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Author Topic: USA Today, August '98 Mike: “Most of the audience doesn’t even know our names."  (Read 616 times)
HeyJude
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« on: August 02, 2017, 11:46:21 AM »

Some interesting bits in this time capsule from a strange moment in the band's history........


USA Today - August 20, 1998

Beach Boys Change, But the Sound Stays the Same


The Beach Boys, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof, are on the road again.
The songs are the same, of course, and Mike Love, 57, is front and center. But
aside from singer / keyboardist Bruce Johnston, 54, who joined in 1965 as a touring
replacement for Brian Wilson,
the rest of the band is virtually unrecognizable- even to fans.

Carl Wilson died of cancer in February; Al Jardine is off recording a solo album.
Brian Wilson, who hasn’t toured regularly with the Beach Boys in decades, is
basking in the reviews of his recent solo album, Imagination, and living in a quiet
suburb of Chicago.


Although those key members are missing, the band is chugging along as it has
every summer for 37 years, waving the flag for sun, cars and surf.
"Mike is the only one who really has to be here,” guitarist David Marks says. “He
has the distinctive voice. You can do without any one of us.”


"The Beach Boys are a band with great harmonies that sings the songs everybody
knows,” Love says. “Most of the audience doesn’t even know our names.” Don’t
tell that to Ted Cohen, press agent for the 1976 “Brian’s Back” tour. He bristles at
the idea of a Beach Boys show with no Wilsons. “What they are doing now is just
a hollow continuation of the brand,” he says. Cohen, now a Los Angeles media
consultant, thinks the current lineup is missing some vital parts. “Brian provided
the soul for the Beach Boys, and Carl was the heart.”


Marks, 50, now a permanent member, was until recently just a footnote in Beach
Boys history. He lived across the street from the Wilsons as a child and played
on the band’s first five albums; Jardine replaced him in 1964. Love asked Marks
to join the road show last year “to lend some authenticity,” Marks says. “Without
the Wilsons around, it adds something to have one of the founders onstage.” How
does he feel about being one of the Boys again after all these years? “Sure beats
sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels.”


"Emotionally there is a void, and it’s a drag that Carl’s gone,” Love says. “But for
the rest of us who are still here, life goes on, and we do the best we can. Even if
Carl isn’t there, it still sounds pretty good.” These are, after all, many of the same
musicians who’ve provided instrumental punch for two decades. They strive for exact reproductions of the
familiar, albeit at a pace that’s more energized than in recent memory. “Carl
slowed everything down so it would groove,” Marks says. “Now we’re going a
little faster.”

There are no plans to add to the canon, though “I’d like to write with Brian
again,” Love says. “I would have no interest in doing a Beach Boys album without
him.” Marks, however,is ready.“I’d love to record,” he says. “I’ve written
some great songs. I have friends who’ve written some great songs. But no one
here seems interested.”

Still, there’s no shortage of product. Endless Harmony, a VH1 documentary airing
Sunday, demonstrates that — despite Marks’ claim that it doesn’t matter who’s
onstage today — the Beach Boys’ music is the result of powerful interlocking personalities.
A companion CD, a career-spanning 25-track collection with a healthy
dose of compelling rarities and alternate versions, is a balanced cross section of
the group’s career.

Symphonic Sounds of the Beach Boys, produced by Johnston with the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, is a classical treatment that began as part of a symphonic
tour but was derailed by Carl Wilson’s passing. Johnston is ebullient, chatting the
disc up at every opportunity. “I don’t care if this sells. It’s more of a statement.”
Capitol also hopes to re-release the band’s 1964 Christmas album, combined with
tracks from an unreleased 1977 effort, for this holiday season. And that will be
followed by new editions of the band’s creatively fertile 1970-76 output, with the
requisite bonus tracks and expanded liner notes.

