The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson,
The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience (Timothy
The Beach Boys have come to be considered "America's
band," but rock journalist White shows that that appellation
is rather an affront to the nation. For the band, originally
made up of the three Wilson brothers and a cousin, is nearly
the ultimate in dysfunctional families. Its members' troubled
personal relationships add poignancy to the story of how leader
Brian Wilson turned his idyllic childhood of cars, surf, girls,
and sports into fodder for a string of hits celebrating a romantic
conception of California. Drawing on his long acquaintance with
the Beach Boys and interviews with three generations of the
Wilson family, White makes his band chronicle also function
as a social history of modern California.
In the act of creating a grand mosaic of the world
the Beach Boys grew up in, the full explanation of what befell
them surfaces for once. Never before was the town of Hawthorne
made sense of, either. Who knew what teen culture was like there
in the 1950s? It was wild to get the day to day explanations.
To see how Dennis and Carl, not to mention Brian, chose or got
forced onto the roads in life they took.