Monday, June 17, 2013

Mike Love Interview: Beach Boys Headed for Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa.

By Ray Shasho

Mike Love is the high-spirited singer, songwriter and founding member for perhaps the greatest and most cherished rock bands in the U.S.A., The Beach Boys. Since the group’s inception in 1961, Mike Love has been The Beach Boy’s quintessence lyricist and showman.

The Beach Boys will be performing at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on July 18th at 8:30 p.m., as part of the Hard Rock Heatwave summer event promotion. Tickets for the 21and over concert are $69 and available through Ticketmaster outlets, the Hard Rock Store inside the casino at 5223 Orient Rd, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Visit the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa official website at

The Beach Boys founding member Mike Love and longtime keyboardist & vocalist Bruce Johnston, who joined in 1965, will be accompanied by a group of incredible musicians including Love’s son Christian Love on guitars, Randell Kirsch (bass guitar & vocals), Tim Bonhomme (keyboards & vocals), John Cowsill (drums &vocals) and Scott Totten (musical director, guitar, vocals). John Cowsill was also the drummer for the group that inspired The Partridge Family … The Cowsills.

Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks will be taking their own lineup on the road for a separate summer tour in 2013.

The Beach Boys history: In 1961, the three brothers -- The oldest Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson - were joined by their cousin, Mike Love, and schoolmate, Alan Jardine (who was replaced by David Marks, before rejoining). The Pendletones changed their name to The Beach Boys and celebrated their first hit song called "Surfin'" on the local airwaves in their home state of California. The tune was co-written by Mike Love.

Surfin' Safari their first album with Capitol Records reached #32 on the Billboard Album's chart the following year. "Surfin' Safari" became their first Top 20 hit.
In 1963, "Surfin'U.S.A." became the Beach Boys' first top 5 hit. The Surfin' U.S.A. album became their first Gold-certified album hitting #2 on Billboard's charts.

The Beach Boys released two more albums that same year (Surfer Girl, Little Deuce Coupe) and again reached Gold- certified status.

After President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd, Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote "The Warmth of the Sun" as a musical reaction to the tragedy on the following day.
The Beach Boys began touring outside the United States in January of 1964. The Beatles first shows in America were on February 9th at The Ed Sullivan Theater and first live appearance at the Washington Coliseum in D.C. on February 11th of 1964.

Also in 1964, "I Get Around" became The Beach Boys first #1 hit song. The Beach Boys Concert (live) became their first #1 album.

Bruce Johnston Joined The Beach Boys in 1965 replacing Glen Campbell who had been a touring member of the group while filling in for Brian Wilson.

In 1965, "Help Me Rhonda" became the group's second #1 hit.

On May 16th of 1966, The Beach Boys masterpiece- Pet Sounds was released, spawning the Top 40 hits "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows." The album is still considered one of the most influential records in popular music history.

Also in 1966, one of the most expensive productions for that era, "Good Vibrations" penned by Mike Love was completed. The single became their third #1 hit and first Platinum-certified million selling single.

After going to England, The Beach Boys were declared as the only true rivals to The Beatles.
Mike Love’s spiritual pursuit for inner peace led to his lifelong practice of Transcendental Meditation™. In February of 1968, Mike Love accompanied The Beatles, Donovan, Mia Farrow and Prudence Farrow, on a historical pilgrimage to Rishikesh, India to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation session at the ashram of Maharishi Yogi.

Throughout the 70's, The Beach Boys solidified themselves as America's fun and favorite band, giving us unprecedented releases like the double album compilation Endless Summer.

Mike Love became the undisputed frontman, lead singer and MC for The Beach Boys.

Throughout the 80's and 90's, The Beach Boys headlined (4) Independence Day shows on the Washington Monument grounds. On July 4th, 1985 they played to an afternoon crowd of an estimated one million in Philadelphia and that evening they performed for over 750,000 people on the Mall in Washington D.C. The Beach Boys also played at the Live Aid Concert, Farm Aid concerts, the Statue of Liberty's 100th Anniversary Salute and the Super Bowl.

