In the early '60s, Frankie and Annette, Gidget and Moondoggie may have been nerds but they were right about one thing--the beach in Southern California was the happening place to be. Hawthorne's Beach Boys provided the soundtrack for all that sun, surf and sand heard around the nation. The band sold a zillion records, and a million people decided it would be fun, fun, fun to move here, here, here.
Who wouldn't? Hot weather, hot waves, hot sand and hot cars. "Nah, I'd rather freeze and shovel snow." Yeah, right.
Twenty-five years ago there was plenty of free parking, uncrowded beaches, better waves, no broken glass (beer came in cans then) and even the lifeguards were cool.
The only thing at the beach that is the same now is the sand, and of course those developers who would consider replacing the sand with all manner of cement.
Nowadays, lifeguards get skin cancer from raw sewage and everybody else gets skin cancer from that warm California sun. The beach is paved with triple-your-weight litter, the parking lot is paved with broken glass and it costs four bucks to park. You have to leave the day before to get a parking spot, but it doesn't matter because there's no place to park anyway.
Meanwhile, the Beach Boys keep singing those good ol' songs about those good ol' days that have been gone longer than Brian Wilson's falsetto.
Anyway, before "Apocalypse Gidget" came to the beach, the Beach Boys used to play around these parts quite often. They played in 1962 a couple of times at The Roller Gardens in Wagon Wheel Junction, reportedly for gas money. Another time in 1964, they played at the Earl Warren Showgrounds with The Kingsmen--all in red dinner jackets--who did the nasty version of "Louie Louie."
No more gas money in 1990. The Beach Boys' concert Saturday at the spiffy, tree-lined Santa Barbara County Bowl is a fund-raiser for Project Teach and Tomorrow's Teachers.
"Education needs a lot of help," said lead singer Mike Love in a recent telephone interview from Lake Tahoe. "Project Teach creates a fund to help people who want to become teachers, not just elementary or high school or college, but just teachers in general. Santa Barbara City College already has its own program in place. This concert will be a benefit for both programs." And Love, who lives in Santa Barbara, is obviously concerned with much larger issues than pay parking at the beach.
"Improving education is not solely a monetary issue. Minorities, for example, need more positive role models--we need more minority teachers. Collectively, better education affects the nation's and the world's economies by creating a more creative and a more productive economy."
Opening will be Jesse Colin Young, and other guest stars are expected. Wouldn't it be nice? Sure, but don't hold your breath for Brian Wilson. He only shows up irregularly for the band's gigs. He's probably been stuck in traffic since 1965.
WHERE AND WHEN
The Beach Boys, Jesse Colin Young and others will perform a benefit concert for Project Teach at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas St. at 5 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices range from $18 to $50. For tickets or more information, call 966-2727.