- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 30, 2001

Brian Wilson has not appeared on an album of new songs by his old group, the Beach Boys, since 1985.
First cousin Mike Love, the group's frontman, is the only founding member still with the touring act, which does include longtime member Bruce Johnston. Al Jardine quit soon after Brian's youngest brother, Carl Wilson, died of cancer in 1998 and then became entangled in court over using "Beach Boys" as part of his new group's name. Middle brother Dennis Wilson drowned in 1983.
Mr. Love is allowed by legal agreement with Mr. Wilson to tour, but not record, under the Beach Boys name.
Does Mr. Wilson foresee working again with Mr. Love, Mr. Jardine and Mr. Johnston — on record or stage — as the group's 40th anniversary approaches this fall?
"Not at all," he says in an interview. "No."
End of subject. None of them was invited to take part in the tribute to him that was taped in New York for a TNT special airing Wednesday.
"I've often heard Brian say that once Carl died, that was kind of it for the Beach Boys," says Mr. Wilson's wife, Melinda.
"If Brian's uncomfortable doing it, it's not worth his mental stability and health," Mrs. Wilson says of Mr. Love's persistent suggestions that the two collaborate on songs and 40th anniversary plans. "I know when he's comfortable, and I know when he's — just there. And right now he is so comfortable. If it's not broken, why try to fix it?"
Then there is the matter of performance standards.
Mr. Wilson's songs are so sturdily constructed that they can take a beating and still delight. Think of "Help Me, Rhonda" and "I Get Around" in the hands of many a cover band — or the under-rehearsed Beach Boys now on the road.
But it is revelatory to hear such familiar tunes performed by Mr. Wilson's own band, which also digs deep into his songbook for such gems as "The Little Girl I Once Knew," "Kiss Me, Baby," "Please Let Me Wonder," "Add Some Music to Your Day" and "'Til I Die." On tour this month, Mr. Wilson added three legendary "Smile" tracks: "Heroes and Villains," "Our Prayer" and "Surf's Up" (which decidedly is not about surfing).
"I think Brian feels he can make better music with his new family because he doesn't have the baggage," Mrs. Wilson says. "As far as Brian moving forward, this new band that he's put together is the way that he's going to move forward.
"But again," she adds, "Brian ultimately is the one that has to decide that."

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