“Kokomo” was released in 1988. The catchy summertime classic was penned by John Phillips (Mamas & the Papas), Scott McKenzie, Mike Love and Terry Melcher. The song became a #1 hit in the U.S., Japan and Australia. It was the only #1 hit without Brian Wilson’s contribution to the group.

The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Beach Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide and have received more than 33 RIAA Platinum and Gold record awards. The Beach Boys have performed more concerts than any major rock band in history.

The band was honored at the 2001 Grammy Awards, receiving The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.

The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: Sounds of Summer Capitol/EMI's 30-track collection of the band's biggest hits, has achieved massive triple-platinum success with sales of more than two million copies in the United States since its 2003 release.

Most recently The Beach Boys released their 29th studio album entitled That’s Why God Made the Radio in 2012. It was the band’s first album featuring original material since the Summer in Paradise release in 1992. The album reached #3 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart.

The Smile Sessions Deluxe Box Set (released in 2011) won a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album. The award was announced at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards on February 10th 2013.

The Beach Boys have also recently released their double disc CD, The Beach Boys Live -The 50th Anniversary Tour. An incredible compilation of Beach Boys classic hits performed live during their 50th Anniversary tour in 2012.

Also watch for the release of Made in California, a 6-CD career retrospective Box Set premiering 60- previously unreleased tracks and featuring more than 7 1/2 hours of music from 1961 to present day. Capitol Records target date for the release is August 27th (Available for pre-order now at

Mike Love is responsible for many of the lyrics, concepts and hooks on the majority of classic Beach Boys hits including … “Good Vibrations,” “Kokomo,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” I Get Around,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Do It Again,” and “California Girls,” including co-authoring more than a dozen Top 10 singles within a five year period.

The Beach Boys are undeniably a National Treasure.

Love was recently recognized for his decades of dedication to an investment in education and national service by being awarded City Year’s “Seven Generations Award.” He’s also been a longtime supporter of environmental causes. He created the “Love Foundation” which supports national environmental and educational initiatives. Love is a member of the Board of Directors of the Incline Academy in Incline Village, Nevada and responsible for raising over one million dollars to benefit the school.

Mike Love is happily married with eight children and spends time between his homes in Southern California and Lake Tahoe.

