Brian Wilson’s Wave

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“Being scared has probably been the most driving force that I have,” he said to me in 1998, “because I’m so afraid of life and the people in it.” This year, with the cheers for Smile’s debut still in his ears and recording sessions for a resulting album well under way—a disk is planned to be released in September by Nonesuch—he extended the thought. “The audience liked Smile so much it was almost scary,” he said. “But fear and excitement kind of go together.”

He said the same thing standing on the beach in 1963: Don’t be afraid to try the greatest sport around. Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world.