Weekender

Mike Love, Beach Boys ride wave of popularity

The Beach Boys, featuring Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Jeffrey Foskett, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill and Scott Totten, will headline a show at the Bryce Jordan Center on Oct. 29.
The Beach Boys, featuring Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Jeffrey Foskett, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill and Scott Totten, will headline a show at the Bryce Jordan Center on Oct. 29. Photo provided

Being able to see a living legend perform is a rarity, and next week’s performance by The Beach Boys might be a bucket-list item for many.

On Oct. 29, the Bryce Jordan Center will host the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Led by original member Mike Love, The Beach Boys are one of music’s most iconic acts and helped define a generation with their sun-drenched charisma, daring musical experimentation and unparalleled vocal harmonies.

“It has been a pretty amazing career so far, and the end doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight,” Love said.

Formed in Southern California in 1961 by the Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis and Carl with their cousin Love and close friend Al Jardine, The Beach Boys and their surf-rock sound soon served as the score for the idea of the endless summer. On the strength of hit songs like “Surfin’ USA,” “I Get Around” and “Fun Fun Fun,” the quintet quickly established themselves as one of the most popular bands in the country.

Having been together for more than 50 years and playing an average of 150 concerts a year, The Beach Boys do not take their iconic status for granted. At each show, Love said he and the band’s current lineup of longtime collaborators Bruce Johnston, Jeffrey Foskett, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill and Scott Totten will strive to make each performance better than the last.

“We’re going to be playing all of the hits that we’re known for and will also include some songs that are a little bit more esoteric, a few hidden gems,” Love said. “We like having sets where we play songs that both the avid fans know and songs that the casual fan knows. Our challenge is to appeal to the whole audience with various songs, arrangements, subject matter and moods.”

A major ingredient of the band’s success is the willingness to stick to their surf-rock origin. While the late 1960s saw The Beach Boys experiment with sound in the studio as they did on their 1966 masterpiece, “Pet Sounds,” they always made sure their musical roots were intact and maintained the charm that catapulted them to international acclaim.

“I’ve always thought of The Beach Boys as a sonic oasis,” Love said. “Our music is unique in both the subject matter and the arrangement of instrumentation, which makes for a really neat package. Our mission now is to re-create our live songs so they sound as close to the record as we possibly can. We just loved doing the music, the harmonies and singing together as kids and were just fortunate enough to have had the career that we ended up with.”

Aside from their heavenly harmonies, The Beach Boys’ trademark is the majesty of eternal youth. The band represents sincere exuberance, a rare quality that audiences are willing to embrace. This cheeriness and unabashed glee has won over fans worldwide of all ages.

“At one of our recent shows, we had both a 90-year-old woman and a 9-year-old girl dancing with us on stage, which was truly amazing,” Love said. “People have asked me if I ever think of retiring or if I ever get tired of performing and I tell them, ‘You can get tired, but you can never get tired of seeing an audience’s response.’ ”

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