“We’ve been dysfunctional at times,” Love says. “We’ve been self-destructive
at times. And time has taken its toll. But the most important thing is that we’ve
created a lot of happy people, millions of memories. These are literal good vibrations.
You can pick the group apart, but there is a lot of positivity that has been
created.”
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 11:50:42 AM »

Random thoughts:

Dave doesn't come off the greatest in the article. I get what he's saying, but it's probably not the best statement for the "new guy" to make mere months after Carl and Al are gone that "any one of us" are dispensable other than Mike.

On the other hand, Dave's reference to the apathy of everybody else concerning recording *new* music is pretty funny.

Also hilarious is Dave's *ringing* endorsement of membership in the band: It beats sitting at home on the couch. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 12:06:50 PM »

Random thoughts:

Dave doesn't come off the greatest in the article. I get what he's saying, but it's probably not the best statement for the "new guy" to make mere months after Carl and Al are gone that "any one of us" are dispensable other than Mike.

On the other hand, Dave's reference to the apathy of everybody else concerning recording *new* music is pretty funny.

Also hilarious is Dave's *ringing* endorsement of membership in the band: It beats sitting at home on the couch. 

I wonder how history might've played out differently if Dave's health problems hadn't happened; would he have continued playing in the band as a permanent member all these years? Would it be the Mike & Bruce & Dave show?
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 12:15:04 PM »

Random thoughts:

Dave doesn't come off the greatest in the article. I get what he's saying, but it's probably not the best statement for the "new guy" to make mere months after Carl and Al are gone that "any one of us" are dispensable other than Mike.

On the other hand, Dave's reference to the apathy of everybody else concerning recording *new* music is pretty funny.

Also hilarious is Dave's *ringing* endorsement of membership in the band: It beats sitting at home on the couch.  

I wonder how history might've played out differently if Dave's health problems hadn't happened; would he have continued playing in the band as a permanent member all these years? Would it be the Mike & Bruce & Dave show?

Mike still seems to like Dave being there. As I recall, I think the Stebbins book gets into the some of the possible psychology behind why Mike likes having Dave there. While I would say a lot of his has to do with Dave's high "authenticity to corporate control" ratio (that is, he lends a lot of authenticity being a founding member and having played on the early albums, but is not a corporate member of BRI and has no say in either BRI nor Mike's touring operation), I think there's also something more innocent about Dave in Mike's eyes. You'd think Mike would be closer to, say, Al. But Dave and Mike don't have a history of 37 years of constant touring together with numerous disagreements, etc.

In Dave's defense, in his book with Stebbins as well as interviews he gave after leaving Mike's band in July '99, he gave a more clear and informed picture of why exactly he was there in the band in 1997/98. Understandably, the stuff he said years later in his book with Stebbins (e.g. being essentially brought in as a replacement for *Al* while Al was still in the band and without telling Al, in true "Spinal Tap" fashion) was not the sort of stuff he would have offered in a piece from mid-1998 while he was still in the band.

You'll also notice that other than the quick sidebar about Al working on a solo album, nobody even mentions Al in the article. That might be because he had been more or less s**t-canned, and as of August 1998 I don't think Mike or anybody else thought Al would soon after launch his own tour. I think they were hoping Al would just be the band's Don Felder, if that. Just kind of float away.
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 05:53:49 AM »

Quote
There are no plans to add to the canon, though “I’d like to write with Brian again,” Love says. “I would have no interest in doing a Beach Boys album without him.”


Nor could he.
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 12:13:03 PM »


Getting off-topic here, but as a relative newcomer to this board, I'd be interested if you could expand on the Al getting sh*t-canned.  What exactly happened, and who was involved (ie was Mike the instigator or was Carl involved and if so, what was the falling-out between Carl and Al?)  I see references to this period but I don't know the whole story.  I have a hard time imagining tension between Carl and Al. 
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 12:22:06 PM »

Some interesting bits in this time capsule from a strange moment in the band's history........


USA Today - August 20, 1998

Beach Boys Change, But the Sound Stays the Same


The Beach Boys, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof, are on the road again.
The songs are the same, of course, and Mike Love, 57, is front and center. But
aside from singer / keyboardist Bruce Johnston, 54, who joined in 1965 as a touring
replacement for Brian Wilson,
the rest of the band is virtually unrecognizable- even to fans.

