Jeffrey Foskett, a veteran musician known to Beach Boy fans for contributions to touring bands led by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, has died. He had been fighting against anaplastic thyroid cancer. He was 67.
Foskett, affectionately known as the “vice principal of the Beach Boys,” enjoyed a rare distinction as a musician who gained favor from all factions within the group over the decades. He played in Wilson’s solo band from 1998 to 2014 and had long stints with Love’s Beach Boys from 1981 to 1998 and again from 2015 until he was unfortunately sidelined by stage 4 cancer in 2019.
Founding Beach Boy Brian Wilson expressed his grief over the passing of his former band member on Instagram. “I’m so heartbroken that my dear friend Jeff Foskett has passed,” Wilson wrote alongside a candid snapshot of him with Foskett. “Jeff was always there for me when we toured and we couldn’t have done it without him.”
“Jeff was one of the most talented guys I ever knew. He was a great musical leader and guitarist and he could sing like an angel. I first met Jeff in 1976 when he knocked on my door in Bel Air and I invited him in, and we were friends ever since. I don’t know what else to say. Love and Mercy to Jeff’s family and friends, we will remember him forever.”
Beach Boy Mike Love Recruited Jeffrey Foskett to Tour With Him
During a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times, which coincided with his involvement in a Beach Boys 50th-anniversary tour that brought Brian Wilson and Mike Love back together temporarily, Foskett likened his experience with the Beach Boys and/or Wilson to that of a Little League baseball player who receives an invitation to join the Dodgers.
“How many amateur athletes turn pro?” Foskett pointed out. “And how many of the thousands of musicians — tens of thousands of musicians — in Los Angeles are going to get into the band that they really loved, and tour with them?”
In the L.A. Times interview, Foskett recounted the tale of his encounter with Wilson in 1976. ““Brian opened the door and said ‘Hey, come on in’ — like he’d been expecting us!’ I said, ‘Great!’ We hung around and went to the music room. [Wilson’s wife at the time] Marilyn made us a sandwich. He said, ‘Stay in touch.’ And I did — and I’m glad that I did.”
However, it was Mike Love who initially recruited Foskett to showcase Beach Boys music. In later years, Foskett rejoined Love’s touring lineup after an extensive period with Wilson’s ensemble.
Love recruited Foskett to join his Endless Summer Band after discovering him performing at a local bar near UC Santa Barbara. Foskett later joined the Beach Boys in the early ’80s, initially as a temporary replacement for Carl Wilson but continued even after Carl’s return. His first tenure with the band lasted until 1990 when he departed under undisclosed circumstances.
Jeffrey Foskett Enjoyed a Long Collaboration with Brian Wilson
After pursuing a solo career, he later joined Wilson for his 1998 album Imagination and subsequent tours. Foskett, who had positive relationships with everyone, officially became an auxiliary member of the Beach Boys again when Wilson reunited with other original band members for a 50th-anniversary tour and the 2012 album That’s Why God Made the Radio.
In addition to his work with other bands, Foskett had a solo career, releasing a collection of albums. His debut, Thru My Window in 1996, showcased a strong influence from the Beach Boys. He continued to produce music independently, culminating in a trio of albums released in 2019.
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