‘We are the real Beach Boys’: Brian Wilson opens up after being ousted by Mike Love

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Through the news release issued by the Beach Boys tried to portray their latest split as a planned event following a celebrated 50th anniversary album and tour, new comments from ousted leader Brian Wilson tell a different story.

Mike Love, it’s now clear, has decided to retake a central role in the Beach Boys, having led an offshoot group that only includes second-generation member Bruce Johnston for the last 14 years. Wilson, in new comments to CNN, says Love told him in no uncertain terms that Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks — the only other surviving original members of the Beach Boys — were not welcome. Seems Love thinks too many shows with them will dilute the reunion concept’s impact.

This, after Wilson had said just weeks before that he was hopeful for a quick return to the studio for the Beach Boys, who released That’s Why God Made the Radio earlier this year to rapturous praise and then embarked on a record-smashing tour. That concert series — and, apparently, the dream of a long-hoped-for end to these squabbles — draws to a close on September 28, 2012, at London’s Wembley Stadium.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: The Beach Boys have seen their share of career lows — from Mike Love’s pervy come-ons, to attempts at rap, to (yes) disco mixes. And that’s not even the worst of it.]

Love, who is Wilson’s cousin, was granted legal control of the Beach Boys name when Wilson drifted out of the band years ago. Love has since sued both Wilson and Jardine, even as all three toured with separate groups. The Brian Wilson Band has been recording and making concert appearances since 1999. Jardine’s group is called the Endless Summer Band. Love and Johnston appear with a lineup that also includes Scott Totten and John Cowsill.

“I’m disappointed and can’t understand why he (Love) doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me,” Wilson told Denise Quan of CNN. “We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.”

Contrast that image of Wilson pleading to remain with the way the split had been portrayed earlier in the week. Just before the reunited Beach Boys participated in a celebration at the Grammy Museum, Love and Johnston issued an official release that said: “The post-50th anniversary configuration will not include Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks. The 50th Reunion Tour was designed to be a set tour with a beginning and an end to mark a special 50-year milestone for the band.”

Then there’s Jardine, who has posted a link on his Facebook wall to a petition titled: “To Mike Love: We want Al, Brian, and David to stay touring with you and Bruce!” Love is encouraged, in that petition, to bring them back “in order to preserve the validity of ‘The Beach Boys’ as a whole, and not as a ‘money saving, stripped down version.'”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Beach Boys. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

BEACH BOYS – THAT’S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO (2012): Who would have guessed, after decades of awful public squabbling, that the battling Beach Boys would return at all — must less in perfect harmony? The first new album in forever to feature founders Al Jardine, Mike Love and Brian Wilson, along with legacy members David Marks and Bruce Johnston, is highlighted by stirring finale suite of songs, very much in the style and substance of Pet Sounds and SMiLE. If some — or, maybe all – of it feels steeps on sun-drenched nostalgia, well, that’s also part of the magic of their return. After all, Wilson was waxing poetic about things like transistor radios, beach bunnies and hot rods back when they were all shiny and brand new.

‘FIFTY SIDES’ SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON BEACH BOYS LEGEND: Coinciding with this rewarding recording from founding or former bandmates Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, and coming close to doing full justice — your subjectivity may vary too, after all — journalist Mark Dillon has engineered, in what must of been a labor of love, a page-turning heaven in Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys: The Songs That Tell Their Story. Garnering more than four dozen hits and hidden gems and infusing them with exclusive commentary by an array of collaborators, fellow musicians, and famous fans (from Al Kooper to Zooey Deschanel, the simplicity of “Surfin’” to the artistry of “Surf’s Up”) this treasure trove runs the golden anniversary gamut from giddy fun, fun, fun to a sense of misty melancholy — signature sounds still of the once-troubled but reemergent guiding light Brian Wilson.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: THE BEACH BOYS: As the Beach Boys prepared to celebrate their 50th anniversary with the 2011 release of The SMiLE Sessions, an updated version of the 1968 track “Do It Again” and a proposed world tour, we took a look back at some fun, fun, fun old favorites — including tracks from Surfer Girl, Pet Sounds, Holland, Smiley Smile and Sunflower.

