Mike Love, John Stamos And Mark McGrath’s Beach Boys Remake: An Ironic Gem

A while back I asked if there was a more universally disliked figure in Rock history than Mike Love. Courtney Love and Liam Gallagher’s name came up, but even they clearly have more public defenders than the original Beach Boy. By most accounts he easily retains the dubious title as the douchebaggiest member of any band in Rock history.

I argued earlier that this may not be completely fair, that a case can indeed be made that Mike Love should have received more credit for the success of the Beach Boys. Nevertheless, that doesn’t justify his endless petty litigations and consistently boorish behavior over the past 40 years or so, not in my book anyway. But at the end of the day, he is who he is, he carries on, and he doesn’t really give a shit what anybody else thinks.

Which is why I was amused and delighted to see that he released this week a new version of the Beach Boys’ 1968 hit “Do It Again” which features Mark McGrath and John Stamos on vocals. Amused because McGrath and Stamos are nice enough fellas but neither of them are strangers to douchebaggery in their own right. And delighted because I’ve always loved the song and they’ve done a surprisingly nice job reviving it.

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In 1968 “Do It Again” sounded like the earlier Beach Boys stuff, but at the same time it sounded a little bit different. It was like a Beach Boys tribute to themselves, looking back lyrically and musically to what was already a much simpler time. It sounded a little “harder” than old Beach Boys with its persistent fuzz box beat, and this new version enhances that beat with both electronic and acoustic effects, and it sounds pretty good.

Mike Love takes the first verse and hits every note, unlike his dear cousin Brian these days. Stamos and McGrath take turns at lead and backup vocals, and they don’t sound out of place. Stamos has been performing on and off with the band for years now, because I guess a gig’s a gig. The whole thing adds up to an ode to the personal vanity of each of the three singers, and the great thing is we are all in on the joke along with them. It’s one of those double-threat numbers, you can revel in its ironic beauty and still dig it as a song on the level.


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