Carl Wilson died of cancer in February; Al Jardine is off recording a solo album.
Brian Wilson, who hasn’t toured regularly with the Beach Boys in decades, is
basking in the reviews of his recent solo album, Imagination, and living in a quiet
suburb of Chicago.


Although those key members are missing, the band is chugging along as it has
every summer for 37 years, waving the flag for sun, cars and surf.
"Mike is the only one who really has to be here,” guitarist David Marks says. “He
has the distinctive voice. You can do without any one of us.”


"The Beach Boys are a band with great harmonies that sings the songs everybody
knows,” Love says. “Most of the audience doesn’t even know our names.” Don’t
tell that to Ted Cohen, press agent for the 1976 “Brian’s Back” tour. He bristles at
the idea of a Beach Boys show with no Wilsons. “What they are doing now is just
a hollow continuation of the brand,” he says. Cohen, now a Los Angeles media
consultant, thinks the current lineup is missing some vital parts. “Brian provided
the soul for the Beach Boys, and Carl was the heart.”


Marks, 50, now a permanent member, was until recently just a footnote in Beach
Boys history. He lived across the street from the Wilsons as a child and played
on the band’s first five albums; Jardine replaced him in 1964. Love asked Marks
to join the road show last year “to lend some authenticity,” Marks says. “Without
the Wilsons around, it adds something to have one of the founders onstage.” How
does he feel about being one of the Boys again after all these years? “Sure beats
sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels.”


"Emotionally there is a void, and it’s a drag that Carl’s gone,” Love says. “But for
the rest of us who are still here, life goes on, and we do the best we can. Even if
Carl isn’t there, it still sounds pretty good.” These are, after all, many of the same
musicians who’ve provided instrumental punch for two decades. They strive for exact reproductions of the
familiar, albeit at a pace that’s more energized than in recent memory. “Carl
slowed everything down so it would groove,” Marks says. “Now we’re going a
little faster.”

There are no plans to add to the canon, though “I’d like to write with Brian
again,” Love says. “I would have no interest in doing a Beach Boys album without
him.” Marks, however,is ready.“I’d love to record,” he says. “I’ve written
some great songs. I have friends who’ve written some great songs. But no one
here seems interested.”

Still, there’s no shortage of product. Endless Harmony, a VH1 documentary airing
Sunday, demonstrates that — despite Marks’ claim that it doesn’t matter who’s
onstage today — the Beach Boys’ music is the result of powerful interlocking personalities.
A companion CD, a career-spanning 25-track collection with a healthy
dose of compelling rarities and alternate versions, is a balanced cross section of
the group’s career.

Symphonic Sounds of the Beach Boys, produced by Johnston with the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, is a classical treatment that began as part of a symphonic
tour but was derailed by Carl Wilson’s passing. Johnston is ebullient, chatting the
disc up at every opportunity. “I don’t care if this sells. It’s more of a statement.”
Capitol also hopes to re-release the band’s 1964 Christmas album, combined with
tracks from an unreleased 1977 effort, for this holiday season. And that will be
followed by new editions of the band’s creatively fertile 1970-76 output, with the
requisite bonus tracks and expanded liner notes.

“We’ve been dysfunctional at times,” Love says. “We’ve been self-destructive
at times. And time has taken its toll. But the most important thing is that we’ve
created a lot of happy people, millions of memories. These are literal good vibrations.
You can pick the group apart, but there is a lot of positivity that has been
created.”


Actually... Brian was the heart, Carl was the soul. And Dennis was the spirit.
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 12:40:26 PM »


Getting off-topic here, but as a relative newcomer to this board, I'd be interested if you could expand on the Al getting sh*t-canned.  What exactly happened, and who was involved (ie was Mike the instigator or was Carl involved and if so, what was the falling-out between Carl and Al?)  I see references to this period but I don't know the whole story.  I have a hard time imagining tension between Carl and Al. 


