Dennis Wilson – The Real Beach Boy: Excess On The Beach

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


The cover of their 1963, best-selling album Surfer Girl says it all.

The Beach Boys walk across the sand carrying a surf-board. But hang on. That guy in the middle’s a bit fat and that one’s going bald. They’re just a bunch of geeks.

Except that guy. Sun-bleached long hair, chiselled jaw. That guy is cool. That guy is Dennis Wilson.

This documentary covers the drummer’s life from school bully and amateur arsonist, through numerous wives and living with Charles Manson, to his final days – a drunk bum wandering the beaches of California.

When the Beach Boys first came to public attention there was only one band member the girls had eyes for – and it wasn’t chubby songwriter Brian.

Surprisingly for an act whose first singles were called Surfin’, Surfin Safari and Surfin’ USA, Dennis was the only one to take to the waves.

He gave the band their edge on stage (they called him Dennis The Menace) and the chicks went crazy when he “did the hair thing? – bobbing his barnet from side to side.

People deal differently with success. Brian Wilson, soon after releasing Pet Sounds, spent the end of the sixties in bed – gorging on ice-cream.

Dennis, however, made the most of the benefits being in the Beach Boys gave him – he bought a boat, had lots of sex, had lots of drugs and opened his house to hippies.

We hear all the anecdotes from Dennis’ friends at that time (splitting a love-rival’s scrotum, living with a serial killer and boozed up live-tv interviews) and get an insight into the making of Pacific Ocean Blue – his long out-of-issue solo album.

Refreshingly, the documentary, narrated by Mark Radcliffe, avoids the usual “troubled mind? angle of most music life-stories and you get a real feel for the guy. He had a real good time and ended up a washed-up tramp (literally – he drowned after diving off a boat).

If Pete Doherty and Liam Gallagher have left you disillusioned with rockstars – let Dennis show you how it’s supposed to be done. Surf’s up!

ddd says:

huh. you someone how managed to not mention his music at all. in fact you make all the BB’s out to be bums, wastes or geeks.

not sure if you were trying to be funny but this was really crappy. was this supposed to be a review??