Beach Boys Not in Harmony - Rolling Stone
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Beach Boys Not in Harmony

Lifetime Grammy award comes at chilly time for Beach Boys

There seems to be scant possibility that special “Lifetime Achievement” recognition at tonight’s Grammy Awards will soothe the acrimony that has divided the Beach Boys in recent years.

“Thank God we don’t have to perform,” said founding member Alan Jardine before yesterday’s non-televised ceremony, a day before the Grammys. “Hopefully, we can just pick up our awards and not run into each other. I’m just delighted that the original band is getting this recognition, as opposed to that fake thing that is playing today.”

Jardine’s son Matt, who attended yesterday’s ceremony, said that his father barely spoke to his former colleagues. “Unfortunately, they seemed to have as little as possible to do with each other,” he said. “There was a lot of tension, but it was all glossed over because of the thrill of the Grammys.”

The Lifetime Achievement award honors Carl and Dennis Wilson, both deceased, along with Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. Yesterday’s award was received by Love, Jardine and Johnston along with Carl Wilson’s sons and Dennis Wilson’s daughter and grandson. Also in the audience was Alan Jardine’s mother, Virginia, who put up $300 for the first Beach Boys’ session.

Brian Wilson skipped yesterday’s ceremony due to scheduling conflicts, according to a spokesperson, but is expected to attend tonight’s event. “It is a great honor,” he said.

The ill feelings that split the band into three factions (Love, Jardine and Brian Wilson) originated after the 1998 death of Carl Wilson, who acted as peacemaker. “The group split up a little bit after Carl died,” Brian said. “We didn’t officially make any statements about it, but I think people have figured it out for themselves. It’s too bad.”

Since that time Brian Wilson has stayed neutral. Not so for the other survivors. Alan Jardine’s animosity is directed at Love and Johnston, who continue to tour as the Beach Boys but successfully enjoined Jardine to prevent him from performing under any form of the name. One year after that decision, Jardine was encouraged by a California ruling which allowed Steppenwolf bassist Nick St. Nicholas to use his old band’s name. Jardine feels this sets a precedent for the re-opening of his own case.

If things fell apart after Carl Wilson’s death, Jardine noted that Dennis Wilson was also an effective (although unconventional) mediator.

“Dennis was a real karma corrector,” Jardine recalled. “If Mike ever got out of hand Dennis would take him off of the plane and punch him in the nose. Then he’d behave for a few weeks, until Dennis would have to do it again.”


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