It's a long story, and I don't think the entire story has yet been hashed out, at least in published/public form.

Short version is that Mike and Al seemed to have a number of "issues" brewing as the 90s progressed, and at some point, as related in the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike wanted to produce the BB tours himself with his company. Al disagreed, Carl didn't oppose it, and that among presumably other things caused a rift between Mike and Al. Apparently this caused some strain between Al and Carl as well, though nothing of a huge magnitude as far as I can tell.

Basically, Al saw it coming and nobody else cared or backed him up. With a setup that would essentially be (I'm guessing) pretty close to Mike's setup now, I'm guessing Al saw that he could more easily be edged out of the touring band if he became an employee of some other company.

Then, also as related in the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike started to track down David Marks to join the band. Contrary to the understandable assumption fans later made that Marks was brought in due to Carl's illness, the Marks/Stebbins books indicates Marks was being recruited as an eventual replacement for *Al*.

Throwing this whole (arguable) coup attempt for a loop was Carl's illness in 1997.

Carl took a break from the tour (and ultimately never was able to return) in later 1997, and soon after David Marks started touring with the band. In true "Spinal Tap" fashion, according to the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike didn't bother to tell Al that David was now in the band. Al's not a moron, and after a few shows where it was clear Marks was not simply "sitting in" but was a full-blown member of the band, this led up to a point where, again according to the Marks/Stebbins book, Al confronted David and basically asked him what was up and why was he back? David was at that point not privy to the machinations behind the scenes that had been brewing with the corporate stuff and Mike and Al and all of that, and David didn't have an answer for Al other than he was there to play with the band, etc. Al walked off and said something like "Well, that's it then. It's over."

What Al probably already knew was apparently confirmed for him at that point. David didn't know it. But Al knew that he was being edged out of the band.

At some point around this time, as detailed in some of the articles from around that time, Mike stated he no longer wanted to appear on stage with Al or with Carl. Ray Lawlor has mentioned that during that year at some point, Mike sent a letter to BRI stating, due to Carl's ailing health, he didn't believe Carl should be on tour anymore and that he (Mike) would quit if this wasn't rectified.

The Mike/Bruce/Dave/Al lineup of the band continued touring through 1997.

Mike, Bruce, and Dave appeared (not billed technically as "The Beach Boys") at a Super Bowl pre-show TV gig in January of 1998. Al was not invited and apparently wasn't aware of the gig until it was shown on TV.

Carl passed away in February 1998.

Al attended one or two "Beach Boys" shows with Mike, Bruce, and David in 1998, shows that presumably had been contracted already that Al was obligated to do, the last one being in May.

By that point, Mike was already back in the road but not yet cleared to use the BB name. I believe he did some 1998 tour dates under some variation of the "California Beach Band" name (not as "America's Band" as was previously mentioned in past years).

Matt Jardine was a member of the touring band through 1997 and actually continued on for a short time after Al was gone in 1998 (one show without Al from May 1998 that includes Matt singing a number of leads circulates on video).

By later in 1998, according to court documents, non-exclusive licenses were offered to all three principal members and Mike pursued one and began touring again as "The Beach Boys."

At the end of 1998 and into early 1999, Al began touring with own band titled "Beach Boys Family & Friends."

David Marks left Mike's band in July 1999.

Al was barred by court order at the end of 1999 from using the "Beach Boys Family & Friends" name.

All of this ironically still doesn't really tell us whether Al was quit or he was fired. I suppose technically the band "broke up", and then reformed without Al and with Mike continuing to move towards getting the exclusive use of the name.

Al being "sh**-canned" is obviously just a colloquial way of saying he was certainly edged out of the band and his exit, at least the *way* the exit happened, was not of his own choosing.

I don't think Carl was involved in Al's exit from the band. His death hastened it I suppose. But Carl being around probably kept the peace as much as it could be. Had Carl died several years earlier or otherwise exited the band, I doubt Mike and Al would have stayed together into 1998 even.

