BLOOD ON THE TRACKS Season 4: The Brian Wilson Story

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS Season 4: The Brian Wilson Story

In 1966, Brian Wilson planned to follow up the Beach Boys' groundbreaking album Pet Sounds with an even bigger musical statement. He was writing a teenage symphony to God. That album, Smile, was never finished. Instead, Brian slowly unraveled, as the pressure to make something profound weighed heavy on him. He worried that he wasn’t good enough. He worried that he was a failure in the eyes of the record company, his band, his peers, and his own father. He thought his house was bugged. He thought the music he was making conjured some strange voodoo that had a disastrous impact on the real world. He became paranoid. He self-medicated with amphetamines, hash, and LSD. He held meetings in his swimming pool. He imagined people who weren’t there. And eventually, in 1967, he went off the proverbial deep end. Did the real Brian Wilson ever resurface? Part true crime, part historical fiction, part spoken word lo-fi beat noir brought to you by Jake Brennan, and featuring the fictionalized voice Brian Wilson, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Because you can’t push the needle into the red without leaving a little blood on the tracks.

Episodes

January 24, 2023 5 min

This excerpt from Season 8 of Disgraceland was previously exclusive but is now available wherever you get your podcasts. To hear the full episode, find and follow Disgraceland wherever you get your podcasts.

Despite his reputation as “the safe Beatle,” Paul McCartney was a badass. He took wild artistic risks, rubbed elbows with truly dangerous characters and because of his crimes, did hard time in one of the world’s most notorious ...

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This episode of Disgraceland was previously exclusive but is now available wherever you get your podcasts. You can now listen to season 7 of Disgraceland in its entirety with episodes on David Bowie, the Ramones, Lil Wayne, the New York Dolls, Lil Peep, a previously unheard two-parter on Tupac, a two-parter on Biggie, a two-parter on Oasis, and a two-parter on the Beatles.

Gram Parsons is one of the most influential musicians in ro...

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Sometimes you can find redemption, but you have to find it for yourself. No one is going to give it to you. You can’t find it in a movie or a song. You can only find it inside yourself. In the 21st century, decades after his pursuit of an unfinished teenage symphony to God that drove him to the edge of sanity, Brian Wilson found his redemption. But he also found something else, too: the realization of a dream that he thought had di...

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Brian’s lost masterpiece, Smile, continues to lurk in the background. It’s there when Brian’s troubled and talented brother, Dennis, takes one last swim in the Pacific Ocean blue. It’s there as Brian claws his way out of the grip of the doctor who keeps him apart from health, love, and happiness. And it’s there as he prepares his triumphant return, not as a Beach Boy – but as someone he’s just discovering. Himself.

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The Beach Boys stage an intervention to get Brian the help he needs just as he reaches what he thinks is the bottom. He’s pulled out of the darkness by a doctor – a man Brian immediately recognizes as his savior. But Brian’s vision isn’t clear. He can’t see the doctor for who he really is: not the person who will set Brian free, but rather keep him trapped in a different kind of prison.

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Brian continues to lose control. And not just of his band and the music he makes. He loses self-control and becomes so dependent on drugs that he pays someone to deliver them to him. He loses control of his car and nearly kills himself in a crash. And then he loses control of himself – in front of one of the biggest rock ‘n roll stars of all time.

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After months of frustration, the Beach Boys abandon Smile to work on new music. But for Brian it’s not that easy. He’s quickly losing control. He’s betrayed by those meant to be closest to him. And one of his brothers is flirting with a dark and disturbing group of people living on the fringes of society…a so-called family that may or may not infiltrate the warm and sunny climes of the Beach Boys’ world.

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Catch a Wave: The R...

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Brian’s troubled relationship with his controlling and abusive father comes into focus. Paul McCartney stops by a California recording studio to chew some celery into a microphone. And the tragedies of the past threaten to echo endlessly into the future.

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Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brain Wilson, by Peter Ames Carlin

I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir, by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman

Wouldn’t I...

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Brian is haunted by the Monterey Pop Festival, John Lennon’s voice, and the disapproval of his fellow Beach Boys. He finally goes off the deep end – literally, straight into the deep end of his pool where he holds band meetings, far away from the prying eyes and ears of the people he thinks are watching him.

