The Beach Boys, who reunited for last year's 50th anniversary tour, have gone their separate ways again. Co-founder Mike Love and longtime member Bruce Johnston are performing as The Beach Boys.
Meanwhile, another co-founder, guitarist Al Jardine, has joined up with the group's other surviving original members –– Brian Love, writer of many of the perennial boys of summer's biggest hits, and guitarist David Marks –– for a mini-tour.
"This is the heart and soul of The Beach Boys," says Jardine, who performs 9 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. "Brian, David and I will be carrying the flag for a while, continuing what we did last year, but in a much more laid-back way."
According to Jardine, it was Mike Love's call on whether the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers would continue as one unit. (Jardine was sued in 2008 by Love and the estate of the late Carl Wilson, another co-founder, over the use of the group's name, but settled the matter.)
"He declined to go on with us to celebrate the anniversary," Jardine says of Love. "We thought, 'Hey, what about us? We're having a darn good time.' We thought, We can still sing. We still have pretty good voices, a wonderful band, great catalog and a new album –– we want to support (our 2012 album) 'That's Why God Made the Radio.'"
To Jardine, who provided lead vocals for "Help Me, Rhonda" - one of the group's biggest hits - The Beach Boys' legacy is bigger than its individual members.
"It's not about the messenger. It's about the breadth and depth of this catalog. It's truly astounding. We could be up there for hours. We could do a six-hour show. If Mike wants to be The Beach Boys, and do that all on his own, right now, that's the way it is. We'd love to have him. It would be wonderful. The truth is, we're very adaptable."
The trio, backed by Brian Wilson's band, certainly won't lack for material. The Beach Boys in the early '60s helped create the surf music genre with harmony-driven pop hits, such as "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Surfin' Safari," "Barbara Ann" and "I Get Around," and further developed their sound via the complex arrangements of "Pet Sounds" and "Smile."
For their performances, Brian Wilson, Marks and Jardine will include many of those hits, as well as lesser known material that wasn't featured on the 50th anniversary tour and some solo material. Among the latter tracks is Jardine's "Don't Fight the Sea" from his 2011 solo album, "A Postcard from California."
"We have more breadth and depth to creatively reach out and entertain," Jardine says. "They want to hear 'California Girls' and 'Good Vibrations' and 'Fun, Fun, Fun' –– all those marvelous incredible songs. We do stuff from 'That's Why God Made the Radio' and from Brian's personal albums. We represent the legacy –– that's what we're doing."
Whether all the surviving Beach Boys will do that together remains to be seen.
"Any time Brian wants to work, I'm there," says Jardine, who is taking part in Wilson's next solo album. "I'd say, I'm taking it one career at a time. I have my own mini-career within the career. It's a different world up there in the stratosphere of greatness, when you're surrounded by greatness. Why would you not want to be there?
"For us to play music is very nurturing –– not only for the audience, but for us. Music has healing power. We're just lucky to be functional, and still have the passion. I think it's all about passion, and wanting to share music that a lot of people haven't heard. The general population is just learning about these songs all over again. I'm just thrilled to be a part of it."