What Carl (and probably Brian) didn't do was put up any opposition to Mike essentially (in my opinion) taking over the band both artistically and logistically/business-wise. I would imagine Al was understandably frustrated with this, but he has never spoken ill of Carl.

What we'll never know is what Carl would have done had he lived and Mike attempted to replace Al with David. Would Carl have gone along with that? I have no idea.
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 01:45:42 PM »


Getting off-topic here, but as a relative newcomer to this board, I'd be interested if you could expand on the Al getting sh*t-canned.  What exactly happened, and who was involved (ie was Mike the instigator or was Carl involved and if so, what was the falling-out between Carl and Al?)  I see references to this period but I don't know the whole story.  I have a hard time imagining tension between Carl and Al. 


It's a long story, and I don't think the entire story has yet been hashed out, at least in published/public form.

Short version is that Mike and Al seemed to have a number of "issues" brewing as the 90s progressed, and at some point, as related in the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike wanted to produce the BB tours himself with his company. Al disagreed, Carl didn't oppose it, and that among presumably other things caused a rift between Mike and Al. Apparently this caused some strain between Al and Carl as well, though nothing of a huge magnitude as far as I can tell.

Basically, Al saw it coming and nobody else cared or backed him up. With a setup that would essentially be (I'm guessing) pretty close to Mike's setup now, I'm guessing Al saw that he could more easily be edged out of the touring band if he became an employee of some other company.

Then, also as related in the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike started to track down David Marks to join the band. Contrary to the understandable assumption fans later made that Marks was brought in due to Carl's illness, the Marks/Stebbins books indicates Marks was being recruited as an eventual replacement for *Al*.

Throwing this whole (arguable) coup attempt for a loop was Carl's illness in 1997.

Carl took a break from the tour (and ultimately never was able to return) in later 1997, and soon after David Marks started touring with the band. In true "Spinal Tap" fashion, according to the Marks/Stebbins book, Mike didn't bother to tell Al that David was now in the band. Al's not a moron, and after a few shows where it was clear Marks was not simply "sitting in" but was a full-blown member of the band, this led up to a point where, again according to the Marks/Stebbins book, Al confronted David and basically asked him what was up and why was he back? David was at that point not privy to the machinations behind the scenes that had been brewing with the corporate stuff and Mike and Al and all of that, and David didn't have an answer for Al other than he was there to play with the band, etc. Al walked off and said something like "Well, that's it then. It's over."

What Al probably already knew was apparently confirmed for him at that point. David didn't know it. But Al knew that he was being edged out of the band.

At some point around this time, as detailed in some of the articles from around that time, Mike stated he no longer wanted to appear on stage with Al or with Carl. Ray Lawlor has mentioned that during that year at some point, Mike sent a letter to BRI stating, due to Carl's ailing health, he didn't believe Carl should be on tour anymore and that he (Mike) would quit if this wasn't rectified.

The Mike/Bruce/Dave/Al lineup of the band continued touring through 1997.

Mike, Bruce, and Dave appeared (not billed technically as "The Beach Boys") at a Super Bowl pre-show TV gig in January of 1998. Al was not invited and apparently wasn't aware of the gig until it was shown on TV.

Carl passed away in February 1998.

Al attended one or two "Beach Boys" shows with Mike, Bruce, and David in 1998, shows that presumably had been contracted already that Al was obligated to do, the last one being in May.

By that point, Mike was already back in the road but not yet cleared to use the BB name. I believe he did some 1998 tour dates under some variation of the "California Beach Band" name (not as "America's Band" as was previously mentioned in past years).

Matt Jardine was a member of the touring band through 1997 and actually continued on for a short time after Al was gone in 1998 (one show without Al from May 1998 that includes Matt singing a number of leads circulates on video).

By later in 1998, according to court documents, non-exclusive licenses were offered to all three principal members and Mike pursued one and began touring again as "The Beach Boys."

At the end of 1998 and into early 1999, Al began touring with own band titled "Beach Boys Family & Friends."

