The father-son pair share their family memories from a lifetime of travel and how it shaped their relationship.

The Beach Boys have always been a family affair. Kicking off their career in 1961, the original lineup was Mike Love and his cousins — brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson — and their friend Al Jardine. More than six decades later, the iconic band is still touring with more than 120 shows a year, bringing their trademark brand of feel-good California rock music around the world. 

But now there’s also a new generation of family business with the Loves. Stemming from his passion for mojitos, Mike launched Club Kokomo Spirits in 2022, which serves up award-winning rum and gin-based ready-to-drink cocktails, with his son Brian as a founding partner and head of brand development. 

“This is a family-owned brand,” the younger Love said in a Zoom call with Travel + Leisure, sitting alongside his dad in their Lake Tahoe home. “We're in charge of pretty much everything, soup to nuts — we control product, quality, and vision, so it's awesome.” 

Mike shares that the brand grew out of his obsession for high-quality mojitos. Years ago, he was super impressed with one from New York’s former restaurant Asia de Cuba with sugar cane stock and mint. Known for word play, like in the band's 1998 number-one hit "Kokomo," he started putting sounds together and came up with "Kokomojito" — and knew he had to turn it into a reality.

The Loves chatted with Travel + Leisure about everything from their family adventures on the road, to seeing the world, to what's next in the future.

Travel + Leisure: What was it like growing up touring with the Beach Boys?


From first through fifth grade, I was homeschooled. Our teacher would come out on the road when they were probably doing 150 to 180 shows a year. I saw a lot of places at a very young age.Mike: We wanted to have them experience, not only just the music, the road and performing. Brian’s sister Ambha loved to come out and dance around on stage on "Surfer Girl." But Brian is quite the entrepreneur. When he was about five years old, he would sell our autographs to fans. We'd have the set list printed up, and he'd get everybody, like Carl Wilson and Al Jardine to sign it. Then he'd fall asleep, I'd carry him back and there'd be cash falling out of the sides of his pants. I'd say, "Brian, where did you get all this money?" He’d say, "I worked really hard selling autographs."Brian: I had no allowance, I had to do something. I couldn't be out in Amsterdam without any spending money! I’d sell them for 10 to 20 bucks. Fair deal.Mike: Cost of living has gone up. If you did it now, it would be 50 bucks. At least!

Traveling so much for music, did you then build in family vacations on top of that?


Oh, for sure! One year, we went to Bali for Christmas. We had a little Christmas tree that wasn't very pine-looking, but it was fantastic. I remember going to a Balinese temple. We all dressed up appropriately and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton, which is beautiful. And we had our own little pied-de-water, a palapa. Brian had to get a new passport when he was like five years old because we’ve been to so many places. Another Christmas, we rented a couple of houses in Puerto Vallarta right on the beach.

What lessons have you learned from your dad being on the road, Brian?

Brian: Just having an open-mindedness to culture, and really like being able to dive in. But also, there's two sides of the coin. There's being adventurous and experiencing the culture, and then there's rest and relaxation, both playing equal importance. When [my dad] grew up in Southern California, he and his father would take trips down to Baja in Mexico, where he picked up a little bit of Spanish. So I got the Spanish bug, and ended up getting a minor in French and Spanish in college. I lived in Spain for a year and studied in Salamanca. That travel bug has continued. I really took a like to photography in high school. A few years after college, I started doing landscape photography trips.Mike: National Geographic-type trips!Brian: They were with some Nat Geo photographers. It would be four to six person teams and we’d hike or explore anywhere from mainland China, Guilin and Wanshan, and then go to New Zealand, Greenland, and Northern Norway to see the Northern Lights. I can't wait to book the next trip. I get stir crazy when I stay in the same place for a long time.Mike: One time in Patagonia, he got a picture of a couple of the pumas! Look up BLove Images on Instagram!

That’s amazing! Where has been your favorite place to play, Mike?


The Royal Albert Hall in London is amazing. For Catholics, it's the Vatican, and for musicians, it's Royal Albert Hall. Also the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville was a former church. There's something about being on those spots that are fantastic. Outdoors, Red Rocks in Denver is phenomenal. It’s like playing in a little bit of the Grand Canyon. All over the world, there are great places, but the main thing is the people. I once sat next to the U.S. ambassador from Algeria, and he said, "You have no idea how much your music has meant to all of us around the world." So that's pretty incredible.