SOURCES

Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brain Wilson, by Peter Ames Carlin

I Am Brian Wilson:...

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The pressure builds in Brian's mind as he continues to work on Smile with the Beach Boys. His vision is completely out of step with what the others expect. A new collaborator butts heads with the band. His father, Murray, and his idol, famed record producer Phil Spector, haunt him. And just when things seem like they'll never get back on track, inspiration strikes in the form of a trusted advisor...but the advice Brian rece...

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Before the Beach Boys began to work on Smile, Brian Wilson was already expanding his mind with the aid of LSD. The drug proved to be a point of contention with other band members, who bristled at Brian's newfound mind-altering methodology. Brian's LSD intake didn't just spark arguments between the Beach Boys. LSD made a black-and-white appear in Technicolor for the first time. It made water taste like it fell straight f...

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Things are pretty calm around here at the moment, but sometimes they get a little shaky. Where are we? We're inside the mind of Brian Douglas Wilson, of course, the genius behind the Beach Boys' unprecedented masterpiece Pet Sounds. There are lots of things in here...songs, melodies, ideas...but there are also many dark corners for things to lurk in. For people to lurk in. As Brian continues to work on the band's follow...

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In 1966, Brian Wilson planned to follow up the Beach Boys' groundbreaking album Pet Sounds with an even bigger musical statement. He was writing a teenage symphony to God. That album, Smile, was never finished. Instead, Brian slowly unraveled, as the pressure to make something profound weighed heavy on him. He worried that he wasn’t good enough. He worried that he was a failure in the eyes of the record company, his band, his p...

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Trees grow tall, leaves fall, rivers dry up, and flowers die. New people are born every day. Life doesn’t stop. Sometimes things can change in an instant—a gunshot to the head, a man losing control of a motorbike—but sometimes things take years to change. And sometimes, like in the curious case of Bob Dylan, a man can go through a lifetime of change in just ten days.

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Nine days after his near-fatal accident, Bob Dylan has become increasingly consumed with his own mortality. He sees the world as a much older, and perhaps wiser, man. He has died as many times as he has lived. Bleak winters in Minnesota have taken their toll. So has the life of a touring musician. There’s also another brush with fate on yet another motorcycle…a harrowing moment that he may never escape.

SOURCES

Catch a Wave: The Ri...

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As Bob Dylan’s physical injuries continue to heal, there is a growing concern that mental problems are only beginning to surface. He struggles with an identity crisis. Did he really introduce the Beatles to marijuana? Did he actually steal movie reels of an unreleased film from one of the most famous directors in the world? And what on earth was he doing inside a complete stranger’s house in London…what was it he was waiting for?

S...

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Bob Dylan continues to recover from his motorcycle accident in upstate New York. He thinks of the things he’s done that he’s not proud of. The depths to which he’s sunk, only to find that you can always go lower. He worries that the words will stop coming. He yearns to hide in the skin of someone who is not Bob Dylan. Someone who can play “dead” one moment and break hearts the next. Someone who plays a pink guitar. Someone who sees...

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Courtrooms, contracts, lawyers, and loss. Stalkers, divorcees, punk rockers, and the wrong harmonica. These are the things on Bob Dylan’s mind as he continues to endure a secret recovery at a doctor’s private house in upstate New York. Dylan’s future continues to unfold from behind his eyes. He changes. So much that he begins to forget who he is. Or was. Who he will be, in 20 years’ time…a complete unknown.

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On the fifth day of his recovery from a motorcycle accident, Bob Dylan begins to hallucinate. He claims he’s not only seen our Lord and savior, but that he’s had a close encounter with Jesus Christ himself. It’s an encounter that changes him forever. Don’t believe him? That’s fine. But everyone serves somebody. And you just might question what it is you do and don’t believe after hearing his story.

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When a man wears a mask, he’s gonna tell you the truth. That’s what Bob Dylan is thinking about as he continues his recovery from his motorcycle accident: being masked and not-so-anonymous on a rambling spectacle of a tour that feels more like the Greatest Show on Earth than a rock concert. Dylan’s fever dream-like state allows him to peek into the future…a future full of gypsies, boxers, sad-eyed ladies, and a homicide that would ...

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