Election 2020: Brian Wilson Disavows Trump’s Beach Boys Benefit in California

Brian Wilson Disavows Trump’s Beach Boys Benefit in California

Brian Wilson and Al Jardine say they knew nothing of the high-priced Trump fundraiser being headlined by Mike Love’s touring Beach Boys until news reports.

Beach Boys' Mike Love speaks as
Sipa USA via AP

Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are upset that the touring version of the group currently headed up by Mike Love will be headlining the campaign benefit.

“We have absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach. Zero,” Wilson and Jardine said through a spokesperson. “We didn’t even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times.”

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday morning that the Beach Boys would be the main attraction performing for the president and his supporters at the Orange County campaign event, with tickets ranging from $2,800 per donor to $150,000 a couple for co-chair status.

The group booked for the tony fundraiser is a licensed touring edition led by Love, who has appeared with Trump in the past.

Wilson and Jardine have toured together in recent years, also performing Beach Boys material but under Wilson’s name.

The last time all the surviving members performed together as the Beach Boys was for a 50th anniversary tour in 2012. After that, Love chose to continue touring with an un-reunited lineup under the Beach Boys’ name, for which he holds a license for concert purposes.

While some have been surprised that Trump would even visit as blue a state as California this close to the election, the Times’ article pointed to the huge potential cash haul the president is expected to reel in from today’s benefit, much needed as he trails Joe Biden badly in fundraising.

“Everyone assumes he’s going to go to battleground states,” Jon Fleischman, a former state GOP official, told the Times. “No one really thinks about how Orange County, California, is an ATM machine. So people are pretty excited.”

This isn’t the first instance of Wilson and Jardine distancing themselves from a controversial or politically divisive gig booked by Love’s edition of the Beach Boys.

In February, both Wilson and Jardine officially signed on to a Change.org petition urging a boycott of the touring Beach Boys, after Love and company booked a headlining gig at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada, where noted safari hunting enthusiast Donald Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker.

“This organization supports trophy hunting, which both Al and I are emphatically opposed to,” Wilson said in a statement at the time. “There’s nothing we can do personally to stop the show, so please join us in signing the petition.”

In the past, Love has defended his support for Trump, and once posed for a thumbs-up photo with him with the Washington Monument in the background.

“I don’t have anything negative to say about the president of the USA,” Love had said in 2017,  when Uncut magazine asked him. “We did attend the inauguration. His version of the Beach Boys headlined one of Trump’s inaugural balls. That was a moving experience. I understand there are so many factions and fractious things going on – the chips will fall where they may. But Donald Trump has never been anything but kind to us. We have known him for many a year. We’ve performed at some of his venues at fundraisers.”

Love has recently been doing drive-in-style concerts with actor John Stamos as a special guest. Bruce Johnston, who joined the Beach Boys in 1965, has also been performing with Love and is the other vet of the group to be part of the current touring lineup.