Beach Boys and Brian Wilson both tour Canada this week, separately as ever

Marc Weisblott
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

The founder of the Beach Boys will be honoured for his half-century of music making in Toronto this week.

But the group that has continued under the name will be in the country without him, too.

When the inaugural NOW  Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Brian Wilson by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo on Thursday, as part of the North by Northeast music festival, Wilson's former bandmate Mike Love will be performing their old hits in southern Manitoba.

The show at the Winkler Parkland outdoor stage will follow visits to Thunder Bay, Ont. on Tuesday and Kenora, Ont. on Wednesday. All three Canadian concerts will also feature the group's occasional drummer, "Full House" star John Stamos.

The distance between Wilson and the surviving Beach Boys, a group which previously included his late brothers Carl and Dennis, doesn't look likely to close anytime soon. After all, while the band performs at casinos and racetracks, the man who wrote most of their hits has continued to be booked on more prestigious stages.

The award presentation at the Hyatt Regency Toronto hotel will be followed by a Saturday performance at Massey Hall. Along with the 1960s surfing-inspired songs, he will play songs from a recent album of older standards, "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin."

Wilson's swing through Canada will include stops in Kitchener on Wednesday, Montreal on Friday and Ottawa for his 69th birthday on Sunday. Shows in Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are scheduled for the following week.

Meanwhile, most fans of the Beach Boys are used to seeing the band without Brian, who stopped touring with them in 1964 to focus in the recording studio. Bruce Johnston, his hand-picked replacement, has basically remained with the act ever since.

Mike Love, a cousin of the Wilson brothers, has been the only full-time original member for a while. Al Jardine, the longtime guitarist, toured with Brian in 2006 and later formed his own band to perform many of those same songs.

A lawsuit was settled over the Beach Boys name and, recently, Jardine joined the group for a concert to honour Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.

Rumours of a proper 50th anniversary reunion show have been disputed by Brian, though.

"I don't know anything about that," he told the Village Voice last week. "I don't really have a relationship with the other members right now, and I'm not interested in them."

(CP Photo)