THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE
Brian Cools Out, Mike Tunes In
Despite the blows to their career, the Beach Boys experienced a few personal triumphs during this phase of their lives. Carl married his girlfriend, Annie Hinsche, in February 1966, and the couple moved into Carl's house in Bel Air. Mike and his wife, Suzanne, had two children—Hayleigh in 1966 and Christian in 1968—while Brian and Marilyn became the parents of a baby girl named Carnie on April 29, 1968. Confirmed bachelor Dennis also became a husband and a father: He and Carol Freedman married in 1965, and Dennis adopted her son, Scott. They had a daughter of their own, Jennifer, in 1967.
Al continued to live a quiet life with his wife, Lynda, in Mandeville Canyon, and even Murry and Audree, despite living in different houses, continued to be friends and companions. But the indulgences and uncertainties of rock stardom made domestic life difficult for the members of the group, and before the decade was over both Mike and Dennis would be divorced. Dennis's escalating drug and drinking problem didn't help matters.
Two months after Smiley Smile's release, the band released the R & B-flavored Wild Honey on Capitol. Produced by all the Beach Boys, it managed to spawn a top twenty hit, “Darlin',” based on Brian and Mike's 1964 song “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You Baby.” Although the album only reached number twenty-four on the charts, Wild Honey became a fan favorite.
To Carl, it was “music for Brian to cool out by,” and the eldest Wilson brother's participation in the project was only a fraction of what it had been during the heyday of Pet Sounds. “He was still very spaced,” Carl noted. To Marilyn, it seemed more serious than that: Brian was becoming more withdrawn, sleeping well past noon and rarely meeting with friends. His drug use also increased. “There was a difference between having fun and having sick fun,” she said. “I don't think I really saw, or let myself see that.” Brian himself said of the time, “Every day I had less control over my mind … each day became more devoted to merely surviving.”