Originally created 10/11/96

Musicians dig this cause



One of the fun things about mega-concerts like Farm Aid is that they bring together musicians you normally wouldn't see on the same stage.

At last year's Farm Aid in Louisville, Ky., Willie Nelson played with Seattle rock band SuperSuckers, and Johnny Cash performed with members of Soundgarden and Nirvana.

This year, the Beach Boys' set will be involve some cross-pollination. Look for the Californians to perform their hits with Mr. Nelson, James House, Ricky Van Shelton and others.

"We'll open with California Girls, do a couple surfing songs, and in the middle put all the guest artists," said singer Mike Love, discussing plans for the group's 45-minute set. "We'll do just the biggest hits, not the medium ones."

The ninth Farm Aid concert will run from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

Sharing the stage with other musical luminaries is a natural extension of the Beach Boys' latest album, Stars and Stripes, in which the group performs with country musicians.

Vocalist Bruce Johnston said the band is coming to its third Farm Aid this year at the request of Mr. Nelson. Mr. Johnston has said in recent interviews that people should vote for Mr. Nelson for president because he and Farm Aid co-founders John Mellencamp and Neil Young had an idea and followed it through.

"I think Willie's deal is much bigger than promoting your latest album or restaurant or whatever," Mr. Johnston said. "Obviously it's a cool thing because it's still in existence."

Except for the shorter set, the band's performance will be similar to a regular Beach Boys show, Mr. Johnston said. The members plan no speeches on behalf of farmers, leaving that function to Mr. Nelson and others more involved with the Farm Aid organization.

"I think people would rather hear us sing than talk," Mr. Johnston said.

Asked if the band approached a benefit concert such as Farm Aid any differently, Mr. Love said, "We've approached it not getting paid."

In separate interviews, Mr. Love and Mr. Johnston said they would enjoy the show as fans. They said they were especially looking forward to seeing Hootie and the Blowfish perform in their hometown.

"I always like to see people when they are really exploding," Mr. Johnston said. "I don't know if they have the stamina to stick it out as long as we did, but it'll be great to see them when they are taking off."

Farm Aid

From Staff Reports
Aside from the money it raises for farm organizations - about $13 million so far - one of the impressive things about Farm Aid is the way it brings together diverse talents.

Topping the bill, as it did last year, is Hootie and the Blowfish, performing in its hometown of Columbia.

Under the old, faithful banner, list the trio of Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp. They started the benefit in 1985.

In the younger, pop-rock category, there's Son Volt, Jewel and Rusted Root. For the Frankie-and-Annette crowd, there's the Beach Boys, who'll be doing a countrified set.

Country artists Martina McBride and John Conlee will also perform.

All those artists will be doing full sets. Making briefer appearances will be Ricky Van Shelton, Doug Supernaw, Steve Earle, James House, The Texas Tornadoes, Hal Ketchum, Deana Carter, Robert Earl Keen, Gretchen Peters and Marshall Chapman.

On Stage


  • What: Farm Aid '96, featuring Beach Boys, Hootie & the Blowfish and more

  • When: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

  • Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia.

  • How much: $27 and $52.

  • Phone: 828-7700.