At 74 years of age, you would think that Mike Love might be slowing down, but that is hardly the case. Love is working on an upcoming solo album and book, both planned for release in 2016. Even though Mike is tasked with these individual ventures he is still touring more than ever.
I was able to catch up with the Beach Boys touring band music director, Scott Totten, to discuss recent concerts, and why going to see the Beach Boys show is still a great way to spend an evening.
David Beard: Over the span of the last two years many concert goers have noticed Mike’s voice improving. What can you share with the fans to attribute to Mike sounding better?
Scott Totten: I think Mike has always sounded great – but I’ve noticed that he’s altered his diet to avoid dairy and other things, and that he does more vocal warm-ups before the show. And I think the better the band supports him, the more confidently he delivers his vocal.
DB: On the recent concert dates Mike has performed “All I Wanna Do” from 1970’s Sunflower album; it is possibly one of Mike’s loveliest vocals from the second phase of the group’s long career. Will future dates include “All I Wanna Do,” and others like “All This Is That” (from Carl And The Passions – So Tough?
ST: That’s impossible for me to say, it depends on so many things but I would think that a theatre setting would be more likely than in a casino or at a fairground.
DB: As Music Director of the Beach Boys’ tour, what aspect of the setlist and catalogue present you with the most challenges?
ST: There are so many great songs, and so many we have performed. If we did them all we’d have to play for 4 hours! Keeping songs you haven’t performed in a while fresh is important. It’s also important to craft a setlist that will suit the audience that night. A fairground venue won’t likely be able to deliver all the subtleties of “All this Is That,” for instance. Or an older audience might not get into “Rock & Roll Music.” Mike is so great at tailoring the setlist to each audience.
DB: What song do you want to perform that you haven’t?
ST: I’d love to do “Our Sweet Love” from Sunflower.
DB: This past summer marked the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys Summer Days (And SummerNights!!) album. In what ways is the Summer Days LP important to you?
ST: It’s such a great album filled with classic songs. “Let Him Run Wild” is one of my all-time favorites.
DB: Bruce permanently joined the band 50 years ago. What do you enjoy the most about performing on stage with Bruce?
ST: Bruce has such great ears. He’s been a songwriter, producer etc. He gives me frank and honest feedback on arrangements or our performances and is always right on
DB: What would surprise concert goers about the current tour?
ST: I think real fans will be surprised by the number of songs we do, and the deeper cuts that they maybe didn’t expect to hear.
DB: You guys seem to be doing more shows than ever. How does that affect your performances?
ST: Yes, this has been the busiest year the band has ever had. We all know that we have to get plenty of rest and exercise. But no matter what, once we get onstage and start playing, the energy kicks in and the show lifts us up. Feeling the joy that this great music brings to the audience is really up-lifting.
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