With the world's press running wild with the story that Mike Love "fired" co-founders Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and David Marks from the Beach Boys -- Love finally decided to address the issue by writing and article called "Mike Love Sets The Record Straight On Brian Wilson's 'Firing'" for The Los Angeles Times. Love is being called out for carrying on with his own version of the touring group minus any of the co-founders, but with longtime member Bruce Johnston.
Although Love has been granted the exclusive license to tour under the "Beach Boys" moniker, many fans feel that with the runaway success of the Beach Boys new album and tour that returning to the state fair and oldies circuit without a break is poor taste and disrespectful -- if not crazy seeing as how well the reunion tour sold in large venues.
To read Mike Love's entire article in full, log on to: http://tinyurl.com/9bbhbrv
Among the key points that Love posts in his article are:
"Let me get right to it: I did not fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I cannot fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I am not his employer. I do not have such authority. And even if I did, I would never fire Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys. I love Brian Wilson. We are partners. He's my cousin by birth and my brother in music."
"This tour was always envisioned as a limited run. None of us wanted to do a 50th anniversary tour that lasted 10 years. It was meant to be special. In fact, very early on, Brian was just going to join the tour for a few dates in big cities. We finally settled on 50 dates in 50 major markets."
"Brian, Al and I signed an agreement outlining the beginning and end of the tour. Then, thanks to glowing reviews, the support of our loyal fans (and the prodding of promoters), we amended our agreement to add 25 more dates. As the year went on, Brian and Al wanted to keep the 50th anniversary tour going beyond the 75 dates."
"Like any good party, no one wanted it to end. However, that was impossible, given that we had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band -- the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years. Brian and Al would not be joining for these small market dates, as was long agreed upon."
"It is not feasible, both logistically and economically, for the 50th anniversary tour to play these markets. It's vitally important for the smaller markets to experience our live shows, as this is how we've maintained a loyal fan base for 50 years. You can't sustain a fan base on a great catalog alone. You must take your music directly to the people."
"Initially, there was to be plenty of space between the two tours, but then we added 25 more dates and the two tours bumped up against each other. To avoid public confusion, and at the request of Brian's representative, we had a press release sent out detailing the differences between the two Beach Boys tours and its varying lineups. I was surprised that Brian and Al said they were surprised by this announcement. Some media outlets interpreted all of this as me firing the band."
"The plan was always to go back to our respective lives post the 50th anniversary run. Brian is writing a new album. Al often tours with his band -- they are terrific. And my job hasn't changed in 50 years. I'm the lead singer of the Beach Boys and an ambassador of this amazing music that touched a generation."
Mike Love explained that around the time of the Beach Boys' Sunflower album, the group became a much more democratic organization: "When Brian ceased being the dominant producer back in the late-'60s into the '70s, then other people started taking a bigger hand; like Bruce got more involved, Carl (Wilson) got more involved, and even Dennis (Wilson) did some solo stuff, y'know, produced some stuff -- so did Alan. So, y'know, it got a little but more Democratic back there for several years."
Bandmate Bruce Johnston says that fans who have pegged Love as a villain over the years don't understand what a positive influence he really was for the band: "They're always angry at Mike Love, y'know (and think) all the Wilson's are gods and they're angry at Mike Love. Mike wrote some amazing lyrics that probably paved the way on many levels -- including having enough money to finance Pet Sounds and all kinds of other projects."