By Veronica Dudo
In 1961, five guys got together in a California garage to form a band—little did they know 50 years later millions of people worldwide would come to know their name and timeless music. Their songs were first heard on jute boxes and radios across the country, instantly captivating young audiences with their catchy tunes about romance, cars and surfing. Credited by many as “America’s Band”, the touring version of the iconic music group The Beach Boys still perform the classic hits which have transcended generations.Over the weekend The Beach Boys performed at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. Actor and musician John Stamos has played with the group when his schedule allows since the 1980’s and joined the band for their concert down the shore. For half a century The Beach Boys have been a part of music history; now the rock and roll band’s legendary 1966-’67 sessions for the never-completed Smile album is scheduled to be released on November 1.
Before the performance, I spoke with original Beach Boy and founding member Mike Love, Grammy-award winner Bruce Johnston and Stamos about the group’s legendary sound, their much anticipated upcoming album, a new movie in the works, and the tour.
Welcome back to Atlantic City.
Mike Love: Well, thank you so much we love being here you’ve got the California coast and the Jersey shore! (Laughs)
The Beach Boys just celebrated a huge milestone—50 years in the business, how does it feel to be a part of that history and to have such a lasting presence?
Bruce Johnston: I need to lose some weight (laughs) no, I’m just kidding. I feel great! These songs are going to out-live us and it’s fun to do every night. Every night, we do a different show, we change the songs around—thank God for Brian (Wilson) and Mike (Love)—we don’t have enough time for all of our songs so we never get bored, it’s a different show every night. Now, I’m old enough to have grown children that have children so I see that a lot—I see three generations singing the same songs. It’s pretty cool.
Mike Love: The song value has to be the main thing; there’s the subject matter and the song value and the fact that we really love harmonizes. The distinguishing thing between The Beach Boys and other musicians and other bands is that refined harmonizes that we have and that’s a function of my cousin Brian (Wilson) being a genius at structuring those harmonizes and he always has been that way.
John, what has it been like performing with The Beach Boys for a quarter of a century?John Stamos: Yeah, since 1985! I was on Jimmy Kimmel the other night and he said, ‘So, you’re doing The Beach Boys shows; do The Beach Boys ever get sick of you?’ I go, yeah a little bit (laughs) it’s been good.
When you’re able to join the group for a show, how easy or difficult is it to just jump right in and start playing their music?
John Stamos: I’m just ready to go—I’ve been doing it for so long but it is a little bit of a shock to your system especially when I take weeks off. I haven’t played with them in probably a month, month and a half and then you just get thrown in. One time, I hadn’t played with them in six months I was doing a play and we ended up in Boston with 70,000 people no sound check just drove straight there and went right on stage. But the music is in my soul.
The mysterious Smile album is scheduled to be released on November 1, Mike, you were there for the original recording sessions, what was that like and what can fans expect on the album?
Mike Love: That’s right, I’ll tell you what I was there and some of it is completely weird and I think people are going to freak out when they hear some of it and other things on it are brilliant but all the musical tracks are fantastic. My cousin Brian (Wilson) was at his best during that time and so I didn’t have anything to do with the writing of the songs on that one, I’ve had plenty of co-writing credits with my cousin Brian with “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls” “I Get Around,” “Fun, Fun, Fun” and a lot of songs but on that one I didn’t participate in the writing because he was working with a guy named Van Dyke Parks who did some really interesting, unusual lyrics I would say but it’s worth it musically to listen to it if you’re a music fan that’s for sure. The artwork is original, really cool and there’s some stuff that’s never been seen before which is kind of neat.
The Beach Boys are always working on new projects, anything exciting coming up?
Mike Love: Mama Mia used the music of ABBA as a soundtrack, well there’s a movie that’s in development now that’s going to use The Beach Boys music as a soundtrack and the script has been written, maybe we’ll touch it up here or there but it’s a really good script. John (Stamos) is one of the producers he’s a longtime fan and he’s always been way into The Beach Boys so that will be exciting. They want to film it this coming summer and have it come out the following summer so that will be awesome and that will showcase our songs all over again on the big screen.
John Stamos: Yes, it’s for FOX; it’s hasn’t been green lit yet but it’s in development and it’s beautiful—it’s a great summer movie. It’s kind of a teenage love story with The Beach Boys’ music weaved throughout it. We’re very excited about it; hopefully that studio will make it.
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
For the October 21 weekend, Jersey Shore’s DJ Pauly D spins at Harrah’s The Pool After Dar; TV legend Ed Asner performs his one-man show “FDR” at the Stockton Performing Arts Center; Kathleen Madigan appears at the Golden Nugget and Sinbad is performing at the Hilton. Borgata welcomes Brad Garrett; Joe Walsh and B.B. King; David Alan Grier; and Steve Aoki. Los Vivancos have an engagement at Resorts while Joe DeGuardia brings his star boxing to the Tropicana and Jane’s Addiction has a concert at the House of Blues.