet from the film, the duo’s car ride brings them to United Recording in Los Angeles, CA. Preparing up to record a new, original song for the documentary, “Honeycomb”, Wilson admits, “I’m nervous.”
“It’s like you say when you go on stage, nervous for about two minutes,” Fine reassures him.
“Right. And then soon as I hear ‘California Girls’, I’m cool,” Wilson responds.
It would be an egregious understatement to say Wilson has had his share of troubles—from an abusive and demanding father to issues with substance abuse and mental health and a stint under the tutelage of Svengali-like therapist Eugene Landy—but all those issues seem to melt away when Wilson submerges himself in song. A visibly frail Wilson springs to life when Fine asks him about his process.
“Start with a background track, then you do the background vocals, then you do the leads,” Wilson says with matter-of-fact confidence.
In addition to footage from Wilson and Fine’s introspective drives, Long Promised Road features interviews with Wilson’s friends, collaborators, and the many artists he inspired. Subjects include Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Al Jardine, Nick Jonas, Don Was, Linda Perry, the late Taylor Hawkins, and more. In addition to serving as a talking head, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) also wrote and recorded a new original song, “Right Where I Belong“, with Wilson for the documentary.
“In my heart and soul Brian Wilson’s music has always held a place of such divine importance,” James said of the track. “It has always been there with me in celebrating life’s greatest triumphs and has also sustained me through some of my darkest hours. His spirit and life story have taught us all to never give up and to always listen to and honor the spirit of each of our own unique creative souls. So it was truly such an honor to create and collaborate with Brian on brand new music for this incredible upcoming film about his life.”
Watch Brian Wilson produce “Honeycomb”, a new song set to appear in the forthcoming documentary American Masters – Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road. PBS also shared archival footage of Brian Wilson recording “Good Vibrations” with The Beach Boys in 1966.
Watch Brian Wilson produce a song
Rare studio footage of the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”