The Herald Bulletin

August 29, 2013

Beach Boys ride the wave Saturday at Hoosier Park

By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin


It was in New York, January of ‘68, that a young photographer named Linda Eastman snapped a picture of the young, clean-cut Beach Boys, sitting relaxed on the floor and clutching flowers. Behind them, a long-haired Indian guru smiled from his perch on a couch.

A month later, Mike Love of the Beach Boys followed the guru to India where he spent a couple of months picking up on the finer points of Transcendental Meditation from its founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, along with a few pals like The Beatles.

Love, in a phone interview with The Herald Bulletin, remembered one morning when Beatle Paul McCartney came out and played “Back to the USSR.”

“Turns out, I was the first one to hear it back at the breakfast table in India,” said Love, now 72, who had himself been an integral part of many unforgettable hit songs.

Love celebrated his birthday while he was in India, along with George Harrison, and wrote a song called “Pisces Brothers” that commemorates that time. The song was recorded but never released, but who knows, maybe the audience will hear it in Anderson on Saturday night along with a whole lot of Beach Boys surf rock fun.

Love comes to Hoosier Park with the rest of the touring Beach Boys: Bruce Johnston, Randell Kirsch, Scott Totten, John Cowsill, Tim Bonhomme, and Christian Love — Mike’s son.

Although they toured last year for the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys, don't look for Brian Wilson or Al Jardine in the lineup this time. Despite all the angst and lawsuits that have punctuated the group’s phenomenal history, it could be argued that Love is the man who kept the Beach Boys surfing for more than 50 years.

The band is beyond iconic. With their zippy refrains, sunny lyrics and irrepressible beats, they simply invaded our culture and became part of it. Hit after hit after hit wended its way into our cultural consciousness.

“Surfin’ USA,” Good Vibrations,” “ I Get Around,” “ Help Me Rhonda,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “ California Girls,” “Kokomo,” — it just goes on.

“I came up with a lot of hooks — the catchy part of the song,” said Love. Think, “Round, round, get around, I get around.” You can hear it, can’t you?

Although that fun sound is Beach Boys brand, their reach extended beyond the surf. Love recalled a late-night-into-the-morning writing session with Brian Wilson back in November 1963.

“It felt kind of mystical and eerie all combined when we were writing the song,” said Love. “The melody and the chords Brian came up with were pretty incredible … Very mystical feeling, very melancholy.” As if the feeling that pervaded the writing of "The Warmth of the Sun" was somehow prescient, they learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy that day.

Even Love's longstanding practice of meditation made its way into the Beach Boys' music.

“'All This Is That' has to do with the philosophy where meditation comes from,” said Love. “Cool Head, Warm Heart’ similarly conveys the thought. “Two decades ago, Marahishi said you need a cool head, warm heart. I just made it into a little song. It’s a nice little message song.”

Love became a teacher of meditation decades ago, and keeps up with his meditation practice on the road today.

“It makes me accentuate the positive in life. It eliminates a lot of the negative impact of the things that aren’t so great in life,” said Love.

The Beach Boys arrive in Anderson just in time to put a wrap on summer. Their new boxed set, “Made In California,” was released Tuesday with six CDs spanning the history of the group, including more than 60 previously unreleased songs.

“It’s definitely the kitchen sink approach,” said Love.

Keep it coming. For those of us old enough to remember the heyday, the good vibrations remind us of all the best parts.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.