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God Only Knows: Are Mike Love and Brian Wilson Going Back to the Beach?

It’s been thirty-seven years since Mike Love and Brian Wilson
collaborated on the Beach Boys’ first minor regional hit, “Surfin,”
released on the long-defunct Candix label. Now, Love says the two
may reheat their decades-cold songwriting partnership for a new
Beach Boys album.

“We’ve talked about it,” says Love, 57. “But I’m not gonna
bother him right now because he’s busy doing all the things they
make you do when you release a solo album.” Wilson’s third solo
effort, Imagination, is due June 16 on Giant Records.

The first cousins penned two songs together in 1995, one for
Baywatch. But that reunion didn’t take, and the volatile
duo have not collaborated extensively since the 1980 Beach Boys
album, Keepin’ the Summer Alive. Legal and personal
differences, exacerbated by Wilson’s involvement with controversial
psychiatrist Eugene Landy, have been widely blamed.

“But we’re real close now,” Love says, adding that Wilson will
“definitely” play with the Beach Boys on stage in the near future.
(Exactly how near is unknown, although the band has a tour of Latin
America penciled in for October through December.)

Love’s revelation comes three months after the loss of founding
Beach Boy Carl Wilson to lung cancer, and concurrent with the
release of a new studio project from the veteran band. Love, Bruce
Johnston, Al Jardine et al grace two songs on mariachi band Sol de
Mexico’s Acapulco Girls album, due May 19 on EMI Latin.
(The title track is a Spanish-language retake of “California
Girls.” “Kokomo” is also driven south of the border for an
overhaul.)

Setting the stage for a possible reunion, this past Saturday
Wilson trotted Johnston out during a mini-concert at the Norris
Theater in St. Charles, Ill. Footage shot there is planned for a
Wilson documentary being compiled by John Beug. Love says he’s
confident that when such promotional activity for
Imagination slows, Wilson will redirect his energy to the
Beach Boys. “His mind will go to other things,” he says. “He’s a
Gemini. His mind is always active.”

For his part, Love says he enjoys Imagination and
Brian’s other solo work. “But I collaborated with him on the
biggest hits the Beach Boys ever had, so I’m prejudiced. I think
he’d be better off working with me — purely materialistically, and
I think conceptually, too. And possibly lyrically.”

Beach Boys management consultant Michael Scafuto stresses that
reunion plans are not solid. “It looks like it’s going to happen,”
Scafuto says. “Brian and Mike get along very, very well, and
Brian’s never not been a Beach Boy. He didn’t retire. He just
decided not to tour. “But you can never tell what will happen,” he
says.

In fact, a spokesperson for Brian Wilson professed no knowledge
of the matter.

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