THE BEACH BOYS – THE SMILE SESSIONS (2011): Wilson’s long-awaited mythical masterpiece was issued in expanded form as The SMiLE Sessions, nearly 45 years after its conception. Be warned, though: While the original album has been referred to as the Beach Boys’ Holy Grail, this massive collection of studio recordings will probably be more well received by musicians and the serious music fan. Novice passersby need not apply. That said, despite the newly recorded version of this project released by Wilson in 2004, no one could have expected what depth and quality Sessions would bring to the table.

Something Else!

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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  • Type “Mike Love is…” into google. That will tell you all you need to know about this story.

    • Nick DeRiso

      Just did. Wow. A spit-take moment.

  • Charles Orlik

    Please sign the petition to Mike Love to bring Al, Brian, and David back on his and Bruce’s tour! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/to-mike-love-we-want-al-brian-and-david-to-stay/

  • Michael G. Pappas

    Mike… You have spit in the soup. I’ve followed you all since Surfin…. Something magical happened this summer. Your decision to exercise your right to The Beach Boys brand to the exclusion of Brian, Al and David betrays the incredible synergy that you all created this summer, and leaves us feeling used by you. How could anyone in their right mind want to see you and Bruce Johnson after seeing the real thing? Not anyone I know. Perhaps your Karma guidance system has led you astray. It is difficult to see how you will benefit from your decision, considering all the darkness that emanates from it. You will now be eternally remembered by your fans and history as the Beach Boy who destroyed something beautiful and very precious.

  • David Hirsch

    I completely agree with Michael Pappas. All the good will, beautiful music and summer dreams that were re-created this past summer are once again ripped to shreds. How many interviews with the group have we seen this year in which Mike told us of his love for his cousin – and that the reunion showed that all the parts are necessary to create this wonderful music. Mike, as always, you show yourself to be the phony that we all knew you were. I am angry at myself for giving you the benefit of the doubt and thinking you had changed your ways. Bruce – you have absolutely no excuse for your behavior. How is it being Mike’s sidekick? This is one of the saddest times in Beach Boys history.

  • Sue Morgan

    I will continue to boycott the “Mike Love Band” for the rest of Mike’s life.

  • James Conwell

    I really hope Mike Love comes to his senses. Without Brian and the others I will NEVER go to another Beach Boys concert. Mike Love’s overblown ego is destroying the REAL Beach Boys!

  • Bill Castle

    Mike I have been a Beech Boys fan for 50 years right from the start I & many of your fans will remember you for one thing as the man who distoyed the Boys though your over biggeted Ego

  • Linda

    Agree with the rest.is Mike Love nuts. Would never go to his show. Saw the REAL Beach Boys April 29.

  • Jeff Grauman

    I think the greatest part about this is,Brian doesn’t really need mike to create the old Beach Boy sound, because he is the Beach Boy sound. Brian has put out numerous mainstream LPs. How many have mike the douche and bruce the asskisser put out? I think Brian, Alan, and David should tour together as “The Original Beach Boys” a name that egomaniac has no legal hold on. It is truly time for mike to retire anyways, as you notice during the tour that he was barely audible due to his voice being nearly gone.

    I am not sure what God he worships, that allows him to behave the way he does, especially towards family.

    • JACE

      lots of oldies groups have issues like this – unfortunately mike the party pooper IS an original beach boy but I wouldn’t go see his group if they paid me – however i would buy tickets for the brian-al-dave group billed as THE REAL BEACH BOYS

  • phil wilms

    the beach boy’s are like the beatles they are not the same with out all the originals. ill always remember 409. those where the years.
    sad deal what an egotistical***** mike love is .

