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Good Vibrations for the Hokulea | Weekend Cover Story | Midweek.com

Good Vibrations for the Hokulea

America’s favorite band brings its eternal sounds of summer to the Waikiki Shell on Saturday night to celebrate Hokulea’s anniversary

Steve Murray
Friday - July 07, 2006
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Original Beach Boys Bruce Johnston and Mike Love
Original Beach Boys Bruce Johnston and Mike Love

They are the original boys of summer. Whether it was in the middle of July or during the cold of a January evening, everyone with a radio knew where they wanted to be. In California, on the beach, surrounded by beautiful girls, then roaring down the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible deuce. And after 45 years, not much has changed. The music of the Beach Boys still makes us think about fun in the sun while their concert tours have become an annual rite of summer.

On July 8, that tradition continues with a performance at the Waikiki Shell that is a benefit for the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The event makes sense for the band. Both lead singer Mike Love and singer/guitarist Bruce Johnson are on the board of the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean environment and beaches. The foundation’s efforts through conservation, activism, research and education mirror the work done by the voyaging society.

“It all connects,” says Love. “The Beach Boys are fond of the environment. We’re all about protecting that and doing what we can. We’re all about honoring what gave us the inspiration and the worldwide fame that we’ve enjoyed, which has to do with an aspect of the sea, which is surfing. So celebrating the Hokulea’s 30th anniversary will be great. I intend to take my kids to see that ship.”

The connection between the Beach Boys and Hawaii has been a long one. Their 1963 album Surfer Girl included the track Hawaii. In the 1970s, Brian Wilson was dispatched to the 808 state to aid in his recovery from drug addiction and mental problems. And of course, there is that whole surfing thing that goes back to their very first recording.

“I think just our music epitomized a certain lifestyle, and surfing is central to that. And not just the act of surfing, just the lifestyle, the attitude, the way of dressing, the way of talking, it’s a big deal,” says Love. “In fact, when we were first asked to do a song back in 1961, the producer wanted us to do a folk song. We said we like folk music and it’s really good but we are not really folkies, we’re into this rock ‘n’ roll thing. So we came back a week or so later with a song my cousin Brian (Wilson) and I wrote called Surfin’.”

That song, and the others that followed, simply followed the creative standard that urges people to “do what you know.” So that is exactly what this family band did. They created a musical legacy revolving around the things that were important to them.

“The idea was to sing about some about some of the stuff and the environment that was going on in Southern California where we just lived a few miles from the beach. The beach life was a big deal for us. We wanted to sing about things we knew about. Things that we were living and experiencing, and so we did,” says Love.

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