Here’s my recent interview with The Beach Boys legendary singer, songwriter, and humanitarian … MIKE LOVE.
Ray Shasho: Hey Mike, thanks for being on the call, are you in California today?
Mike Love: “Actually I’m in Incline Village, Nevada at Lake Tahoe. I have a house in the High Sierra’s looking over beautiful Lake Tahoe which is twenty- six miles long or something like that … maybe it was twenty- six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me (Lyric by The Four Preps). Anyway its gorgeous here, a beautiful day and couldn’t be nicer.”
Ray Shasho: The Beach Boys had a couple gigs recently in California and the band actually played a few days ago in Saratoga?
Mike Love: “Exactly, Saratoga was a phenomenal concert. First of all it’s a beautiful setting; second of all it was sold-out, third of all the audience response was spectacular. It was so fantastic, there was mom and dad’s up front dancing with their children. There was a little girl about six or seven years old just bopping around on every song, sixteen and seventeen year old girls, and then senior citizens, just all ages having a blast. The night before and Saturday night we did a show at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar, at the fairgrounds, and there was about twelve thousand people there. Before that we were out in the desert at a casino out near Palm Springs and that was sold-out, then Thursday night we were in Chumash at an Indian Casino up in Santa Barbara, California and that was sold-out in advance. So we’ve had a really great run lately and were looking forward to coming to Florida. We always do like Florida …it’s like the third best state in the country. We like California and Hawaii and then Florida (All laughing).”
Ray Shasho: This will be The Beach Boys first appearance at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa?
Mike Love: “It is. We’ve played the Hard Rock over in Hollywood. We’ve also played at the Hard Rock in Orlando but it was more of a private thing. I love playing the Hard Rock’s; they’ve got a great stage, great lighting, great sound, and not so humongous, its more intimate, so we love playing theaters and clubs where the audience has a really good chance to see and hear the group and where the acoustics are good. I like it when we can hear what we’re doing. Originally when we started out we did our shows on sound systems that were engineered to announce wrestling matches (Laughing). Between 1961 through 63 it was really basic, but then all of a sudden rock and roll became big business, companies sprouted up and created really nice sound systems. I think between The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and innumerable acts after that … rock music became a huge economic force.”
Ray Shasho: In today’s age, the business of music has become way stronger than the art of music?
Mike Love: “We came from the 60’s era, when we started and made so many hits. The song value from the 60’s was so darn good, you’ve got The Beatles, The Beach Boys, all of Motown and plenty of other people too … amazing records, amazing songs. Sometimes there are different phases that music goes though and the public appreciates depending on their age and all that. We’re very fortunate to be able to do a body of work that has lasted 50 years now and multiple of generations love The Beach Boys and we love doing those songs in places big and small, far and wide.”
Ray Shasho: Happy belated 50th anniversary by the way.
Mike Love: “It’s the 50th anniversary of “Surfin’ U.S.A.” how about that?
Ray Shasho: Mike, I’m originally from the Washington D.C. area, so every Fourth of July, I still hold fond memories of those traditional Beach Boys concerts on the National Mall grounds.
Mike Love: “We think about that too every July Fourth … why aren’t we doing D.C. again?”
Ray Shasho: I also attended Baltimore Bullets basketball games at the Civic Center back in the early 70’s and remember watching your brother Stan Love playing power forward.
Mike Love: “That’s true and with the Lakers for a little while, he’s buddies with Pat Riley. As a matter of fact Pat Riley along with my nephew Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) came to our show in Spain last year on our 50th tour. It was so nice; he invited us to a game whenever we were down in Miami. He hung out with my brother Stan back in the day when they were playing together.”
Ray Shasho: You’ve got the NBA in your blood, you must be good at playing ball?
Mike Love: “Those guys are the basketball players; I was a long distance runner in school. I was preparing to do long distance with The Beach Boys (Laughing).”
Ray Shasho: Mike, who were some of the acts that got you interested in music and wanting to start your own band?
Mike Love: “Number one is Chuck Berry, number two, a number of doo-wop groups, but I also liked The Kingston Trio, as a matter of fact our song “Sloop John B” was originally recorded by The Kingston Trio. A lot of guitars were bought to emulate The Kingston Trio. I bought one too and so did Al Jardine one of the other group members. But I really loved R&B, the blues, rock and roll … Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard and all those really raw energetic rock and roll tunes. Of course Elvis has some great stuff too. The Everly Brothers were a big influence on us because their blend was so great. Brian and I used to sing the Everly Brothers style all the time.”
Ray Shasho: The Beach Boys had a mutual admiration relationship with The Beatles, did you know Elvis Presley?
