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Mike Love sets the record straight on Brian Wilson's 'firing'

Beach Boys' lead singer Love says that he didn't fire Wilson and that his bandmates always knew there would be tours by two different versions of the band.

October 05, 2012|By Mike Love
  • Mike Love and his wife Jacquelyne at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Mike Love and his wife Jacquelyne at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

It’s the last show of the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary tour, at the tail end of our triumphant stand in London, first at Royal Albert Hall and then Wembley Arena, and we’re in the final moments of "Fun, Fun, Fun…"

Looking at the beaming faces, I’m filled with an enormous sense of pride for my bandmates and our fans. We didn’t just show up for this tour like some museum act. We sang well. We played well. We moved people and we touched a lot of hearts. And it was beautiful. That’s not easy for any band, let alone one with our history.

Then I get on the plane buzzing with excitement, and I start reading a lot of nasty gossip and I’m heartbroken. I didn’t want the divisive and ugly rumors of the last week to tarnish the experience of fans and the high note we ended the tour on. So, this is my attempt to set the record straight on the recent stories regarding the family I love and the music that has been my life for 50 years.

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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.

We grew up together. We sang Everly Brothers’ songs together at Aunt Audrey’s piano. We played football together. We formed a band together. We wrote songs together that have been woven into the fabric of this nation.

Our songs are in the DNA of America. Our imagery of the coast, surfing, cars and teenage freedom helped make our country the envy of the world.

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There’s a tremendous amount of personal history between Brian and me… family gatherings, holidays, birthdays, graduation trips, and most importantly, a deep, shared love of the music we created together.

Brian composed, arranged, structured and sang harmonies that will be studied, analyzed, copied and revered hundreds of years from now. Writing songs with Brian and performing them with Al Jardine, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, David Marks, Bruce Johnston and many other brilliant musicians over the years is my legacy, and something of which I am very proud and protective.

If you ask any couple who have been married 50 years or longer, they will tell you they’ve experienced it all. The same is true of the Beach Boys. We caught a romantic wave of success, the likes of which few have ever known. And since that time, we have collectively experienced profound joy, love, heartbreak, betrayal, anger, bitterness, pride and eventually resolve.

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And it is that resolve (and some prodding from Capitol Records) that brought us all back together for the 50th anniversary concert tour and the release of our first album in 16 years, "That’s Why God Made the Radio."

What began as three brothers, a cousin and a friend jamming in a living room in Hawthorne, is now a major enterprise, complete with lawyers, managers, agents, children and wives ironing out every little last detail, months before we hit the road.

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. In fact, very early on, Brian was just going to join the tour for a few dates in big cities. We finally settled on 50 dates in 50 major markets.

Brian, Al and I signed an agreement outlining the beginning and end of the tour. Then, thanks to glowing reviews, the support of our loyal fans (and the prodding of promoters), 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.

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 -- the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years. Brian and Al would not be joining for these small market dates, as was long agreed upon.

It is not feasible, both logistically and economically, for the 50th anniversary tour to play these markets. It’s vitally important for the smaller markets to experience our live shows, as this is how we’ve maintained a loyal fan base for 50 years. You can’t sustain a fan base on a great catalog alone. You must take your music directly to the people.

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