Despite a momentary "cease fire" during a 2012 reunion tour, The Beach Boys have returned to the characteristic infighting that's plagued the psychadelic pioneers since the 1970s.
The latest catalyst?
Not creative differences, but a trophy hunting festival. After all, these are strange times.
The drama began when Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, two founding members of The Beach Boys, came across a Change.org petition that urges signatories to boycott The Beach Boys.
Of course, they signed it.
After all, they both supported the petition's beef with the harmonizing 1960s legends. The current band lineup will headline an international safari sport hunters' convention in Reno, Nevada on February 5, 2020. With Donald Trump, Jr. slotted as the keynote speaker during the same event, The Beach Boys and Trump names look a little too cozy for Wilson's and Jardine's comfort.
It has been brought to my attention that on Wednesday February 5, The Beach Boys touring group licensed by Mike Lov… https://t.co/brvXSVGDyv— Brian Wilson (@Brian Wilson)1580757737.0
In the tweet, Wilson draws a distinction between "The Beach Boys" and "The Beach Boys touring group licensed by Mike Love."
The fine print arose when rights and licensing were divvied up to the band's various members upon its official breakup in 1982.
During those negotiations, Mike Love, another founding member and Wilson's cousin, gained control of "The Beach Boys" name for touring purposes.
Wilson hammered the issue home with an immediate second tweet.
This organization supports trophy hunting, which Both Al and I are emphatically opposed to. There’s nothing we can… https://t.co/gJN3yOq9QJ— Brian Wilson (@Brian Wilson)1580757745.0
The Safari Club International is a massive nonprofit organization dedicated to paving the way for trophy hunting across the globe. The organization has more than 50,000 members and it's net assets in 2018 were $15,292,686.
SCI boasts a mission to "protect the freedom to hunt and promote wildlife conservation," according to the club's website.
The group regularly lobbies congress to lighten restrictions on things like importing polar bears for sport hunting.
SCI's annual convention will attract thousands of hunters and donors for an evening dedicated to pro-hunting trip giveaways and other prizes.
Eduardo Goncalves, who created the Change.org petition, painted a startling picture of the event.
"The Safari Club International convention is the world's biggest wildlife killing market—a staggering 870 companies will be selling trophy hunting holidays and wildlife body parts including animal heads this year."
"Previous SCI Conventions have seen companies selling 'canned lion' hunts—where tame lions are bred and shot in enclosures for low-cost trophies—as well as illegal wildlife body parts for trinkets and furniture, including benches made from elephant skin, paintings on elephant ears, a hippo skull table, and shark skin belts."
So far, the petition has gathered over 121,000 signatures. Signatories agree to cease buying or downloading Beach Boys music, attending concerts, and purchasing any band merchandise.
In response to the controversy and call for boycott, Mike Love, who's ties to Trumpism have been swirling since he attended the inauguration in January 2017, gave the following statement to Pitchfork:
"We look forward to a night of great music in Reno and, as always, support freedom of thought and expression as a fundamental tenet of our rights as Americans. Peace & Love, Mike Love."
The statement didn't quite pacify the good people of Twitter.
@BrianWilsonLive @theneedledrop Imagine seeing a leopard and wanting to kill it, wtf man.— Chaotic Good Obama (@Chaotic Good Obama)1580770538.0
@BrianWilsonLive MAGA loves to kill God’s greatest living breathing works of art. Hell will hold a special place fo… https://t.co/ixgyHQJufo— Dali Emerson (@Dali Emerson)1580792393.0
@BrianWilsonLive @NeilHamburger You COULD do a live streaming performance at the same time as the show to fundraise… https://t.co/wyA8pV6AuQ— secret pudding (@secret pudding)1580759021.0
Some took the moment as an opportunity to emphasize the distinction between the warring Beach Boys' factions.
@BrianWilsonLive Don’t forget....Brian wrote the music AND Mike wrote most of the lyrics!— Allan Conner (@Allan Conner)1580769818.0
@BrianWilsonLive They aren’t the real Beach Boys.... you are— Mark MacManus (@Mark MacManus)1580757825.0
@BrianWilsonLive So glad that you're not a part of this, Brian. What a shame that #MikeLove tarnishes the great na… https://t.co/8aVkNk2xHz— Robert Lehrer (@Robert Lehrer)1580776089.0
SCI put out a statement defending the event as well, citing the First Amendment as Love did, in a more verbose fashion.
No mention of "peace and love" from the organization either.
"Safari Club International is and always will be equally dedicated to both the conservation of wildlife and the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment."
"As such, we support the right of anti-hunting petitioners to protest our convention, but we hope they understand how much more they could achieve by working with us instead of against us."
"Each year, the hunters that make up our chapters do more for wildlife and the conservation of species and habitats than any online petition will ever do."
The Humane Society would disagree.