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Mike Love Wasn’t Happy With the Beach Boys Reunion

Mike Love
Rob Harrison, Getty Images

Plenty of Beach Boys fans are disappointed with the way the band’s much-ballyhooed 50th-anniversary tour, which ended with Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks “fired” from the lineup, and Mike Love continuing to perform with his own version of the group. But as it turns out, Love has been feeling pretty let down about their reunion almost since it started.

“The way it was run and the people who were running it, I have serious issues with,” Love told Billboard. Asked about his recent hopeful remarks about another reunion with Wilson, he cautioned, “It will happen only if I can do it with people who I trusted and liked and were honorable. I have no problem with my cousin Brian and I in a room with a piano, but it’s not that uncomplicated.”

According to Love, the seeds for the reunited lineup’s destruction were sown early in the sessions for their most recent album, ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio.’ “I talked to Brian about a year before we even started doing any of the recording,” he recalled. “He and I talked about doing a project and he was excited about doing it, but it never came to fruition at all. It was given another direction — not by me and not by Brian but by others. We were supposed to be allowed to get together to write songs from scratch like we did in the ’60s, but that was never to be, and that wasn’t because of me. So I think there are issues related to that whole thing. It was great to be in the studio and listen to those harmonies coming back, but it wasn’t the opportunity it was supposed to be, which I’m upset about.”

Though he isn’t naming names, Love seems to be making veiled accusations regarding Wilson’s longtime collaborator Joe Thomas, who worked on Wilson’s 1998 solo album ‘Imagination’ and ran River North Records, the label that released ‘Stars and Stripes Vol. 1,’ a 1996 album in which the Beach Boys rerecorded some of their old hits with popular country artists. Thomas received co-writing credit on 11 of the 12 tracks on ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio,’ while Love received only four.

Wilson, who has expressed doubt regarding any further reunions with Love, has his plate full for the foreseeable future. He’s planned a tour with Jeff Beck, who’s also guesting on an upcoming album that finds Wilson back in the studio with his longtime touring band and an array of special guests.

Next: Top 10 Beach Boys Songs

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