Posted by

Mike Dow Mike Dow
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

edge staff writer


Mike Love is a fatophobe and other bizarre Beach Boys facts

Rate this item
(5 votes)

Not many bands survive to see a 50th anniversary tour, and the few who do have seen their share of weirdness. The Beach Boys are no exception. Under the smiles, striped shirts and Mike Love's ballcap lie decades of lawsuits, dysfunction and strange vibrations.

Over five decades, The Beach Boys have kept alive several communities of therapists and litigators. As recently as 2007, Brian Wilson prevailed in cousin Mike Love's ridiculous lawsuit over Brian's CD of re-recorded Beach Boys hits distributed free to the readership of a UK newspaper. What made Wilson's victory especially satisfying was Love's cockiness in the courtroom. According to Brian's wife Melinda, Mike Love turned to his cousin and said, 'You better start writing a real big hit because you're going to have to write me a real big check.' The judge decided otherwise.

The Wilson brothers had an absolute tool bag for a father. By all accounts, Murray Wilson worked overtime to make the lives of his boys a whirlwind of despair. Archival interviews with Brian, Carl and Dennis are filled with painful childhood tales of emotional and physical abuse many too graphic for The Maine Edge. Here's one we can share with you: Murray took perverse pleasure in scaring his sons by removing his glass eye and forcing them to look in the socket.

Always nervous in social situations, especially in the late 60s and early 70s, Brian was very anxious about attending a party thrown by Alice Cooper in his suite at the Beverly Hill Wilshire hotel. Wilson finally agreed to go after friend Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night convinced him that everything would be OK. When the pair arrived, they saw a strange thin man bouncing and bounding across the furniture. He landed with a thump inches from Brian, looked him in the eye and said, 'You're Brian Wilson. I'm Iggy. Iggy Pop.' Before long, Brian, Danny, Iggy and Alice headed back to Wilson's house where Brian positioned them around a piano to sing 'Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortnin' Bread' - in four part harmony for an hour. Finally, a freaked out Iggy jumped up and said, 'This is too much for us. Too damn weird,' and bolted out the door with Cooper.

When Brian Wilson last performed in Maine on July 4, 1990 with The Beach Boys in Presque-Isle, he was having a particularly rough day. In the middle of 'Good Vibrations,' Brian got up from his keyboard and began to wander around the stage, only to be guided back to his seat by his psychologist, Eugene Landy. The concert turned out to be Wilson's last with The Beach Boys for five years.

I attended that outdoor show, and after seeing Wilson's state, I debated whether or not to go backstage. I was hoping to have Brian sign my copy of 'Pet Sounds,' which had just been issued on CD for the first time, but I didn't want to add to his stress. 'I'll just go see what it's like back there,' I thought.

Actor John Stamos, drummer for The Beach Boys for more than 20 years, came down the steps first, accompanied by then-girlfriend, Paula Abdul. Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine and Carl Wilson were next. They seemed to be having a sort of in-depth conversation, and I elected not to interrupt.

When Brian walked off the stage, he was assisted by a Maine state trooper and Eugene Landy, who each took an arm. The towering Wilson was ashen and stared straight ahead without blinking. It broke my heart to see him like this and I started to head for the parking lot when Mike Love came down the steps. I decided to ask him to sign why not? After all, he sang several of the songs on 'Pet Sounds.'

'Hi Mike,' I said. 'Thanks for the show. Would you be able to sign my CD?' I was holding a Sharpie in one hand and the disc in the other. Love approached and looked me up and down with an expression one normally reserves for that rare moment when you step in something on the lawn that had previously been inside of a dog.

At that time, I dressed out at over 300 pounds, and Mike Love appeared to be repulsed at my appearance. He said, 'I really can't. I need to go sit in the car and wait for the guys.' With that, he turned and walked away. Seriously? In the time it took him to say those words, he could have signed two autographs.

I'm actually glad that it happened because he gave me a good story. Almost exactly 20 years after snubbed by Love, I exacted a sort of quiet revenge.

One day in August 2010, I was scanning the dial and heard, 'Mike Love will be our next guest.' It was The Howie Carr Show on WVOM, and Howie was taking calls for Mike. Just for fun, I called and was surprised to be the first listener with a question. I considered asking if he has something against fat people, but I knew he would deny it. Instead, I decided to ask him about Brian Wilson a subject he hates talking about more than anything since Wilson is generally credited with most all that is good about The Beach Boys. I don't have a recording of Howie's show, but here's a paraphrased version of how it went down.

Dow: Hi Mike. The Beach Boys' 50th anniversary is coming up soon. Do you think there's a chance that Brian Wilson might join you guys? That would be amazing!

Love: Gee, uh. Um, I don't know. You'd have to ask Brian. There would be a lot to work out.

Dow: I really hope it happens. Brian is the man! I love the music of 'SMiLE' and I really hope it will be officially released someday. Do you think there's a chance we might see a 'SMiLE' box set kind of like the 'Pet Sounds' set that came out in the 90s?

Love: (exasperated sigh) Um. It's not up to me that's up to the record company. Ask them. I don't know. ('The SMiLE Sessions' was released last fall)

Dow: (trying to suppress laughter) OK - thanks Howie!

Shedding 150 pounds in the mid-90s felt only slightly better than that phone call.

Mike Dow is part of The Mike and Mike Show, airing each morning on Kiss 94.5. Check him out at and


The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine