Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mike Love Minimizes 50th Reunion Tour & Album in Recent Interview

I wish the headline for the entry only simply referred to Mike Love minimizing the window on his computer, but for better or worse, things are pretty much fully back to the way they were in the olden days. Mike Love has given another short, but nevertheless memorable interview. You can read it in full here:
Time has been instructive to Beach Boys fans, as we are at least finally gaining a better understanding of Mike Love's true feelings about the whole 50th Anniversary project. A lot of what we're hearing are things many fans suspected, but it is definitely instructive to hear these things from the man's mouth.
The interview is pretty short, so I won't excerpt much here since it only takes a few moments to read the link above.
Basically, Love is even more firmly standing by the idea that he's done with more reunion activities for the forseeable future, and seems to feel he went above and beyond in even participating in the tour and album last year. He still interestingly refuses to acknowledge the actual offers the band supposedly had on the table for more immediate concerts, TV appearances, and recording and instead once again has brought out his vague assertion that some promoters told him the reunion should "give it a rest" for at least a year to presumably build up demand. This idea seems even more useless in light of the fact that he certainly doesn't seem as if he's ready to get back with the reunion in 2014, so I'm not sure what point he's making here other than to justify not continuing the reunion in 2013.
Asked about last year's new Beach Boys album, Love's comments are particularly interesting (and not surprising given what we know about the album's creation):
"Well, I wasn’t consulted very much with that album. Brian and I had spoken about a year before we even got started with that album. He wanted to do some re-records of some of our favorite songs. And I was up for that. We mentioned a couple of songs to each other. But that never happened. Nor was I able to actually get in a room and write with Brian like I did back in the ’60s. So that was, to me, unfortunate.
On the other hand, he had some songs he had been working on for several years. Brian has done a lot of things as a solo artist over the past 10 or 15 years, but it was nice to get together and do something in the studio together for the first time in many years. It sounded great, reminded me of 1965 again. And Brian said that, too."

What Love says here does make total sense. We knew based on interviews and the credits on the sleeve (and what the album simply sounded like) that this was largely a Brian Wilson/Joe Thomas project with some lyrical input from Love and vocal input from the rest of the group. Not completely unlike the days of "Pet Sounds."

Love seems to be hung up on not writing songs from scratch with Brian. I think most fans agree this would be lovely if the pair could actually produce quality material. But Love's track record on writing material from scratch in recent years, or even recent decades, is spotty. While Brian often has collaborators and other musical partners flesh his stuff out, Brian has written album after album that includes at least *some* quality material and material that doesn't all sound like Papa Doo Run Run trying to ape the sound of either "Kokomo" or "Surfin' USA." Love's track record makes this additional comment from the interview regarding the album particularly, well, just read this crap:

"Well, it debuted at No. 3. That’s not bad. But it didn’t stay up there very long. To have sustained success, like we’ve been known to do, you need a single that will chart and stay in the Top 20 or the Top 10 for three months. And that didn’t happen with this album."

There are about 50 things wrong with this statement. I would imagine the first thing that popped into many fans' minds when reading this was 1992's epic "Summer in Paradise" album. For those that don't remember, this was the previous "final" original Beach Boys album, and was essentially a Mike Love solo album recorded without Brian, with Al "suspended" from the group for most of the sessions, and with Carl, Bruce, and Al making some vocal cameos. This was the album where someone decided that if "Kokomo" was a hit, then an album full of nothing but "Kokomo" knock-offs would be a bigger hit. Yes, I know some of the songs are not literally "Kokomo" rip offs, but the whole thing was lackluster to put in kindly. Most pointedly, the album literally DID NOT CHART. As in, not in the TOP 200! This was the purest example we've ever had of what happens when Mike Love wrestles full control of a project. Even his 1981 solo album wasn't as much of a concentrated serving of Love, as he didn't have as many songwriting credits on that one.

Love's comments also ignore that the charts are tabulated, and sales occur in a far different way today than they did in the 60's, or even the 80's. Old fogey bands like the Beach Boys don't have "hit singles" often anymore. Guys like McCartney sell albums, and then get Grammy nods for albums. They don't hit the top of the "Hot 100" singles charts anymore. They don't even release physical singles anymore.

Love also fails to point out that it would have at least theoretically been possible to promote the album and it's second single ("Isn't It Time") if the reunion lineup had done more dates, and/or more TV appearances and so on.

Love at one point in the short interview senses that the interviewer is getting hung up on the reunion tour and album, which is also telling as it indicates Love's potential lack of awareness of how bad the press has been for him in the aftermath of the reunion, and also of course tells us that he is back in full "Pre-2012" mode in promoting his touring "Beach Boys", continually asserting that this has been the way it was since 1998, as if that means anything to anybody.

I do want to continue to see interviews like this, though, as we are slowly getting a more honest picture of the reunion, and interviews like this make me more and more thankful and frankly shocked that they held the reunion tour together for as long as they did. 

No comments:

Post a Comment