Marc Schuster teaches English at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Don DeLillo, Jean Baudrillard, and the Consumer Conundrum (Cambria 2008), The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl (The Permanent Press 2011), The Grievers (The Permanent Press 2012) and, with Tom Powers, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who (McFarland 2007). He records and performs music under the name Zapatero.
Tell us a little bit about your new book, Tired of California.
I've always been a big fan of the Beach Boys, and I'm particularly fascinated by the music they put out in the early 1970s. Tired of California mainly focuses on an album called Holland that they recorded in the Netherlands during this period. The book examines the band's efforts at re-branding themselves as funky and socially-conscious recording artists while simultaneously trying to recapture the glory of their early career.
What do you like about this period in the Beach Boys' career?
It's such a transitional period for the band. The days when their songs regularly reached the top of the charts were behind them, but they weren't yet the golden-oldies revue that they'd eventually become later in the 1970s and beyond. As a result, they were still pushing artistic boundaries and taking risks, but there's also a distinct sense of vulnerability in their music from this era.
I also like that the music from this era is fairly obscure compared to some of their earlier work. If there's one story that most people know about the Beach Boys, it's that Brian Wilson was a genius who produced some amazing music in the 1960s but lost his mind during the recording of the abortive Smile album towards the end of that decade. The story that usually goes untold is the one I tell in Tired of California -- the story of Brian's brother Carl essentially taking the reins and, with the help of the band's publicist and manager Jack Rieley, rebuilding the Beach Boys for a new decade.