Beach Boys still going with good vibrations
By Dave Dondoneau
When The Beach Boys were starting out in the 1960s and band co-founder Mike Love found himself with a three-day weekend, he'd hop a plane from his California home and head to Hawai'i to catch a few waves.
"I would get on Western Airlines for $200 and four cents, roundtrip, and stay at the Waikiki Biltmore,"Love said. "We always had a fantastic time in Hawai'i.I've always loved it."
Western Airlines and the Biltmore are long gone, but Love and The Beach Boys are still going strong and will be playing three shows in Hawai'i: tonight on Maui, followed by tomorrow's show at the Blaisdell Arena and Sunday's Valentine's Day concert at Waikoloa Bowl on the Big Island.
The Beach Boys are rock history, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 for putting together one of the most impressive catalogs in music history. It includes 36 Top 40 hits (the most ever by a U.S. band) and four No. 1 singles.
Of the five co-founders — Love, his cousins Brian Wilson, the late Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson, and their friend Al Jardine — only Love remains with the original band, and he's joined on tour by longtime member Bruce Johnston and some fresh faces.
"The concerts will definitely be a trip down memory lane because we'll do all the major Top 40 hits by us, and we'll do some songs we like to do," Love said. "We love to do a whole range of moods and emotions at our concerts."
We caught up with Love, 68, prior to the group's recent concert at Araneta Coliseum in the Philippines:
Q. Do you still get to Hawai'i often?
A. Not as much as I'd like. I used to have a place on Kaua'i, and then on Maui. I was able to buy the old Sam Pryor-Charles Lindbergh place in Kípahulu (about 10 miles beyond Häna). That was beautiful, but I seldom went there, so I let it go to someone who could appreciate it more. Now I live primarily in Lake Tahoe. I've always loved Hawai'i.
Q. Can you believe it will be 50 years next year that The Beach Boys formed?
A. I know! Our first song, "Surfin'," came out in the fall of '61, amazing. In fact, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Motown are the most performed genres of music from the '60s, so we're in pretty good company.
Q. Are there special plans for the golden anniversary year?
A. I'm sure there will be some releases and compilations, but we're really interested in a PBS documentary on "American Masters" that's being proposed. I think it would be logical to do, and to do a couple of new songs, maybe a new CD with the rest of the guys. It makes sense to me.
Q. You said you came here a lot when you were younger. Do you still get out and surf?
A. I used to do a lot of surfing, but living in Lake Tahoe it's too cold, and the waves are crappy there. But if it's a kinder, gentler place, I wouldn't mind going out a bit.
Q. Any favorite places you like to visit while you're here?
A. Keo's Thai Cuisine in Waikíkí. Other than that, Roy's is one of my favorites. We go there in Guam or Vegas. But basically, when we go, we just enjoy hanging out and maybe bodysurfing a bit. The Kähala area is really nice. I'm like a tourist in Waikíkí. I miss my Kípahulu place.It had a waterfall on the property, and it was so beautiful, like a movie.
Q. What keeps you going?
A. I meditate every day, transcendental meditation, which I learned from Maharishi in December of 1967. In February 1968, I went to India, and The Beatles were there as well. It was a fascinating time, but I learned to meditate and have been doing it every day since. It's really relaxing and also energizing. The mind can go to deeper levels, and you get rid of a lot of stress and tension, and get a deeper rest. You get increased energy and clarity, so it keeps you more alert, more alive, more energetic.
Q. Is there one song that defines The Beach Boys?
A. I always say it depends on what mood I'm in, but "Good Vibrations" was probably the most unique, and yet, successful we ever did, but "Kokomo" was our biggest hit in 1988.
Q. How long can The Beach Boys keep going?
A. I'm gonna ask Tony Bennett. He's in his 80s and looks pretty good. People wonder why we still perform. Come to a concert to see The Beach Boys and all the generations enjoying it.