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Author Topic: Peter Bagge’s “In Defense Of (And Praise For) Mike Love”  (Read 3058 times)
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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2018, 01:19:53 PM »

I saw the cheerleaders only twice, in 89 and ca. 92 (or whenever Crocodile Rock was on the setlist as the only new thing to push), and I enjoyed them. As they were my first BB concerts, they livened up the whole thing. I'll choose to overlook the porn/wank remark made earlier, but I found them to be no different than dancers at so many other arena size commercial affairs. A bit like Madonna's dancers, if you like. Don't recall them coming back on stage THAT often, but for a long setlist, why the hell not have a bit of fun. Others use back projection, inflatables,  pyrotechnics, this is showbiz, not a chamber concert.
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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2018, 01:22:52 PM »

Watch some videos like Philly July 4th 95, they were a team of dancers who changed outfits during the band's sets. Cheerleader outfits, hula girl outfits, maybe others I am forgetting.
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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2018, 01:23:01 PM »

I don't think anybody (either Al or fans) were objecting due to cheerleader imagery being inappropriate for a specific subset of songs. That's entirely missing the point.

The point is that it was tacky across the board. Imagine McCartney or Springsteen or Dylan having Cheerleaders on numerous songs.

A band with dozens and dozens of hits and hundreds of songs feeling the need to cheese up their show with dog-and-pony tricks was and is ridiculous. Jardine apparently felt this way but was shot down. I don't know if Carl was against it, or ambivalent, or had given up caring by that point.

But this all just becomes tiresome. It's like Stamos and Full House and all of that. You either get why it's tacky, or you don't (or a third option; being purposely obtuse for some reason).

Imagine playing a prestigious venue with dignitaries in the audience, and opening the set up with "California Girls" with a cheesy fashion show bit with girls in bikinis. It's tacky. And the creep factor of being backed by guys in their 50s, with Mike ogling, certainly didn't help.
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« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2018, 01:25:26 PM »

The Beach Boys did not need dancers on stage. Especially if they had Mike's superior frontman skills.

Sarcasm....
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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2018, 01:28:34 PM »

I saw the cheerleaders only twice, in 89 and ca. 92 (or whenever Crocodile Rock was on the setlist as the only new thing to push), and I enjoyed them. As they were my first BB concerts, they livened up the whole thing. I'll choose to overlook the porn/wank remark made earlier, but I found them to be no different than dancers at so many other arena size commercial affairs. A bit like Madonna's dancers, if you like. Don't recall them coming back on stage THAT often, but for a long setlist, why the hell not have a bit of fun. Others use back projection, inflatables,  pyrotechnics, this is showbiz, not a chamber concert.

It connotes that your music isn't interesting enough. And you know, the band were pretty tired and stale in the 90s. The criticism of the cheerleaders isn't just about their presence, it's about the band becoming tired and rote and lazy. How about put money into rehearsals to add more songs to the setlist, or add another band member or something?

And the dancers at BB concerts were nothing like what you see at a Madonna (or Britney Spears, etc.) show. That's an *entirely* other deal. Those are single artists performing under their own name, singing and (usually) not playing an instrument, and with the main artist in question (Madonna, etc.) dancing themselves.

If the BBs had always been a "dancing" band (and no, their lame bit on "Barbara Ann" doesn't count), then adding more dancers wouldn't create such dissonance with the rest of their setup.

But certainly some people have the "I like looking at cheerleaders, and got a beer in my hand, and somebody's up there singing some sort of Beach Boys song, so it's all good!" sort of attitude.

To suggest a troop of traveling dancers coming and going on stage during the show is tacky is not to suggest the BBs need to be dressed in tuxedos nightly while the audience looks on with opera glasses.

Again, imagine Springsteen or CSNY or McCartney adding that to their shows. They KNEW better. And their music is the focus of the show, not dancers.
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2018, 01:31:31 PM »

Here you get Stamos AND dancers!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCAtrNXm-D0
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2018, 01:32:18 PM »

I think they were gone by the time the guys were past fifty. BB's were at times high art, other times very commercial, so you can't really liken their material to Dylan's beard-stroking stuff. Or Bruce's raucous blue collar anthems. I'll concede that if they dominated as much as has been reported here, that would be off-putting. But bringing them on for a few uptempo numbers, the way I recall it, can't see any harm in that. A BB setlist would always straddle high art and commercial entertainment.
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2018, 01:40:31 PM »

I think they were gone by the time the guys were past fifty. BB's were at times high art, other times very commercial, so you can't really liken their material to Dylan's beard-stroking stuff. Or Bruce's raucous blue collar anthems. I'll concede that if they dominated as much as has been reported here, that would be off-putting. But bringing them on for a few uptempo numbers, the way I recall it, can't see any harm in that. A BB setlist would always straddle high art and commercial entertainment.

