Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recent Interview Round-Up

A few articles and news blurbs have been making the rounds in recent weeks, so I thought a quick recap would be helpful.

In a July 4th article in UK’s “The Guardian”, Mike forwards his theory that there are a number of misconceptions out there about him. The interview mostly strokes his ego, talking about the beach and the band’s background in TM and whatnot. In the midst of the questions, we get rare mentions of little-known facts that Mike has never mentioned, such as the Beach Boys topping the NME chart in 1966, and Mike helping Paul McCartney write “Back in the USSR.” Yes, this is sarcasm….

As for the demise of the 50th anniversary tour, Mike offers the same “it ended because it ended” explanation, using a very slight variation via using the wording “there was a term.” His favorite buzzword now to refer to the defunct tour is apparently now that it was a “term”, presumably meaning a set amount of time and nothing more. He again admits that they extended that “term” but fails to specifically state why he didn’t extend it even more when everybody else wanted to. He also arguably contradicts other reports by stating that the plan was always to go back to the previous status quo. Clearly, not everybody was on that same page. Love himself failed to mention this when specifically asked about it during the reunion tour. The only apparent reasons for this that I can think of is that either Love in fact was open to continuing the reunion (e.g. the plan was not necessarily or definitively to go back to the status quo), or that it was indeed the plan all along and for PR reasons simply left that small tidbit of information out in promoting the ongoing reunion tour at the time.

You usually tour as the Beach Boys with Bruce Johnstone [sic], but last year all the surviving members reunited for a 50th anniversary tour that everyone – not least Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks – didn't want to end. Did you enjoy it yourself?

I had a wonderful experience being in the studio together. Brian has lost none of his ability to structure those melodies and chord progressions, and when we heard us singing together coming back over the speakers it sounded like 1965 again. Touring was more for the fans. Brian has a great band and he does his own thing, and Bruce and I have a fabulous band and we enjoy going places, big and small. But that configuration that happened last year you can only do in so many places and so often. So it was an agreed 50 shows that grew to 73 because of demand. But there was always a term, then we were always going back to what we do. Brian is in the studio again. He loves the studio. It was a great experience, it had a term to it, and now everyone's going on with their ways of doing things.

Will you ever write with Brian again? If you made one more Beach Boys album it would be the 30th …
[Intrigued] It has a ring to it, doesn't it? I was hoping to get together with Brian on [2012's] That's Why God Made the Radio, but a guy who was involved in the production of that album engineered it otherwise. Which was a drag because I have that history of co-writing with Brian, and he and I love each other going back to childhood. Given the opportunity, I would definitely write with Brian.

My favorite bit in the Guardian interview has nothing much to do with the Beach Boys:

You seem very chilled today, Mike. Why have you had such a bad press in recent years?

I think there are a lot of fallacies about me, things that need to be rectified. I'm working on a book that will lay rest to some of them. I know what I did and didn't do. People say the Beatles were John Lennon. What is Paul McCartney? Chopped liver? But everyone has their own favourite members whose creativity they gravitate to. That's normal.

I'm not sure what Mike's getting at here. Sorry Mike, but I don't think much of anybody in the media anymore things McCartney is chopped liver. The whole pro-John/anti-Paul thing had its day. Maybe Jan Wenner still feels that way, but nobody is denigrating McCartney to this degree much anymore. And that's not even getting into whether it's warranted to make a corollary between John/Paul and Brian/Mike. 

In a July 8th piece published by Ultimate Classic Rock, little new information is offered in a rather shoddily-composed article that makes plenty of points I agree with, but undercuts the arguments through crappy writing and information. But one tidbit purported to be from Mike Love completely contradicts all previous reports from everybody including Love himself when Love contends that it was Brian who didn’t want to continue the reunion.

”The anniversary tour was originally 50 dates and got extended to 73,” Love explained. “At that point, Brian said, ‘No more dates for us, please.’ So once we finished those 73 shows, we went back to the lineup of the band before he rejoined.” Love owns the rights to the Beach Boys name and has toured various versions of the group over the years, with the only other member from the classic era being keyboardist Bruce Johnston.

According to Love, Wilson is welcome to rejoin the group anytime he wants. ”I’d very much like to get in a room, just him and I, to write more songs,” he said. “We’ve always had a special chemistry. I’d like to do that more than anything.”

Given the awkward back and forth via competing LA Times “pieces” from Brian and Mike, it seems unlikely that Brian was the one who said no to more shows. Now, it could be that Brian said no to a specific proposal from Mike. I could envision Mike saying  “Okay, let’s keep it going next year, but I want to do more shows, smaller markets, cut the band down in size, lower overhead costs” and so on, and Brian not agreeing to that. But there’s no evidence even of this, not even from Love. Curious.

Meanwhile, Al has been doing press for his shows with Brian and David, and offered some variations on his previous comments to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

For the summer of 2013, Mr. Love and Mr. Johnston are playing as The Beach Boys competing with the offshoot tour of "Brian Wilson with Al Jardine + David Marks," backed by the stellar band that has been accompanying Mr. Wilson for years and also played the reunion.

"It's a pretty darn good band," Mr. Jardine said in a phone interview. "It will primarily be a Beach Boys' library of songs because that's what we do best when we're together. It's ostensibly a continuation of the reunion tour although we don't call it The Beach Boys for obvious reasons. We would love to have Mike and Bruce with us, but they don't want to work with us. So we can't force them to work with us. We are going to do our very best to carry on with the reunion."
One recent twist to the story is that Mr. Love said in a July 8 interview that he misses his cousin and would love to work with him again.

"Well, what a wonderful thought," Mr. Jardine said. "That's very nice of him. I'd like to work with Mahatma Gandhi, too. Maybe that's the wrong [comparison]. I'd like to work with George Gershwin. Those are the things we wish for, but wishing is one thing and actually doing it is another. So if you really mean it, you come out and you work with us. But put your thoughts into action. That's my response to that."

"We did a follow-up single that never matriculated called 'Isn't It Time,' which I thought was a great follow-up. We even re-recorded it on the road in Europe, so I was thinking 'follow-up single, fall tour, perfect for spring time the following year,' and then Mike pulls the plug on the whole darn thing ... finished."

I for one like the Al that is a bit more "tell it like it is."


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