Mike Love is fighting back against those have vilified him with claims that he “fired” original Beach Boys members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks. Love has penned a lengthy, pointed and emotional open letter to the Los Angeles Times in an attempt to set the record straight.
To recap, Wilson, Jardine and Marks are no longer a part of the “Beach Boys” that will be touring the world in the coming months, despite a desire to do so. “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why he [Love] doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me,” Wilson told CNN in frustration. “We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.” Months ago, Wilson told us that he’s already thinking about the Beach Boys’ next album, a follow-up to June’s That’s Why God Made The Radio. Meanwhile, Al Jardine urged fans to sign a petition to Love, asking him to allow original members to continue the reunion tour following last week’s final show in London.
Love, on the other hand, explained in a press statement issued several weeks ago that the Beach Boys reunion was always “designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end.” He reiterated that in his letter, of which you can read in its entirety here.
The pertinent passages about the band’s business structure and power dynamics are below:
Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson. We are partners. He’s my cousin by birth and my brother in music.
This tour was always envisioned as a limited run. None of us wanted to do a 50th anniversary tour that lasted 10 years. It was meant to be special. In fact, very early on, Brian was just going to join the tour for a few dates in big cities. We finally settled on 50 dates in 50 major markets.
Brian, Al and I signed an agreement outlining the beginning and end of the tour. Then, thanks to glowing reviews, the support of our loyal fans (and the prodding of promoters), we amended our agreement to add 25 more dates. As the year went on, Brian and Al wanted to keep the 50th anniversary tour going beyond the 75 dates.
Like any good party, no one wanted it to end. However, that was impossible, given that we had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band — the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years. Brian and Al would not be joining for these small market dates, as was long agreed upon.
Initially, there was to be plenty of space between the two tours, but then we added 25 more dates and the two tours bumped up against each other. To avoid public confusion, and at the request of Brian’s representative, we had a press release sent out detailing the differences between the two Beach Boys tours and its varying lineups. I was surprised that Brian and Al said they were surprised by this announcement. Some media outlets interpreted all of this as me firing the band.
The plan was always to go back to our respective lives post the 50th anniversary run. Brian is writing a new album. Al often tours with his band — they are terrific. And my job hasn’t changed in 50 years. I’m the lead singer of the Beach Boys and an ambassador of this amazing music that touched a generation.
The name “The Beach Boys” is controlled by Brother Records Inc., which was founded by the original members of the Beach Boys and whose sole shareholders voted over a decade ago to grant me an exclusive license to tour as “The Beach Boys.”
On the topic that he hated Pet Sounds:
And to clarify another misconception, I was enormously proud of “Pet Sounds” back in ’66, and I am even prouder of it today.
And finally, in a touching moment for the group’s realist businessman:
The Beach Boys are bigger than those who created it. When all of us remaining founders have turned to dust, the band will live on in the hearts of those who relish the sounds of summer. So you see, summer’s never really gone. And neither are the Beach Boys.
What do you think of Mike Love’s explanation? Sound off in the comments below.
- Jillian Mapes, CBS Local