He said, “Mike, you really ought to take more care with your album covers.”
Here’s the mastermind of Sgt. Pepper and that brilliant album cover they did with the costumes and the various people, Gandhi and whomever, and our Pet Sounds album cover was a photograph taken of us at the San Diego petting zoo.
When he said we needed to take more care with our album covers, I said, “You’re absolutely right, but we’ve always felt what went inside the sleeve was more important so it was like a touché moment. It’s kind of intimidating when Sir Paul says that. He was trying to be helpful and advise us. We being the boys next door from Southern California we weren’t as together as The Beatles were in showing the evolution of the band. If we had proper management and PR savvy, I don’t think the world and Capitol Records would have perceived us that way.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Explain how the addition of Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar to the band in the early ‘70s changed the sound of the band live.
Mike Love: The live version of Wild Honey on the box with Blondie singing lead vocals is mystical. He was an amazing guitarist and singer and Ricky was an amazing drummer. I think the songs took on different forms live in that time period because Carl’s appreciation for guitar, he really resonated with Blondie. Blondie’s version of Wild Honey and later Sail on Sailor made things really rock and roll.
The Beach Boys were always a rock and roll group but when Blondie and Ricky came on board that showed a harder edge to what we were doing. There was a lot more hard core rock and roll going on. Dennis had his issues with alcohol and drugs at the time and he’d put his hand through a plate glass window and cut his hand so it was hard for him to hold drum sticks. Ricky took over and did a great job. That’s when Dennis would go out to the front of the stage and sing You Are So Beautiful and we’d back him up.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Blondie and Ricky took part in the albums Carl and the Passions and Holland which added another dimension to the band’s ever evolving sound in the studio as well.
Al Jardine: Absolutely. They were a big help. I think they brought in a certain amount of spirit. So, they were hungry and they were good. Ricky is a fabulous percussionist, drummer, tarp set player. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist. He played flute and steel guitar on the trilogy, California Saga so he did all those effects. He added a little musical dimension to the band. Blondie as a singer on Sail On, Sailor I mean, holy Toledo! (laughs)
He sang that so well plus he did a lot of the high parts on that record. He was singing a good deal of the tenor parts, a lot of the full voice high parts long with us. Brian was being pretty reclusive; he didn’t enter the picture until later in the project so Blondie took on quite a load.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Al, you co-wrote Good Time with Brian, which is a highlight from Love You and also featured on the box set.
Al Jardine: I like that one a lot. It wasn’t originally meant to go on Love You; it was meant for an earlier album. Brian and I were just goofing around in his living room and came up with the song. (sings song)..”My girlfriend Betty she’s always ready to help me in any way…” The Beach Boys Love You was the most amazing recording. In a way it was Carl’s tribute to Brian. The title of that album is really The Beach Boys Love Brian. Carl wanted Brian to feel appreciated. Hew had the most to do with that album, him and Dennis, paying tribute to their brother. The mini-moogs are all over the place. I’ll Bet He’s Nice was great with Dennis singing a Brian song.
Rock Cellar Magazine: Mike, throughout the Beach Boys career, you’ve always been extremely driven and emboldened by a strong work ethic.
Mike Love: Last year I was doing a meet and greet with some people and they said, “What you guys do is really hard”, meaning the traveling and the performances. I said, “Oh no, what my dad and my grandfather did, that was hard.” They were sheet metal workers and my dad would get up at five in the morning to take a shower and be out the door being six. He’d work six days a week, sometimes seven. That was hard work. Hard work has never bothered me. I inherited my work ethic particularly from my father.
I was also captain of my cross country team. I’d get up and run five miles in the morning before breakfast and then work out in the afternoon with the rest of the team. Nobody ever beat me on my team. I guess it was training for a long career. I’ve always felt like if you make a commitment to something you have to stick with it. Like for instance. I started meditating for the first time in December of 1967 and there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t meditated. When others were going through their drug phase, I was going through the whole mediation thing. My priority at that time was to work on my consciousness and not pollute it with street drugs.