‘The Beach Boys’ doc examines group’s harmonious impact on the music industry

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys perform onstage in 1964 in California.
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

The Beach Boys recently reunited after 60 years, but not for a concert. In September of 2023, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, David Marks and Al Jardine banded back together for an upcoming documentary on Disney+. The doc follows the beginnings of the group and what lit the match in their success, and it does so through interviews with the band and other figures in the music industry. 

Love, Wilson, Marks and Jardine reunited in Paradise Cove (where The Beach Boys shot their ‘Surfin’ Safari’ cover) for the film, but they also got together again recently for a global press conference to chat about the upcoming feature, along with its directors Frank Marshall and Thom Zimney. 

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys pose for a portrait with 2 Honda Mo-peds in circa 1964 in Los Angeles, California.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“I loved this band growing up, and I deeply connected to all these people as artists. So, I’m really honored to be part of it in any fashion,” Zimney explained. “But being around this team and also just spending time deep in the vault and finding these things, it was an amazing experience because in many ways, it was my dream come true.”

The band grew to fame first in the 60’s with their first national hit “Surfin’ U.S.A.“, and there was a long list of top-ten singles to come out of their career in the years following. The timing of the doc now, as the group sees it, works well with the start of the summer season, and also, the timelessness of their tunes. 

“It seems to be the right time for it ’cause we’ve all had such a rich experience singing all those great harmonies and just being out on the road and having a wonderful time—[and] we’re kinda lucky because we’ve been able to have over the decades, a renewal with new fans and a whole new audience, really,” Jardine explains. “We used to say we appealed to the 8 to 80 group—Well, now we’re 80, so.”

“What a phenomenal opportunity at this stage of our career to have this kind of, you know, wonderful accolades by so many people and the hard work and forensics that went into some of this documentary,” Love added. “I’m just honored and delighted that it’s happening.”

Love also noted the significance of the release with the 50th anniversary of the ‘Endless Summer’ album, and ‘The Beach Boys’ doc examines the career path forged by the band, but not without examining the group’s humble beginnings as well.  

The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys directs from the control room while recording the album “Pet Sounds” in 1966 in Los Angeles, California.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“I think this music for me and what I’ve been able to experience talking to many people about it is that it is timeless. You can step into this, and the body of work is so big,” Zimney continued. “There’s so many things to dive deep into and so many different chapters. So, I hope this documentary reflects the family, but also all the individual members in that way of what they bring musically to the world.” 

“I’m super happy with the way the documentary turned out, they did an amazing job,” adds Brian Wilson. “It really brought me back to those days with the boys, the fun and the music. And of course, those incredible harmonies.”

The group notes that the feature goes into a lot of aspects of The Beach Boys, but it mostly zeroes in on that idea through the members themselves and the impact they had on the music business together.

“It’s amazing when you go to one of their concerts and you look back at those Fourth of July moments where there were 400,000 people. And back then they were 8 to 80 as well. So, the impact they’ve had, I think, guided us in what we were doing,” Marshall notes. “I grew up down in Newport Beach, which was south of Hawthorne, where The Beach Boys were growing up [and] in those days, surf music was really instrumental.” 

The documentary will also feature interviews from Lindsey Buckingham, Janelle Monáe, Ryan Tedder, and Don Was, as well as a new interview with Blondie Chaplin and audio from Ricky Fataar peppered between old clips from the band’s days of performing and home videos. 

The Beach Boys
Pictured are Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys.Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“It is immortal, you know… the music is immortal. We aren’t, but the music is,” says Love. “I think because of the negativity in the world, that our music has always been a release and a joy and a celebration of life, rather than negative and, you know, we didn’t choose to sing about negative things, although there were plenty of negative things going on.”

“One of the things I love about making docs is it’s like a little treasure hunt, and you never know when you’re gonna find a gold nugget, and that’s gonna take you in another direction,” finishes Marshall. “The film could’ve been 10 hours long, but it’s really about the core of what made the band work and why they had such an impact on the music business and on music lovers [around] the world.”

The Beach Boys’ debuts on Disney+ May 24.