The cheerleaders were there until at least 1995, at which point Mike was 54, Al and Bruce were around 53.

And whether or not we should consider the BB and their catalog as worthy of having Dylan and Springsteen as peers, that pretty much cuts to the heart of the Brian/Mike, art/commerce thing that fans have been hashing out for eons.

Of course the BBs, and especially Mike, veered more toward the tacky, novelty shtick. Adding cheerleaders was just extra salt on the wound.

Watch some of that mid 90s stuff, where Mike is leering at the dancers, Al looks disengaged if not pissed off, Carl looks blank, and compare that to a great C50 show.

And we saw what happened when a bit of Mike's "flavor" of stage shtick was attempted during C50, when Stamos was brought in while they played NYC. Most of the band was off-put, as was much of the audience and the reviewer for one of the NY papers. Imagine if they had added cheerleaders.
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2018, 01:54:07 PM »


And whether or not we should consider the BB and their catalog as worthy of having Dylan and Springsteen as peers, that pretty much cuts to the heart of the Brian/Mike, art/commerce thing that fans have been hashing out for eons.

I think you may have misunderstood me here, I rate BB's much higher than Dylan, and consider their art/commerce dichotomy one of their strengths. Springsteen doesn't even come into consideration for me, other than what he did for Gary US Bonds.
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2018, 02:25:09 PM »


And whether or not we should consider the BB and their catalog as worthy of having Dylan and Springsteen as peers, that pretty much cuts to the heart of the Brian/Mike, art/commerce thing that fans have been hashing out for eons.

I think you may have misunderstood me here, I rate BB's much higher than Dylan, and consider their art/commerce dichotomy one of their strengths. Springsteen doesn't even come into consideration for me, other than what he did for Gary US Bonds.

Regardless of how we precisely rate these artists, I'm simply talking about similar popular artists (e.g. generally identified "rock" artists) who regularly tour, and who want to be taken seriously.

The art/commerce dichotomy only works when everybody is the same page and it's making for a better product. 1965 Beach Boys would be an example of this.

What *isn't* functional is a band who disagrees on whether to have cheerleaders on stage. What isn't good is one guy writing the ending suite to TWGMTR while the other guy pantomimes suicide by gunshot. What isn't good is one guy writing "'Til I Die" and the other guy having apprehension because the song is a "downer."

And these are the cases where at least the product *did* make it out. It's more a cautionary tale of how the "commerce" mindset could have derailed great art.

With the BBs, we also have a case where the "commerce" guy who pushes for cheerleaders and palm trees and "Summer in Paradise" is actually ultimately often if not usually proven to be wrong about his commercial instincts. "Summer in Paradise" sprung from the "palm trees and cheerleaders on stage" mindset, and it bombed.

Nobody watches C50 shows (or even Mike's modern day shows) and longs for the schlock of a 1994 Beach Boys concert with the guys in baseball caps and board shorts, surf boards and palm trees all over the stage, John Stamos and Mike Kowlalski trading off on drums, and dancers.

I may have missed it. Did they every add the Capital City Goofball to the touring lineup?

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« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2018, 04:21:44 PM »

Here you get Stamos AND dancers!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCAtrNXm-D0

That looks like it was taken from the Philly July 4th '95 show. The whole show used to be up on YouTube. I still have it on VHS, direct source.

I was hoping the entire show could be viewed for reference of what this band was on stage in '95. You get everything. Sound gremlins. Mike's schtick. Dancers changing outfits. Shaky drumming. Then-Mayor Ed Rendell and his wife on stage with Mike. A version of "Summer In Paradise" that felt as long as the full album version of In A Gadda Da Vida. Gaudy stage sets. Carl looking kind of bored. Stamos running around playing guitars, drums, conga, etc. No Brian.

But back on track:

I'm still waiting for someone to offer an example to see Mike in the "early days" and his frontman routines acting as one of the driving forces behind the band's success.

