Mike Love: ‘I Did Not Fire Brian Wilson From the Beach Boys’
Just before the last date of the Beach Boys‘ 50th Anniversary Tour, word got out that singer and co-founder Mike Love had ‘fired’ members Al Jardine, David Marks and Brian Wilson. The truth is far less sinister, but no less frustrating for Beach Boys fans. In an open letter to the LA Times, Mike Love attempts to set the record straight.
“Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys.” he says. “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.”
All this stems from the fact that over the last decade or so, Love gained the legal rights to the Beach Boys name. He, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, had been touring as ‘Mike Love’s Beach Boys’ for several years. When the idea of a 50th anniversary tour was put forth, original members Al Jardine, David Marks and band leader Brian Wilson all reconvened for an album and world tour. The tour and album received glowing reviews, and all seemed happy in Beach Boy land. That is, until the tour was winding down.
As Love explains, “This tour was always envisioned as a limited run. None of us wanted to do a 50th anniversary tour that lasted 10 years. It was meant to be special. We finally settled on 50 dates. Brian, Al and I signed an agreement outlining the beginning and end of the tour. Then, we amended our agreement to add 25 more dates. As the year went on, Brian and Al wanted to keep the 50th anniversary tour going beyond the 75 dates.”
Love, no stranger to seething hatred from diehard Brian Wilson fans, had already started booking more ‘Beach Boys’ dates with confusion to the public, as well as promoters, as to which ‘Beach Boys’ were going to appear. “We had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band — the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years.” He adds, “Brian and Al would not be joining for these small market dates, as was long agreed upon.”
Love goes on in detail about his feelings for the band, the anniversary tour and the band’s legacy. “I’m wondering if we’ll all get to do this again or if this is it,” he says. “I’m standing proud that we came together, put our differences aside and made this tour happen.” In closing, he quotes ‘Summer’s Gone’ from the band’s reunion album. “Summer’s gone away. Old friends have gone, they’ve gone their separate ways. Our dreams hold on for those who still have more to say.”