Like most lazy gossip websites, we reported the story that Mike Love of the Beach Boys had chosen to sack his former bandmates Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks at the end of their 50th anniversary tour, and continue with his and Bruce Johnston’s reduced version of the band.
We did point out that this was always the agreement, but didn’t shy away from allowing Mike to seem like the baddie – a role he’s regularly cast in by those of us who’ve followed the band’s dysfunctions over the years. But we were wrong. And Mike’s open letter to all of us who jumped to the same conclusions has made us cry man tears.
The actual facts are that the 50th anniversary tour was only ever supposed to be 50 dates. This was extended to 75, with everyone involved aware that Wembley Arena would be the last date of the reunion, before Mike and Bruce continued with their version of the Beach Boys as they had before. However Brian and Al expressed a desire to continue with the reunion, which wasn’t possible.
And here’s Mike, writing in the LA Times, to tell us why we were wrong for thinking he was being a shithead about it…
“It’s the last show of the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary tour, at the tail end of our triumphant stand in London, first at Royal Albert Hall and then Wembley Arena, and we’re in the final moments of Fun, Fun, Fun…
“Looking at the beaming faces, I’m filled with an enormous sense of pride for my bandmates and our fans. We didn’t just show up for this tour like some museum act. We sang well. We played well. We moved people and we touched a lot of hearts. And it was beautiful. That’s not easy for any band, let alone one with our history.
“Then I get on the plane buzzing with excitement, and I start reading a lot of nasty gossip and I’m heartbroken. I didn’t want the divisive and ugly rumors of the last week to tarnish the experience of fans and the high note we ended the tour on. So, this is my attempt to set the record straight on the recent stories regarding the family I love and the music that has been my life for 50 years.
“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.”
You can read the whole letter here. But the bit that had us reaching for the screwed up tissue in our back pocket was this:
“This approach is not new for our band. Brian first stopped touring with the Beach Boys in 1964. Over the years, he’d sporadically join us on the road when he could. In ’65, Brian left our tour and went on to write and compose one of the greatest albums ever known to mankind, 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. I sang on Pet Sounds, I wrote songs for the album and I even named it. I personally walked the album up to Capitol Records with Brian to encourage the A&R guys to get behind it.”
Oh, and this…
“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.”
Thanks Mike. And let us state again, for the record, the Wembley Arena show was one of the greatest gigs there has ever been. No exaggeration.