“Good Vibrations – My Life as a Beach Boy” By Mike Love, James S. Hirsch

29496532Good Vibrations – My Life as a Beach Boy
By: Mike Love, James S. Hirsch
Narrated by: Mike Love
Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
Published September 13th 2016 by Penguin Audio

I love to read biographies and autobiographies of musicians, mainly because I like to hear of the process of how they created their music.  Mike Love not only walks you through the Beach Boys’ process but also of all the turmoil the band went through as the years went by.

The troubles with the Beach Boys were fairly unknown to me.  I had heard that Brian Wilson had some problems with drugs, as did most rock stars of that era, but I had forgotten about some of the other problems or just flat out hadn’t known about the stuff the band went through.

The bulk of the problems were family in-fighting.  Such as Mike Love not getting writing credits for 35 – 70 songs, because his Uncle Murray (Wilson), Brian, Carl & Dennis’ father, was trying to get rich off the band and he didn’t have faith in the staying power of the band.  Lawsuits and court appearances plagued the band through their careers.

For me the section on Charles Manson was the the creepiest.  Knowing what developed and hearing how the relationship between the Beach Boys and Manson just was like a horror movie unfolding.  The even creepier part was learning some insight as to why the Tate family was targeted.  Super dark moment for the Beach Boys.

One of the things that took some getting used to was in this audiobook it was read by Mike Love, himself.  Now keep in mind Mike is not a young man anymore and that may have something to do with it, but his reading skills were not the greatest.  He was made for singing not  oration.  This created major editing flaws in the recording.  Many sentences were read as if there were more to the sentence but in actuality should have been read as if the sentence ended.  Mike Love’s tone of voice would leave you hanging, and there were parts where the producer had to make some strange edits thus making the reading sound as if it were spliced from numerous different sources creating a disjointed listening experience.

There is one positive side to Mike Love reading his own story and that is you got to experience the real emotion behind the stories as they unfolded.  Mike would laugh or rather chuckle at the humor in some of his actions and there were many times where you could hear the tears well up and the voice crack when talking about the sad times.  Bad reading mixed with bad or rather awkward editing were forgotten during these portions.  In fact looking back, I don’t think I would have it any other way.

Publisher’s Summary
The New York Times best seller.

Mike Love tells the story of his legendary, raucous, and ultimately triumphant five-decade career as the front man of The Beach Boys, the most popular American band in history – timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of “Good Vibrations”.

As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary 55 years, and counting, as the group’s lead singer and one of its principal lyricists. The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story – one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness – and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step. His own story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America’s most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries.

Love describes the stories behind his lyrics for pop classics such as “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, “Surfin’ USA”, and “Kokomo”, while providing vivid portraits of the turbulent lives of his three gifted cousins, Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson. His partnership with Brian has few equals in American pop music, though Mike has carved out a legacy of his own – he co-wrote the lyrics to 11 of the 12 original Beach Boy songs that were top 10 hits while providing the lead vocals on 10 of them. The band’s unprecedented durability also provides a glimpse into America’s changing cultural mores over the past half century, while Love himself has experienced both the diabolical and the divine – from Charles Manson’s “family” threatening his life to Maharishi instilling it with peace. A husband, a father, and an avid environmentalist, Love has written a book that is as rich and layered as the Beach Boy harmonies themselves.

©2016 Mike Love (P)2016 Penguin Audio