As we recently reported, one of American music’s most celebrated bands wrapped up their mammoth world tour and celebration of their 50th Anniversary with some suitably ‘Good Vibrations’, with the Beach Boys proving the globe over that they were still an essential live act.

As our own Tone Deaf reviewer reported of the recently reunited, original lineup’s successful Adelaide show: “for a group that has had their fair share of drama, it was a delight after all this time to see the five members on stage visibly enjoying each other’s company and clearly on tour for all the right reasons.”

As it turns out, it may not have been as cheery as things looked with member, Mike Love – who legally controls the Beach Boys name – vowing to conduct his own tour, refusing to extend an invite to his fellow bandmates, firing co-founders Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, plus guitarist David Marks.

Since then, things have gotten very messy indeed, proving that when it comes to family – anything goes…

In a lengthy piece he wrote for the LA Times, Mike Love says that his decision to carry on without his fellow musicians and family (Love is Brian Wilson’s cousin) was simply down to touring logistics. The performer says the 75-date, 50th Anniversary tour was always intended to be a “limited run.” Saying, “Like any good party, no one wanted it to end. However, that was impossible, given that we had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band.”

Among saying that their songs are “in the DNA of America” that “have been woven in the fabric of [the] nation,” he writes:

“Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson. We are partners. He’s my cousin by birth and my brother in music.”

Wilson has now responded directly with a piece of his own in The LA Timesnoting that: “As far as I know I can’t be fired – that wouldn’t be cool.” Adding, “The negativity surrounding all the comments bummed me out. What’s confusing is that by Mike not wanting or letting Al, David and me tour with the band, it sort of feels like we’re being fired.”

According to the Beach Boy, Love’s initial press statement saying that he was continuing the tour without him, Jardine and Marks, did not accurately reflect the internal discussions of the band:

“I was completely blindsided by his press release. I had no idea that it was coming out, since it was crafted by Mike’s personal PR firm without my knowledge or approval. No one in my camp would have approved it or the timing… I’m disappointed that Mike would now say that the release was done at the request of my representative… We hadn’t even discussed as a band what we were going to do with all the offers that were coming in for more 50th shows.”

Wilson continues to say that with the flood of more offers to continue the 50th Anniversary tour with more dates, he can’t understand why Love would want to continue without him and the rest of the original members. “It’s Al [Jardine] and my opinion that all of us together makes for a great representation of the Beach Boys,” writes Wilson.

In closing, Wilson says “while I appreciate the nice cool things Mike said about me in his letter, and I do and always will love him as my cousin and bandmate, at the same time I’m still left wondering why he doesn’t want to continue this great trip we’re on.”
Finishing by saying: ” That’s it in a nutshell, all these conversations need to be between the shareholders, and I welcome Mike to call me.”
To make the whole tangled mess all the harder to swallow, on the Beach Boys Facebook today, they point towards the re-release of 12 remastered versions of their back catalogue, including Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile, and (pertinently) Surf’s Up. 
Talk about your ‘Heroes And Villains’, ‘God Only Knows’ what will happen next, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ if the ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ could continue…?

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine