When I sit and close my eyes, a gentle thought comes in my mind.

September 27, 2012

You’re gonna sit there and be pissy about something this idiot does? Really? You can’t find a better way to spend your time?

I don’t know why the news of Mike Love “firing” Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks from the Beach Boys touring band has caught such fire in the last 24 hours—the news is already more than a week old. And in a day and age where people can wake up and rant their heads off on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or whatever social media realm you favor and then forget what they were so angry about 15 minutes later, this seems like a horrible lag on the public at large’s part.

But here’s a quick hit of what comes up when you type “Mike Love” into Twitter’s search bar right now.

The last one made me laugh. But go ahead and see for yourself how much hatred and vitriol there is toward this guy.

Now think about this time last year before you even knew that the Beach Boys were going to be touring together again—let alone releasing a new album—and think about what your opinion of Mike Love was then.

If you are a Beach Boys fan of even modest repute, it was probably about the same.

So what, really, are we so pissed about? That a 71-year-old who’s had a long history of being a dick (here’s that famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction clip — go on to 3:49 for Love’s infamous rant) comes out and makes another dick move? Wow, and this from a crotchety old guy who decides the best place to defend his good name with cuddly old Bill O’Reilly! Never saw that coming …

I suppose the idea of Brian Wilson and Mike Love sharing a stage again this summer worked as some metaphor for being able to get through whatever bullsh*t threatens your bond during a lifetime. The fact that Love and Wilson are cousins and somehow found a way past 40 some years of disagreement, lawsuits and general backbiting maybe made it more special. I think the Stone Roses managed to pull off the “we really do like each other now” act a little more convincingly than the remaining Beach Boys did this summer, but that’s merely from my review of videos posted on the Internet. I didn’t actually see the Stone Roses this summer, nor did I see the Beach Boys.

So maybe I’m out of line in suggesting that the Brian Wilson ( … OK, and Al and David) not being part of Beach Boys anymore is really not that big of a deal. Maybe if I had made it to one of the shows this year, I’d have been impressed and/or inspired by what I saw before me. But the thing is, I saw Brian Wilson when he performed the whole of Pet Sounds with a symphony. I saw him on the SMiLE tour. And any day of the week, I would rather see this than I would this. I did see the Beach Boys back in 1994 when Carl was still around and to hear that voice sing “God Only Knows” live was something special. The fact that Uncle Jesse was the drummer at that show was a bit surreal, but it was still a show worth remembering. And even then, at 12 years of age and before I got interested in the band’s history and everything else, I sat that there thinking, “Mike Love is really not that great of a frontman.”

And let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Mike doing this is akin to him robbing the world of another SMiLE. Yes, Brian has recently suggested that he’d like to make another album with the Beach Boys (gasp, “a rock ‘n’ roll album” even!), but I don’t want any of you trying to tell me that That’s Why God Made the Radio was this year’s pristine gift to music lovers everywhere. I’ve heard it, and I’m sure you’ve heard at least some of it if not all of it, and I can tell you that I didn’t actually pay money for it and I’m pretty sure you didn’t either. Were there some surprises on it? Yes. I found myself in love with one of the tracks (it’s almost a shoo-in for a spot on the “15 of the Best” list at the end of the year), but when you’re expecting a possible catastrophe, a couple songs that would’ve made better-than-average fillers on the albums around the Friends and Wild Honey era sound that much more impressive. I’m all for Brian Wilson continuing to write and record, but I’m not expecting another “Cabin Essence” from a guy who’s more happy of late to give a Beach Boys swing to Gershwin or Disney tunes. Hell, I’m still demanding my money back for that goddamned collaboration with Paul McCartney 8 years ago. THAT is the result of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney getting together?! Does Brian Wilson have the right to do whatever he damn well pleases at this point of his life and career? Absolutely, and I’m not going to criticize it (unless you build me up with the thought that Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney have collaborated on a track for the first time in history and we get “A Friend Like You”). But I’m also not going to demand or expect any more genius from him. I think he’s given us enough.

So Mike Love wants to go back to playing county fairs and and village parties with a band of guys who, if it weren’t for Mike Love’s wishes, might instead be playing in a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute act or with 2 guys out of the Buckinghams on the same county fair circuit. Big f*cking deal. THAT’s what you want Brian Wilson to be part of? That’s where you want the Beach Boys legacy to have its final living flickers? Not in hushed reverence of Brian Wilson at the Royal Albert Hall or in some revered theater in a major American city? ‘Cos I, for one, think that’s a hell of a lot more appropriate.

But if you don’t, then OK, go ahead and get mad at Mike Love for denying Brian Wilson the chance to sing “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” as some dude in a tanktop and floral board shorts half-listens while he orders a $6 burrito and $3 cotton candy from a stand set up by a suburban Mexican restaurant.

It just seems like a really wasted emotion to me.

And trust me, there are better things to be angry about than a 71-year-old asshole being an asshole.

P.S. For all of Mike Love’s idiocy and dickishness, he did cowrite this. So there is that.

One comment

  1. You nailed it. I’ve never seen a better response to this news and the worship of all things Beach Boys. In the words of Chad & Jeremy “That was yesterday and yesterday’s gone”

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