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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Beach Boys' Biggest Fan

Oct 29, 2019 10:43AM ● By Jan Weeks

If there were a trivia contest featuring the Beach Boys, Rusty Stark would win by a landslide.

Stark fell in love with their beach music the first time he heard them on the radio in the mid ’60s.

Stark, 68, grew up in Iowa, about as far from a beach as one can get. It didn’t matter. When he married, he turned his wife and kids into followers, too.

“I sang my son and daughter to sleep at night with Beach Boys songs,” Stark said.

So when Stark heard that Sail On, the tribute band that kicked off Community Concerts of the Grand Valley's 75th season, was coming to town, he couldn’t pass up the show. He and wife Marlene had gotten back from a trip only two days before the concert, but they scored tickets. Was the music worth it?

“Sail On is the best tribute band I’ve ever heard. If they’d had an album available I would have bought it,” Stark said.

Stark was particularly impressed with the background videos of Brian Wilson and Mike Love talking that played between songs.

Beach Boy Mania

Stark has many memories of Beach Boys concerts. His collection of memorabilia fills a table, including programs, song lists and an envelope containing ticket stubs from every concert. The two he’s most proud of are items he took to a Beach Boys concert. The left-hand panel of a hand-lettered sign shows ticket stubs from all the concerts he’s attended and the right side displays a handwritten message telling front man Mike Love this was Stark’s 29th concert and also his birthday. Love reportedly stopped the music and said, “Sir, slow down. You’re going to have a heart attack!” Stark had brought Love’s memoir, “Good Vibrations,” with him and held it out. Love crouched down, shook his hand and signed the book.

Stark saw the Beach Boys in concert at the Budweiser Arena in Greeley, where the band members tossed beach balls into the crowd.

When Stark went to a concert in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kenny Rogers was in the audience and disrupted the performance so much that security escorted him out. At another concert he saw John Stamos drumming with the Beach Boys.

Stark first took his children to concerts when they were still in elementary school, and April and Austin continue to love the music.

When the original members of the Beach Boys played a 50th anniversary concert at Red Rocks, Stark sprang for tickets for him, Marlene, and the kids. Although it cost him $600, he considers it money well spent.

Recently, he and April had the always-difficult discussion about final arrangements. Stark made two requests: that all his memorabilia be put in his casket and that his favorite songs, “Barbara Ann” and “God Only Knows,” be played at his funeral.

Will Stark continue to attend concerts? Of course. He’s a “forever” fan.