For decades, the story of the Beach Boys has been the story told in the 2015 Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy: Brian was the genius who put the band on the map, but a combination of drug addiction and mental illness led to his downfall. Some versions of the story, like the TV movies Summer Dreams and The Beach Boys: An American Family also portray Brian’s “bad-boy” brother, drummer Dennis Wilson, as a doomed romantic figure whose drowning in 1983 cast a pall over the band’s fun-in-the-sun image. While all versions of this story have the band returning to their former glory in one way or another, they also leave out a brief period in the early 1970s when the Beach Boys were producing critically acclaimed albums that barely made a dent in the record charts. This period of dramatic artistic growth culminated in a prolonged visit to the Netherlands, during which the Beach Boys recorded Holland.
The story of Holland is the story of a band trying to reinvent itself. Drawing on a wide range of interviews and profiles published in the early 1970s, Tired of California examines the efforts of the Beach Boys to crawl out from under the shadow of their resident genius to become artists in their own right under the controlling eye of their shady publicist-cum-manager Jack Rieley. Commercially disappointing as this effort may have been, it produced some of the most enduring material of the band’s career. Loved by rock legends like Tom Petty and Elvis Costello, Holland proves that the Beach Boys were more than just Brian Wilson’s backing band. They were true artists.