David Marks left Mike's band in July 1999.

Al was barred by court order at the end of 1999 from using the "Beach Boys Family & Friends" name.

All of this ironically still doesn't really tell us whether Al was quit or he was fired. I suppose technically the band "broke up", and then reformed without Al and with Mike continuing to move towards getting the exclusive use of the name.

Al being "sh**-canned" is obviously just a colloquial way of saying he was certainly edged out of the band and his exit, at least the *way* the exit happened, was not of his own choosing.

I don't think Carl was involved in Al's exit from the band. His death hastened it I suppose. But Carl being around probably kept the peace as much as it could be. Had Carl died several years earlier or otherwise exited the band, I doubt Mike and Al would have stayed together into 1998 even.

What Carl (and probably Brian) didn't do was put up any opposition to Mike essentially (in my opinion) taking over the band both artistically and logistically/business-wise. I would imagine Al was understandably frustrated with this, but he has never spoken ill of Carl.

What we'll never know is what Carl would have done had he lived and Mike attempted to replace Al with David. Would Carl have gone along with that? I have no idea.
So do we know why Mike wanted to replace Al so badly with Dave? What sort of conflicts erupted in the 90's to make them so hostile to each other? Mike talks about Al a little in his book but basically leaves it at Al seems a little crabby and was an outsider in a family band. Do we have any specifics as to what caused this big divide?
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 02:08:47 PM »

So do we know why Mike wanted to replace Al so badly with Dave? What sort of conflicts erupted in the 90's to make them so hostile to each other? Mike talks about Al a little in his book but basically leaves it at Al seems a little crabby and was an outsider in a family band. Do we have any specifics as to what caused this big divide?

There aren't a lot of specifics, and Mike's book really doesn't help much. He tells one story in the book about how Al was ticked off at Jackie because a cheerleader that had been doing double-duty as a nanny for Al's kids was fired. This seemed like a pretty chintzy, minor example to use if the idea was to resurrect some sort of negative story about Al.

Mike's 1992 Goldmine interview goes into a bit of detail about how Al was getting hung up on things from the past. Basically, the vibe I get from that era is that they said Al indeed was being kind of crabby and a downer. This was around the time Al was absent from the earlier "Summer in Paradise" sessions.

About the only other specific thing usually put about is that Al didn't like the cheerleaders being a part of the show. Years later, Al mentioned that he had at some point in the 90s mentioned in an interview that he mentioned not liking the cheerleaders and that he got "in trouble" for saying so in the interview.

So there's enough indication that they were going through a sort of crabby married-couple-esque situation in the 90s. Why in the world this meant Mike wanted Al out of the band, I can't say. I don't think he wanted Al out because he wanted David. Rather, and I'm only speculating/guessing, Mike didn't want to be with Al anymore and at that period of time needed to retain a certain number of "core" members in the band. Obviously, by the time Al and Carl was gone and then Dave left in 1999, it would appear there was no longer any requirement in the license that dictated three or four actual BBs had to be in the band.

I think Mike's book also makes very brief passing mention to the situation with Al with a *super* generic "sometimes people aren't meant to stay together forever" sort of explanation, which I thought was weirdly vague considering all of the other times in the book Mike goes into excruciating detail about other less important things than the core reason why he split up with one of the original members. The Mike-Al split is really the only full-on split that ever occurred in the band among original/corporate members. Dennis and Carl exited via their deaths. Brian was coming and going for a number of reasons over the years. Carl's early 80s departure was temporary. The 1998 split between Mike and Al was the only truly divorce-esque situation like that for the band.

One other obvious reason one could guess that Mike would want Al out of the picture: power/control and money. With Al not in the touring band, Mike has full control of everything from the setlist to the band itself to the business machinations, etc. He also doesn't have to split anything with Al off the top the way it was presumably done when Al and Carl were still in the band. In other words, Al would be making far more money touring than he does by collecting is 1/4 cut of the licensing fee Mike pays to BRI.
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 02:12:12 PM »

Some interesting bits in this time capsule from a strange moment in the band's history........


