The calendar may say it’s fall, but The Beach Boys aren’t buying it. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are bringing their 50-plus years of classic summer hits to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City on Saturday, Sept. 28.
It won’t be the full lineup that toured last year for the band’s golden anniversary. This year, co-founder Mike Love and longtime member Bruce Johnston are headlining the official version of the band, while co-founders Brian Wilson — Love’s cousin and the writer of many of the Beach Boys’ seminal hits — and Al Jardine have been touring on their own.
Love denies there was a rift between the camps, attributing the separate tours to “different ways of doing things” and the expense of having everyone together.
“You’re limited if you have that big of a cost as to where you can go (perform),” he says.
Regardless, the catalog will be in full force — think songs like “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “Surfin’ USA,” and “Good Vibrations” — along with at least one “new” track from the recently released six-CD box set “Made in California” (Capitol).
Love discusses why the group didn’t continue as one unit after last year’s 50th anniversary tour and what the future might bring for these perennial boys of summer.
Q: How was it to put together the “Made in California” box set, which includes rare tracks and the previously unheard “Going to the Beach?”
A: Our record company got acquired by Universal Music Group and ... they went through all of our archival stuff and found several recordings and versions of recordings that had never been released before.
They came up with this yearbook concept, which is quite an attractive package. We have 50 or 60 unreleased masters in there, one of which we’re doing in our show. It’s called “Going to the Beach,” and it’s a song we recorded back in the late ’70s. We were doing a concept album called “Keeping the Summer Alive.”
It’s a song my cousin Carl (Wilson) wrote with Randy Bachman of BTO. “Going to the Beach” is really catchy. I can’t believe we never played it before. We recorded a bunch of songs for the album, but never made the album. It’s really nice to do something that people have never heard before, and it goes well with everything else we’re doing.
Q: What was the experience like last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary with all the surviving original members?
A: It made sense — 50 years as a group is a long time. We got a chance to be together in the studio and come up with an album and do some pretty high-profile shows.
Unfortunately, that kind of configuration costs a lot of money. There’s a lot of production involved, and (it prevents) you from doing things I like to do — smaller venues and theaters and fairs. It was good and it was also limiting. We’re back to doing things the way we’ve been doing them.
Q: Do you foresee performing together again as one group?
A: Al has joined Brian on some shows — they’re doing some stuff together, and I hear they went into the studio together. They’re keeping active, and so are we. There’s no plans for any of us to get together at this point in time.
Q: What keeps you out there as a Beach Boy?
A: When you’re a musician and a songwriter and a singer and have had the great fortune of having a lot of hits and people want to hear them, it’s kind of second nature.
I grew up in a household with a grand piano and an organ and a harp. Music was a daily reality in our lives. On special occasions, our families would all get together — the Wilsons and the Loves. We were always getting together for Christmas parties and Thanksgiving and birthday parties and just recitals of various types of music. It’s just been a lifelong pursuit.
Our music has stood the test of time and people still love it. Multiple generations come out to see each show — grandparents and grandchildren and everybody in between. It’s a phenomenon and a blessing for those of us who grew up appreciating music and singing and playing for the sheer enjoyment of it. We’re blessed enough for it to have become a livelihood.
Q: It sounds like you’re still pinching yourself?
A: If you think about it, it’s a pretty special thing. There’s not a whole lot of people who have gotten to what we’ve done and achieve the level of success, even in spite of our less than perfect situation.