"How many times can a band fall apart and get back together?" asks 69-year-old Al Jardine. He's sitting in his Big Sur, Calif., home, doing press for the summer tour of all tours — The Beach Boys. It's been five decades since he co-founded the legendary Southern California band with Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Mike Love. "It doesn't feel like it's been 50 years, but it's awesome when you think about it."
This year's re-emergence of The Beach Boys is as unlikely as rock reunions get. Conflict between band members followed the untimely death of Carl Wilson in 1998, but they agreed to put past differences aside in order to celebrate this summer's milestone with their fans and one another.
The tour will span the globe, including a performance at Blossom Music Center June 13. This summer also brings a new album of Beach Boys music titled That's Why God Made the Radio. Featuring original members Wilson, Love and Jardine, and longtime players Bruce Johnston and David Marks, the album is scheduled for a June 5 release.
"This is bringing us back to our roots," Jardine says. "This anniversary has allowed us to recapture Brian Wilson's brilliance. He is obsessed with his music, and he keeps coming up with these great fragments, which become wonderful songs."
Jardine and Wilson first reunited with Love, Johnston and Marks at the Grammy Awards ceremony in February, when the group performed "Good Vibrations" with Maroon 5 and Foster the People (the band's opening act at Blossom). Soon after, The Beach Boys began recording sessions at Los Angeles' Ocean Way Studios. Produced by Wilson and executive produced by Love, the band's upcoming 12-song release is its 29th studio album and the first in decades to feature all of the surviving original members. Jardine isn't shy about saying he thinks The Beach Boys have once again captured something special together.
"The quality of [the new record] is really up there with Pet Sounds," he says. "Everyone sounds pretty darn good. The song That's Why God Made the Radio' is a lush ballad. It harkens back to the days of those lavish and rich harmonies."