  • michie mundell

    Mike Love, Mr. TM. himself, is again asserting his massive ego and thoughtessness toward Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks. If it weren’t for Brian Wilson, Mike Love would not have had a career and had x amount of children with x amount of women; one of his children was in fact married to Dennis Wilson and gave birth to Dennis’ son Sage. If Carl or Dennis Wilson were alive, they would be kicking Michael Love square in his ass for this. Mike tries to act all Tmmy and all is peace and does the namaste thing, but he is a pill. I had friends who were in the front row of a mike love led band concert where he actually asked the security to ask these two women to join him in the hotel. They laughed at the security guy, love, a hairless, pervy old fart thought he had a chance with these two women! Mike complains about what an sob Murray Wilson, the father was. Murry was out front with his outrageously violent and obnoxious behavior. Love tries to act like he is such a “peacemaker” that his dishonesty really makes me sick. It was obvious in interviews that Love was disgusted whenever a reporter asked Al or Brian a question. To say that I am outraged is an understatement. Surprised? Hell, no! Once a weasel, always a weasel. Mike certainly doesn’t emulate the maharishi at all.

  • michie mundell

    by tm, i mean transcendental meditation. David Lynch, Donovan, McCartney and Ringo all GOT how to utilize tm for good. Mike Love, who is the antithesis of Love, just acts that way. I would imagine for some years t.m. helped him to pick up and screw naive women. But no more.

  • shirley rockett

    i really felt bad about all of this wish carl and dennis were still around

  • Steven Taylor

    As far as I’m concerned, Mike Love’s balls could rot and be eaten by maggots.

  • Joe Raskin

    Mike Love may own the band’s name, but Brian Wilson created and owns the sound. When all is said and done, he will be recognized as a one of the great figures in the history of American music, on a par with George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Aaron Copland. Mike Love will be remembered as a guy who was along for the ride. Let him do what he wants with the band’s name. We know who (and what) matters.

  • Perplexio

    I’ve never met Mike Love, from what I’ve read about him I never care to and hope I never do. From interviews I’ve seen him I really think he missed his true calling… as a used car salesman.

  • Doc Mu

    Mike Love has sealed his position as the most malevolent figure in rock history, leaving Yoko Ono in his 409 dust.

  • Greg

    What a shame to tease us with such a great album and leave us wanting more only to blow it all up because of one man’s ego. The 50th reunion created something magical, such a shame it won’t happen again. Hope that Brian, Al and David will continue to make music as only the Beach Boys can.

  • Chuck Kirkpatrick

    SImply a matter of money. Love doesn’t want to have to split the pot 5 ways. What he seems to be unable to grasp is that following this most artistically and financially successful 50 year reunion tour with the original guys is going to be impossible with just him and his backup band posing as the Beach Boys. Why Bruce Johnston is even a part of this farce is beyond me. Mike hasn’t now nor has he ever had a clue as to how to make a good record. “Kokomo” was a lucky hit, promoted by a good movie, but the production was pig-slop compared to what Brian can do in a studio. Time to levitate, Mike…

  • Don Droege

    Brian is The Beach Boys. Nuff said.

  • Bob Lindquist

    Mike Love show’s his true colors again! Bruce Johnston seems like a reasonable guy. The 50th tour this year was pure magic…Mike, you can go ahead and start playing casino’s and fairs again.

  • Miguel DeLeon

    Mike Love has been vilified by fans and press for more than 35 years for taking the commercial route over the Wilson brothers’ preference for an artistic route.

    After almost as many years of reading and listening to all this, and still trying to give Mike the benefit of the doubt (after all, he and Bruce are the ones who consistently showed up at after-gig parties and promo events back in the 90s), I have to agree that this is awful behaviour; so Mike & Bruce had a fall/winter tour booked without Brian, Al, & Dave. We all know that. But hey — things have changed. I doubt anyone could’ve foreseen the acclaim the reunion tour and album would receive. If the others are willing to keep together, to record and tour again, then Mike should loosen up.

