The good vibrations from The Beach Boys' 50th anniversary tour appear to have ended, as an on-again, off-again feud has re-emerged among the band's original members.
Brian Wilson, the California band's creative leader, and his cousin Mike Love, who has led a touring version of the band for more than a decade, have been engaged in a he-said, he-said argument via letters published in the Los Angeles Times.
Earlier this year, original members Wilson, Love and Al Jardine united with later bandmates Bruce Johnston and David Marks for a tour to mark the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary and record a new album, That's Why God Made the Radio. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 music chart and, though initially planned for 50 dates, the anniversary tour proved so popular that a further 25 dates were added.
The current disagreement stems from post-anniversary engagements.
Shortly before the anniversary tour's end in late September, Love issued a media release outlining a host of upcoming Beach Boys concert gigs that would include himself and Johnston, but left Wilson, Jardine and Marks off the lineup. He defended himself with a letter published in the Times on Friday.
"Like any good party, no one wanted [the anniversary dates] to end. However, that was impossible, given that we had already set up shows in smaller cities with a different configuration of the band — the configuration that had been touring together every year for the last 13 years," Love wrote.
"The plan was always to go back to our respective lives post the 50th anniversary run. Brian is writing a new album. Al often tours with his band — they are terrific. And my job hasn't changed in 50 years," he added, noting that for more than a decade, he's retained exclusive license to tour under the name The Beach Boys.
In a letter published Tuesday, Wilson responded that he and Jardine felt blindsided by Love's announcement, since they had been hoping to continue performing with the reunited lineup.
"The last few months have been some of the happiest in my life. Recording That's Why God Made The Radio was a dream come true...The tour that followed blew away all my expectations. We had a blast, the fans were so supportive and I loved being able to record and sing with the guys. My only regret was that Carl and Dennis were not there to share this experience with us," Wilson wrote, referencing his late brothers, also original members of the band.
"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. Al and I just assumed based on everyone's enthusiasm we would at least want to take those offers into consideration since we all knew about them," Wilson added.
"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."
The Beach Boys rose to fame with its sun-soaked California sound in the 1960s and were touted as the American answer to the Beatles. Wilson, the chief songwriter, suffered from mental-health problems and drug abuse that forced his withdrawal from the group. Later, his feud with Love forced the group apart, as did legal battles between various members.
Though they briefly reunited to mark milestones and for recordings over the decades, the 50th anniversary tour and album were considered the most significant Beach Boys reunion in years.