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Author Topic: interview with Mike book collaborator James S. Hirsch  (Read 13745 times)
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« Reply #75 on: October 25, 2016, 09:20:38 PM »

There are other claims in the interview and in the book that are equally as bad, if not more so. The lies about not having access to Maureen and Stan Love are just two of them, but ones that strike me .
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« Reply #76 on: October 25, 2016, 10:10:52 PM »

There are other claims in the interview and in the book that are equally as bad, if not more so. The lies about not having access to Maureen and Stan Love are just two of them, but ones that strike me .

Hirsch was indeed wrong about Maureen, however that was up on Brian's page only a few weeks ago and only Phil and Mark can tell us when they actually recorded that interview or if Hirsch had even seen it at the time of recording (I didn't even see it myself until a week after it was up).

The photo of a Brian and Stan is 10 years old. Brian recently revealed in his book that he also met up with Mike around that time (though the fans never knew it at the time ).

I thought Hirsch was referring to not seeing Mike or Stan after the C50 tour ? Not saying it's true or not true ( I'm not an insider or a fan who claims to be one). Actually, I don't even remember that part of the interview all that well. The things that stuck out to me were Hirsch basically moving into Mike's house, etc.

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« Reply #77 on: October 26, 2016, 04:18:25 AM »

Mr. Hirsch does not strike me as exactly the kind of person I'd like to move into my house. But to everybody their own. angel
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« Reply #78 on: October 26, 2016, 05:47:36 AM »

There are other claims in the interview and in the book that are equally as bad, if not more so. The lies about not having access to Maureen and Stan Love are just two of them, but ones that strike me .

Hirsch was indeed wrong about Maureen, however that was up on Brian's page only a few weeks ago and only Phil and Mark can tell us when they actually recorded that interview or if Hirsch had even seen it at the time of recording (I didn't even see it myself until a week after it was up).

The photo of a Brian and Stan is 10 years old. Brian recently revealed in his book that he also met up with Mike around that time (though the fans never knew it at the time ).

I thought Hirsch was referring to not seeing Mike or Stan after the C50 tour ? Not saying it's true or not true ( I'm not an insider or a fan who claims to be one). Actually, I don't even remember that part of the interview all that well. The things that stuck out to me were Hirsch basically moving into Mike's house, etc.



I transcribed and posted the relevant quotes in my first post to the discussion, page 1. These are what stood out to me after listening. Here it is:



To Mark: Thank you for posting and linking to the interview. Good job as well on interjecting with some pertinent questions and clarifications during the interview itself.

I listened in full, and a few points made and comments stuck out enough for me to address them here. Perhaps some clarification or even just an addressing of some of these will follow in part 2 or even part 3, or here on the forum. I have listed some of Mr. Hirsch's comments with approximate times from the broadcast, as well as the relevant quotes themselves for reference. Both my own comments and questions will follow each quote, with relevant links or examples. Mr. Hirsch's comments are in italics:

7:10
I have not read Brian's book. I spent well over two years studying and researching Brian Wilson, one of the most fascinating figures in the history of pop music; I know Brian, and there's nothing in that book that I could learn about him that I don't already know. I would have loved to have sat down and spoken with him, and I tried to, but my requests were, well, they weren't even denied, they weren't even responded to. But I feel that I know Brian Wilson extremely well, and I really don't think I would learn anything in that book.

It's everyone's choice whether or not to read any book, but the reasoning given here, namely that there would be nothing "new" to learn about Brian in the new book couldn't be further from the truth. I'd definitely have read the book first before using this kind of rationale behind not reading it: The proof is in the pages of the book, there is indeed new info and more to learn about the man than has been revealed previously. There are also diehard fans who have read and researched everything they can get their hands on about the band in general, for decades beyond two years of research, who would most likely say as a consensus that they don't claim to know Brian or any of the band members based on research, reading, and the like.

18:50
You would think he (Brian) would want to embrace the family members he has left. I spent time with Mike's sister Maureen, and Mike's brother Stan. Now, Maureen and Brian were incredibly close when they were growing up, Maureen plays the harp, she played that instrument in a number of Brian's songs in the 60's. Stan was Brian's bodyguard, Stan is, you know, just loves Brian unconditionally. They are estranged from Brian Wilson. They cannot get to him.