    “Isn’t It Time” for Brian, Al, & Dave to legally get the Beach Boys name for themselves and invite Mr. Amiable (Bruce) to join them? Perhaps a few years out to pasture will teach Mike a bit of humility. And if Rikki and Blondie wanted to come along for the ride, it’d really put Mike out in the cold.

    After all, I’ll never forget his awful ranting at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony in 1988. The years have not yet mellowed his “Male Ego”.

  • GK Glasson

    The 50th reunion tour was awesome (even if Mike Love was there). I would pay good money to see Brian, Al and David perform without Cousin Mike. Bruce could choose which group he wants to be with.
    Love seems to think he is all that. He isn’t. He is a braggart who wants to flash his rings and speak about his new Bentley

  • PR

    It never pays to be in business with the devil.

  • Joseph

    Bruce Johnston seems like a nice enough man, as has been said.
    No time for Mike Love. one of the worst people ever.

  • Hal

    I am also a life long fan, flew in to see the concert in Provo with my son. Have followed the 50th tour since the Grammys. This is sooo disappointing and short sighted of Mike. He actually believes fans will buy a ticket to see he and Bruce after all that was said and done during this tour.
    I cant believe his bank account is so low the he will stoop to touring without Brian, Al, and Mark.

    The win win is to take some time off, maybe work on another album as mentioned before and then a smaller tour after that.

    Mike, youre killin us man. We love the music and youre selfishness and ego are killin the goodwill with your bandmates and us the fans!

  • Robert

    Mike, Mike, Mike….come on man! You, of anyone, should understand karma! Seeing you play with Brian. Al, David & Bruce in Göteborg, Sweden this Summer was one of the highlights of my life….yes, even you, Mike, had me smiling & dancing the whole 2.5 hour show! But to continue on w/o 3 of the other Hawthorne boys is simply cruel and unusual punishment for lifelong fans like me. Just take a few months off and then “do it again” with a small tour with the 5 of you. It’s what we want!

  • Gordon Hauptfleisch

    Love hurts. The Beach Boys without a Wilson, especially Brian, is not the Beach Boys. I pretty much ignored the Love-led “Beach Boys” anyway, so I guess I’ll ignore them again and hope they go away — and get back to following Brian and his band, and check out Al Jardine’s project.

  • Joe Cogan

    Mike Love is, without question, the biggest dick in Rock history. Without Brian’s songs, he’d be remembered as the singer in a minor 60’s surf band, if at all.

  • Although Mikes contribution was and still is valuable. The whole world now knows Mike Loves Ego and his destructive ways of destroying a Beautiful thing the real BB.

    No wonder Brian had mental/emotional issues besides his Dad (Murray Wilson) which is well documented physical and emotional abuse. In addition Brian had to put up with “Mr Bully himself Mike Love” criticizing his creativity and songs on Pet Sounds one of many bizarre examples over the decades. ….

    I too will boycott the “Corporate BB copy band” Mike and Mr “Tiny Shorts” Bruce Johnson.
    Happy and Glad to pay anytime for the “real deal BB Brian/Al/Mike and Brians terrific Back -up Band.

    Cheers John Vancouver Bc Canada

  • DJ Ian

    As far as I can tell, none of this has anything to do with money. If it was Love would keep the band reunion line-up together. They spent all of last year playing to massive crowds the world over, made a great record, played amazing shows and made lots of money. As Love owns the bands name, I guess he made a bigger slice than he would have otherwise. No reason that could not have continued. This is ago Love’s ego. He believes he is as much “The Beach Boys” as Brian is. His contribution has been great. But After years of seeing ‘The Beach Boys’ tour with less and less actual Beach Boys on the stage and the quality dropping every time I was thrilled when Brian started touring again. Especially when the Brian Wilson Band was SO brilliant. The Wondermint guys were the perfect core and the sound on stage was beyond incredible. I swore then that I’d never go and see the Love cover band ever again. I gave in on an Australian tour because the support was the legendary Aussie band Daddy Cool, who I had never seen before. DC was great, BB (with just Love and Johnston) were lame. I don’t think Mike like spending money and so the band was average, the harmonies from the various hired hand were per functionary. The reunion tour was a dream come true, they were in fine form, getting on, I got to see it from great seats, tears were shed, sing-a-longs were had, dances were indulged in. Mike’s actions, and the timing of those actions, were despicable. It’s like their fans had been baked a wonderful birthday cake, which Love pissed on. That he then expects people to continue to pay for and support his soiled version of the Beach Boys is beyond comprehension. Brian Wilson IS the Beach Boys. Always was, Always will be. Enjoy playing in the front bar of the gaming lounge in Vegas for tips Mr Love. I’ll be going to see the REAL Beach Boy, the heart and soul of the Beach Boys, the genius of the Beach Boys, the writer of teenage symphonies. Not the bitter, deluded, greedy, ego maniac that committed a dreadful and unforgivable act of sabotage.

