The Beach Boys still get around
Touring together for the first time in more than two decades, the reunited members of the Beach Boys will catch a new wave into Orange County.
The Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Tour kicked off last month to enthusiastic crowds. As part of their tour of more than 40 cities in the U.S., Europe and Japan, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks are to play at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine on June 3.
The band recently announced that it soon will come out with a new studio-recorded album of hit-inspired originals, the Beach Boys’ first album in decades featuring all of its surviving original members. Capitol Records is to release the album on June 5.
Fans who have followed the band throughout its years of family feuds, legal turmoil, health problems — as and the loss of Carl and Dennis Wilson — had deemed a reunion tour as unlikely.
But when the public glimpsed the reunited Beach Boys performing together at this year’s 54th annual Grammy Awards, good vibrations for a possible tour with this brand-new configuration of members pulsated.
Joining the group is David Marks — a member who managed to escape the band’s sour grapes after a series of hiatuses from the Beach Boys. Because of his sporadic membership, his story about his times away from the band was relatively untold until the band surfaced again earlier this year.
Marks became a guitarist of the Beach Boys at the age of 13, and managed to stay close to the other band members throughout the years.
“Well, I think it was everyone’s idea,” Marks, 63, said in a phone interview. “The fans were all clamoring about it and we’d been talking about it amongst ourselves for at least five years or so.”
“When we got together on the Capitol [Records] tower when they presented us with the double-platinum record for “Sounds of Summer,” the five of us realized how good it was to be together again. We got along really well. The chemistry just kind of picked up where it left off. I like to say that it’s kind of been like a family reunion.”
The Jon Stebbins’ book “The Lost Beach Boy: The true story of Beach Boy David Marks, the previously unknown founding member,” covered the band’s genesis, as well as Marks’ personal account of life with and without the Beach Boys — most notably his rise to childhood stardom and leaving the band while on top.
Marks’ “Toes on the Nose” Fender Stratocaster can be heard on big hits like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfin’ USA,” and “Catch a Wave.”. These songs all appeared on the tour’s opening night set list along with Pet Sounds tunes and a brand new single, “That’s Why God Made the Radio.’
Marks began playing music with his neighbors, the Wilson brothers, and their cousin Mike Love in 1958 when he was 10 years old. Together these young boys developed the signature sound found in “Surfin’ Safari,” the group’s debut album, which included two demos picked up by Capitol Records in 1962.
“I was 14 years old, having dinner with my parents, when Surfin’ Safari came on the radio and I actually stuck my head in the towel and screamed like a little girl,” Marks said, with an air of childish awe in his voice. “I was so excited!”
Then in late 1963, when he was 15, he walked away from the Beach Boys at the height of their initial wave of success.
“What happened to me personally when I left the first time, I was very young,” Marks recalled. “I think what happened was between the parents, the money, and the management. It was just best that I left at that point.”
However, he had made his mark on the band’s first five albums and seven hit singles. He didn’t stop there.
By age 21, Marks had been signed to five different labels, including A&M and Warner Brothers.
He then chose to leave the music business all together to focus on his craft.
“I went to Boston and just decided to study classical music,” Marks said. “I was receiving royalties from the Beach Boys, so I could afford to go off and pursue my dream, which was to learn classical guitar and to delve into some jazz guitar.”
In 1997, Marks embraced his role as an original member of the Beach Boys and rejoined the band for a two-year tour. However, a Hepatitis C diagnosis in 1999 forced him to quit the Beach Boys a second time.
Marks said he committed himself to getting healthy. He beat the virus in 2004. During that time, David lent his name to the cause, becoming the official spokesman for several awareness campaigns throughout the United States and Britain.
Marks, who chose to remain out of the spotlight as a working guitarist, said he “wouldn’t change a thing.”
And he’s also excited about a new solo album in the works.
The Beach Boys continue to hold Billboard / Nielsen SoundScan’s record as the top-selling American band for albums and singles, and they are also the American group with the most Billboard Top 40 chart hits with 36.
If You Go
What: The Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. June 3
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre-Irvine Meadows, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine
Cost: $35 to $112 through Ticketmaster and other ticket outlets.