If there’s a lesson to be learned from the last few days in the saga of the Beach Boys, it’s that when dealing with conflict, it’s probably best to just sit down and talk about it, rather than release competing articles in the Los Angeles Times and make us feel sad for everyone involved.
Last week, Beach Boy Mike Love (who, like Axl Rose before him, controls the rights to the name of the band that made him famous) wrote a lengthy piece in the Times about how, contrary to the reports in the mean old media, he did not “fire” Brian Wilson from the group for a run of tour dates in the fall.
Not to be outdone, Wilson countered with a lengthy newspaper-hosted diatribe of his own this morning. “As far as I know I can’t be fired—that wouldn’t be cool,” Wilson wrote. “The negativity surrounding all the comments bummed me out. What’s confusing is that by Mike not wanting or letting Al, David and me tour with the band, it sort of feels like we’re being fired.”
After thanking Capitol Records and talking about what a thrill it was to record a new album and tour with his old band again, Wilson really gets down to the meat of the matter. “After Mike booked a couple of shows with Bruce, Al and I were, of course, disappointed. Then there was confusion in some markets when photos of me, Al and David and the 50th reunion band appeared on websites advertising his shows,” Wilson wrote.
“At that point my attorney merely suggested to Mike’s attorney that a possible press release in those markets might be appropriate to stop the confusion, which was in no one’s best interest. That’s it, plain and simple, and a strategy was open for discussion, which never happened.
“That’s why I was completely blindsided by his press release. I had no idea that it was coming out, since it was crafted by Mike’s personal PR firm without my knowledge or approval. No one in my camp would have approved it or the timing.
“I’m disappointed that Mike would now say that the release was done at the request of my representative. The first I heard about it was at the Grammy Museum event. We hadn’t even discussed as a band what we were going to do with all the offers that were coming in for more 50th shows.”
Wilson wraps it up thusly: “While I appreciate the nice cool things Mike said about me in his letter, and I do and always will love him as my cousin and bandmate, at the same time I’m still left wondering why he doesn’t want to continue this great trip we’re on. Al and I want to keep going because we believe we owe it to the music. That’s it in a nutshell, all these conversations need to be between the shareholders, and I welcome Mike to call me.”
So who is right in this scenario? Does Love have the right to do what he wants, or is Wilson an irreplaceable member of the band? And shouldn’t everybody just have, you know, dropped a group e-mail or something?