Lying In Bed

By: sonofabeach96

Dec 23 2015

Category: Uncategorized


I think we’ve all had the notion that, at one time or another, if I could just stop, for a while, I’d be able to figure it out, ya’ know?  The sudden urge, when it all gets to be too much, to just go off the grid.  Check out.  Just drop the balls we’ve been juggling for years, let them fall and bounce around our feet as we simply walk away.

Well, on this date, in 1964, Brian Wilson did just that.  He dropped his balls at 20,000 ft., while en route from L.A. to Houston to play a gig with the Beach Boys.  He had a nervous breakdown on that flight, and abruptly stopped performing live with the band.  It all got to be too much.  The rigors of being the primary force behind a super-band became too intense to manage, and he just shut himself down.

In a 1971 interview, Wilson said:

“I felt I had no choice.  I was run down mentally and emotionally because I was running around, jumping on jets from one city to another on one-night stands, also producing, writing, arranging, singing, planning, teaching–to the point where I had no peace of mind and no chance to actually sit down and think or even rest.”

Glen Campbell filled in for Wilson temporarily for live performances, before being replaced long-term by Bruce Johnston.  For the next 15-20 years Wilson gradually descended into his own little world, away from the Beach Boys and eventually reality.

Pet Sounds is now widely hailed as one of the best albums ever, but it wasn’t a commercial success at the time.  That, combined with Wilson’s erratic behavior, got the follow-up to Pet Sounds, Smile, cancelled.  His role in the Beach Boys was dwindling, his daughters’ (Carnie Wilson) birth was imminent.  He was overwhelmed again, even checking himself into a psychiatric hospital briefly.  During the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, he recorded what commonly became known as “The Bedroom Tapes”, demo recordings that have been mostly unheard by the public.  They were experimental in nature and had been described as “schizophrenia on tape”.   In June of 1973, after his dad died, he began a two-year stint as a recluse in the chauffeur quarters of his home.  He had been introduced to grass and started dropping acid after his initial breakdown, but now was severely abusing cocaine, alcohol, heroine, and chain smoking.  He attempted to drive his car off of a cliff and once dug a “grave” in his yard and demanded he be buried in it.

Some close to him say he wasn’t all that un-normal during that time.  His friend, Stanley Shapiro, said:

“Even in those years when he was supposedly in seclusion, Brian came downstairs all the time, this great big guy in a bathrobe.  An we went places.  Brian an I used to get into his Mercedes and drive over to the Radiant Radish, or we’d go to Redondo Beach and hang out with his high school pals, or go look for Carol Mountain.  Brian was as normal to me as anyone else.”

Wilson’s family eventually had enough and enlisted the assistance of radical therapist Eugene Landy in 1975.  He diagnosed Wilson as paranoid schizophrenic, a diagnosis that was later retracted.  But the treatments resulted in a more engaged and sociable Wilson.  In 1976, Brian Wilson began performing with the band again, and even made a solo appearance on Saturday Night Live in November of the same year.  But he yearned to leave the band and begin a solo project, and began the descent again.  He eventually divorced in 1979, at one point was sighted at a gay bar playing piano for drinks, and was living as a vagrant in San Diego while being taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning by officers.  He was officially removed from the Beach Boys on November 5, 1982.


Brian Wilson is fine these days.  He’s more stable, still producing music, and even made live appearances throughout the 2000’s.  He just needed a 20 year break.  Something I think we’ve all fantasized about at one time or another.  So, in honor of checking out, lying in bed, taking a sabbatical, and generally being over-stimulated, my songs of the day are:

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys

“Brian Wilson” by Barenaked Ladies

“A Moment To Myself” by Macy Gray

“I Lost It” by Lucinda Williams

“Help Me” by Joan Osborne

“Dazed And Confused” by Led Zeppelin

“Broken Down” by Eric Clapton

“Gone Gone Gone” by Robert Plant and Allison Kraus

“Heavy Cloud No Rain” by Sting

“Mind Eraser” by The Black Keys





8 comments on “Lying In Bed”

  1. I read your first paragraph and thought it was going to be a post about “omg-the-holiday-season-is-killing-me!!!!” Haha!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nope, not this year. Actually, it’s been pretty good. Shopping is done, plans made, etc. Traffic has been my nemesis though! I wonder sometimes if people are being cloned or multiplying like rabbits between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. It’s bizarre!

      Liked by 2 people

      • We’ve had lots of snow lately, so traffic has been an issue for sure. And rude people in the stores? If looks could kill, I’d have left a trail of corpses behind at the grocery store last night. Oh, wait, that makes ME rude, too. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh! I swear, I think the grocery is more dreaded than a mall-type store. I don’t do the mall thing…ever. But can’t avoid the grocery. It’s like a war in there!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As I’ve gotten older, I feel more and more like I can relate to those celebrities who have been hospitalized for “exhaustion.” Sometimes you just need to disappear from all this HAVE TO for awhile!

    Liked by 2 people

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