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MUSIC: An Interview with Mike Love of the Beach Boys

Thursday, April 03, 2014

 

In less than 10 days, The Beach Boys arrive at the Park Theatre in Cranston and original member Mike Love can’t wait to spread the good vibes. The legendary band will be in town on Sunday April 13th and Love promises “all the hits and a few surprises.”

American Icons

While other bands vie for the label, the Beach Boys are simply the most iconic rock band in American history. They’ve sold more than 100 million albums since their debut over 50 years ago, rivaling artists like Elvis Presley and The Beatles. “We’ve been lucky to have an amazing group of fans since the 60’s” noted Love.

Deep Roots

In an interview with GoLocal, Love discussed the band’s influences. “The Four Freshmen and Doo Wop groups of the 50s and 60s really inspired our early music.” But the group’s music goes much further. “’Sloop John B’, from Pet Sounds is a Kingston Trio song that evolved from a traditional sea shanty,” remarked Love.

It’s the subtle depth of their music which makes it stand out from other surf-rock groups of the period. And it appeals to everybody. “There was a 9 year old girl with her grandparents singing every note at a recent show,” noted Love.

The band’s fan base is just as big in Europe and Japan. “In Tokyo, we see the same people in the front row every night; they’re pretty passionate. We see the same thing in Germany and Sweden.”

Everybody loves them, even music aficionados who continue to rediscover the more critically favored albums like Pet Sounds and Smile. Those records have been re-released more than once along with out-takes and live versions.

Classics and a New Song

Those attending the Park show should expect to hear the classics, some deep cuts, and a few surprises. Love recently released a new song, a tribute to his old friend George Harrison, who he accompanied on a well documented trip to India “a lifetime ago.” The song, “Pisces Brother,” features lyrics that bring back the spirit of the period – “Not for the fortune or fame, but for enlightenment we came.”

A Bright Future

Love is upbeat about the band’s future noting there is archival material from the still waiting to see the light of day. He expects the band to continue to tour for many years playing big festivals and more intimate venues like the Park Theatre.

For the band’s 50th anniversary in 2012, the Beach Boys reunited with original members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. But don’t expect to see those two in Cranston. The touring band includes longtime Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, as well as Rhode Island native John Cowsill on Drums. Cowsill was recently inducted into the RI Music Hall of Fame as part of the much loved Newport family band, The Cowsills.

Warmth of the Sun

Although many of their songs can be a reminder of simpler times, its important to remember that The Beach Boys have faced hardship and tragedy, losing brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson far too early. One of Love’s favorite tunes, the touching ballad “Warmth of the Sun,” was written in 1963 on the night before the Kennedy Assassination. It has served as a reminder of that fateful day ever since.

At the same time, Love’s good nature came across when this writer had to cut short the interview to return to his teaching duties in his classroom. He understood, thanked me for the interview, and reminded me to "Be True to Your School."

Fun, Fun, Fun

By all accounts, the Beach Boys continue to provide a top notch concert experience. Very few tickets remain for the April 13th show – get around town and click here to purchase!

Ken Abrams review Roots, Rock and Blues for GoLocalProv. E-Mail him here.

 

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