They cannot get to him? Maybe a clarification would be in order. Maureen was just with Brian at his show earlier this month in Portland, and this is a photo that was taken of their meeting:



The photo is from 2006, but this is Stan, Brian, and Melinda watching Kevin Love at a basketball event when he was at UCLA:



According to people who were there, Stan was also backstage with Brian at the Hollywood Bowl show during the 50th anniversary tour. And Steve Love has said Brian was present at basketball games where Kevin was playing, in line with the photo above.

Speaking of Steve, I also found it a notable exclusion to the conversation not to mention Mike's brother Steve Love. Steve has been public about his issues with Mike, and in the past year wrote the following: "Yes, I am estranged from brother Mike. Believe me, I have my reasons."
I think there has to be a sharp line drawn between estrangement and suggesting there are efforts to lock people out entirely. There has been a lot of the latter, and as unfortunate as it may be to have a fractured family dynamic including estrangement between brothers, it's different from suggesting a plot to keep them separated and suggesting that for various reasons why certain people are not working together with others.



22:40
I think the schism between the two revolves more upon people who have surrounded Brian over the years, to be honest, I'm not taking Mike's side of the story, because I'm not in any way his shill
23:00
One of the insightful interviews I had was with the musician Carli Munoz...as Carli told me, what's tough about Brian is that throughout his adult life, he's always been behind a firewall. And you cannot get through that firewall. And there was time when the firewall was the bodyguards, there was time when it was his father, there was time when it was Landy, it was time when it was his conservator, now he's got other people who are there as his firewall.
(Phil) Now he's got Melinda, she's very much active in the production...
(Jim) Yeah
(Phil) ...and the executive end (?), dimensions...
(Jim) Yeah, Sure


Does the phrase "other people who are there as his firewall" refer to specific individuals? If so, who are these people? Or is it specifically his wife of 20 years, Melinda? If it is in fact supposed to be Melinda, I think it is in poor taste to put a man's wife of two decades in the same list with his conservator, bodyguards, and an ersatz "doctor" whose failings are well known, and suggest that's yet another issue "keeping people away" from Brian, whether personally or in terms of writing songs, or whatever else is at stake. Again, perhaps a clarification would be in order, because on the surface it doesn't come off very well on the very basis of putting issues of incompetence, and outright professional malpractice and quackery of the worst kind, on the same basis as a 20-year marriage.

24:00
Mark's question on the 50th reunion tour.

26:20
My point is, I think if it were just Mike and Brian, yes: They would go out on tour, absolutely. But there are too many people around them that will ensure that that does not happen.

Is this comment suggesting a two-way street in terms of making demands and concessions in order to facilitate such a joint tour, or is it again suggesting Brian is being kept away from touring with Mike by those around him? Strip the issue down to the basics, and what if Brian simply does not want to tour with Mike, what if Mike does not want to tour with Brian, and what if the organizational and operational demands coming from all sides would not or could not be agreed on to suit all parties? There are so many variables, perhaps many more than a suggestion that the people around them are more to blame.

27:32
The reality of the 50th anniversary tour was that it lost money on the domestic side, because the band was so big, the costs were too high, given the revenue that these concerts were generating. And the concern that Mike had going forward was that well, if we start not just losing money ourselves, but if our promoters are losing money, if the venues are losing money, then we're going to jeopardize the brand. And so those economic factors were very much a part of their concern

This information fascinated me as well as raised some questions, especially in terms of the numbers, so I went to probably the best industry resource for tour data and sales info, Pollstar. They list annually the top 200 domestic tours of each year, and also do mid-year updates on current tours. I will list direct links for anyone interested in the facts and figures behind these tours.

According to Pollstar's "Top 200 North American Tours" 2012 year end report http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/charts2012/2012YearEndTop200NorthAmericanTours.pdf, rounding off the numbers, The Beach Boys 50th tour in 2012 grossed 15 million dollars, playing 53 shows in 50 cities. Average ticket price $68, average tickets sold 4,400 (factoring in most venues were mid-level), total tickets sold 219,000 with an average gross of $300,000. That boils down to the band playing 11 weeks of domestic shows, with the five band members and ten backing band members. After Nicky Wonder left due to illness, it equates to a stage of 14 musicians in total, twice the size of Mike's current touring band with 7 or 8 musicians on stage most times.

Pollstar's 2013 Top 200 http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/charts2013/2013YearEndTop200NorthAmericanTours.pdf did not list the Beach Boys as having made the cut for the top 200.

Pollstar's 2014 Top 200 http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/charts2014/2014YearEndTop200NorthAmericanTours.pdf lists the Beach Boys as follows: They grossed 8.7 million, average ticket price $47, average tickets sold 2,300 and total tickets sold 106,000. No info given on number of shows/cities, perhaps someone can provide that number.

Pollstar's 2015 Top 200 http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/charts2015/2015YearEndTop200NorthAmericanTours.pdf lists the Beach Boys as follows: Grossed 11.4 million, average ticket price $48, average tickets sold 2,600 and total tickets sold 235,000. Average gross $124,000. 99 domestic shows in 92 cities.

Pollstar's mid-year Top 100 report for the first 6 months of 2016 ending June 30th http://www.pollstarpro.com/files/charts2016/2016MidYearTop100NorthAmericanTours.pdf lists the Beach Boys as follows: So far 2016 has grossed 5.5 million, average ticket price $65, average ticket sales 1,600 with total tickets sold 85,500. Average gross $106,000. 54 domestic shows in 52 cities.

It's a lot of numbers, but if we crunch some of those numbers in terms of the variables, and there are many beyond this list for sure, I'm not seeing on paper how the C50 tour domestically had lost money if that is the reasoning given above. Is there an explanation for this discrepancy, or proof of this beyond the industry data as reported by Pollstar? On paper, the most basic division and multiplication might suggest the C50 tour had twice as many musicians on stage, yet also earned just under twice as much as the band after C50 earned in 2014 and subsequent years, the percentage of course shifting by year. And they did so playing half the amount of shows in both similar and slightly larger capacity venues. And a large majority of the C50 shows were sellouts or close to sellouts, which is when the industry took notice and came calling with more offers for the anniversary lineup to continue the tour.

Was C50 losing money domestically a factor in how it unfolded, and in comparison to the subsequent years' tour data relative to domestic touring, did it really lose money? With all the factors including the number of shows played, ticket prices, and the size of the venues, I'm not seeing the proof in that data from Pollstar.


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« Reply #79 on: October 26, 2016, 05:53:40 AM »

One of the reasons I'm raising these points specific to the Jim Hirsch interview is because Mark Dillon posted it, and he was one of the interviewers - And the possibility of a part 2 or a follow-up on the same podcast series was mentioned, so here is a chance for fans like me who listened and had a few points come up where a clarification or question could be in order to post those points, and it goes right to the source. If there is a follow-up conversation, the ball is in their court if they wish to raise any of these points and offer Mr. Hirsch a chance to address them. It's a chance fans don't get whenever Mike has given an interview that fans may have taken issue with, and it just gets left as printed with no chance to ask follow ups.

This is the fans' chance to ask follow ups. Because some points made in the interview simply don't add up, beyond C50. And some of the reasons why they don't add up are posted above.
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« Reply #80 on: October 26, 2016, 08:31:11 AM »

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« Reply #81 on: October 26, 2016, 08:42:39 AM »

Iím not so quick to dismiss the claim that C50 (not Mike personally) lost money domestically.  When you think about all the costs that went into it (payroll, meals, hotel rooms- not just for the band members and crew but also family members, travel expenses- airfare and limo/coach/van rentals, shipping costs, equipment rentals, phone costs, rehearsal space rentals, just to name a few off the top of my head) along with the up front costs to pay Brian, Mike and Joe Thomas along with the 3 other principals, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the tour lost money.  The venues take a cut of the merch sold (typically 10-30% depending on the items).  One thing that Iím sure was a nice chunk of change for the band was the VIP and meet and greet packages they sold.  Iím sure these were accounted for separately.  They pay a percentage to VIP Nation for each one sold and pocket the rest.  Itís nice, easy money.  Thatís why so many acts do it nowadays.  Iím not sure if Live Nation was the promoter for the entire tour but I know they were for at least the East Coast dates.  I doubt Live Nation lost any money on the tour and Iím sure all 5 band members made money as well.  But I definitely see how the ďtourĒ itself could possibly lose money.  Even if you are selling out mid-size venues, after everyone takes their cut, if you arenít watching your other expenses, it could be a losing proposition. 
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« Reply #82 on: October 26, 2016, 10:52:57 AM »

Iím not so quick to dismiss the claim that C50 (not Mike personally) lost money domestically.  When you think about all the costs that went into it (payroll, meals, hotel rooms- not just for the band members and crew but also family members, travel expenses- airfare and limo/coach/van rentals, shipping costs, equipment rentals, phone costs, rehearsal space rentals, just to name a few off the top of my head) along with the up front costs to pay Brian, Mike and Joe Thomas along with the 3 other principals, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the tour lost money.  The venues take a cut of the merch sold (typically 10-30% depending on the items).  One thing that Iím sure was a nice chunk of change for the band was the VIP and meet and greet packages they sold.  Iím sure these were accounted for separately.  They pay a percentage to VIP Nation for each one sold and pocket the rest.  Itís nice, easy money.  Thatís why so many acts do it nowadays.  Iím not sure if Live Nation was the promoter for the entire tour but I know they were for at least the East Coast dates.  I doubt Live Nation lost any money on the tour and Iím sure all 5 band members made money as well.  But I definitely see how the ďtourĒ itself could possibly lose money.  Even if you are selling out mid-size venues, after everyone takes their cut, if you arenít watching your other expenses, it could be a losing proposition.  

This goes back to what Rocker posted on page 1, the basic logic of the scenario. If the tour was under-performing and playing to venues that had half empty seats, it would be plausible to assume it wasn't making enough money. If the tour were meeting original expectations and projections for revenue and sales, it would be harder to assume it was running a deficit.

This tour exceeded original projections and expectations. Ticket sales alone, domestically, 15 million gross. That averages 1.3 million gross as a take every week C50 was touring the US. Factor in the other variables - Merch, meet-n-greet, all of those. It's hard to accept that this tour lost money. Factor in Mike's concern that booking agents, venues, promoters, etc would lose money moving forward - If they were calling for more bookings and more shows to be added, common sense would say they were not jumping on board a sinking ship, nor would they want to join a venture which would cause them to lose money.

And as Rocker suggested, if it did indeed lose money while exceeding expectations, it must have been organized to fail financially even if it met all projected sales and revenue figures. Do we believe that?
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« Reply #83 on: October 26, 2016, 11:40:15 AM »

GF- Iím not saying that promoters lost money.  In fact I said just the opposite that I highly doubt Live Nation lost any money.  Iím not saying venues lost money either, although Iím sure some of the casino shows may have as many casino venues look at entertainment as loss leaders.  Again, the meet and greets and VIP packages were possibly accounted for separately from the tour itself.  None of the principal band members lost money, none of the backing band members lost money but the ďtourĒ itself may have lost money.  I mean Mike makes the claim in his book that certain vendors were never paid.  Showing a loss on paper for the tour is not unreasonable.  Not that it was ďdesigned to failĒ as you say but spending on things that werenít budgeted for or spending more than what was budgeted for certain things can certainly take a bite out of potential profit, even if you are exceeding or meeting goals for ticket sales. 
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« Reply #84 on: October 26, 2016, 11:50:47 AM »

I don't think anyone is outright completely dismissing the idea that C50 didn't make any money for the first 2/3 of the tour. I just highly question it, especially considering the 27 different ways one can measure what is considered "profitable."

