The Beach Boys may or may not reunite for a 50th anniversary tour next year, but they have already come together in the studio to record one song for Al Jardine's new solo album A Postcard From California. Jardine began the track, "Don't Fight the Sea," as part of a planned solo album in 1978, recruiting Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnson to sing background vocals. "I was so busy doing Beach Boys stuff I never finished it," Jardine says. "It just languished and languished, but in 1988 I got Brian to sing a high part for me. I modeled the song pretty much after Beach Boys harmony." Just last year, despite years of lawsuits, Mike Love entered the studio with Jardine to cut the baritone part. "All the negativity between us is gone," says Jardine. "He would have been very disappointed had I not asked him to be on it."
Jardine's fellow Beach Boys weren't the only guests on the album. It also features guest spots by Neil Young, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Flea, Glen Campbell, Alec Baldwin and Steve Miller. "It was very difficult to get Neil Young because he's extremely busy and his time is precious," says Jardine. "He came down to Big Sur with his wife, Pegi, a year and a half ago and gave up a whole day of his life to sing on my songs 'California Saga and 'Campfire Scene.' " Getting Young's former Buffalo Springfield bandmate Stephen Stills into the studio proved to be much easier. "Stephen loves Big Sur," says Jardine. "I just had to bribe him with a hotel room. He really helped me with the harmonies." Stills, Crosby, Young and Jardine all sing Beach Boys-style harmonies on "California Saga." "It's a song about the beautiful central coast of California," says Jardine. "When we sang together it was this hobo-sounding music that is kind of charming."
Jardine plays occasionally shows with his group the Endless Summer Band — and he's recently been working in the new material. "I can't do my new material exclusively," he says. "People expect Beach Boys songs." A Postcard From California is currently available digitally through iTunes and Amazon, but he hopes to get it out on CD shortly. "There isn't a great demand for CDs by veterans," he says. "We're also in a recession, but I'm trying to find a company to put it out." In the meantime, Jardine is already penning songs for his next album. "The Beach Boys don't record anymore and I miss it," he says. "I've still got a lot of music in me."