How Brian Wilson became detactched from reality
We at CX are champions for the repressed, who can sometimes take the form of a misled celebrity. We see them dragged out of comfortable hotel beds after just 3 hours sleep for meaningless photo shoots and interviews. We see them fed lies about their careers, given very bad advice and drugs, then dropped stone cold by their record company with calls not returned.
Nothing is sadder than a public face whose manager and PR flack have gone to ground - which they usually do when the money machine sputters to a halt. A year or two later, the accountant is telling them they have a crippling tax bill. They can't get a job, because everyone says 'hey - aren't YOU ?'
In fact, we feel very, very sympathetic, unlike some people within the industry who seem to get a jolly from FIS - Fallen Idol Syndrome.
So it came to pass that in researching the story of Brian Wilson, a terrible tale of abuse emerged. It's probably one of the worst examples of what can and sometimes does happen to a famous person.
The following text is from the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights, an American body who champion the cause those who fall by the wayside.
With the band’s career well on the way, in 1965, at the age of 23, Brian dropped acid for the first time. It was undiluted LSD. After the trip, Brian wrote, “My home life was most tumultuous. Marilyn [his wife] complained that the LSD had changed me... I didn’t see it then, but she was right. The change was gradual. Like a slow allergic reaction. I slept later. I was subject to wider, more unpredictable mood swings, crying one minute, laughing hysterically the next for no reason. I ate tremendous amounts of sweets. I refused to be sociable.”
As is now known, LSD is unpredictable in its potential effect and is known to induce psychosis. Over the next several years, Wilson withdrew from touring with the Beach Boys and limited his involvement to writing songs. Locking himself in his bedroom for months on end, living on candy bars and milk shakes, he became completely dependent on his family for his spending money and his ability to get around.
The services of Dr. Eugene Landy, a clinical psychologist and reputed “pioneer” in drug treatment, were contracted for most of 1976. Landy’s controversial method of “treatment” required that he have “total therapeutic authority over the patient and the patient’s environment.” Under this program, Brian was also prescribed additional drugs, “psychotropics... tranquilizers....”
The control was too much for The Beach Boys, who eventually fired Landy.
But Brian’s drug addiction continued to ruin his life. Landy was engaged again after Brian overdosed on a combination of booze, cocaine and psychoactive pills. In January of 1983, orchestrating a plan to “save Brian’s life,” Landy insisted on total control of all aspects of Brian’s life for 18 to 36 months at a cost of nearly half a million dollars. He arranged with The Beach Boys for Brian to be “fired from the group and not given any more money unless he (Brian) agreed to see Landy for ‘extensive treatment.’” Landy is quoted as saying, “the success of 24-hour therapy rests on the extent to which the therapeutic team can exert control over every aspect of the patient’s life....” to “... totally disrupt the privacy of their patient’s lives, gaining complete control over every aspect of their physical, personal, social and sexual environments.”
Between 1983 and 1986, Landy and his team of assistants looked after Brian while sharing his lifestyle for a fee of some $420,000 annually. Two years later, when Landy requested even more money, a desperate Carl Wilson gave away 25 percent of Brian’s publishing royalties to cover the costs of continuing the program.
By 1986, everything began to unravel for Landy. He was accused of being a “Svengali* who was holding Brian captive.” It was discovered that he was writing songs with Brian as “part of his therapy,” not to be given to The Beach Boys, but for Landy’s own personal gain. After The Beach Boys cut off the money, Dr. Landy got Brian to sign with him to do a solo album. During the songwriting for this album, Brian’s longtime songwriting partner Gary Usher reported that during their time together, Brian told him that he was “... a goddamned prisoner... I have no hope of escape.” Gary turned over his detailed diary to the Attorney General’s office, which had already begun to investigate Landy.
In February 1988, the California Board of Medical Quality charged Dr. Landy with ethical and license code violations. These charged violations amounted to the moral and spiritual rape of Brian Wilson. Landy gave up his license to practice for two years. When he requested reinstatement in 1992, the Board opposed it.
As part of a battle to control Brian’s estate in 1990, his daughter told Rolling Stone, “I think that Dr. Landy has really taken advantage, no question about it. When my dad has been off drugs, he’s whispered in people’s ears, like, ‘He’s really got control of me. I’m afraid to leave him. I’m afraid.’”
In 1992, a lawsuit filed against Landy by the Beach Boys and Brian’s mother, resulted in the barring of Landy from Brian’s life. (Thanks to C.C.H.R. for text).
Brian Wilson is back with us, at least musically.
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