Beach Boys Founders 'Were Very Surprised' to Learn Group Played at Trump Fundraiser
The Beach Boys' founding members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are pushing back after the touring version of the group — fronted by fellow founding member Mike Love — headlined a fundraiser for President Donald Trump's campaign over the weekend.
In a statement released by their spokespeople, Wilson, 77, and Jardine, 78, told Variety: "We have absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach. Zero. We didn't even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times."
(Wilson's rep told PEOPLE he did not have a further statement on the matter. Love's manager did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)
As the Times reported on Sunday, the Newport Beach, California, fundraiser featured the Beach Boys, the iconic rock band once fronted by Wilson but now touring with Love, 79, as its lead vocalist and sole remaining founding member.
Tickets to the event started at $2,800 per person, peaking at $150,000 for couples who wanted to be listed as "co-chairs" of the event.
The Beach Boys were originally formed in the 1960s, by Wilson, his two brothers (Dennis and Carl), Love (their cousin) and Jardine. As Variety notes, the last time all surviving members of the group performed together as the Beach Boys was in 2012.
Since then, the original members have aired many of their political differences publicly.
Love currently holds a license to perform The Beach Boys' material for concert purposes, while Wilson and Jardine perform the material but under Wilson's name.
Love has been publicly supportive of Trump — who asked the group to perform at his 2017 inauguration — in the past.
In a 2017 interview, Love said that the president had "never been anything but kind to us."
"I don't have anything negative to say about the President Of The USA," Love told Uncut then. "We did attend the inauguration. That was a moving experience. I understand there are so many factions and fractious things going on — the chips will fall where they may."
Wilson and Jardine have disavowed Love's embrace of the Trumps, though. In February, the two signed their names to a petition opposing the touring group's announcement that it would headline a safari convention in which Donald Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker.
The 77-year-old Wilson elaborated on his disappointment in Love's decision on Twitter, writing that there was nothing he could do to stop the show, along with a link to the petition, which urged a ban on trophy hunting.
Love responded with a pointed statement of his own, expressing his excitement for the performance and his support of "freedom of thought and expression as a fundamental tenet of our rights as Americans."