Last week, just as the Beach Boys were wrapping up their 50th anniversary reunion tour and celebrating the opening of an exhibit dedicated to them at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Mike Love made the announcement that he would be continuing on with more Beach Boys tour dates without the assistance of Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, or David Marks. That led to Wilson giving this heartbreaking quote to CNN: “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why he doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me. We are out there having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.”
Love was deeply upset when people reacted badly to the idea that he had dismissed Wilson, so he clarified the situation in the pages of the Los Angeles Times. “Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys,” he wrote. “I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson. We are partners. He’s my cousin by birth and my brother in music.”
Love explained that the dates he’ll be playing without Wilson were already booked prior to the big reunion, and that he was never supposed to play those dates in the first place. “It is not feasible, both logistically and economically, for the 50th anniversary tour to play these markets,” Love wrote. “It’s vitally important for the smaller markets to experience our live shows, as this is how we’ve maintained a loyal fan base for 50 years. You can’t sustain a fan base on a great catalog alone. You must take your music directly to the people.”
He drove home the fact that his own splinter version of the Beach Boys has been on the road for over a decade, and he reminded everybody that he is the Axl Rose of this operation. “The name ‘The Beach Boys’ is controlled by Brother Records Inc., which was founded by the original members of the Beach Boys and whose sole shareholders voted over a decade ago to grant me an exclusive license to tour as ‘The Beach Boys,’” he explained. “With it, I’ve felt a great responsibility to uphold, honor and further our legacy.”
Love is missing the point, though: Purists have never liked the idea of his charlatan Beach Boys cashing checks on the back of Wilson’s songs, and if the reunion tour proved that the actual Beach Boys can coexist and perform together, then why would anybody want to go back to watching Love and a bunch of hired hands? Who is in that Beach Boys anyway? Is Buckethead there?
What do you think? Did everybody jump the gun on condemning Love, or does this letter confirm that he’s out of touch with why people might be upset?