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Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road tells the story of the legendary Beach Boys songwriter, with most interviews taking place inside a car. This was an intentional choice, according to the interviewer, who said there isn’t “a ton of pressure” to fill the silence of a long car ride. 

Brian Wilson appeared in the documentary ‘Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road’

American rock group The Beach Boys, (Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Brian Wilson)
American rock group The Beach Boys, (Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Brian Wilson) | Gems/Redferns/Getty Images

As one of the founding members of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson appears on songs like “God Only Knows,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” and “Kokomo.” He wrote and recorded originals for the rock band. 

In 2021, he appeared in the documentary Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, which detailed this musician’s experience outside his work with the Beach Boys. There were interviews featuring Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and other performers. The film also includes updates on Wilson’s mental health journey.

Some of the ‘Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road’ interviews took place in a car

The interview portions of the documentary were between Wilson and his longtime friend and Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine. Some of those took place inside a car. 

“One of the great things about being in a car with someone is there isn’t a ton of pressure to fill all the silence,” Fine said during an interview with Vogue. “And sure: There were a lot of pauses along the way—you see some of them in the film, but certainly not all of them—but that just seemed like part of what driving around was about.”


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Jason Fine interviewed Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys before

This wouldn’t be the first time Fine worked with the Beach Boy. He interviewed the artists years prior, sharing details of the experience and how he formed a friendship with Wilson.

“It was at his house in Beverly Hills, and I was terrified,” Fine said. “We sat down in his living room and talked for about 15 minutes, and it wasn’t going very well, and then he just bolted up and left. I didn’t really know what to do—there’s no one around; I vaguely hear a vacuum cleaner somewhere in the distance.” 

“What was I supposed to do now—leave? Wait? I stuck around for a little while and then just thought I’d look around and see if I could find him — and I found him in the kitchen peering into the refrigerator,” he continued. “And I said, ‘Brian—what happened?’ And he said, ‘Oh—I’m sorry…I just got a little scared.’”

Wilson elaborated, saying that sometimes things scare him, including the Doobie Brothers’ song “What a Fool Believes” scares him.

“And in that moment, I just thought: All right. Understood. This is not going to be a linear conversation,” Lane said. “And from that, we just built up a kind of friendship. We spent a lot of time listening to music, eating, and talking.” 

How to get help: To connect with mental health resources near you, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.