Thursday, August 10, 2006

Catch A Wave: The Ultimate Brian/Beach Boys Biography?


By Michael deMartin

Yesterday I got Peter Ames Carlin's "Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson," and I haven't been able to put it down. I have to admit I was a little hesitant at first because I've read every Brian Wilson/Beach Boys book and it's been exhausting to say the least. But the cover (nice design) got my attention and so I figured I'd extend my record.

This thing is well-researched to say the least: apparently Peter's had hundreds of interviews with those close to the story and it shows. I thought I knew everything, but this book has a lot (so far) I never knew. Peter interviewed a lot of Brian's childhood friends - and their insight into Brian's youthful quirky personality is fascinating and you can better understand him as an adult. There are some really interesting passages about the Beach Boys in the seventies that are pretty jaw-dropping. It's just amazing that these guys made it through the seventies. If this stuff was made up, you'd never believe it.

Maybe because I'm reading it now, but dare I say this may be the ultimate Brian Wilson/Beach Boys biography? It's very well written, researched and really moves - you wish it could be twice as long. And again, there's loads of new stuff you probably never knew about Brian, as well as Mike, Dennis, Carl, Al and Bruce. David Leaf pioneered the trail with his tour de force, "The Beach Boys and the California Myth," but my only complaint is that it read like Heroes and Villains, where Brian is the hero and everyone else are the villains. Timothy White's "The Nearest Faraway Place" was beautifully written but it covered the California story as well as the Boys. Steven Gaine's The Beach Boys was trash - but I have to admit it was fun. The great thing about this book is its honest take on the Beach Boys story.

This book is well worth it for new and old fans alike. Pick it up - it is highly recommended. If you want more information or to buy it, click on the Title of this post and it will take you to the Amazon.com page.

NOTE: I contacted Peter and asked him to write something for this blog, so maybe we'll get something in the next few days or so. I told him he could promote the book, so I'm sure we'll see him soon ...

3 Comments:

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm currently reading this book too, and really enjoying it so far. It seems pretty even-handed thus far.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see this book mentioned here. I just finished it and, as you yourself say, it was hard to put down. I haven't yet had the chance to read David Leaf's sine qua non Beach Boys book (can't locate an affordable copy!), but this new biography was filled with details that were new to me; the story of Brian W and the Beach Boys was handled with taste and tact throughout, so congrats to the author. Hope he posts something here on the site!

Christopher M
Amherst, NH

 
At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see this book mentioned here. I just finished it and, as you yourself say, it was hard to put down. I haven't yet had the chance to read David Leaf's sine qua non Beach Boys book (can't locate an affordable copy!), but this new biography was filled with details that were new to me; the story of Brian W and the Beach Boys was handled with taste and tact throughout, so congrats to the author. Hope he posts something here on the site!

Christopher M
Amherst, NH

 

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