Mike Love: “Yea, we met Elvis a couple of times. Once we did a recording session out in Hollywood and he was in the next studio over. We were talking with him about touring because he was getting ready to go back out of retirement and go on tour. Then another time we caught up to him at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Yea, he was a really nice man, couldn’t be nicer, a guy’s guy you know? He was Elvis all the way.”
Ray Shasho: I recently had an interesting metaphysical conversation with Dave Davies of The Kinks. You’ve studied Transcendental Meditation for years; do you still continue to meditate regularly?
Mike Love: “I did it this morning and will do it again this evening. What Maharishi teaches in Transcendental Meditation is to be on twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before meals. What it does is you’re able to drop your metabolism at a level of rest twice as deep as sleep. Profoundly relaxing and restful and gives you more clarity and energy and helps you rebound and not overreact to stressful situations. So it’s really valuable. Especially the energy part, like if you’re feeling a little tired you sit and meditate for awhile, it doesn’t replace sleep but it does help repair the fatigue that comes from lack of sleep and or from stressful situations. It’s really been a huge benefit to me over the years; let’s see I learned in the summer of 1967 from Maharishi in Paris and so did several of the group members.”
Ray Shasho: What is the fourth dimension of consciousness?
Mike Love: “With TM you have the waking state of consciousness which everybody is familiar with, the dreaming state of consciousness which most people are also familiar with, deep sleep and unless you’re an insomniac you’re going to experience that too. With TM there’s a fourth major state of consciousness, you can call it Transcendental consciousness if you like. You’re alert but at a deeper level mentally and physically when you reach that level through the procedure that you’re taught. Yea, it’s a different level of consciousness, I would say.”
Ray Shasho: Mike, are all the lawsuits done?
Mike Love: “Yea, that’s way in the past. It had to be done because I was cheated on songs that I had co-written with Brian and it just needed to be rectified.”
Ray Shasho: Did you receive all the writing credits you were seeking?
Mike Love: “Yea, for the most part.”
Ray Shasho: You wrote all the lyrics to “Good Vibrations”?
Mike Love: “Yea exactly, I wrote all the lyrics and the chorus line. (Mike Love started singing)“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations; she’s giving me the excitations… Yea, so I came up with that and … Round round get around I get around … I wrote the majority of the words there and a lot of songs. Brian and I had a great songwriting partnership and on this last 50th anniversary album it was great to work with all the guys together, it’s called That’s Why God Made the Radio. The unfortunate part was I wasn’t able to get together and write with Brian. It was not to be, even though we had talked earlier about getting together and writing some songs. It just didn’t work out, which is a drag and too bad. I do remember fondly doing all those songs. Maybe out of the fifty top Beach Boys songs, I was probably the co-writer and singing lead on forty of them.”
Ray Shasho: That’s amazing …and you’ve always had the onstage presence of being the leader of The Beach Boys.
Mike Love: “I’m the one person who has been there since the beginning and is still there singing the leads on the majority of the songs. There are other great singers, Brian used to sing the high falsetto thing, he doesn’t do it anymore unfortunately. Carl was an amazing singer; “God Only Knows” was just phenomenal. I marveled at that every night when he sang it. Al Jardine has a great set of pipes and a really good singer. Bruce Johnston wrote “I write the songs” (Barry Manilow Billboard #1Hit) and won a Grammy but he also did “Disney Girls (1957)” on our show which was on our Surf’s Up album in 1971. That’s a beautiful song; he’s got a great voice and is a great songwriter. So we’re lucky to have all that talent in one group in all that body of music. Capitol Records, which is part of the Universal Music Group, is coming out with a compilation of six CD’s and there’s going to be a new record release on it, which I wrote, that never came out before called “Goin’ to the Beach,” and it may be a single, so we’re going to see if we can get the single out while the weather is nice.”
Ray Shasho: I loved all The Beach Boys music, but “Kokomo” (1988) is a tune that always remains as one of my favorites. It was an interesting joint writing effort that also includes you.
Mike Love: “John Phillips of The Mamas and Papas did the melody of the verse but he didn’t have a chorus. So I came up with the chorus … (Mike Love singing)Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you. John Phillips wrote most of the words in the first verse and I wrote the second verse. Terry Melcher wrote ooo I want to take you down to Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow …so it was a true collaboration. It went to number one and became the largest selling single that we ever had.”
Ray Shasho: That was truly amazing after all those years.
Mike Love: “Twenty-two years after “Good Vibrations” went to number one. And it is amazing …it’s a miracle (Laughing). And it’s a miracle that The Beach Boys music is still alive and appreciated and loved by so many millions of people all over the world. A few months ago we did Hong Kong in a stadium after a Rugby sevens game and there was 40,000 people there, we did Cincinnati after a Red’s game, Red’s versus Cub’s, and there was 42,000 people there, so we’ve done some big places and have done some not so big places, and selling out almost everywhere. We’re looking forward to coming to Tampa.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with Mark Lindsay about Terry Melcher.