USA Today - August 20, 1998

Beach Boys Change, But the Sound Stays the Same


The Beach Boys, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof, are on the road again.
The songs are the same, of course, and Mike Love, 57, is front and center. But
aside from singer / keyboardist Bruce Johnston, 54, who joined in 1965 as a touring
replacement for Brian Wilson,
the rest of the band is virtually unrecognizable- even to fans.

Carl Wilson died of cancer in February; Al Jardine is off recording a solo album.
Brian Wilson, who hasn’t toured regularly with the Beach Boys in decades, is
basking in the reviews of his recent solo album, Imagination, and living in a quiet
suburb of Chicago.


Although those key members are missing, the band is chugging along as it has
every summer for 37 years, waving the flag for sun, cars and surf.
"Mike is the only one who really has to be here,” guitarist David Marks says. “He
has the distinctive voice. You can do without any one of us.”


"The Beach Boys are a band with great harmonies that sings the songs everybody
knows,” Love says. “Most of the audience doesn’t even know our names.” Don’t
tell that to Ted Cohen, press agent for the 1976 “Brian’s Back” tour. He bristles at
the idea of a Beach Boys show with no Wilsons. “What they are doing now is just
a hollow continuation of the brand,” he says. Cohen, now a Los Angeles media
consultant, thinks the current lineup is missing some vital parts. “Brian provided
the soul for the Beach Boys, and Carl was the heart.”


Marks, 50, now a permanent member, was until recently just a footnote in Beach
Boys history. He lived across the street from the Wilsons as a child and played
on the band’s first five albums; Jardine replaced him in 1964. Love asked Marks
to join the road show last year “to lend some authenticity,” Marks says. “Without
the Wilsons around, it adds something to have one of the founders onstage.” How
does he feel about being one of the Boys again after all these years? “Sure beats
sitting on the couch and flipping through the channels.”


"Emotionally there is a void, and it’s a drag that Carl’s gone,” Love says. “But for
the rest of us who are still here, life goes on, and we do the best we can. Even if
Carl isn’t there, it still sounds pretty good.” These are, after all, many of the same
musicians who’ve provided instrumental punch for two decades. They strive for exact reproductions of the
familiar, albeit at a pace that’s more energized than in recent memory. “Carl
slowed everything down so it would groove,” Marks says. “Now we’re going a
little faster.”

There are no plans to add to the canon, though “I’d like to write with Brian
again,” Love says. “I would have no interest in doing a Beach Boys album without
him.” Marks, however,is ready.“I’d love to record,” he says. “I’ve written
some great songs. I have friends who’ve written some great songs. But no one
here seems interested.”

Still, there’s no shortage of product. Endless Harmony, a VH1 documentary airing
Sunday, demonstrates that — despite Marks’ claim that it doesn’t matter who’s
onstage today — the Beach Boys’ music is the result of powerful interlocking personalities.
A companion CD, a career-spanning 25-track collection with a healthy
dose of compelling rarities and alternate versions, is a balanced cross section of
the group’s career.

Symphonic Sounds of the Beach Boys, produced by Johnston with the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, is a classical treatment that began as part of a symphonic
tour but was derailed by Carl Wilson’s passing. Johnston is ebullient, chatting the
disc up at every opportunity. “I don’t care if this sells. It’s more of a statement.”
Capitol also hopes to re-release the band’s 1964 Christmas album, combined with
tracks from an unreleased 1977 effort, for this holiday season. And that will be
followed by new editions of the band’s creatively fertile 1970-76 output, with the
requisite bonus tracks and expanded liner notes.

“We’ve been dysfunctional at times,” Love says. “We’ve been self-destructive
at times. And time has taken its toll. But the most important thing is that we’ve
created a lot of happy people, millions of memories. These are literal good vibrations.
You can pick the group apart, but there is a lot of positivity that has been
created.”


Actually... Brian was the heart, Carl was the soul. And Dennis was the spirit.

And Mike was the rectum.
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