Relive the easy, breezy '60s sound with The Beach Boys
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Tickets: $60-$75; 520-7469, ticketswest.com
Sorry, folks, the band isn’t getting back together.
It’s fairly clear, after talking to Mike Love, 71, a member of the original Beach Boys lineup, that despite a new album and successful, well-reviewed 50th-anniversary tour that ended in September, the guys just aren’t going to ride off into the sunset together anytime soon.
That the Beach Boys have a rocky history is putting it mildly. The band, originally made up of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Love and friend Al Jardine, has seen an ever-changing lineup and endured break-ups and make-ups, mental health issues, drug addictions, alcoholism, lawsuits and the deaths of both Dennis and Carl Wilson since they formed in 1961.
The band’s long history of disharmony seems ironic for a band built on musical harmonies and summer loving, upbeat music like “Good Vibrations,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “God Only Knows” and “Kokomo.” Even Love believes that’s one of the reasons their music has stuck for so long: that easy, breezy, no worries feeling it evokes in you.
“There’s a lot of positivity and harmony in it, which distinguishes us from other rock and pop artists,” he says. “There are so many challenges in life and recent tragedies, and everybody’s touched by family issues. People come and forget about that.”
But it was just that that broke them up: the trials and tribulations of life they had to confront once the delicious chord progressions and happy lyrics faded. Love talks about the drug use that destroyed the band.
“Bruce and I and Al didn’t participate in that. That was the thing I regret the most - that having happened. There isn’t a group in the world that doesn’t have creative differences, but there’s harmony and positivity there, too. Look at the body of music we created, an overwhelming part of it is harmonious. The drugs and alcohol, we were not untouched by that stuff. Just like every other family in the world, we had issues to deal with.”
After much struggle and legal battles over rights, the men broke up into a handful of incarnations of the band. Only one group, Love and Bruce Johnston, who joined the band in 1965, has the legal right to use the name and brand of The Beach Boys. Brian Wilson tours under the name The Brian Wilson Band. Jardine chose the moniker Endless Summer Band, and David Marks, an early member of the band, tours as the Surf City Allstars. They all have setlists filled with Beach Boys tunes.
The Beach Boys will perform Friday at the Pikes Peak Center.
In a move that seemed to indicate improved relationships, they announced at the end of 2011 that 2012 would include a new album and reunion tour. Wilson, Jardine and Marks joined Love and Johnston and released “That’s Why God Made the Radio” in June and hit the road for a 50-show tour. It all went so well and was so well-received by audiences and critics, another 23 dates were added.
“It was a good thing to put aside how we normally do things and get in the studio,” Love says. “I enjoyed it and seeing us together. Even though time had passed since we’d been together, the feeling was the same and the results were similar.”
And then? Back to business as usual: separate groups, separate tours. No happy reconciliation. As Love puts it, they’re now all on “decent terms.”
There are also multiple stories that Wilson was surprised and hurt when he saw his name dropped from The Beach Boys lineup when the tour ended, but Love says that was the deal all along: a reunion tour and then back to the status quo. Love racked up some negative press, but seems to shrug it off.
“There’s always an element of a few people who love to hate Mike Love,” he says. “I’m more outspoken than some people can handle. But the criticism that I value most is the audience response. If we do a show and everybody goes away happy, and with me being a lead singer on so many of the (songs), that’s my main mission - to recreate those songs in the best way possible.”