He ran off with the money.
The Beach Boys signed the contract.
They were supposed to get $900 for their first song.
But the guy who signed them was a fraud.
It was “Surfin.”
Recorded in 1961.
“He was running his company out of the back of his car,” Mike Love, Beach Boys co-founder and singer said on my podcast. “He didn’t pay us. But that liberated us to go to Capitol EMI (another record company)… who also had a group called, ‘The Beatles.’”
This interview will take you out of 2019. And take you back in time.
Like an escape.
You’ll hear Mike say what it was like to play California surfing music in Soviet-occupied countries.
What made them so universal? And why are they still popular 60 years later?
AND! How the hell is Mike doing a 106 city tour at 78?
Click play to find out.
- A quick preview of the episode – [0:00]
- I welcome the legendary Mike Love to the show and he says, “Excuse me, I’m a little nervous. I’ve never been podcasted before.” – [3:23]
- Mike tells us about the artwork for his new album, “12 Sides of Summer” – [4:32]
- The Beach Boys origin story… how they got started, where their talent comes from and how they exploded in 1961 with their first song – [6:10]
- How did the Beach Boys learn how to harmonize? – [8:33]
- Music recommendation: Mike recommends listening to “The Four Freshmen” – [10:23]
- How Chuck Berry, rock n roll, doop-wop and R&B influenced The Beach Boys – [11:15]
- Mike says how JFK’s death and the country’s loss impacted the sound of “The Warmth of The Sun” – [13:25]
- I ask Mike, “When did you say to yourself, ‘This is it. I’m going to be a huge rockstar.’” – [13:55]
- We talk about the similarities between The Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen – [14:42]
- I ask Mike why California surfing music resonates beyond CA? And he tells me what it was like to tour in Soviet-occupied countries – [15:03]
- “I’m a shitty surfer,” Mike said. “But I can sing about it really well.” – [17:26]
- How Mike writes lyrics [19:18]
- Early success… Mike says what it felt like to get to the top 10 – [20:35]
- Mike describes “the mutual admiration” The Beatles and The Beach Boys had for each other – [22:13]
- I ask Mike why “Pet Sounds” didn’t chart as well as their earlier albums [24:34]
- Comeback: how The Beach Boys hit #1 with “Good Vibrations” – [25:55]
- The beginning of the psychedelic era, “flower power,” and its impact on music – [26:45]
- How Mike wrote the lyrics to “Good Vibrations” on the way to the recording studio – [27:56]
- I ask Mike why Brian Wilson stopped tour with them. He says it was a “lifestyle split.” – [29:19]
- The impact of transcendental meditation on Mike’s life – [30:18]
- Mike talks about loss… “As human beings, we’re all affected by losses in families or terrible things that happen from alcohol or drugs or things like that.” – [30:39]
- I ask Mike how he held the band together [31:45]
- Mike describes “the effect our music has all over the world, including places where English is not their first language.” – [32:22]
- Mike starts singing and the audience joins in – [33:11]
- How they wrote “Kokomo,” their first #1 song since “Good Vibrations” – [36:11]
- The money side of music and how The Beach Boys were screwed over early on – [38:01]
- I ask Mike how he proved he wrote songs and won back the rights to his music – [42:00]
- How musician’s build wealth – [42:35]
- How the music industry has turned upside down – [43:32]
- I ask Mike his advice for aspiring musicians today… “How should they focus on their career?” – [43:50]
- Health and longevity… How Mike has the energy to do a 106-city tour at 78 years old – [45:00]
- Story: meeting Maharishi in Paris and learning transcendental meditation [45:55]
- Mike’s current meditation habit (he does it twice a day and says, “It’s the most relaxing thing I’ve ever experienced.”) – [47:12]
- I ask Mike about his relationship with Brian Wilson – [48:07]
- Is there a link between mental health and creativity? – [49:00]
- The biochemistry of drugs and alcohol… how it affects different people differently – [49:40]
- How The Beach Boys stayed persistent in their creation of new songs – [50:36]
- The beauty of Mike Love’s new album “12 Sides of Summer” – [51:53]
- I thank Mike for 60 years of amazing songs and we wrap – [52:13]
Links & Resources:
- 12 Sides of Summer, the new album from Mike Love