The Beach Boys Today

Beach_Boys_Documentary-MFCMichael Feeney Callan cites the music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys as a major influence on his work. “It’s  the synthesis of ambition, creative experiment and stubborn optimism,” says Callan. “Brian’s songs first clicked with me when I was thirteen or fourteen, that amazing stretch from the good life surf songs to masterworks like Please Let Me Wonder in the lead up to Pet Sounds and SMiLE. Apart from the Beatles, no other music artists were as nimble and consistently inventive. They made me want to reach for peak experience in art, no matter what course my life took.” Callan first met the Beach Boys in the 1980s and had “a great rapport with Al Jardine and Carl Wilson especially.” In the early nineties Callan mailed copies of his biography of Sean Connery to Al and Carl. A year later Al phoned Callan and a potential bio-documentary was discussed. “Al emphasised the difficulty of communal agreement on such projects,” says Callan, “but he was supportive and, with Carl, green-lighted the project. Al and Carl made it happen.” Subsequently Callan joined The Beach Boys during their last days as a powerful, integrated touring band in 1992. Essentially led by Carl as musical director at this phase of their career, Callan’s film highlighted a band of very individual personalities unified by an unshakable commitment to an absent Brian Wilson’s music. Working with Carl – the voice of God Only Knows – was a career highlight, says Callan, who is also strongly defensive of Mike Love’s continuing presence with the band: “Mike is still criticised and underrated by a wide community of observers who just don’t comprehend his humour, his intelligence or the massive contribution he – along with Dennis, Dave, Al and Carl – made to building the most successful American band in history.”