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Author Topic: Brian's mental history  (Read 22436 times)
donutbandit
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« on: December 20, 2007, 07:28:18 PM »

I've read a couple of posts here that got me to thinking about the timeline of Brian's apparent mental degredation. One mentioned that he seemed very lucid in 1981.

I've seen a number of live performances made after that. All the way up to the campfire scenes on "The Beach Boys Endless Summer" in 1988, I didn't see any noticible problem. Brian wasn't shuffling, he wasn't slurring his voice, or speaking out of the side of his mouth any more than previously. He performed "In My Car" during this series, and though it was obvious that he was suffering intense stage fright, he strode back and forth while singing the song, even sang the falsetto, and at the end, gave a big grin while doing a pantomime axe chop with the mike.

The shuffling gait, slurring, mouth twisting, all seemed to happen after this.

I saw a segment on Entertainment Tonight around 1991 about Carnie and Wendy recording "Flesh & Blood" to try and reach Brian through music. There was a short clip of Brian being asked about his daughters. There was a bit of word slurring, but not too much.

The record seems to indicate that most of Brian's mental damage was caused by Dr. Eugene Landy in a period after 1991. Is it possible that, once the battle to get Brian out of Landy's clutches began, that Landy gave Brian drugs to make him seem out of it, incompetent, someone who desperately needed psychiatric care? And is it possible that, if this happened, these drugs caused permanent damage to Brian's mind? Is it even possible that, once Landy had seen that he would lose Brian, he may have administered some kind of drug cocktail intended to cause Brian's death? It was reported that more than one person had seen a copy of Brian's will amended to make Landy Brian's sole beneficiary. I don't remember where I saw that now. It may have been on the same Entertainment Tonight segment referred to earlier.

Any input from observers who saw much more than I did would be appreciated.
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Amy B.
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2007, 08:41:18 PM »

I don't know much more than you do, except what I've read on this board. I believe Peter Reum posted about this subject in the past. I think he said the slurring had more to do with side effects from Landy-era drugs than anything else. You might do a search for his post.
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Wirestone
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2007, 12:05:30 AM »

It is my understanding that Brian was essentially pumped up on speed throughout the second Landy period (83-92 ish), and that the heavy cocktail of drugs -- which helped him seem lucid and pumped up through that time -- was what ultimately harmed him. He was weaned from them when he met and married Melinda (94-95), and it's from then on that you see the Brian of today.
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2007, 12:17:48 AM »

One thing has to be said he always had an eccentric sense of humor and demeanor. Yet in the interviews I have heard up through 1974 he doesn't seem depressed or ill. He's talkative and ususally positive. No one talked about his illness' then probably because it was only in 1976 that the full extent of his problems were made public. From 1976-81 he still is usually positive and forthcoming but there are times were he seems high or perhaps distressed. The 1976 bed interview is one where I think you can see he has changed. His problems were taking more center stage, but he was still pretty lucid. Now from 1983-91 Brian was told what to say by Landy. Maybe he was forced to be a little more talkative then now, but mostly he was showing signs of not being able to consintrate like before, and when you could pin him down all he did was sing the praises of Eugene ad nausem.  I remember somebody on here speaking of seeing Brian on Entertainment Tonight in 1983. I don't remember exactly what they said but I have seen the tape and  he was making odd facial expressions, almost seemed to have a bit of a tick. He was stressing the wrong words, and had a hint of a slur. All the things you see now but less pronounced. Go forward to 1986 I have a documentary on McCartney that aired on the USA network that Brian is in. His mouth is very crooked and his words are very slurred. I have heard , though it's been often denied, that Brian had a mild stroke around then while undergoing surgery to repair a broken cheekbone. As much as it has been explained away or denied, something in the story rings true. By 1991 he did seem worse and was slurring worse then ever before. Perhaps this was him at his worst, I was reading reports of him passing out at book signings. Now since 1992 Brian is overall brief in interviews and often doesn't seem fully involved with his surroundings. There are exceptions, and his memory sometimes can be really good, but he is nothing like he was originally, even by late 70's standards. I don't mean to be harsh, but while I am proud of much of what he has achieved in the last ten years, he doesn't seem "normal". That's OK and I accept him for who he is, he still seems like a very good person, but he just is not someone that is comfortable sitting down and chatting with somebody and it painfully shows. The reason I stress this is because I am tired of everyone since 1976 saying "Brian was nuts but look at how great he is now" when he obviously is a man who has done damage to himself that cannot be fixed.. As far as the Endless Summer show goes, I notice that he already has kind of a haunted look in his eyes and I at least can hear a slur. He is fairly lucid with the stories though and seems very happy around the band.
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She Dont Know A Thing
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2007, 01:43:39 AM »

I think MBE nailed it. Despite the fact he was reaching his low point of drug and food addiction, 1982 seems to be the last time Brian seemed anything at all like his old self. The second Landy era saved his life, but it seems he lost a lot of his original personality in that time.

