NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert at the Westchester County Center is coming up on May 15. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on February 25. It's a home town gig for one performer.
The Daily North Salem asked local resident and founding Beach Boys member David Marks to answer a few questions.
How long have you lived in North Salem, what brought you here and what do you like about it?
I have lived in North Salem for nine or 10 years. My wife and her family (the Hanaburghs) are from here, so it made sense for us to live here, too. My stepson goes to North Salem High School. I really like the peacefulness of living in the woods. We have a little brook flowing past our house. It’s very serene. I am from Los Angeles, near LAX, so I appreciate stepping out on the deck at night and being able to take a breath of fresh air and seeing the bright stars. I don't think I will ever get used to the cold winters, though.
What do you think about the music scene in Westchester?
I have to admit, I am guilty of not keeping up with much new music so I can't speak about the current music scene in this area. But, one thing that I have noticed is that I meet a lot of people from the old days in LA who are now living in Westchester County and I meet a lot of people from here who are now living in Los Angeles. I guess the grass is always greener on the other coast.
How did you become a Beach Boy?
I moved in across the street from the Wilson brothers when I was 7-years-old. I was an only child who was inclined towards music, and since there was always music being played in their house, I naturally gravitated towards them and they sort of adopted me as an honorary younger brother. Carl Wilson and I started playing guitars together when I was 10 years old and he was 12, and within a short period of time Brian started to incorporate our guitars into his songs. We were signed to Capitol Records when I was 13-years-old. The whole story, if anyone is interested, was written in my book “The Lost Beach Boy,” that I co-wrote with Jon Stebbins. It is available on Amazon and is coming out on Kindle soon, I believe.
When you joined the Beach Boys, did you think they would last this long?
I think it was evident pretty early on that we were onto something special because our sound was unique. Brian Wilson was the first one to combine rock & roll surf guitar, complex jazz harmonies and culturally trendy lyrics and people loved it no matter where they were from. Early on, our surf hits were bigger in the Midwest than in LA. But I don't think, at our age, we could really anticipate the full impact the band would have, not just on generations of players & fans, but also the cultural impact. After 50 years, the Beach Boys sound is ingrained in our culture.
What makes the Beach Boys timeless?
The Beach Boys are so closely tied to an idealism about summer and the California dream and that theme is timeless. There is something about the energy & attitude captured on those records that appeals to everyone. There are not a lot of things that really entertain the full range of four, even five generations, so when families find that common ground, whether it be a favorite sports team, playing the Beach Boys Sounds of Summer CD during BBQs, or a favorite holiday movie that gets watched every year -- these things become family traditions that get passed down and their legacy continues.
Has your audience changed over the decades, and if so, how?
All the original fans from the early 1960's are still coming to shows but now they are retired and bringing their children and grandchildren along. They stuck by us all 50 years and even helped indoctrinate the next generations. I always say, my favorite thing about playing is looking out into the crowds and seeing people from five to 85 all dancing and singing along with all the words. It’s really touching.
What is your favorite Beach Boys song?
It changes from week to week. This week my favorite is "Caroline, No." Last week it was "Farmer's Daughter." There is a song off the new Beach Boys studio album that we are currently working on that is right up there with my all-time favorite Brian Wilson collaborations. By next week that will probably be my favorite. I also really like Dennis Wilson's solo album, "Pacific Ocean Blues."
What advice would you give to young musicians starting out?
The Internet has hurt professional musicians who once relied on record sales to make a living but it has opened up doors to independent musicians. The whole business model has changed from what it was when we started out. I would recommend you study marketing in addition to music and make a really great video that has the chance to go viral on YouTube. That's the new way of getting discovered these days. Merchandising is the new way to generate profits as a musician, more than album sales. Also, understanding what it means to publish your own songs. Google it. It's not hard to register with BMI. It’s easy to get ripped off if you don’t know your rights.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a professional musician?
My fate was sealed pretty young so I didn't really have many options. But if I had not pursued becoming a professional musician, I would probably be an architect or painter.