Also worth noting is that C50 was essentially a NEW company, a startup with no previous precise track record. Yes, they had previous Brian and Mike tours to work off of as a baseline, and they probably used a bunch of BRI gear on tour and all of that (you still see BRI flightcases backstage at Brian/Al gigs).

Look at it this way. A brand-new startup turned profitable within a few months. That didn't even presumably factor in the ancillary things generated by the tour (two Blu-ray/DVD releases, a live album, continued C50 merch sales online). They were profitable before the end of the tour, and any company like "50 Big Ones" could sit down and hash out how to refine their moneymaking process going forward. The thing started at the end of April and went through the end of September. Five months. That was it. Mike cut it short, and thus we can never know if 2013 could have been even MORE profitable with refinements.

Mike and Brian made a BUTT LOAD of money on the C50 tour I believe, up front, and the other three BBs probably made a decent salary.
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« Reply #85 on: October 26, 2016, 03:08:41 PM »

GF- Iím not saying that promoters lost money.  In fact I said just the opposite that I highly doubt Live Nation lost any money.  Iím not saying venues lost money either, although Iím sure some of the casino shows may have as many casino venues look at entertainment as loss leaders.  Again, the meet and greets and VIP packages were possibly accounted for separately from the tour itself.  None of the principal band members lost money, none of the backing band members lost money but the ďtourĒ itself may have lost money.  I mean Mike makes the claim in his book that certain vendors were never paid.  Showing a loss on paper for the tour is not unreasonable.  Not that it was ďdesigned to failĒ as you say but spending on things that werenít budgeted for or spending more than what was budgeted for certain things can certainly take a bite out of potential profit, even if you are exceeding or meeting goals for ticket sales. 

According to what Jim Hirsch said in the interview, Mike's issue was a concern that promoters and venues would lose money, and the brand would be jeopardized.

27:32
The reality of the 50th anniversary tour was that it lost money on the domestic side, because the band was so big, the costs were too high, given the revenue that these concerts were generating. And the concern that Mike had going forward was that well, if we start not just losing money ourselves, but if our promoters are losing money, if the venues are losing money, then we're going to jeopardize the brand. And so those economic factors were very much a part of their concern

Do you agree with that?

What venues or promoters were losing money, and if losing money was their concern why were they looking for additional bookings from the band? Back to my analogy, these interests would not as a general rule try to board a sinking ship.
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« Reply #86 on: October 26, 2016, 03:20:26 PM »

Keep in mind that C50 beyond the tour itself was - as mentioned by HeyJude and others - a multi faceted venture. Besides the merch, and other tie-ins and sponsorships/relationships, consider the band was ostensibly touring behind and promoting That's Why God Made The Radio, and Capitol was involved and had an interest too. Factor in the live releases, DVD and CD, whatever opinions are of them they sold, and they are still generating revenue.

Again, the basic logic: Would a tour be organized, spec'ed out, planned, and presented to all of these interests which would lose money if it performed even at the most acceptable level of success and expectation? This one exceeded it, and this was known as the tour was getting underway and kicking into gear. The sales exceeded expectations. The Beach Boys for the first time in years were "hot" and in the public eye, a top 5 album, TV appearances, and a tour which the industry was buzzing about. And Mike was concerned about jeopardizing the brand, and promoters losing money when the band was as hot as it had been in years? I don't know how much more logic can be applied.
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« Reply #87 on: October 26, 2016, 03:49:43 PM »

You know, this thread has turned into something a little pathetic.  The author of Mike's book is nice enough to do an interview and all the thanks he gets around here is mostly Mike-hatred and by extension hatred of himself by many on this board.  Sad....
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« Reply #88 on: October 26, 2016, 03:51:49 PM »

Well, hell,  when things are said that contradicted the truth and are easily disproven, what else would you expect? NOt just isolated here....that's how things work.
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« Reply #89 on: October 26, 2016, 05:30:43 PM »

Well, hell,  when things are said that contradicted the truth and are easily disproven, what else would you expect? NOt just isolated here....that's how things work.

Precisely!
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« Reply #90 on: October 26, 2016, 06:23:35 PM »

Sheesh, nobody has expressed "hatred" toward Hirsch on this thread. He's towing the line that is put forth by Mike and in the book, and people are responding.

