Beach Boys piece: extras and scrapped paragraphs.

Scrapped lede

Celebrity news Web site TMZ typically packs its pages with the latest exploits of Snooki, Kanye, and Gaga, but last May it was Bruce Johnston, musician and singer for the Beach Boys, who snagged headlines. President Obama is “an asshole,” Johnston said, as he posed for photographs with fans, “unless you’re interested in never having any money and being socialized.” Johnston, a longtime Republican, didn’t have many nice things to say about his party’s presumptive nominee, either. “Our guy isn’t any good,” he said. “He’s not gonna win.”

Middle paragraph

What a long strange trip it’s been for a quintessentially American treasure, at once patriotic and irony-free, to go from providing the best summer soundtrack for girls and racing cars to singing an a capella version of “Good Vibrations” at campaign events for George H.W. Bush in 1988, complete with customized lyrics: “I’m picking up Bush vibrations/He’s the best guy to lead this nation.” It’s been almost 30 years since Secretary of the Interior James Watt banned the Beach Boys from playing Independence Mall on July 4 for fear of attracting “an undesirable element,” opting instead for longtime Reagan supporter Wayne Newton. The Reagans set things right, personally apologizing to the band. They sang “Happy Birthday” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the Reagan centennial in February 2011.

The pretty good “I Get Around” pun para

The Boys are old men now—most are turning or have turned 70—which means that, for baby boomers, this may be the last time they will get to hear “I Get Around” while still able to, in fact, get around. Maybe the band will sit this election out and be happy playing “Don’t Worry Baby.”

The “asking the rock critics” section

Rock scribes differ in their outlooks on the Beach Boys and their affiliations. When Mike Love famously mouthed off in a bizarre acceptance speech for the band’s 1988’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, for example, music writer Dave Marsh called the singer a “punk” who spoke “with the venom of spiritual fascism.” He offered up that that Love was “a friend of George Bush and G. Gordon Liddy” and once put up $5,000 seed money for the Tipper Gore–led Parent’s Music Resource Center (P.M.R.C.) to censor and label records with sex, violence or drug–related lyrics.

Others prefer to ignore the Beach Boys’ political affiliations entirely. “I don’t know anything about their politics,” Jim Fusilli, author of a book on the Pet Sounds album and pop culture critic at the Wall Street Journal, said. “It seems to me that bands are always endorsing candidates and contributing to campaigns.

“I can’t imagine that anyone would care what a rock critic thinks about a musician’s politics.”

“To stick the Beach Boys into a strict Republican bag might be a bit of a narrow view,” Jon Stebbins, a Beach Boys biographer and author of several books on the band, says. “If they appeared with or did any ‘official band’ endorsement of Mitt Romney, I’d be surprised.

The band’s relationship with politics is a “much more nuanced thing,” Mr. Stebbins said, pointing to band members Al Jardine and Mike Love’s support for environmental causes and Carl Wilson’s conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Of all the band members, he says, Bruce Johnston is the only “true country club Republican,” although Mike Love tends to “trend right” as well on most issues.

James Watt, “America’s Band” genesis story

Either way, it’s been a long strange trip for this quintessentially American treasure, at once patriotic and irony-free, to go from providing the best summer soundtrack for girls and racing cars to singing an a capella version of “Good Vibrations” at campaign events for George H.W. Bush in 1988, complete with customized lyrics: “I’m picking up Bush vibrations/He’s the best guy to lead this nation.” It’s been almost 30 years since Secretary of the Interior James Watt banned the Beach Boys from playing Independence Mall on July 4 for fear of attracting “an undesirable element,” opting instead for longtime Reagan supporter Wayne Newton. The Reagans set things right, personally apologizing to the band. They sang “Happy Birthday” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the Reagan centennial in February 2011.

Homina homina

The Reagan connections aren’t all political: late Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson and Reagan daughter Patti Davis had romantic relationship in the early 1970s.

Carl as CO

Granted, a band with a founding member who was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War can’t qualify to be as red meat as gun-toting Ted Nugent. (That was Carl Wilson, Brian’s late brother and the band’s guitarist, who died in 1998. Dennis, the youngest brother and drummer, died in 1982.)

Early riff that went nowhere

In the United States, there is a certain cohort of tortured geniuses we canonize only after they’ve gone. Take your pick: Charlie Parker or Jackson Pollock, Billie Holiday or Kurt Cobain, on up to Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson. It takes the tortured artist’s leaving this mortal coil for the groundswell of appreciation to appear. It also uncomplicates matters, not having to put up with the eccentricities living in America tends to smooth out. Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone.

Great quote about Brian that couldn’t find a home

“Brian is not a god. He is after all a very brave and brilliant man who got broken once too often.”

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