  • mort weiss

    I knew and woked with the Beach Boys setting them up with all their gear back in Torrance California 1965-66 at Wallichs music city Store as I did with many other rock -yes ROCK groups at the time-they seemed to be all nice guys -whosites dad was running the show back then Big time! Now heres the the BIG NEWS re. them —None of the Beach Boy ever did or could Surf!!! Mort weiss SMS JAZZ AAJ

  • Louie D.

    I’m 36 y/o and I’ve been a BB fan since the first time I heard Good Vibrations when I was a kid… I used to spend the afternoon with a cousin learning how to sing and play their songs… Never in my entire life or wildest dreams I could have imagined that I would be singing the same songs front row at their reunion concert in Berkeley, California last year… You could see Brian’s smiling face and you could feel that he was truly enjoying being there (because if you’ve seen him in other presentations like Party at the Palace, he seems out of place)… Al, David, Mike and Bruce were having a great time too… or at least that’s what the latter two sold to us…

    Unfortunately, Mike’s ego is bigger than any stage… proof of that was infamously stated during the BB’s induction to the R&R Hall of Fame… I’ve read many comments here that say that he will be remembered for destroying the BB’s, but this is not the first time he commits commercial suicide against his band… he was the one who pushed Brian to kill the magnificent “Smile!” album… (as Sir George Martin put it once, we would have never know how it could have changed the face of music)

    Well… just a couple of weeks ago, Smile got a Grammy for best historical album… so it looks like Mike couldn’t kill it, after all and now it finally got the honors that it deserves…

    So, just as it happened with Smile, the Beach Boys’ legacy will go on for generations to come… with or without Mike’s approval…

    Brian Wilson is a genius… Sir George Martin has said it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJTLu4UiJ7o)

    “Mike Love is”… yeah, Google it!

  • Ted

    Brian Wilson is, was and always be a genius. Mike Love is a ……

    No amount of lawsuits can change that, Mike. Have fun living off your talented relatives, dude.

  • Patty

    Shame on you, Mike! You expect us to come to YOUR concerts, buy YOUR music & respect you? Not this gal!
    You aren’t fit to touch Brian’s shoestrings much less than copy his music. What an ego – I can’t imaging how you get your head through the stage door.

    Bruce, I gave you credit for being smarter than you are acting. You know you are judged by the company you keep. What did Mike put in your Kool-Aid? Come to your senses!

    All the best to you, Brian, Al & David. I sure miss Dennis & Carl.

  • Tom G

    It’s now a matter of time. I suspect the legalities for Bruce J is he’s under contractual obligation to the entity called the BBoys. If that ends, or that overcome, I suspect Bruce will join the Real Beach Boys. I also suspect the legal name ‘the Beach Boys’ could be successfully fought, especially if Bruce leaves the ‘corporate entity’ called the Beach Boys and joins the rest of the actual Beach Boys.
    If Mike decides to also join and relinquish his control ( surely that’s all it can be, not money in itself), then fine, bury the hatchet.

    Go on Bruce..for the memory, the legacy, and the music.

    Time is running out, but maybe a good few years left still.
    We’ve all seen magic can happen..the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    Make it good. Make the magic again.