Mike Love Breaks Up the Beach Boys Again

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 26 2012 3:24 PM

The Beach Boys Break Up… Again

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Bruce Johnston, David Marks, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine of The Beach Boys at the Grammy Awards in February 2012

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Beach Boys frontman Mike Love has announced that when their 50th anniversary reunion tour concludes, the band will drop three members, including founding member Al Jardine and the most talented Beach Boy, Brian Wilson. Wilson, Jardine, and a third band member, David Marks, apparently learned of the decision when Love and Bruce Johnston issued a press release announcing it. Love owns the rights to the band’s name, and he has cited financial reasons for ousting his now ex-bandmates:

You’ve got to be careful not to get overexposed. There are promoters who are interested [in more shows by the reunited line-up], but they’ve said, ‘Give it a rest for a year.’ The Eagles found out the hard way when they went out for a second year and wound up selling tickets for $5.”
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It seems quite possible that the backing band Love has used in the past—which includes his son—takes home a smaller percentage of the concert revenue than Wilson, Jardine, and Marks do, making this decision all the wiser financially. (Those figures are not public.)

This is only the latest incident in years of public disagreements (and lawsuits) between cousins Love and Wilson over, among other things, writing credits and publishing rights. When the band reunited for the first time in years at the Grammys this past February, the buzz for fans was built around anticipation for a tour that would see all the surviving members on stage again. But even back in June, with the shows in full swing, trouble was brewing: Love had added some South American dates for the fall that would not include the other guys. “That’s news to me,” Wilson told Rolling Stone at the time.

After this latest news, Wilson told CNN, “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why he doesn’t want to tour with Al, David, and me.” While Wilson has also said that they were all having a good time on tour, this could be a sign of more personal problems within the group. For now, it looks like U.S. fans will have to wait another few years—when, perhaps, Love will conclude it is financially shrewd to get the band back together again—before they can fully bask in the nostalgia of the Beach Boys live.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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