Beach Boy Al Jardine talks about Stadium of Fire, Utah, solo album
Published: April 12, 2012 02:56PM
Updated: April 12, 2012 02:56PM


The five members of The Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks — reunited in California this week to begin rehearsals for a tour that will stop at Provo’s LaVell Edwards Stadium to perform on July 4.

That means Jardine, 69, won’t have time to tour to promote his first solo album, “A Postcard from California,” which was released on April 3.

However, with the record completed this year, Jardine was able to get into “the spirit” of the Beach Boys, in time for the group’s 50th anniversary tour. “It’s a piece of California,” the 69-year-old musician said. “You can feel like you’ve been to California for the first time.”

The founding member, guitarist and occasional lead singer of The Beach Boys said he began thinking about recording a solo album as soon as he left the touring version of the Beach Boys in 1998 after Carl Wilson died of lung cancer. With no immediate deadline, he wrote and recorded at his leisure, along the way enlisting friends such as Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, David Marks, Mike Love, Neil Young, Steve Miller, Glen Campbell, Scott Mathews, Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, Stephen Stills, John Stamos, David Crosby and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to help him finish it. (In 2010, the Red Hot Chili Peppers rehearsed in Jardine’s Big Sur home studio as they prepped their 2011 album “I’m With You.”)

Much of the album is based on Jardine’s environmental activism.

“In the old days, we were told to throw trash in the water on boating trips,” he said. “That mentality is still out there.”

The activism started percolating when The Beach Boys formed in the early 1960s and were setting their beach experiences to music. “We were surfin’ on top of the waves,” Jardine said. “Then you start thinkin’ about what’s beneath the waves.”

The centerpiece of the album is the song “Don’t Fight the Sea,” a Jardine-penned song that he always envisioned The Beach Boys recording — but they never did.

The Beach Boys formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, Calif., with brothers Brian, Dennis (who died in 1973) and Carl Wilson, joined by cousin Mike Love and their friend, Jardine. In 1962, neighbor Marks joined the group, leaving in late 1963, and in 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the band when Brian Wilson retired from touring.

For years after the death of Carl Wilson, Love continued to tour under the name The Beach Boys, along with Bruce Johnston and a supporting band of new musicians. Love was also engaged in several lawsuits against other members of the band over publishing rights, ownership of the name, and other disputes, but those have all been settled.

Last December, Brian Wilson, Love, Jardine, Johnston and Marks announced they would reunite for a new album and 50th anniversary tour. On Feb. 12, the Beach Boys performed at the 2012 Grammy Awards, the group’s first live performance to include Brian in more than two decades. The anniversary band lineup performed “Good Vibrations” with Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Mark Foster of Foster The People.

Time hasn’t dimmed Jardine’s memory of the song “Salt Lake City,” written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love in 1965, released on “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!),” the group’s ninth studio album. (“California Girls” was also included on that album, which calls into question some of the lyrics of “Salt Lake City”:

There’s a park near the city, yeah
All the kids dig the Lagoon now
It’s full of all kinds of girls
And rides and we’ll be flyin’ there soon now
And girl for girl
They’ve got the cutest of the Western states ...
Salt Lake City we’ll be coming soon

“We played there at the Lagoon long ago,” said Jardine, unprompted. “It was always such as special place ... Those times inspired the song.”
It was at the Lagoon where Jardine and The Beach Boys established a life-time friendship with the family of Robert E. Freed, a University of Utah graduate who leased Lagoon after World War II until buying the resort outright in 1983. “I remember the Freeds who ran the place,” Jardine said. “They would send us pistachios every year.”

Jardine said that when the band started talking about reuniting a tour and considering a set list, it became “mind-boggling ... We have so much to choose from.”

He sounded receptive about dusting off “Salt Lake City” for the Provo show. “I’ll tell the other guys about it,” he promised.

America’s Freedom Festival
The Beach Boys will headline this year’s Stadium of Fire concert.
When • Wednesday, July 4 at 8 p.m.
Where • LaVell Edwards Stadium, 1700 N. Canyon Road, Provo
Tickets • $25 to $120 at freedomfestival.org or by calling 801-422-2981