Then again, I'm just going on his public presentation here.
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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2007, 02:14:17 AM »

This Brian interview from 1980 really surprised me the first time I saw it. The physical decline is showing (he looks like he hasn't washed his hair in quite a while) he's very lucid, animated and upbeat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8g0laPq4Oc&feature=related

Whether it was unintentional or not, I think Landy definitely overmedicated him, causing the slurring and other damage that lingers to this day.
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jmc
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2007, 07:48:09 AM »

Yes I agree.  Sadly, it appears Landy doped him up good the second time around and he hasn't fully recovered from it yet.  Even during the first stint (1976) what few interviews he did he seemed more like a deer in the headlights. 

I love these late 70's and pre-Landy 80's interviews of him.  " I love Food "   too funny....  He seems very real.   I mean just listening to him in the Les Chan interview he seems very relaxed, open and friendly and this was in 81 when he was supposed to be burnt-up. 
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Andrew G. Doe
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2007, 11:38:23 AM »

I've had it said to me by 'an interested party' that  Landy's basic MO was to keep Brian placid with Thorazine, and pump him full of uppers when required for an interview or similar public consumption.  The medications Landy filled Brian with did far more damage than anything he took in the 60s & 70s, and came very close to finishing him as a functioning human being. As it was, Brian was considerably damaged. Remember this next time anyone says "yes, but, he did save Brian's life".
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2007, 01:59:18 PM »

Anti-psychotic drugs like Thorazine can lead to a side effect called "tardive dyskinesia", especially when used over long periods.

Google that term for info.

Besides the side effects of such meds, psychiatric conditions also have natural progressions that lead to changes in the person.

I don't know much about the natural history of the disease name currently applied to Brian's condition (schizoaffective disorder?) . But in the case of schizophrenia, people affected by it eventually have their psychosis "burn out", which means the symptoms diminish, but the affect and personality of the person often go down with it too. That happens with or without meds, so it's not always possible to know what "blame" to lay where.

Whatever the cause, it's a tragedy.
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Jay
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2007, 09:18:36 PM »

In my opinion, Brian is MUCH worse today than ever before. Even in 1981, it's very obvious that Brian was addicted to drugs and various other things, but his personality always came through. Today, he's like a robot...a "yes man".  It makes me wonder what Brian would be like today, if he had been "sobered up" in 1983, but not actually put on any type of medications. His auditory and visual hallucinations would probably be worse though.
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donutbandit
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2007, 10:22:42 PM »

None of us can ever know the hell that Brian has been through. I'm fairly certain that he would have killed himself in the early 1980s without the intervention of the family and Landy. Would we rather have a dead Brian?

So, he's worse. He's alive, and is enjoying his life as much as possible. When I am 65, I hope I can say the same. I have 10 years to work on it.
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Jay
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2007, 10:37:15 PM »

This Brian interview from 1980 really surprised me the first time I saw it. The physical decline is showing (he looks like he hasn't washed his hair in quite a while) he's very lucid, animated and upbeat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8g0laPq4Oc&feature=related

Whether it was unintentional or not, I think Landy definitely overmedicated him, causing the slurring and other damage that lingers to this day.
If you watch that film closely, Brian is already starting to talk out of the side of his mouth.
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donutbandit
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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2007, 11:09:25 PM »

Quote
If you watch that film closely, Brian is already starting to talk out of the side of his mouth.

Some of that may be hereditary. Clips of Audree also show her speaking out of one side of her mouth.
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mikeyj
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2007, 11:57:15 PM »

Quote
If you watch that film closely, Brian is already starting to talk out of the side of his mouth.

Some of that may be hereditary. Clips of Audree also show her speaking out of one side of her mouth.

Brian has always spoken out of the side of his mouth hasn't he? I'm pretty sure Rich Sloan said that in high school Brian was talking out the side of his mouth. Of course it wasn't as noticeable as it is now but it was always the case as far as I know.
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mikeyj
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2007, 12:04:08 AM »

I've had it said to me by 'an interested party' that  Landy's basic MO was to keep Brian placid with Thorazine, and pump him full of uppers when required for an interview or similar public consumption.  The medications Landy filled Brian with did far more damage than anything he took in the 60s & 70s, and came very close to finishing him as a functioning human being. As it was, Brian was considerably damaged. Remember this next time anyone says "yes, but, he did save Brian's life".

Yeah I hate Landy. What was the name of that reporter that did that story on Landy where Landy doesn't have an answer for a lot of her questions? There's one question where he just sits there and dosen't know what to say for about 20 seconds. That video made me hate Landy more than I did before (before I just knew that he was "bad" and that he controlled Brian). But that video made me realise how much of a bad guy Landy really was. Brian seems in a really bad way in that interview. It's sad when the reporter asks Brian "why haven't you seen your kids" and he doesn't know why, but you can see the pain on his face. So sad!!
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2007, 04:16:38 AM »

Brian has always spoken to one side to some degree. Perhaps he bothered to hide it better in the 60s, when he was seen as 'cool'.

He does it because he is almost deaf in one ear. By 'talking toward' his good ear, he can hear himself better.

You can try it yourself by covering up one ear and talking out of your mouth to both sides.

It's like playing a gig with monitors. You can gauge yourself better when you can hear yourself better.

i am unaware that Brian has ever has a stroke.
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2007, 10:01:09 AM »

I've had it said to me by 'an interested party' that  Landy's basic MO was to keep Brian placid with Thorazine, and pump him full of uppers when required for an interview or similar public consumption.  The medications Landy filled Brian with did far more damage than anything he took in the 60s & 70s, and came very close to finishing him as a functioning human being. As it was, Brian was considerably damaged. Remember this next time anyone says "yes, but, he did save Brian's life".

Yeah I hate Landy. What was the name of that reporter that did that story on Landy where Landy doesn't have an answer for a lot of her questions? There's one question where he just sits there and dosen't know what to say for about 20 seconds. That video made me hate Landy more than I did before (before I just knew that he was "bad" and that he controlled Brian). But that video made me realise how much of a bad guy Landy really was. Brian seems in a really bad way in that interview. It's sad when the reporter asks Brian "why haven't you seen your kids" and he doesn't know why, but you can see the pain on his face. So sad!!

Diane Sawyer. She nailed the s.o.b to the wall and it was a pleasure to watch. Think it's on youtube.
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2007, 10:41:08 AM »

Diane Sawyer. She nailed the s.o.b to the wall and it was a pleasure to watch. Think it's on youtube.

Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2-vhRkfFgj8

Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=y9C_lKYhWr4&feature=related

The 7:00 minute mark (or thereabouts) of Part 2 is wonderful...Landy's silence, as he is unable to answer Sawyer's point that he violated his profession's code of ethics. But shortly before that is sad, when she asks Brian if he knows how much he pays Landy. The response is "I wish not to answer that."
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2007, 02:58:46 PM »

Diane Sawyer. She nailed the s.o.b to the wall and it was a pleasure to watch. Think it's on youtube.

Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2-vhRkfFgj8

Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=y9C_lKYhWr4&feature=related

The 7:00 minute mark (or thereabouts) of Part 2 is wonderful...Landy's silence, as he is unable to answer Sawyer's point that he violated his profession's code of ethics. But shortly before that is sad, when she asks Brian if he knows how much he pays Landy. The response is "I wish not to answer that."

Wow those are really disturbing videos.  Brian seems so out of it, and there's Landy smiling and justifying cutting Brian off from his family.  Very sad to see.
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2007, 05:21:25 PM »

Brians mouth always turned to one side. In old clips of the beach boys you can see it way back in 62'. He said  he started hearing voice's at 25 years old, Brian had mental problems back then. Drugs he did on his own messed up his brain pretty good. Landy made his problems worse with the drugs he gave brian, they were very powerful and with all the drugs though the years, brian's and landy's, this is the result.
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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2007, 07:13:14 PM »

In Tim White's book, he discussed the complaint filed by Brian's plastic surgeon against Dr. Landy.  The complaint said Brian was on something like 14 different drugs at the same time.  The surgeon was concerned by Brian's low blood pressure, so he had his blood tested for all the chemicals in it.  He was even on betablockers, probably to help him function in public settings.  When a person is on that many meds, they're bound to have an effect, because they interact with each other.  Brian also suffered liver failure in the early '80s, so his liver may not metabolize drugs as well as a person with no history of that.  Landy had Brian seeing more than one medical doctor, so he probably was able to get multiple prescriptions for different drugs without anyone know what was what.  It would be difficult to tell what caused any permanent damage, but some drugs have side effects that can remain even after they've been stopped.  Brian is lucky to be alive and as healthy as he is. 
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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2007, 07:34:16 PM »

"Liver failure" may be an exagerrated term.

If you have liver failure you either get a liver transplant or you die.
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Jay
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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2007, 08:19:31 PM »

I've had it said to me by 'an interested party' that  Landy's basic MO was to keep Brian placid with Thorazine, and pump him full of uppers when required for an interview or similar public consumption.  The medications Landy filled Brian with did far more damage than anything he took in the 60s & 70s, and came very close to finishing him as a functioning human being. As it was, Brian was considerably damaged. Remember this next time anyone says "yes, but, he did save Brian's life".
Just how close did Brian come to not functioning as a human being, may I ask? I once read a story about Brian talking to Hal Blaine during this period. Supposedly, Hal mentioned "Good Vibrations", and Brian had no clue what he was talking about.
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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2007, 09:03:26 PM »

In 1991, according to someone who knows about these things, Brian had maybe five years before the meds he was on reduced him to a permanent zombie - check out the final stages of tardative dyskinesia.
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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2007, 10:17:49 PM »

In 1991, according to someone who knows about these things, Brian had maybe five years before the meds he was on reduced him to a permanent zombie - check out the final stages of tardative dyskinesia.

When you think about it the Brian Wilson story really is sad, yet it is also really inspiring how one can come through so much crap such as the abuse by Murry, the drugs abuse that he did to himself, the mental problems, Landy... Quite inspiring how he has come up with so much incredible music and I think that's why the music is so heartfelt. We Love You Brian!!
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