This may be unpopular to say, but if anyone was driving the band's success in the early days it was Murry Wilson with his old-fashioned salesman's hustle, schmoozing, pounding the pavement, working the phones,  and persistence. The fact a band of kids with no track record was able to get as many key bookings and radio play as they did is credit mostly to Murry and the fact they were making records that the kids were digging, especially around their home-base area.

I still can't see where a guy emceeing or telling jokes on stage was in any way on par with the way Murry was hustling any number of DJ's, promoters, and record biz people in those early days. And if the music sucked, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

I seriously doubt the appeal of the band in those days was wanting to hear Mike's frontman schtick on stage, if he even had it in full flight in 61-62-63. It was the music.

Just trying to put things into perspective a bit.
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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2018, 04:30:15 PM »

Weren’t you at that show? Grin
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And production aside, I’d so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
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« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2018, 04:50:18 PM »

There was a lot more to that show before and after, but I think all fans should watch the full video of the complete performance just to get a perspective of what it was really like in '95. It's right there on full display and that concert circulated on the old tape trading circuits more than others because the local ABC station in Philly broadcast the whole thing in hi-fi stereo that night of the 4th.

I'll put it this way. Usually if a band is doing a higher-profile gig that is being broadcast live on TV to potentially millions, they would play up to it and try to exceed their capabilities in terms of putting on a kick-ass show for the audience watching. So in theory you would get the best the band can offer in that situation, pulling out all the stops. I won't comment any more on the quality, but again try to seek out the full show and everyone can judge for themselves after seeing it.
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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2018, 04:53:30 PM »

I did mention upthread that Murry was the main driving force in the beginning, Mike second. But, for all of Murry's hustling and promotion, the band still needed Mike to hold those shows together, however short they were in the beginning.
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« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2018, 04:59:13 PM »

I did mention upthread that Murry was the main driving force in the beginning, Mike second. But, for all of Murry's hustling and promotion, the band still needed Mike to hold those shows together, however short they were in the beginning.

I guess that's my question too, how did Mike hold those shows together exactly? I'm talking about the early years in particular. I just can't see in those days, at the kind of shows they were doing, what Mike could have been doing outside of being a member of a band that elevates him second to Murry as a driving force for the band's climbing the ladder of success before they really broke out nationally. I think it's been overstated.

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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2018, 05:14:33 PM »

I think Mike's front man routine was essential in the early years because the rest of the band just didn't have it socially or was too shy to actually talk. They had little stage presence except for Mike They still didn't have much and boy by 67 Mike's shtick got old fast which makes the banter in those late 60s show just completely cringeworthy. Bruce and Dennis stepped it up by the 70s and there was no need for Mike to be a frontman as the music filled more of the void. Mike wa awful then too. He hit a second stride in about 76-80 when they did the arena rock and is listenable  and then the shtick just got tired and old since the early 80s

The cheerleaders began as a way to feature local schools. Al mentions this in the Goldmine article and you can see it done in the 88 Arizona concert.  At some point that changed to a permanent hiring and an ever increasing roll.  Eventually, they had to plan the set list around their costume changes. They never should have lasted that long.
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« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2018, 05:29:18 PM »

I think Mike's front man routine was essential in the early years because the rest of the band just didn't have it socially or was too shy to actually talk. They had little stage presence except for Mike They still didn't have much and boy by 67 Mike's shtick got old fast which makes the banter in those late 60s show just completely cringeworthy. Bruce and Dennis stepped it up by the 70s and there was no need for Mike to be a frontman as the music filled more of the void. Mike wa awful then too. He hit a second stride in about 76-80 when they did the arena rock and is listenable  and then the shtick just got tired and old since the early 80s

The cheerleaders began as a way to feature local schools. Al mentions this in the Goldmine article and you can see it done in the 88 Arizona concert.  At some point that changed to a permanent hiring and an ever increasing roll.  Eventually, they had to plan the set list around their costume changes. They never should have lasted that long.

I agree - it wasn't just a case of cheerleaders, this was a group of dancers who came to the band's stage act complete with choreography and costume changes that went beyond adding a bit of schtick to "Be True To Your School". They'd dress in hula-style outfits, bikinis if I recall, and whatever else I guess the PTB thought would add to the experience of seeing a Beach Boys show. The fact there was tension among band members specifically because of adding those dancers beyond "Be True..." and the school schtick speaks volumes.

Let me rephrase or clarify or whatever:

Does anyone know what Mike was doing even before 1963, in terms of being a "frontman"? Is there any record of Mike doing something beyond being a band member that we can reference?

