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Reconstructing Brian

The troubled creative light behind the Beach Boys salvages himself and -- to an extent -- his music

Producer Joe Thomas says that there are about seven or eight songs left over from the Imagination sessions, and that there are plans to work together on a new album. But Wilson says he has no interest in working with Thomas again ("for my own personal reasons"), and instead speaks enthusiastically about his next project: He wants to make a rock and roll album, just to see if he can. "Rock and roll, as I see it, is energy that I need so much, so badly inside of me. The energy to produce a rock and roll record, to produce an album of rock and roll."

Why rock? "Because I like rock and roll. Because everybody likes it. People say, 'I know you can make great records, but can you rock?' Anybody can rock. Anyone can rock and roll. [Wilson pats out a rhythm on his thighs with his palms.] If you can count to four -- bom, bom, bom, bom -- you're rockin'."

He already has one of the songs written. It's called "How Could We Still Be Dancing?" Asked to sing a bit of it, he gamely complies. Pausing for a moment, he leans back against the couch and gathers his thoughts. Then, patting out another rhythm, he sings:

How could we still be dancing
After all these years?
How could we still be laughing
After all those tears?

"It's a very good song," Wilson says.

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