Brian Wilson returns to St. Charles to perform, record
When Brian Wilson arrives in St. Charles this weekend for a Saturday show at the Arcada, it will be something of a homecoming for the former Beach Boy, who recorded his 1998 album "Imagination" in a house just a few miles from where he'll be playing.
But what really should have his Illinois fans excited is the fact the legendary songwriter liked recording here so much, he plans to do it again.
"One, I'm definitely looking forward to the concert," he told the Daily Herald in a recent phone interview from sunny California. "And, two, I'm looking forward to recording in a studio there for a couple days. It's going to be some new songs for an upcoming album."
Wilson isn't known for elaborating in interviews (hey, back off; he's said volumes through music) -- and he didn't divulge much this time either. But manager Jean Sievers said the local project has Wilson digging back into his past, perhaps way back, for unfinished gems.
"Some of them are songs he had back from when he was living in St. Charles, before the 'Imagination' album," she said. "Some might have been written for the Beach Boys years and years ago."
Sievers said the tunes likely will be featured on a forthcoming solo album, sometime after Wilson releases a collection of "Brian-ized" Disney classics tentatively due out late this year.
What wasn't clear was whether Wilson would be returning to his old haunt west of St. Charles in Crane Road Estates, which is for sale, or recording elsewhere. Sievers said it's possible he could be recording in his old house, but Wilson wasn't so sure. "I don't know the name of the place," he said.
It's worth mentioning that all this comes as Wilson considers reuniting with the remaining Beach Boys -- including co-founders Mike Love and Al Jardine -- for the first time since they un-harmoniously parted ways.
If they do get back together, Wilson said, it would be to celebrate the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary next year.
Wilson added that he spent time at Capitol Records recently with Love and Jardine, but still isn't exactly certain what the future holds: "We're going to get together a little bit before we do it."
To rehearse? "I assume so," Wilson said.
Elsewhere in the demon-confronting department, Wilson said he's excited about finally releasing the recording sessions from "Smile," his "teenage symphony to God," which he attempted in the late 1960s only to be derailed by drug abuse and mental illness, among other factors.
Wilson rerecorded the album with his new band and released it to critical acclaim in 2004, but he said he still hears magic in those old sessions, too.
"I just listened to the reissue of the 'Smile' tapes a couple nights ago, and I was so blown away. I mean, I was blown away. It really took my mind away," he said. "Fantastic music, it really is."
Wilson seemed less enthusiastic, on the other hand, about the prospect of his life story making its big-screen debut.
It's been reported recently that Oscar-nominated screenwriter Oren Moverman, who did the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There," is on tap to tell Wilson's story, as acquired by "The Tree of Life" producer Bill Pohlad and TV writer/producer John Wells of "E.R." and "The West Wing."
Wilson said he likes the idea, but others like it have fizzled out in the past.
"We tried 10 years ago and it all fell through. I'm not really sure what's going on with that," he said. "I do know (watching the film) will probably be a little scary. But I like it, yeah."
Saturday, Wilson brings his Greatest Hits Tour to the 1,000-seat Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles.
Arcada Theatre owner Ron Onesti suggested in a news release that former Beatle Paul McCartney, who performs Sunday and Monday at Wrigley Field, might make a guest appearance. "There are no guarantees," Onesti said.
Wilson plans to play classics such as "God Only Knows" and "California Girls," plus a few songs from last year's "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" record and "maybe some cuts from the 'Smile' album," Wilson said.
Brian WilsonWhen: 8 p.m. Saturday, July 30
Where: Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, (888) 695-0888 or www.oshows.com.