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Brian Wilson’s ‘Right-Hand Man’ Switches Sides, Joins Beach Boys

Alexandra Wyman, Getty Images

Jeffrey Foskett, who has worked with Brian Wilson for the past decade, is now playing with Wilson’s old group. After years of aiding Wilson onstage as his music director, and maybe offstage as his “right-hand man,” Foskett is now playing guitar with the Beach Boys, led these days by Mike Love.

According to the Desert Sun, Foskett quietly left Wilson’s camp sometime in the past year after working with him since the late ’90s. And after a brief stint with the band America, he returned to the Beach Boys — the group he started singing and playing guitar with more than 30 years ago. And like most everything that has to do with Wilson, Love and the Beach Boys, there’s some drama to this story.

“After the Jeff Beck tour, I was completely stressed and burned out,” Foskett said. “That whole year, recording that album and that tour, because I knew Jeff so well, a lot of things fell on me to get done that normally would have been other people’s responsibilities. They asked me to do certain things, and it was a lot of pressure. So at the end of that tour, I kind of snapped … and just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”

Foskett first entered the Beach Boys circle back in 1979, when his college surf band opened for a Love solo show. Two years later he was asked to join the Beach Boys as a touring member. He played and sang on their 1988 hit ‘Kokomo.’ And after some nasty legal battles between Wilson and Love came to a head in the late ’90s, Foskett — who’s done lots of session work over the years — joined Wilson on his solo path.

But nobody was really sure what his role was. Maybe music director? Or was he Wilson’s “right-hand man,” which is how Wilson himself recently described him? Foskett doesn’t seem to mind too much how he’s referred to. “However he viewed me is fine with me,” he told the Desert Sun. “A lot of it is semantics, and that’s why I don’t really care how I’m viewed. As long as Brian knows that I love him and as long as Brian knows I had the time of my life working with him, I really don’t care about anything else.”

Still, touring with Wilson eventually wore down Foskett. He left Wilson’s band after his tour with Beck last year and joined up with Love’s Beach Boys.“I realized I probably couldn’t do the Brian thing by myself,” Foskett said. “Then I realized I probably couldn’t do the Brian tours anymore because I didn’t want to have a different role; I didn’t want to just be ‘a guy.’ So I just decided to leave.”

After a few talks with Love, Foskett rejoined the Beach Boys. But he doesn’t get involved in the battles that seem to hound both Love and Wilson these days. “The sad thing is, I don’t think Michael and Brian have a problem with each other,” he said. “Other people might have problems with those two, but I don’t think Michael and Brian personally have a problem with each other.”

Next: Top 10 Beach Boys Songs

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