Another side effect of global warming?
More like the side effects of time and mortality playing games with one of summer's perennials.
The 1998 cancer death of founding member Carl Wilson, teamed with the 1983 drowning of younger brother (and drummer) Dennis Wilson and the mecurical nature of older brother (and resident genius) Brian Wilson, ensured that the Beach Boys' endless summer, if not over, was irrevocably altered. And altered, it is.
This beach season, no less than three Beach Boys variations are crisscrossing the globe--Brian Wilson is in the midst of his first solo tour, guitarist Al Jardine is teaming with two-thirds of the old Wilson Phillips (Brian's kids Carnie and Wendy) for a so-called Beach Boys Family and Friends sojourn and the indefatigable Mike Love is going "Kokomo" from Stockton, California, to State College, Pennsylvania.
"The Beach Boys name is definitely good for some ticket sales depending on the situation," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a trade magazine covering the live-event industry.
But which Beach Boys name?
Technically, frontman Love, now 58, is fronting the official Beach Boys act. On Friday, his group--featuring fellow longtimer Bruce Johnston, but not a single member of the Wilson family--played to an ethusiastic streetside crowd outside NBC's Today studios.
"We're all over the place," Love said on the NBC telecast, referring to his tour-hardy band, in particular, and not the assorted Beach Boy variations, in general. He noted he expects to play 140 dates this year.
But Bongiovanni says it's the Brian Wilson tour, a limited one that wrapped its nine (so far) scheduled dates last week in Japan, that has the most juice.
The greatest draw of the Wilson show is that Wilson is doing a show. The fragile artist first wigged out on the Beach Boys road act in the mid-1960s. Drugs and emotional problems made it an adventure for him to live, much less play live.
"If you would have asked me in 1979 if Brian Wilson would be on a solo tour twenty years from now, I would have said, 'Absolutely not,' " singer Jeffrey Foskett, who toured with the Boys in the 1980s, recently told Rolling Stone.
But that was then, this is now. The man who wrote "Good Vibrations," "God Only Knows," "California Girls" and a catalog of other surf, car and love classics is again getting a kick out of simply performing.
"Imagine if you went to a concert hall and you saw Beethoven and he went, 'Da-da-da-da,' " says Brian Wilson biographer David Leaf, breaking into a hummed rendition of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. "To have one of the most important composers of the 20th century on the stage singing those compositions is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for everybody."
To group diehards, a streamlining of the Beach Boys tours in the form of a reunion of the original members--or what's left of them--may be the ultimate thrill, however improbable and impossible.
In an interview with E! Online last year, Wilson described himself as "bummed" by Carl's death and unlikely to reunite with Mike Love in the recording studio--and concert stage.
"I don't think he should do that," Wilson said of Love's full-speed ahead Beach Boys plans. "But if he wants to, he can."
And he does. As do they.