On Tuesday evening, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks gathered at Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum for a night of festivities, including an acoustic performance and the launch of a new exhibit chronicling the group’s history. Among the items featured: a high school philosophy paper written by Brian Wilson, signed copies of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (by Wilson and Paul McCartney, respectively), old tour posters and some of the group’s most iconic surfer shirts.
After receiving a plaque to mark the triple-platinum certification of their 2003 hits set, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys, the band took the stage to showcase their harmonies on a sublime “Surfer Girl,” a rocking “California Girls” and “Help Me, Rhonda,” which Wilson introduced by saying, “I’m in the mood to hear Al Jardine sing.” The five-song performance wrapped with a rousing “I Get Around” that brought the crowd to its feet.
The band also took part in a Q&A session that touched on a range of subjects, from their inception to their “rivalry” with the Beatles, with Wilson recounting his oft-told story of penning the classic “God Only Knows” in an effort to “write something as good as Rubber Soul.” Of recording Smile, which Wilson finished with lyricist Van Dyke Parks and premiered live at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004, he said, “My collaborator and me were taking a lot of drugs. We thought this was too avant garde, too ahead of its time, so we finished it 35 years later. It premiered in London and went over great.”
On whether the group’s solo projects might prevent them from making more new music beyond this year’s That’s Why God Made the Radio LP, Jardine said, “The Beach Boys is the real deal. I’m not interested in that other stuff.” And Wilson got the biggest response of the night when he said, “I wouldn’t mind getting together with Mike [Love] and the guys and making an exciting rock & roll album.”
Added Wilson, “I’m sure by early next year we’ll be ready to rock.”