David Beard’s journey from music lover to nationally acclaimed graphic artist for his childhood heroes is a tale of love for music and mutual respect.
It begins in the late 1970s when Beard watched “Dead Man’s Curve,” a movie created by Jan and Dean, early pioneers of the California vocal surf sound.
Beard loved the genre of music the movie featured, and he soon bought a two-record set of a Jan and Dean album. Inside was a songbook that Beard couldn’t put down. He read it cover to cover and discovered that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had co-written many of the duo’s hits. Within weeks Beard added several Beach Boys albums to his collection.
Soon he was a record collector who traveled the state seeking new tracks. It was at a record convention where he met a man who would help make the connection from fan to friend. Beard struck up a conversation with Lee Dempsey, a writer for the Beach Boys quarterly fan magazine Endless Summer.
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“I was sort of impatiently waiting behind him as he thumbed through the records, so I started talking to him, and we realized we had a lot in common,” Beard said.
Dempsey turned Beard onto the Endless Summer magazine, but after a year Beard didn’t think the magazine was interesting, so he canceled it. A short time later, Dempsey was taking over the magazine and asked if Beard would be interested in helping with the content.
“We decided to do it, but we went in with the understanding that the Beach Boys weren’t going to pay us attention because they hadn’t paid the previous owner much attention,” he said.
With Dempsey’s connection to the band when they would travel to the area in mind, they reached out. Soon, it was Beard who was communicating with the band.
“I loved their music, and I took what they did very seriously,” said Beard, a former morning producer for the defunct Oldies 96 radio station.
“I could see what their music did for me, what it did for the world and through that I understand passion. I wanted to pay it forward. They were so kind and available in such a short period of time to me. I got out of the (radio) business when it began to change, but I loved music so much, (and) I wanted to keep my feet in it, so I turned to graphic design and writing. And the magazine helped fuel that.”
Beard began working with Jan and Dean’s Dean Torrance, who designed numerous record covers for comedian and musician Steve Martin and others, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt. He designed the Roxy logo as well. He became Beard’s design role model and helped advance his design career.
In 2014, Beard was approached by Beach Boy Mike Love and his wife Jacqueline to design an ad for the 2014 Beach Boys tour program. The next year they wanted him to do the entire program, a task he gladly took on.
“The 20-plus of knowing and working with all of them had led to that,” Beard said.
“I’m very familiar with their history, and since I know each of them very well, it’s easy for me to be passionate and very dialed into paying proper respect to anything they ask me to do. It’s a very natural thing for me.”
Beard sent his work to the Loves once it was complete.
They loved it. Jacqueline sent him a glowing email, and Mike had even more to say.
“In the 54 years of touring and (a) multitude of concerts and concert programs, the new Beach Boys’ 2015 Official Tour Program is far and away the best I’ve ever seen,” Mike Love wrote.
“The new booklet focuses solely on the music and events that transpired in 1965, when Bruce (Johnston) joined the band, and we went on to record ‘California Girls’. David Beard did an incredible job of bringing a historical relevance and warmth to each and every page.”
Beard, who also works at The Postal Route, a multiservice company in Fort Mill, was also rewarded with the 2016 Communicator Awards Award of Distinction for his work on the tour program, making this the second time he’d won the award.
But this award was the most rewarding, Beard said.
“To hear Mike say that before the award even came was very rewarding,” Beard said.
“When you know you’re musical hero appreciates you on that level, that’s something. When the award came for something they feel good about. For me personally and not as a fan, it was that I had earned those kind comments.”
Beard also designed the Beach Boys VIP hardcover coffee table book and collaborated with Torrence on 50 Years of Good Vibrations, the band’s 2016 tour program.
“You want to do a good job anytime someone hires you to do something,” Beard said. “For me, this has been special getting to know and work with people I have such an appreciation for.”