Mike Love: “Terry produced Paul Revere & the Raiders. We were good partners and friends and I really liked him. That’s one of the sad things about life to leave that way, same thing with Dennis and same thing with Carl, a tragedy that’s affected us as a group. But the music goes on and as long as it’s done well, people enjoy it and has provided a lot of pleasure and joy to millions of people … I think that’s the real legacy of The Beach Boys.”
Ray Shasho: The Beach Boys have remarkably stayed together one way or another. And even when all the band members weren’t touring together, you’ve managed to keep the lines of communication open. I’ve interviewed many band members that just flat out hate each other and will probably never talk to one another again.
Mike Love: “This band started out as family, me and my three first cousins, Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson. There’s always people who want to do their own thing, their own way … Brian has his own band, Al has his and I have mine and we came together last year for a specified number of dates, we did it and had a pretty darn good time doing it. Now we’re back doing things … Brian’s in the studio and working on a new album, a solo album, apparently with some guests and so on. Then Bruce and I, John Cowsill is our drummer, and my son Christian Love sings Carl’s parts on “Kokomo” and “Good Vibrations” so we’re out again doing our thing and enjoying it tremendously.”
Ray Shasho: Mike, I personally want to thank you and The Beach Boys for donating monies for so many humanitarian efforts. I understand you personally donated a large sum to Katrina victims.
Mike Love: “Yes and we also did some for Hurricane Sandy … whenever you can use your celebrity to help raise money for necessary causes, non profit or environmental groups or whatever it may be, I think it’s a great use of your persona and time , it’s a real positive thing.”
Ray Shasho: You received the City Year’s “Seven Generations Award” recently?
Mike Love: “Yes, these are young people who volunteer to work in troubled schools with kids who otherwise would probably drop out. They work for a year and don’t make a lot of money but get a little bit of support from an organization that helps place them in these places. It’s really a good thing and there are some great stories in that. Because I started something years ago when George Bush, President number forty-one was in office, he started with the Points of Light Foundation and we were the first people to respond to the Points of Light challenge. Then we created something called ‘StarServe’ which is ‘Students Taking Action and Responsibility to Service.’ So because of that history and some of the other things we mentioned … support for nonprofit groups or environmental groups, Bruce and I are advisory board members for the SurfRider Foundation. So I was honored by this group with that award in Washington D.C. just a little while ago and that was nice. I wear that jacket with pride.”
Ray Shasho: Mike, here’s a question that I ask everyone that I interview, If you had a “Field of Dreams” wish, like the movie, to play or collaborate with anyone from the past or present, who would that be?
Mike Love: “You know… there’s too many people (all laughing). I’d love to do something with Smokey Robinson, I think he’s brilliant! I did a little something with Paul McCartney. Meaning, I suggested the bridge on “Back in the U.S.S.R.” when he came to the table in India playing that song on his acoustic guitar. I think everybody in rock and roll would like to do something with Paul McCartney so I’m not alone. But I think Smokey Robinson was great, I was buddies with Marvin Gaye and it was tragic what happened to him. But I think Smokey Robinson and Paul McCartney would be great to work with.”
Ray Shasho: “Back in the U.S.S.R” is definitely a Beach Boys tune.
Mike Love: “It is, when I was in India with The Beatles, they got thinking in those terms… McCartney did anyway.”
Ray Shasho: Mike, thank you so much for being on the call today but more importantly for all the incredible Beach Boys songs over the years and into the future. We’ll see you at the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa on July 18th.
Mike Love: “Thanks Ray!”

The Beach Boys will be performing at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on July 18th at 8:30 p.m., as part of the Hard Rock Heatwave summer event promotion. Tickets for the 21and over concert are $69 and available through Ticketmaster outlets, the Hard Rock Store inside the casino at 5223 Orient Rd, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Visit the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa official website at

The Beach Boys official website
The Beach Boys on Facebook
Beach Boys TOUR DATES.
Mike Love on Facebook
Purchase …
That’s Why God Made the Radio (The Beach Boys most recent studio album)
The Smile Sessions Deluxe Box Set
The Beach Boys Live -The 50th Anniversary Tour (their double- disc live CD)
Made in California (a 6-CD career retrospective Box Set featuring more than 7 1/2 hours of music from 1961 to present day -Pre-orders are accepted).
… all releases available at

Very special thanks to Ivonne Snavely and Jay Jones.

Coming up next … My recent interview with Dave Davies, legendary guitarist for The Kinks.

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or - Please support Ray so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.

~~Pacific Book Review says Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.

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