All I have been hearing is how crucial and essential Mike's role as frontman was in building up the band's cache, some placing him equal to or second to Murry Wilson who was doing the real hustling at that time to boost the band, yet I don't see any actual accounts of him doing something extraordinary on stage that would warrant such credit and praise as being essential to the band's success.

And in terms of being an emcee, a lot of the early gigs had their own emcee who was either some local DJ or personality or someone bigger in that market who would host these concert bills with multiple acts playing the same gig, maybe getting 30-45 minutes each if that. It's hard to place where Mike's frontman duties would even have room in such a set where they would have the impact we're being told he had on those early gigs.

I could make a crude generalization about why people were going to see a band like the Beach Boys beyond the music itself, but I won't - Yet I'd seriously like to know if any original fans were so impacted by Mike's stage act that they came back to see the band again because of that element in the shows.

Most people go to shows to hear the band play, to dance, maybe to hook up, and in the case of bands with dynamic and good-looking guys like Dennis Wilson, they may go to see them for the same reasons thousands of women will still follow John Stamos wherever he plays. Note - That is not meant to be a sexist comment if anyone tries to say it is. But Stamos' appeal is what it is, as was Dennis' I'm sure in the early days. The music was good, people could dance to it, and there were cute guys in the band. Simple as that. What does an emcee matter after those elements are in place?
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“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2018, 06:24:43 AM »

This article dates back to 2001 and be warned, the writer goes out of his way to slaughter sacred cows with a most contentious piece. It does not reflect my opinion on the Beach Boys, but I think it contains enough home truths that it should be posted here. Bagge is very tongue-in-cheek and deliberately tries to provoke. But I admire his singular stand in some ways, flying in the face of popular opinion. If nothing else, perhaps it can redress the imbalance of negative bias against Mike Love. Have at it: http://www.mbird.com/2012/05/beach-boys-101-peter-bagges-in-defense-of-and-praise-for-mike-love/

I thought it was a pretty interesting read.   Offers a different POV that's often dismissed.  

Kds, sometimes I have agreed with you. But I can't ever ever agree with a "POV" which calls Brian "a gifted re tard". That's hateful beyond words, and it saddens me that you can defend that piece of trash, though you admitted that "it went too far".
It didn't go too far, shouldn't even have started.
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« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2018, 06:35:42 AM »

Here you get Stamos AND dancers!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCAtrNXm-D0

No McGrath? Cry
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« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2018, 06:41:53 AM »

This article dates back to 2001 and be warned, the writer goes out of his way to slaughter sacred cows with a most contentious piece. It does not reflect my opinion on the Beach Boys, but I think it contains enough home truths that it should be posted here. Bagge is very tongue-in-cheek and deliberately tries to provoke. But I admire his singular stand in some ways, flying in the face of popular opinion. If nothing else, perhaps it can redress the imbalance of negative bias against Mike Love. Have at it: http://www.mbird.com/2012/05/beach-boys-101-peter-bagges-in-defense-of-and-praise-for-mike-love/

I thought it was a pretty interesting read.   Offers a different POV that's often dismissed.  

Kds, sometimes I have agreed with you. But I can't ever ever agree with a "POV" which calls Brian "a gifted re tard". That's stupid and hateful beyond words, and it saddens me that you can defend that piece of trash, though you admitted that "it went too far".
It didn't go too far, shouldn't even have started.

I think acknowledging but then kind of ignoring the insulting, inflammatory stuff in that piece kind of goes along with the ethos of the piece itself, which is to acknowledge Mike's downside to some degree but then just kind of ignore it, use some elements of false equivalency, etc.

If there was *nobody* else online or out in the field of journalism/writing who was writing thoughtful pieces about the BBs, including looking hard at how justified Mike's reputation is, then maybe it would be worth excising the ugly stuff from this Bagge piece and then consider the potentially salient points.  

But as I've said, Bagge's piece is sub-par and now also out of date. There are others writing better and more thoughtfully about the subject, and with more expertise.

Also, somewhat separately, I think anybody with a brain is going to question the motives of an article that mix two disparate points, namely pumping up Mike Love's role, while downplaying things that are known to be beloved by Brian and BB fans (e.g. "Love You."). It's not that the two points can't both be made, or that they aren't in some ways connected. But frankly, if someone writes a long piece that includes both defenses/trumpeting of Mike Love and *also* trashes "Love You", that's a huge "troll" warning sign.

