The Beach Boys’ more recent interpersonal difficulties have been well documented, but Mike Love says the schism goes much further back — all the way to their hit-making heyday.
Love, the rare clean-living rock star, says sides were chosen long before the current era, which has seen his Beach Boys lineup touring separately from a group led by Brian Wilson that includes a trio of other former band alums.
“At one time,” Love says in this WMAL clip, “when we were touring at the height of the 1960s success, we had a smokers’ jet and a non-smokers’ jet — and the smoking wasn’t just about cigarettes, either. So there was a definite schism there, in terms of choice of lifestyle.”
Love says he was shocked to learn, during the Beach Boys’ most recent reunion tour, just how rampant the drug use was on the other side. Turns out, when Love and Wilson were collaborating on the lyrics for “California Girls,” a No. 3 hit in 1965, that Wilson was high as a kite.
“He was taking LSD, which I had never known before,” Love says. “I knew he had been doing various drugs, prior to that and subsequent to that. After the Pet Sounds album was recorded, and he was working on an album called SMiLE, he took enough LSD to make him completely weird out. That was messed up. He actually shelved the album for decades.”
Wilson has just completed a tour that features Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin. Love, meanwhile, is touring under the Beach Boys banner with Bruce Johnston.