Brian Wilson is unquestionably one of the greatest songwriters of the rock ’n’ roll era. His melodic sensibilities, studio prowess and uncanny knack for vocal harmonies helped make The Beach Boys the top-selling American band of all time.
Wilson, performing with former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Thursday, July 25, has been in the studio working on a new solo album for Capitol Records. He was unavailable for an interview, but Jardine, a longtime friend and collaborator, gladly stepped in for an update.
“It’s good to be coming back to my old stomping grounds,” Jardine said, speaking over the telephone from his home in Big Sur. “I was born at Lima Memorial Hospital. Isn’t that amazing? I lived there until I was about 6 years old. I have fond memories of the Akron blimp flying overhead. It looked like a flying saucer.”
In 1948, the Jardines left Ohio for upstate New York, where his father taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The family lived in San Francisco for a period before relocating to Los Angeles, where Jardine met Wilson while playing on the Hawthorne High School football team.
Five decades later, the former teammates are still working together. In addition to performing on a handful of live dates with Wilson this summer, Jardine has also been contributing to his longtime bandmate’s next solo album.
“Brian hasn’t lost a beat,” Jardine said. “He’s an iconic figure. He has transcended all of those labels. People are still catching up to the greatness we created in those early days, even myself. When you think about the voice, his voicings are so amazing, and the vocals are where we came in. It’s what The Beach Boys are all about.”
The Beach Boys, now led by singer Mike Love, commemorated its half-century mark in 2012 with a 50th anniversary tour and new album, “That’s Why God Made the Radio.” It was the band’s first album of new material in 16 years and the first project since the mid-’90s to include co-founders Wilson and Jardine.
“I wanted the 50th anniversary to keep going and moving forward but one of our principal members, Mr. Love, decided he didn’t want to continue with us,” Jardine said. “We’re going, ‘Huh, are you serious? This is so cool.’ It just kind of fell apart so we’re resurrecting what we think is probably the best summer show on earth.
“We want to keep it going,” Jardine added. “It’s real important to keep our focus on making new, vital music and continuing the legacy. It’s not about the messenger, it’s about the music so I’m happy as long as we can go out there and make music.”