I'm not saying people have to like "Love You." I'm not even as enamored with it as its most enthusiastic fans. But I also think "Love You" is a good litmus test for how closely a BB fan is listening to the *music* and is able to analyze and digest it. That is, there are *brilliant* compositions on that album, and often I find that people who dismiss it because it sounds clunky and has the blurting synths and all of that are fans that have a bit more of a superficial listening attitude towards their music.

Frankly, even if you *hate* the music on "Love You", it's an immensely important album and a *key* insight into Brian Wilson's frame of mind at that time in his life and in the band's history. Which also highlights that, I guess, some fans don't care about the history and the scholarship, don't care to listen to session outtakes, and it's just about putting the officially released core set of albums on and just giving thumbs up or thumbs down.
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« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2018, 07:03:07 AM »

In my experience going back, well, let's just say a number of decades, Mike's on-stage shtick has *always* had a very MIXED reception.

In the earliest days when the BBs were experiencing their mini version of "Beatlemania", you can see the screaming is happening for everyone. Indeed, watch them do "Wendy" on Sullivan in '64, and you can see the level of enthusiasm for each member. As I recall, it pans to Al who gets a few squeaks from the audience (poor Al), then to Carl who gets a bit more of a response, then Brian who gets more, then Mike who gets more, culminating in Dennis who was by far the most "popular" member of the band on stage.

But even by '66 or so, when the screaming died down and they were doing something closer to "regular" shows, Mike's on stage shtick has always had a mixture of laughs and groans, of tolerance and eye rolling. Mike has *always* been the guy in the room doing the jokes and telling the stories that ride the edge of funny vs. annoying.

Just as Stamos and Full House, or Mike's "wheeeeeeeeeeen" bit on "Be True to Your School", or having cheerleaders on stage, and a bunch of other stuff, his on-stage persona has seemed to be amusing to some, tolerated by others, along with a healthy helping of eye-rolling and groans. Look at his bit on "Cool Cool Water" on David Frost (I think) from 1970. Is that funny and cool, or totally ridiculous and groan-worthy?

We can actually go all the way back to the David Marks era. Watch Mike dance during "Surfin' USA" on that TV appearance seen in "Endless Harmony." I mean, they *all* look like dorks in those outfits, but then Mike goes into his dancing bit. Even in the day when that was "cool", I sense his shtick wore thin on audiences. Especially non-screaming girls.

He's a bit like Bob Hope. Some remember his USO shows and bits fondly, while others *always* had nothing but disdain for the guy. I asked a guy who was in the Army in that era what people actually thought of Bob Hope, and ton of them *hated* the guy.

Similarly, even *years* before Mike's Rock Hall speech and all of that, he had a huge reputation for being one of the major a-holes of rock and roll. Some of it was based on incorrect info or improper context. But much of reputation was well-deserved. He's had *that* reputation since the 60s to some degree.

People think it gets rough for Mike on boards online and stuff, and I can tell you I've heard *far* worse things uttered about Mike from people in the industry and non-fans. All weighed accordingly of course.

But as with the Jan & Dean stuff, it's important to not let history be rewritten. Mike being marginalized as if he played no role in the band's success is absolutely wrong. But Bruce Johnston's "Mike is just as important as Brian" thing is not really quite accurate either, especially if we're taking a broad historical view of the band.

I think we need to get the viewpoint of people who were actually there more than those of us who are looking through 2010's lenses (or really through the lens of anything but the early to mid '60s). So for that maybe we could hear from Lee Marshall or Debbie Keil?

Anyways, I've spoken with my mom, dad, their friends, etc who were alive and aware in that era and most of them agreed that Mike Love was a bit of a dork. That's just what they said. And that's through the eyes of girls (and guys) who were from like seven to fifteenish years old at the time. Now they also thought Mike was a great singer and they all know his name still and when asked who the "lead singer" of The Beach Boys is, they'd say Mike Love and not Brian Wilson or Carl Wilson.

So I do think the whole, "he's been such a great entertainer since the beginning" thing is a bit shabby. I'd say he really only came into his own fully by the early '70s and peaked in the mid '70s while bottoming out whenever they brought the cheerleaders in.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 08:33:13 AM by Jim V. » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2018, 07:03:40 AM »

Does anyone know what Mike was doing even before 1963, in terms of being a "frontman"? Is there any record of Mike doing something beyond being a band member that we can reference?

Here's my thoughts on that:

Given the sheer amount of Beach Boys hits and their enduring and ongoing popularity, there is absolutely no reason why a front man for that band couldn't have the kind of legacy that someone like Mick Jagger has. I think the fact that Mike Love had the opportunity, not to be like Jagger, but to have his reputation as a frontman, speaks to his overall ineffectiveness as a person with stage presence. I think the face of a wildly popular band is going to inevitably be popular when you cut to him or her during a performance. But it's what one does from there that I think establishes your strength as a frontman, and I can't say that Mike built on it in any way.

The other issue, which many have noted here, is that Mike Love does not have the sense of humour to carry off his stage patter. I have used this example before but I feel like that very early home recording of the band doing Surfin' illustrates Mike's somewhat awkward social mannerisms. There's the bit where Dennis is fooling around and Brian to him, "If you laugh, I'm gonna pop you in the mouth! And if I laugh, you can pop me in the mouth!" And the response is laughter - because Brian adds the second sentence which deflates his first comment a bit, so that it comes off not as harsh but more playful. Then Mike says to Dennis, something like "And I'll pop you in the mouth so hard you won't be able to pop me." Followed by silence. To me, this was an early example where Mike just didn't get it. It really reminds me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jVLc3ylhw
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 07:05:05 AM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2018, 07:14:10 AM »

The point is that it was tacky across the board. Imagine McCartney or Springsteen or Dylan having Cheerleaders on numerous songs.

I could see Zimmy doing it just to do it! Except maybe he'd have Victoria Secret models stalking the stage.
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« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2018, 07:27:18 AM »

I think we need to get the viewpoint of people who were actually there more than those of us who are looking through 2010's lenses (or really through the lens of anything but the early to mid '60s). So for that maybe we could hear from Lee Marshall or Debbie Keil?

Anyways, I've spoken with my mom, dad, their friends, etc who were alive and aware in that era and most of them agreed that Mike Love with a bit of a dork. That's just what they said. And that's through the eyes of girls (and guys) who were from like seven to fifteenish years old at the time. Now they also thought Mike was a great singer and they all know his name still and when asked who the "lead singer" of The Beach Boys is, they'd say Mike Love and not Brian Wilson or Carl Wilson.

So I do think the whole, "he's been such a great entertainer since the beginning" thing is a bit shabby. I'd say he really only came into his own fully by the early '70s and peaked in the mid '70s while bottoming out whenever they brought the cheerleaders in.

I've spoken to many folks who lived through the "original" era in the 60s. The Beatles were cool. A lot of people thought the BBs *music* was cool, but they were seen (to varying degrees) as kind of dorky, and in particular Mike was seen as kind of dorky and hammy. I think, especially in the early-mid 60s, the people who thought Mike was a dork didn't have any vitriol for the guy. It was just kind of an amused sort of "pfftttt, what a dork."
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« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2018, 07:49:29 AM »

Where my questions come from seems to be getting further away in the discussions, but I'm genuinely interested so I'll try to focus them again...and perhaps no one has the answer anyway.

It comes down to being told and reading how vital Mike's "frontman" role was to the band's early success. I want to know what Mike was doing in the early days as some called it that would put his role equal to or second to Murry Wilson in terms of who played a key role in the early days of the band when they were playing in 61-62 and perhaps into 63.

I just watched an interview with Dean Torrence who described that early gig when J&D played on the same bill as the Beach Boys, and the BB's ended up backing up the duo at the gig. Dean described it just as I did earlier, this kind of early gig where multiple bands would be on the bill, and each would get a limited amount of time. I said 30-45 minutes per band which is still pretty standard even at venues in 2018, but Dean said it was more like 15-20 minutes per act at those shows. That lines up with alot of what I've heard, and it was not The Beatles playing 8 hour marathon gigs in Hamburg or long sets at the Cavern. It was a band like the BB's playing very short sets in the early days.

And my point is, how much impact would Mike's frontman bits have had in such settings to where it would be so fondly written about decades later by various historians and to the point where Mike's role gets elevated to being on par with Murry's work in hustling and dealing for the band in those years?

Just trying to figure out where all of the praise is coming from surrounding those early gigs, when no one seems to have a grasp on what Mike actually did at those early gigs beyond sing his parts as the band did their 15-20 minute sets or whatever they did.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 07:50:34 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

“Some people think you have to knock somebody down in order to build yourself up, I don’t look at it that way. To the mentality that likes to disparage other people, I say perhaps you should get a life. It’s just wrong thinking in my opinion and I don’t mind saying that.” - Mike Love

"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone
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