It’s been a long time, longer than the days prior to the passing of Dennis and Carl Wilson, since the original members of The Beach Boys shared a ride ? or the same side of the conference table at a lawyer’s office.
The American institution that’s fast approaching its golden anniversary in show business split into two factions around the time of the landmark Pet Sounds sessions in 1966 ? the studio-bound residency of Brian Wilson and the hard-touring, crowdpleasing roadshow skippered by Mike Love. And despite intermittent attempts at reconciling for albums and tours, the dichotomy abides to this day in the more or less separate-but-equal live shows fronted by the first cousins turned frenemies.
When the 2011 touring edition of the Beach Boys rolls into the Count Basie Theatre for a late-summer’s indoor concert on Tuesday, August 23, the core of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston (the successful singer/ songwriter/ producer whose 45-year history with the band hasn’t stopped him from being “the New Guy”) returns to the scene of some well-received sets of recent years ? as well as memorable nights featuring Brian and his band The Wondermints. The two senior Boys will preside over a pretty awesome cavalcade of canonical hits delivered by a crack team of craftsmen that includes veteran John Cowsill (from the bands that gave us both “867-5309 JENNY” and “The Rain, The Park and Other Things”) ? although the on-again, off-again stuntcasting of TV star John Stamos as drummer/ vocalist appears not to be in the cards for the Count’s crib.
The story of the Beach Boys is a way-stranger-than-fiction saga that takes in madness, child abuse, mind control, Charles Manson, multi-generational laboratory-level drug use, untimely death and tons of litigation. The story of America, in other words; all set to a soundtrack of the most achingly gorgeous “teenage symphonies” ever devised in a crossfire of inspiration and aspiration.
redbankgreen spoke to Mike Love ? polarizing figure, energizing frontman, boosterizing flagwaver for environmental causes, transcendental meditation and not-so-gentle politics ? from the Boys’ tour stop outside Philadelphia; turn the record over for more.
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As far as the current edition of the band, does everyone involved do vocals as well?
All the musicians sing ? we are very fortunate to have with us John Cowsill, who you might remember as the youngest member of The Cowsills family band. He’s a great drummer, and he takes the lead vocal on ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ ‘Heroes and Villains,’ and on our version of ‘California Dreaming‘.
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