Okay, this is apparently what I get for more than one reference to Beach Boys news being dead as of late. Today, we have no less than four news items that are probably more interesting than most of what has happened in the last six months.....
From yesterday's Rolling Stone article concerning Mike and Bruce's summer tour:
"Year after year, it's been a great source of inspiration to see the happiness our music has brought to multiple generations of Beach Boys fans in so many parts of the world," Mike Love said in a statement. "This summer I’m particularly excited for the Jones Beach show, which is such a terrific, iconic venue. It will be very special to share the stage with some old friends and bandmates, Al Jardine and David Marks."
The tour also marks the introduction of singer/guitarist Jeffrey Foskett, who has worked regularly with the group since 1981, as a permanent member of the Beach Boys touring band. He'll replace Love's son Christian, who left the group to pursue a solo career ("As talented as he is, I hope he’ll still want to join his dad on stage every once and a while," the elder Love added).
So, we have confirmation that both Al as well as Dave will join in on Mike's July show at Jones Beach. Well, that's interesting and..... wait, what? Rewind.....
Apparently, Mike's son Christian Love is departing the touring band and his replacement will be none other than Jeff Foskett. As is often the case in Beach Boys Land, the immediate news is not necessarily the most thought-provoking part of the story. That Foskett would be recruited by Love is not in and of itself surprising. As many of us know, Foskett was originally brought into the touring band in 1981 by Mike. Mike also allegedly tried to recruit Foskett in the 1998/99 timeframe when the touring band splintered. Mike also seemed to most closely relate to Foskett compared to the rest of Brian's touring band during the 50th Anniversary tour.
No, the bigger question is, what does this mean in terms of Foskett's working relationship with Brian? Foskett has not only been Brian's main falsetto guy for essentially Brian's entire solo touring career, since 1999, but he's also pretty much on-stage and in the studio Brian's main companion, often operating essentially as a "handler" for Brian in some non-musical matters as well.
We had less than a day to stew on this before we got, for better or worse, the "official" responses from both Brian and Jeff:
"Yesterday I found out that Jeff has decided to tour with Mike Love's BB's. I think its great since he really loved touring with Mike and the boys back in the day. He made it clear at the end of the JB tour that he would be moving on . I wish him the best and I'm happy for him. As for me , I'm busy in the studio working on my new album. A couple months ago I asked Matt Jardine to tour with my band and he accepted. He's a great guy and I love his voice. He's busy working with Paul and Darian and eager to get started. All good- Brian"
We'll get back to discussing how "real" this response is far as sentiment. What this does firmly state is that we have a new guy in Brian's band - Matt Jardine. I find that to be frankly more exciting news than Jeff joining Mike's band. But back to Jeff and his quick statement:
Thank you for all of your kind words regarding my career change. I am very much looking forward to touring with The Beach Boys. It’s where I started my professional career and it feels like a “homecoming” for me. It’s going to be a blast performing with Michael, Bruce, Scott, Timmy, Randelle and Cowsey. I am very grateful to Brian for his years of friendship, music, support and teaching. We’re still great friends and I’m sure Matt will be a stellar addition to his band. As for me … No Drama, No Hard Feelings, No Weirdness … simply time for a change. I look forward to seeing you out on the road this year!
So, how much should we dissect this? Realistically, all we can really say is that we have no way of knowing how amicable this all actually was. If Foskett left, and only later was offered a gig with Mike, then we know he didn't leave one band to join the other. Why did he depart from Brian's band? Other than guessing at obvious possibilities (money, politics, etc.), who knows? We can only hope it's as amicable as they seem to suggest.
In a separate article featuring a quick interview with Mike (http://www.petoskeynews.com/graphic/music/now-hear-this-an-interview-with-mike-love-of-the/article_664793fa-dc52-11e3-b7b2-001a4bcf6878.html), we got the following additional tantalizing bit of info:
Where do you see the future of the Beach Boys heading?
"Year after year we have opportunities in tour. We’re going perform in Tel Aviv in November. We’ve never been there. We’ll be in Paris before that. A lot of great things to come. I’m having a dialogue with Al Jardine and we’re talking about doing stuff together creatively. There are a lot of things left to do and a lot of creativities left to be manifested. As long as you like doing what you’re doing creatively there’s no real time limit on anything."
It's difficult to tie this all together, and maybe there's no reason to. What do we know for sure? To recap:
- Jeff Foskett has left Brian's employ, and informed him some time ago
- Christian Love is leaving Mike and Bruce's "Beach Boys"
- Jeff Foskett has joined Mike and Bruce's "Beach Boys", and if the apparent timeline is actually accurate, made this decision after Christian Love left and presumably an offer made to join
- Matt Jardine is apparently permanently joining Brian's tour band to replace Foskett
- Al Jardine and David Marks are playing one show with Mike and Bruce's "Beach Boys" in July
- Al Jardine and Mike Love are having a "dialogue" about doing something "creatively" (presumably less about touring and more about writing or recording?)
So that's a lot of info to chew on. What about the unknowns?
- Will Al and Dave (and Blondie Chaplin), all of whom have added material to Brian's album, be joining Brian on future live dates? Brian has two European tour dates, and it appears unlikely they will be joining Brian on those dates, as the July gig with Mike and Bruce conflicts. Brian has one apparent date in October in Modesto, CA, so that gives a good indication of a possible timeframe for a tour to promote a new album.
- Will Al and Dave do any further dates with Mike and Bruce? This seems like a very iffy prospect. More likely is the possibility of a few gigs here and there. But could they permanently join? That seems far less likely.
Rather than run down all of the various permutations of "what if's", we'll stew on this while you readers stew as well. There will be plenty of time for commentary......