That he seems nice and polite but then also doesn't seem to be a particularly big fan and flippantly says he doesn't need to read Brian's book are things that aren't going to particularly endear him to many fans.
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« Reply #91 on: October 27, 2016, 03:41:42 AM »

GF- Iím not disputing anything that you said.  All of the tie-ins on C50 however, would not be tied into the accounting of the tour such as TWGMTR, live DVDs, etc. with the exception of sponsors (which I canít recall any corporate sponsors of that tour). Yes, the Beach Boys were hot then.  What seems to be the sticking point is when Mike says the brand could be jeopardized and promoters losing money.  Notice what he did there?  He said they COULD end up losing money.  Not that they did.  Again, I highly doubt promoters lost money on the tour.  What Iím saying, and let me make it as clear as I can, the ďtourĒ in the strictest sense could have shown a loss on paper domestically even with meeting all ticket sale goals or exceeding them.  This does NOT mean that any one person or company lost money, ie. Any band member, promoter, etc.  Mike does make the claim in his book that vendors werenít paid.  He doesnít say who and he doesnít say what type of vendor it was.  All Iím saying is that cost overruns could make the ďtourĒ on paper appear that it was losing money domestically, which is what Mike and Hirsch are claiming.  That doesnít mean that anyone didnít make what they thought they would be making.  If promoters made money, if venues made money then clearly that would explain why there were more offers for other shows.  Mike said that promoters COULD lose money and venues COULD lose money if they continued.  This is obviously speculation on his part and no one is saying that it did happen.  The only claim that is being made here is that the ďtourĒ which I believe they are using the strictest sense of the word, lost money.  And showing a loss on paper is not out of the realm of possibility.  Do you agree with that being a possibility?
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« Reply #92 on: October 27, 2016, 06:35:21 AM »

Mike undercuts his own argument in terms of the *plausibility* of future touring losing money by pointing out that the tour didn't "lose money" by the time they got to the later legs outside North America.

Yes, it's *possible* any tour can lose money at any stage for any number of reasons. But the trend even within the C50 tour itself was that it was increasing revenue and profitability as it continued, even by Mike's own words.

Mike didn't want to work with Brian or Al (or Melinda) anymore, and prioritized doing his own thing and having no one to answer to over actually keeping the full band together. The other reasons he provides are simply a continuing laundry list of *potential* reasons he could come up with for ending it. And a bunch of the reasons contradict each other to varying degrees. The "set end date" reasoning for instance suggests it has nothing to do with economics. But then he also says the operation was too expensive. He didn't offer the "tour almost didn't make a profit" argument until his book came out, four years after the fact. Then he said they should "give it a rest" and build up demand, which I don't think anyone particularly believed (this argument seemed to suggest he wanted to revisit the same lineup and format, but simply wanted to wait a year or two), and we know that never happened.

So all of these ancillary reasons Mike has offered over the years are, to varying degrees, plausible. They're the sort of reasons you could come up with if you were giving a persuasive speech in a speech class or something. But many of the reasons were clearly just an exercise in coming up with theoretical justifications for ending the reunion in order to avoid bluntly stating he didn't want to work with the band anymore. Thus, I'm not going to weigh particularly strongly either his credibility or genuineness in stating these other reasons.

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Shark
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« Reply #93 on: October 27, 2016, 10:50:19 AM »

That I can agree with.  Mike has come up with a number of reasons why C50 ended and my personal belief is that it is as simple as wanting to be the sole boss again and not have to constantly butt heads with others (ie. Melinda).  He seems to be throwing out these various reasons, excuses to more or less justify it in his own head.  While I would have much rather seen them continue together or at least by this point get back and do another tour, he is entitled to do what he wants, whether we like it or not.
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HeyJude
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« Reply #94 on: October 27, 2016, 11:28:16 AM »

Yes, and I've said on many occasions that a reunion under duress is not only implausible, but not something anyone wants.

As time has gone by, I'm guessing even Brian and Al have less and less thought to themselves "Man, I wish we were touring with Mike again."
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