The music scene

Mike Love still feels those ‘Good Vibrations’

 

If you still wish they all could be California girls, you’ll want to catch the Beach Boys on Monday night at the Hard Rock Live arena at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood. Croon along to harmonious hits, including Surfin’ USA, Fun, Fun, Fun, I Get Around, Help Me Rhonda, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, In My Room, Kokomo and, of course, Good Vibrations.

Founding member Mike Love talked to The Miami Herald about the concert, the band’s song-writing process and his nephew, NBA star Kevin Love.

What can we expect from the show?

All the hits [laughs]. Every Beach Boy hit you could possibly name — we’ll be doin’ ’em.

So there are no legal restrictions at all on what songs you’re allowed to perform, even though all the founding songwriters aren’t there?

Oh no. I’ve been the lead singer for the Beach Boys since 1961, so we’re gonna be grandfathered in. So yeah, we do it all. Our biggest-selling hit is Kokomo, which is interesting, because 22 years before that, Good Vibrations went to No. 1, and we were voted the No. 1 group in England, with No. 2 The Beatles and No. 3 The Stones. That was pretty cool.

What song are you most proud of writing?

With Good Vibrations, I came up with the chorus, “I’m picking up good vibrations,” and I wrote all the words. My cousin, Brian [Wilson], came up with this brilliant, avant-garde track, which is still avant-garde today, I think. Rolling Stone magazine said many years ago that it was the Single of the Century. And that’s pretty high praise coming from Rolling Stone. And I love California Girls — I wrote all the words to that — and I Get Around. And on a more subtle side, there’s a song called The Warmth of the Sun that Brian and I wrote in the wee hours of the morning before President Kennedy was killed in Dallas. That’s the news we woke up to that next morning. It was just a haunting, melancholy piece of music, written from the perspective of having lost the love of someone.

The Beach Boys’ harmonies are so complex. What was the song-writing process like?

Brian and I would listen to the radio in L.A., and sometimes we’d listen to doo-wop groups — The Coasters and The Cadillacs and all — but also The Everly Brothers were a big deal to us, because they had a beautiful blend and great harmonies and fun songs. We would take a two-part Everly Brothers song and make it into three parts. Then Brian became obsessed with a group called The Four Freshmen, and they were very sophisticated with modern harmony. And so that found its way into our rock formula.

No other band sounds like the Beach Boys — what do you think when you listen to pop music today?

It’s so varied and so fragmented, from rap to country to hip-hop, and Tony Bennett will come out with something new, so the sky’s the limit. There’s such a diversity in music. So you’d have to say, you know, what do you like? I appreciate any song that’s got a great melody, great lyrics, good arrangement — that’s what’s pleasing to me.

You’re the uncle of Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love. Do you have any basketball skills?

I used to be somebody in this family until Kevin came along [laughs]. I was a long-distance runner, but his dad, Stan Love, played for the Baltimore Bullets and the Lakers. He was a huge star. And Kevin’s been shooting hoops since he was in a stroller. Stan was once asked if Kevin was better than he was, and he said, “Since he was about 12.”

The Beach Boys play at 8 p.m. Monday at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood; Ticketmaster; $40-$75.

Michael Hamersly

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