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Q&A With Beach Boys Guitarist Al Jardine

June 25, 2013
Q&A With Beach Boys Guitarist Al Jardine

The Beach Boys guitarist, vocalist and founding member Al Jardine really does get around.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will visit Interlochen Center for the Arts on July 23 with fellow Beach Boys veterans Brian Wilson and David Marks as part of a series of summer appearances by the trio across the country. The Ticker spoke with the legendary performer about returning to Kresge Auditorium, a new Brian Wilson solo album in the works (on which Jardine appears), and the controversial Beach Boys breakup in 2012 that led to two different lineups performing the band's music this summer.

The Ticker: The Beach Boys first appeared as a group at Interlochen in 2011. Why did you, Brian and David want to return here this summer as part of this series of solo gigs?
Al Jardine:
I love it up there in Interlochen. I remember it as quite a beautiful area. The outdoor vibe of the venue is special and very harmonious with our music. We're known for our songs about summer, at least some of them, so it's a perfect fit. I also have (an attachment to) that area since I went to school in Big Rapids (at Ferris State University) in the 1960s. I left there and hitchhiked out to California to meet up with the band, actually. And, well, you know the rest.

The Ticker: After the 50th anniversary tour last year, Mike Love (who legally owns the name The Beach Boys) generated a significant amount of controversy when he announced he and Bruce Johnston would continue touring as The Beach Boys – without you, Brian or David. What was your reaction to that decision?
Al Jardine:
We were just shocked. After all the momentum we created, that he would want to continue on alone – we didn't understand it. We had a second single (from 2012's “That's Why God Made the Radio”) and a DVD and a follow-up album ready to go. I can understand wanting to tour with your own people, but this was our legacy as a band. To be short-sighted enough to abandon that to do your own thing – it's a shame.

However, Brian and I decided that, heck – we're the heart and soul of this thing anyway, we're going to continue to perform the legacy. We have the voices, we have the creative material, and we have a wonderful backing band that Brian has been using for years. You know – we ought to do a contest between the two lineups. (laughs). It could be fun for fans. It would be illuminating.

The Ticker: Are the dual lineups creating confusion among fans? Do you think it's possible The Beach Boys will reunite at some point?
Al Jardine:
Oh, it's very confusing for fans. Some of the photos from our 50th anniversary tour have been used to promote the new Beach Boys shows, which makes it even more confusing. Brian and I don't want to mislead fans, since we're not going to be at those shows. But look – The Beach Boys is just a name. The music is what's important, not the messenger. If Mike wants to come back, it'd be wonderful and we'd love to have him. But I don't think at this point it looks like it's going to happen.

The Ticker: Brian has announced he's working on a new solo album featuring you and Jeff Beck, among other musicians. What's the status of that project?
Al Jardine:
We're in the midst of it right now. I just spoke to Brian last night and he said it's coming along. I'll be coming back soon to do some vocals. We might even have a car song on there, if you can believe it – the last one we'll ever do. I'd like to do a song about an electric car myself, but that might be a harder sell. (laughs)

The Ticker: You also released your own first solo album recently (“A Postcard from California,” in 2010). What was the inspiration behind that project?
Al Jardine:
The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson were my inspiration. I enlisted their support on “Don't Fight the Sea,” which is the cornerstone track of the project. The band wasn't recording at the time, and I missed those harmonies and wanted to put a thematic piece together that describes my lifestyle here on the California coast. We had a lot of fun making that.

The Ticker: What's coming down the pipeline for you as a solo artist? For the group?
Al Jardine:
I've done some covers of some iconic songs, like “Give Peace a Chance” and “If I Had a Hammer,” for Bono's ONE foundation. I'd like to do more music like that while I still have a voice. If I could get enough material along those lines, I would do another (solo album) in a heartbeat.

As for the guys – if these summer dates go well, we'll likely do another tour to support Brian's new album. I'm bound to secrecy on the details of that right now, because we're not sure when the album will be finished and we haven't lined up all the theaters. But you can expect an announcement on that to come very soon.

Al Jardine, Brian Wilson and David Marks will appear at Interlochen Center for the Arts on July 23 with special guests Wilson Phillips. For tickets and more information, call 231-276-7800 or visit www.interlochen.org.


Most Recent Comments

 
Paul F. Etcheverry on July 14, 2013 5:46pm

I saw Brian and Al play PET SOUNDS with Brian's 21st century equivalent of Hal Blaine's "Wrecking Crew" - a tremendous and inspiring concert. Perhaps Al can sing on the next album by The Wondermints!

Al M on July 5, 2013 8:52am

For all of the turmoil and tragedies that have encompassed the Beach Boys and other bands, Jardine has always been above the fray.........personable, approachable and upstanding. On a side note, I met Dennis Wilson many years ago when he was out promoting his solo album. I found him to be friendly and professional with everyone....it was a pleasure meeting him.

Bill Z on July 3, 2013 7:38pm

Blondie Chaplin put it best....Mike Love thinks he is the only original Beach Boy. I have met Mike many times and to be honest he was only cordial once...he does not care about fans...we are an inconvenience. Al (on the other hand) is one of the nicest guys I have ever met...so was Carl. Brian has always been nice to me to.. you will never meet a nicer group than Brian's Band.
Mike is missing out. Al's right - I would love to see the two bands go head to head.

Gerry B on July 2, 2013 9:28pm

Rock on, Al. Good for you to be contemporary while poor Mike Love is stuck with living in the past.

goldstar66 on June 26, 2013 1:13pm

that 50th tour would not have been anything without brian's backup band!! enought said. mike love is an old loser!!!!! j2kyp

Tim G on June 26, 2013 7:17am

Would love for you guys to return to SPAC, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga NY! I have seen every concert that you guys put on at that venue including the 50th Anniversary show which was my 30th BB concert............Thanks

Robby C on June 25, 2013 11:13pm

Al, thanks for the music, and for doing the Q&A! Hope to catch you,Brian & David, coming anywhere near Lubbock?!!

Michael on June 25, 2013 9:54pm

I would love for concert on beach of cape cod next summer and I would love for you guys to do a song that I wrote and it's like the style from the 60's

Earl Davis on June 25, 2013 9:11pm

Would you and Brian concider coming to Greenville SC to the Bilo Center or to the Piece center for a show

Randy on June 25, 2013 9:10pm

@ Lori: That was probably David Marks.

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