For more than fifty years, the Beach Boys’ music has been synonymous with sun, sand and surf. With a slew of top ten hits and albums, the band’s distinctive sound has a multigenerational appeal. Now led by cofounder and lead vocalist, Mike Love, the Beach Boys average 150 shows a year. We caught up with Love on his way to a recording studio in L.A
This will be your first appearance at the GTP. To what do you attribute the band’s staying power? “We play music that all ages can enjoy together.”
After fifty-plus years, how do you stay relevant?
“The subject matter of the songs and the sound itself. Who doesn’t love songs about the beach, surfing and cars? We’re known for the warmth of our harmonies, and our hooks and beats. Think about ‘California Girl,’ ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘Fun Fun Fun.’”
How do you envision your set list?
“We’ll do a range of up-tempo surfing songs to keep the momentum going. We are capable of doing some really nice ballads, but we might not do so many in an outdoor environment.”
You’ve played all over the world. Does any moment in particular stand out?
“The July 4th concert in Washington, D.C. [in 1985]. We came onstage and a half a million people gave us a standing ovation before we even did anything. That was incredible.”
Speaking of which: studio or stage?
“Stage. There are so many facets to live music. I like the immediate response and audience participation. I love generating so much love and positivity and happiness. Studio for me is a necessary tool for recording songs to perfection. I remember once doing one little section of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ twenty-five times to make it perfect.”
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
“The number of shows we’ve done over the years. I must have done ‘Surfin’ Safari’ 6,000 times. I’m pretty good with the words now.”
‘Surfin’ Safari’ is up there. I wrote it, came up with the words, took the lead on it. ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘California Girl,’ ‘God Only Knows.’ It depends on your mood. There’s a song that fits whatever mood you’re in.”
What keeps you sane on the road?
“Transcendental Meditation. I first learned TM from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. It’s totally natural—you can do it yourself and it has zero negative side effects. You gain energy and clarity. It’s the thing that’s enabled me to do all this traveling for all these years.”
What’s on your current playlist?
“I turn on Sirius 60s on 6 with the idea that they’re going to play one of our songs. I love the oldies and Motown. I listen to the stuff we were a part of making.”