Monday, August 4, 2014

Al Confirmed for All Three Brian Gigs, The "Stamosgate" Controversy, etc.

Most interesting and important news first: According to Brian Wilson's website, Al is confirmed for all three of the Brian tour dates announced thus far:
8/30/14 - Indio, CA
10/9/14 - Modesto, CA
10/11/14 - Long Beach, CA
The header for these tour dates listed on Brian's site also specifically mentions: "Stay tuned as new tour dates are posted. Brian will be performing with his great band and Al Jardine in what promise to be unforgettable shows." This makes me hopeful that Al will be joining Brian at any (or all) other shows that are scheduled in this timeframe.
Brian tours have often been announced a bit piecemeal, but he has also been know to simply books sporadic tour dates; sometimes only a few at a time. So it's still unclear if these three dates are dates that will be contained within a larger tour schedule that we don't know about, or if Brian simply plans to do a few shows here and there this year. He still presumably will have an album out, so hopefully we may at least get a one or two-month tour as Brian has often done in the past.
I haven't offered much news here on Brian's album, despite scattered reports about what *might* be on it. Fans have lately been rather poopy about the prospects of some "guest stars" duetting with Brian on a few tracks. Names floated include Zooey Deschanel (a ten-second off-line snippet of her track with Brian has been posted online), Lana Del Rey, and Kasey Musgraves. Wiki them if you'd like. I'll wait until I hear the tracks. I just hope Jardine and Chaplin's stuff still makes it on there. I'll no doubt have *plenty* to say about the album once we can listen to it.  
Interestingly, no word of any involvement from David Marks on the Brian tour dates. Marks never seems to have an axe to grind with any of these guys, so we can finally (hopefully) assume for once that his non-inclusion isn't due to any falling out with Brian.
In an item that may or may not be related, David Marks has joined Mike's "Beach Boys" for another string of shows in late July-early August. It's unclear how many dates Marks has played (or will play), as reports from Mike's never-ending tour are more sporadic.
Mike has given a few interviews lately, but they have revealed little that we didn't already know. Two interviews found most prominently are a radio/audio interview and a print interview, both of which cover the usual bases Mike covers in interviews. Just to recap for those who weren't aware: The Wilsons did a lot of drugs and alcohol, and Mike didn't. Mike finds TM of key importance in life. Mike got screwed on some songwriting credits. The anniversary tour had a set amount of dates they agreed to, and now they're all "doing their own thing." And so on. It almost starts to become a philosophical question in terms of who we blame for these uber-repetitive interviews. Is in the interviewer, or the interviewee? I would say both. The same questions, often vague and/or open-ended, are asked. But it's also clear Mike has the same stock answers at the ready. He also comes across in these interviews as super defensive and insecure. He's still bringing up the songwriting lawsuit situation without specific prompting in interviews, even though that situation was settled nearly 20 years ago in favor of Mike. He got his name on those songs, as even BB fans who aren't big fans of his will admit is the right thing. For nearly 20 years now, every CD or sheet music song book, and so on, has had Love's name on the songs he co-wrote.
The audio/radio interview was a bit telling only in that it reinforced that Mike doesn't have much positive to say about the 50th anniversary tour. When simply asked by the interviewer if the tour was a good time (no pointed or accusatory questions about who ended the tour, etc.), Love can barely muster much to say about it and immediately goes into describing the lineup of his current band. It's not particularly a good sign I would say that as time goes by, Love's comments about the reunion tour become less positive and less time is spent even discussing it.
Meanwhile, when BB fans have nothing new to discuss, and something inflammatory if rather inconsequential happens, we end up with something like the recent "Stamosgate" epic controversy. Head over the Smiley Smile board to learn more. It's too long, involved, and mired in backbiting from touring band members and fans alike. The brief story:
One of the members of the "C50" band made a random, abrupt post on Facebook describing the 2012 tour "Stamos Incident" where the "Forever" video/audio presentation with Dennis' vocal malfunctioned and Stamos stepped in later in the song to pick up the lead vocal. This incident was discussed at length by fans back in 2012, and as usual it fell into the two camps with little compromise in between. If you're a fan of Mike's leaner, light, sometimes slightly campy stage presentation where Stamos can sometimes be found hamming it up, then you probably had no problem with his brief foray into guesting on the 50th anniversary tour. If you find his stage presentation to be tacky, then the "incident" was, well tacky and objectionable. This speaks not one bit to the guy on a personal level. Unfortunately, some fans can't see this distinction, and need to tell us how great of a guy Stamos is, and imply that those who don't want him on stage don't like him personally.
I can only speak for myself, but I think Stamos seems like a nice guy. He'd probably be great fun to hang out with. I'll still watch episodes of "Full House" (and no, I don't mean that sarcastically). But he has no place on stage with the Beach Boys, certainly not the 50th anniversary tour. Allegedly, many on the "C50" team agreed, and perhaps Stamos didn't realize this was a different operation he was dealing with as compared to Mike's typical tours.
Which leads us into the Facebook comment. You can go to the Smiley Smile board to read the particulars, but one C50 band member said some unflattering things about Stamos regarding the "Forever" incident, and then another band member responded with equally unflattering things about the first person posting, and then even after the two involved in this silliness removed their posts from Facebook, everything had been reprinted and spilled over onto the Smiley Smile board.
All I can say is to reiterate the point that many, if not most who object to Stamos, simply don't feel he belongs in any musical proceedings relating to the band. They don't know Stamos, so don't judge him personally. All the Facebook stuff appeared to be over the line, which was probably why it was all deleted.
Hopefully all involved will get onto to better things.
In the meantime, we hopefully will have a new Brian album and tour dates with Al to look forward to.
Should I still keep a watch/vigil for another reunion? What do you all think? (and that is not a rhetorical question!)....