The Beach Boys got around to making their Stagecoach Festival debut Sunday, teaming up with the country duo LoCash on four songs to cap the latter act’s early-evening main stage fest. LoCash had a distinct advantage on any other Stagecoach artists who might ever have been tempted to ask the touring Beach Boys to charter a Palm Springs flight: They actually named their new single “Beach Boys.”
Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and three members of their touring band first came out midway into LoCasg’s performance to add their harmonies to the new single — the recorded version of which they also harmonize on. From there the set detoured into two Beach Boys classics, “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Kokomo,” before it ended with the attendant Boys adding their vocals to the closer, LoCash’s 2015 breakout hit, “I Love This Life.”
“It’s going to be fun… fun, fun, fun,” said Love, talking on LoCash’s bus just before going onstage. “A little self-promotion there, huh?” (The Beach Boys are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year — there’s a lot to promote.)
The song “Beach Boys” was written and originally recorded for an EP LoCash put out last fall, but at the time, that version didn’t include actual Beach Boys on the record — that was something that came together this spring for the single release.
“When we wrote the song, we dreamed about a moment like this, but we weren’t even sure if they would approve the song,” said Preston Brust, who is half of LoCash along. Chris Lucas, his partner in the duo, pointed out that they had to get both Love and Brian Wilson, who is not part of the currently touring Beach Boys lineup, to sign off.
“They called us back and not only approved it, but Mike wanted to be on it and have the high harmonies and that Beach Boys sound. And it was Mike Love’s idea to change the intro to the original Beach Boys’ ’round round, get around, I get around,’ and so we did that and we were kind of Beach Boys for like five minutes.
“We actually went down to Alabama to one of their shows, set up a whole studio and had Mike and Bruce come in and do all their harmonies and teach us the same harmonies so we could do them too. It was unbelievable, man — a pinch-me moment. They have a secret recipe. And once he started giving everybody their notes, it just started happening right in front of us.
“nd then all of a sudden, more dreams started happening, because we were like, maybe they could go to Stagecoach and it could be a debut for them. It’s a no-brainer for them, a no-brainer for us. Their 60th anniversary; our next single coming out of the pandemic — hopefully our next No. 1. And it’s been an honor and pleasure and their organization is easy to work with.”
Said Love, “The song itself, ‘Beach Boys,’ is so hooky. They’re going to ‘trade the red dirt in for sand and drive till the map turns blue,’” he said, laughing as he quoted the lyrics. “I think it’s a really fun song. And LoCash joined us on our sold-out show in Nashville a couple of months back, and so now we’re joining them on their set out at Stagecoach, which is awesome.”
(As LoCash pointed out, there were five members joining them on stage Sunday — not just Love and Johnston, but Mike’s son Christian Love, musical director Scott Totten and official high-parts guy Brian Eichenberger.)
The Beach Boys have some history with country crossover: A 1996 release, “Stars and Stripes,” had members backing country stars of the day on covers of the classic catalog.
One of the singers from that ’90s tribute, Lorrie Morgan, is scheduled to join LoCash and the Beach Boys in Nashville in late May when the Boys mark their next milestone, their Grand Ole Opry debut.