Take a look at this 2012 Beach Boys.
‘Will Beach Boys reunion end on a sour note?‘ asks the Sept 19th Los Angeles Times:
Even on a day designed to celebrate 50 years of the signature harmonies of the Beach Boys, the notoriously fractious group couldn’t avoid striking yet another discordant note amid all the good vibrations.
A day before band members gathered at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles to take in various accolades, singer and lyricist Mike Love caught his fellow band members by surprise in announcing his decision to resume touring with his latter-day incarnation of the Beach Boys — minus creative leader Brian Wilson or original members Al Jardine and David Marks.
The move by Love, who legally controls the Beach Boys name and who has sued Wilson and Jardine over various issues throughout the years, raises major questions about any future for the reunited edition of the quintessential California band. It’s played more than 70 performances this year on four continents and released a warmly received new studio album for the first time in more than two decades.
This is, of course, Mike Love’s Standard Operating Procedure. Since 1976’s 15 Big Ones album/tour/rebranding (‘Brian’s Back!’), Mike has used each passing year, decade, century as another milestone, in a dogged personal pursuit of longevity.
Maybe Mike Love thinks he can cheat Time. Of late, he is certainly looking that way:
(Mike is the one not smiling – but he may be acting upon medical advice.)
Says the LA Times about a Brian, Al and David Marks-free touring Beach Boys-type band,
Love indicated that he’s being protective of the Beach Boys’ legacy.
“You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed,” Love said. “There are promoters who are interested [in more shows by the reunited lineup], but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year.’ The Eagles found out the hard way when they went out for a second year and wound up selling tickets for $5.”
Commerce, ticket sales, success and ‘exposure’ matter a lot to Mike Love, Beach Boys™ and Brother Records Inc (with its clever ‘BRI’ acronym). But Mike’s own plans for Mike Love, Beach Boys™ and BRI seem, as ever, to be at odds with the actual members of The Beach Boys – the guys who sing and play the music. And, as ever, at odds with Brian Wilson – the guy who wrote and produced the legacy of which Mike is ‘being protective of’.
Love said that he sees recording and touring as separate matters, and that his decision to return to touring without Wilson, who is his cousin, or Jardine and Marks, who started the Beach Boys when they were teenagers growing up in Hawthorne, wouldn’t preclude more recording together. “I’d be interested [in making another album] if I could write some songs with Brian,” Love said.
It would be easy to present all of this without comment. A correspondent says to me
I look very forward to seeing how the Mike Love apologists explain their way out of this shit.
and an apologist has duly commented on the LA Times article:
Once again the Beach Boys haters roll out the pre-written headline, only to be disappointed when the facts don’t match up. Mike Love has been publicly scheduling the “other” Beach Boys’ concerts throughout the tour; the Rolling Stone article at the outset of the tour even talks about the subject with Brian, who said he didn’t know but didn’t mind. Sorry haters, 2012 was the best Beach Boys’ year since the 70s. True Beach Boys fans know it and don’t need a “Mike ruined our fun” story to be satisfied.
This comment takes, as a given, ‘haters’. But these are within the band’s fervent fan community – the Eloi/Morlock fan dichotomy.
Has Mike ‘ruined our fun’? Has he ruined Al, David and Brian’s ‘fun’?
Is Beach Boys™ its own worst enemy? Does Mike Love himself thrive on enmity? Is life only real for him where there is conflict amongst his band members?
Remove Mike Love from the equation, at any point in Beach Boys history – what would change? What would be different? If the ‘butterfly effect’ theory were applied to The Beach Boys, would there be radical shifts in our current, shared timeline if Mike were ousted in ’66 or ’67, or ’77? Or ’87? 1997?
Would there still have been a Smile release in 2011? Or would it have come far, far earlier? 1967 maybe…?
The LA Times story was about the band’s induction into the Grammy Museum – and thus Mike Love, ‘who legally controls the Beach Boys name’, remains their spokesman.
Billboard’s story (Beach Boys Wrap 50 Years as Questions Arise About Their 51st) covers most of the same ground, where the confusion over who or what currently represents The Beach Boys takes precedence over their new role, as museum pieces.
Bit like their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in ’88 – memorable, but not necessarily for the right reasons…
In his press release issued on Sept. 17, Love said the 50th anniversary tour “was designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end to mark a special 50-year milestone for the band.” The tour did a lot to restore the band’s image, which has been pockmarked by decades of legal squabbles and infighting over the band’s direction.
2011’s Smile Sessions release had the capacity to restore the band’s image – but this was an image of The Beach Boys c.1966, under the control of Brian Wilson, as writer, producer, arranger – as the leader of The Beach Boys.
2011/12’s 50 Big Ones tour/album/reissue campaign may have completely erased Smile from this 2012 vantage point.
There is thus the possibility that there might, again, be two touring bands playing Brian Wilson’s music – but now, Mike’s ‘The Beach Boys’, regardless of who is onstage, will be perceived as this historical entity, worthy of memorialising by The Grammy Museum…any Brian Wilson Band might become somehow secondary to Mike and Bruce’s Beach Boys. ™.
In other words, a complete reversal of The Beach Boys status quo. Prior to the reunion tour, I imagined most Brian Wilson fans regarded the Beach Boys brand this way:
But, after a carefully-managed promotional campaign, post-The Smile Sessions, it’s The Beach Boys’ 50 Big Ones that seem to matter most.
Mike now has enough publicity for the band brand (which he owns) to return it to the kinds of tours The Moopets The Beach Boys were playing prior to their ‘reunion’ – but, as the band are now legends (The Grammy Museum!), Mike and BRI’s pay packets will, of course, be substantially larger.
As Mike Love told Mojo in June 2011, as part of the Smile Sessions‘ pre-publicity,
I admit I’m appreciative of the artistic part of things but I also want to be successful. That’s me. That’s Mike Love…
With Mike having regained the success he craves through the Beach Boys’ tour, he no longer needs Al Jardine, David Marks – or Brian Wilson.
Would Mike and Bruce’s touring band have gotten this adulation, regained this success without Al, David and Brian’s involvement?
from the Los Angeles Times:
The Grammy Museum exhibit includes various pieces of musical and personal memorabilia from over a half century of the band’s existence, including the surfboard once owned by drummer Dennis Wilson…The exhibit also includes a high school theme paper Brian Wilson wrote outlining “My Philosophy,” in which he stated that he hoped to make his mark in the world through music. “The satisfaction of ‘a place in the world’ seems well worth a sincere effort to me,” the 17-year-old future architect of the Beach Boys sound wrote.
Brian Wilson made ‘his mark in the world through music’. But it’s his cousin that retains ‘a place in the world’ through Brian’s own work.
What might the 17-year-old author of My Philosophy make of his future achievements if he could have a vision, even a glimpse, of these 2012 news reports?