What is your favorite Beach Boy song to perform?


It's "Fun, Fun, Fun, I Get Around, Surfing USA, Be True to Your School, Kokomo, Good Vibrations, God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice." Let's see my favorite? Oh yeah, that's it! I don't have a favorite because it has to do with your mood.

What's your favorite place that's named in “Kokomo?”

Mike: That's a hard one. Bermuda is beautiful, the Bahamas are great. Jamaica is beautiful as well, but St. Barts in the Caribbean — we didn't mention that in “Kokomo” — but it's a wonderful and  amazing place. We were there four or five times last year.

What's the most meaningful trip you've been on together?


India was very, very special. We were befriended by the head priest of a temple in Malibu, and he was from a temple in Southern India, which no one knows for sure how old it is, but at least 10,000 years old. We went there and had ceremonies done on our behalf. Brian: Combining the spiritual element with the culture, there’s so much emotion in the ceremonies, which is beautiful to see. It must have been 25 years ago, but I still remember. It was just wildly different from any other culture. You're eating on the floor. You're eating off of banana leaves. There are mules in the street. To see that at a very young age, something clicked. It’s like, not everything is as we have it, or as we know it. Mike: When Brian was very young, everybody was dressed in what they call dhotis, which are these mainly silk outfits that the Hindu priests wear. He didn't have one, but he wanted to be dressed like dad and the other guys, so we finally got him one and he was happy.

What makes a trip difference when you’re traveling together? 


Humor for one thing!Brian: I was going to say, more laughs. We get in trouble for going back and forth with the dad jokes. Maybe we're too sarcastic, but it's fine for us.Mike: His mom was a nurse when I met her — and I got her to join Dr. Love's practice, you see! We say, "The curse is the worst when your mom is a nurse!" If you breathe the wrong way, she's on your case, but it's a blessing at the same time. It’s a family tradition to joke around.

What's the accomplishment in your career that means the most, Mike?

Mike: The biggest accomplishment is yet to come! In the meantime, in the 1980s we did these free concerts in Washington DC, and one year, we did Philadelphia in the afternoon and DC in the evening. The Philadelphia Inquirer said there were 900,000 people in the streets of Philadelphia July 4 with a $22 million impact. Plus we had Mr.  T. with us! It was hot on the train going up, so he knocked the window out of the train. That was Mr. T's solution for a little fresh air. Then, that evening we had over half a million people in DC at the Monument grounds. So we played for about a million people in one day. The neat thing is when we stepped out on stage, we got a standing ovation before we did anything!

On the other hand, what is your proudest dad moment?


Also yet to come!Mike: I was pretty proud when, when the money fell out of his pocket when he was five years old! But he graduated from Colorado College with a degree in international economics with a minor in French and Spanish. You got to be pretty proud of that. I've been to more colleges than he has, but in an entertainment capacity!

What's the best lesson that you've learned from your dad, Brian?


General hard work and dedication. He doesn't have to be out there doing 120 shows every year, but he chooses to. He’s gotten involved in spearheading [Club Kokomo Spirits] and doesn't have to. He meditates twice a day, which I do not. I probably should. The ability to deal with the stress, pressure, and travel with self-care and going inward for self reflection is incredible — he's great at watching his mood. He's also in amazing shape at a tender age. Self reflection and self maintenance has become part of his routine, and we've just watched it over the years.

Mike, what's the legacy that you hope to leave for your fans, and how is that different from what you’d like to leave for your family?


I think it's the same. I want to contribute to the creation of world peace through doing concerts in the name of world peace, and embarrass some of the despots around the world into being in favor of world peace by just the sheer force of humanity.

What are your summer plans?


This year is the 50th anniversary of our album, Endless Summer. Oh, and we're doing about 17 out of the 20 songs in our show. These songs are immortal or something. We call the tour Endless Summer Gold. And we’ve got the Kokomo gold!

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.

2024-06-14T11:38:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd