Posts Tagged ‘Good Vibrations’

Ireland’s Edwin McGreal interviews Mike Love for The Mayo News

April 6, 2010

INTERVIEW Mike Love of The Beach Boys

The legendary Beach Boys singer on Pet Sounds, Paul McCartney, clean living, Brian Wilson, modern music and more.

Monday, 05 April 2010 14:28

The beach boys

Mike Love, not war

The Beach Boys will bring some welcome Californian sunshine to Castlebar this June. Edwin McGreal spoke to founding band member, music legend Mike Love last week.
Mike Love is not your typical rock’n’roll  star. No sordid tales of debauchery, very little evidence of skeletons in his closet and, nearly 50 years after The Beach Boys were formed, he’s still going strong, playing around 150 shows a year.
Love, now aged 69, is a very relaxed and positive person, which is not surprising when you listen to such upbeat songs as ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘I Get Around’, summer anthems that have put a pep in the step of millions for over 40 years.
And he and The Beach Boys will bring their sounds of summer to the TF Royal Theatre on June 26 (albeit minus Brian Wilson and Al Jardine).
So, still going strong all these years later, where does he get his energy?
“We don’t burn the candle at both ends like we might have done in the early 60s,” Love explained, speaking from his southern California base last week. “The Beach Boys are primarily a vocal group, we always emphasise our harmonies, and you can’t sing those kind of harmonies if you’re going to destroy yourself. I personally learned transcendental meditation [from renowned Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who taught many celebrities, including the Beatles]. I keep doing that every day and it is profoundly relaxing and repairs a lot of wear and tear mentally, emotionally and physically. It gives you a really nice outlet for stress rather than taking to the bottle or smoking a lot of pot or other drugs.
“People in my own family like my cousin Dennis [Wilson, founding member] became addicted to alcohol and various types of drugs and he ended up drowning in 1983, long before he should have passed away. Then my cousin Carl [Wilson, founding member] passed away of lung cancer 12 years ago. But then he started smoking when he was 13 so these lifestyle choices we make can have a tremendous impact on your health and well-being.”
Musically, the ’60s was a roller-coaster journey for The Beach Boys. There was the outstanding success of their totemic album ‘Pet Sounds’ in 1966, but the release of ‘Good Vibrations’ the same year is one Love looks back on with particular fondness.
“I think, artistically, ‘Good Vibrations’ has to be right up there. It stands on its own. It is so unique. Also I wrote the words and I came up with the chorus – ‘I’m pickin up good vibrations/she’s giving me excitations’. It stands the test of time and is still an amazing song today, that is the song I was happiest to be involved with.”
Subsequent decades didn’t prove as successful, with the exception of ‘Kokomo’ reaching Number 1 in 1988. Love admits that Brian Wilson’s well-publicised problems did play a part, but it wasn’t all bad for the band to be minus their front man.
“Brian pretty much became a recluse for several years and he didn’t take as dynamic a part in the production of our recordings. My cousin Carl played a bigger part, Bruce Johnston played a bigger part. Instead of Brian being ‘the Stalin of the studio’ as I used to call him, it became a bit more democratic. I don’t think it was reasonable that the [early success] would keep up forever, but the ’60s did provide the foundation of our continued success to this day.”
Moving to modern day musicians, Love has no particular favourites, but he’s exposed to the full gamut by his children. Some good, some not so good.
“I unfortunately get exposed to some rap music from my 14-year-old daughter but I also get exposed to Leona Lewis, Beyonce and Alicia Keys, those are pleasant exposures. I don’t think I’m obsessed with any new artist but I’m not against them either. I’m just as likely if I’m driving around to throw on the oldies channel just out of morbid curiosity to see if they’re going to play a Beach Boys song,” admitted Love, laughing at the thought.
Love hints that talks have taken place of a touring reunion with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine to mark the 50th anniversary of the band. For now, it is Love, together with long-time member Bruce Johnston and others who tour under the Beach Boys name – but the dynamic is the same, according to Love.
“What we like to do every night is prove we can recreate those songs like they’re meant to be sung. We have got nothing but compliments recently on how fantastic the show sounds …The special part [of touring] is recreating those songs and doing the absolute best job we can and seeing the audience join in and have a great time with us.”
Still sending those good vibrations.

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Mike Love, Not War

September 4, 2009

Picture 29
Mike Love, Not War
Get Ready for Good Vibrations
by Virginia McEvilley
Picture 28
It’s Endless Summer for Beach Boy Mike Love (third from right), as the band wraps up its summer 2009 tour in Fairfield, Iowa, and makes plans for its 50th anniversary celebration in two years.

It may come as a surprise that America’s best-selling band of all time has chosen Fairfield, Iowa, for the grand finale of its 48th annual summer tour. But for long-time lead singer Mike Love, playing Fairfield is nothing short of “special.” And though it has been many years since 1961 when the Beach Boys’ first hit single “Surfin’ ” was released and since Mike Love, together with his cousins Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, hit the charts with the group’s first nationwide hit, “Surfin Safari,” the feelings of happiness generated for millions of people by the Beach Boys’ music is still as lively today as it was almost 50 years ago.

Since then, the Beach Boys have performed their original hit songs recounting the Southern California life experience thousands of times, recapturing the innocence of an era that propelled them to the top of their profession. Mike says he is proud to have been the lead singer for so many of the Beach Boys’ hits, and in spite of the loss of his cousins, Dennis and Carl Wilson, Mike’s experience has remained fundamentally positive.

“I still treasure all the great times we had together,” Mike says. “The loss of Carl Wilson 11 years ago was profound, but I still feel like he’s looking down on us whenever we do ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘Kokomo.’ At first I thought no one could ever sing our songs like Carl, but as it turns out my son Christian has a beautiful voice and not only can sing Carl’s parts but actually sounds a lot like him. This is great because we like to keep the re-creation of these songs consistent to the best of our ability.” Whether it is to preserve the Beach Boys’ legacy or for the sake of all their loyal fans, this may be one reason why the momentum of the Beach Boys’ greatest hits has lasted until today.

The Beach Boys are, in fact, among the top three groups who recorded from the late ’50s to the early ’70s, along with the Beatles and the Supremes. The Pet Sounds album was voted the number one album of that era and “Good Vibrations” the number one single. The time that passed between “Good Vibrations” in 1966 and “Kokomo” in 1988 was the longest period of time between number one records of any group in history.

“The amazing thing about music,” says Mike, “is that as long as you have the right piece of music and your abilities intact, you can experience great success irrespective of how many years you’ve been at it.” This basic theme of optimism and positivity has pervaded most of the Beach Boys’ musical history.

And just as “Good Vibrations” differed from the earlier surfin’ songs in subject matter, Mike’s lifestyle began to differ from others in the group, and many of those in the recording business in general. While others chose drugs and alcohol as a method of relaxation, Mike chose Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Several group members learned the technique from Maharishi in Paris in December of 1967, but Mike was the only one to go to the widely publicized course in Rishikesh, India, two months later, which was also attended by the Beatles, Donovan, and Mia Farrow.

Mike remembers Paul McCartney coming to breakfast one morning strumming his acoustic guitar and playing “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” an experience Paul himself writes about in his autobiography. Mike often recounts other moments in India and has written a song entitled “Pisces Brother” about his 1968 birthday party at Maharishi’s ashram with the late Beatle George Harrison.

Recently, Mike has written a number of other songs that draw from his experience in India, music he says was inspired by Maharishi and the ancient Vedic scriptures. Some of these tunes include “Ram Raj,” “The World is My Family,” and “Make Love Not War.”

After his visit to India in the spring of 1968, Mike attended many meditation courses, becoming a teacher of Transcendental Meditation in Mallorca, Spain, in 1972. “Too many people in my family and my profession paid a heavy price with their health and well-being by not using the knowledge Maharishi made available to us,” Mike says. “This knowledge has relieved me of stresses that certainly would have otherwise accumulated to my detriment, and has also improved my life dramatically.” Mike also schedules regular Ayurvedic treatments for rejuvenation, often at the Raj Resort in Maharishi Vedic City just north of Fairfield.

When asked about retirement, Mike says, “I don’t think of retirement as it is viewed by most people in our society. People work for 20 to 30 years, then get a pension and move to Florida, play bingo, clip coupons, and go on group excursions. . . . For me, my goals would be to become more creative, more productive, and produce more positive, uplifting actions for humanity, while becoming more saturated in knowledge and spiritual life. The retirement of retiring to the self appeals to me—the kind of thing you read about in the spiritual literature of the East. Still, in the future, we may become more selective about how we present our music . . . .”

Mike says there are a lot of other things he envisions for the future. Currently, an Emmy Award-winning documentarian is interested in filming a biography about the Beach Boys for the PBS American Masters series. “So there’s really no need to talk in terms of retirement—there’s no retirement in sight for the Beach Boys at this time,” Mike says. “In fact, we’re really looking forward to our 50th anniversary celebration in two years. We’re getting offers to do concerts in Australia, Japan, Mexico, and the Caribbean.” Even though it can be tiring moving from place to place Mike admits he still enjoys touring. “What’s not to like!” he says.

This relentless positivity and optimism combined with a focus on health and spirituality are the foundations of Mike’s life. This has been his contribution to the Beach Boys since the beginning and is now the engine that drives the band. Together with “I Write the Songs” Bruce Johnston, who has been a Beach Boy on and off for decades, and several other musicians, including Mike’s son, Christian, and John Cowsill of the ’60s group The Cowsills, the good vibrations continue.

Now, for the first time ever, though he has been a frequent visitor to Fairfield over many years, Mike Love and the Beach Boys will be performing all the great songs here that have made them famous the world over as “America’s number one band.”

“Every year we play all the major cities—New York, L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta,” Mike says, “but those people have so many choices because a myriad of performers come through there. It’s almost like they become a little jaded. That’s why it’s special to go places we’ve never been before. It’s exciting and fun, and we’re inspired by the feeling of appreciation we get.

Don’t miss this special performance sponsored in part by the David Lynch Foundation, whose successful fundraising concert at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall this spring featured Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Donovan, Moby, Sheryl Crowe, and others, including Mike Love, who says, “I have great admiration for the David Lynch Foundation. The Love Foundation currently has a project for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to learn TM, but we’ve never been as organized and dynamic as the DLF. Their work is inspirational and makes me want to do even more.”

The Beach Boys perform the finale of their Endless Summer Tour in Fairfield on Labor Day Monday, September 7, 2:00 p.m. at the Fairfield Middle School Outdoor Field, 404 W. Fillmore. Tickets range from $12.00 to 37.50, available at or (641) 472-2787.

Visit the index for more articles on music and musicians.

Watch Fairfield’s Beach Boys End of Summer Concert promo on YouTube.

Related: Here’s an Interview With Mike Love of the Beach Boys posted May 29, 2012 on Stories of Success. At about the 9:55 mark Mike answers the question of what kept him from getting caught up in drugs and alcohol, with the responsibility of acting as a role model, by talking about his TM practice, dharma, and persevering to fulfill your chosen career path.

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