The Beach Boys will not be playing in Washington on the Fourth of July, but they said yesterday that thanks to time zones and jet planes, they may be just about everywhere else.

Lead singer Mike Love, at a news conference at the Hyatt Regency, said that trying to play the Mall on the Fourth wouldn't be fair to singer Wayne Newton and could "upstage" him. Newton was selected by Interior Secretary James G. Watt as the headline attraction for the annual celebration. Love added that "thanks to Mr. Watt, we have a heck of a lot to do on the Fourth this year." Love said the band would probably accept an invitation to play in New York as well as perhaps three other cities.

Washington, however, will be the site of a June 12 Beach Boys concert at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, cosponsored by radio station WRQX-FM ("Q107") and Team America, following a Team America soccer game.

Discussions for that event predated the Watt controversy, but Team America president Robert K. Lifton was quick to hang on to the latest Beach Boy bandwagon

"Team America is the start of a new American tradition in soccer, and the Beach Boys are a continuing American tradition," Lifton said yesterday.

Love and fellow Beach Boy Bruce Johnston had mostly kind words for Watt, although Love said that when he first heard of Watt's ban on rock music he told his colleagues, "They ought to drill his a-- for brains." He diffused its caustic edge by adding, "We're talking fun, fun, fun, we're talking good vibrations, we're talking Team America soccer." Love referred to Watt's original statement about rock music as "innocent ignorance."

He said the First Lady Nancy Reagan phoned the group Thursday night with a statement of support.

"We had a nice conversation," Love said, "and we told her how much we appreciated the president handling the situation with a sense of humor."

Love also kicked off an impromptu Q107 contest, urging high school students to send in socks with holes "so that Mr. Watt will have something to wear on his foot." President Reagan last week awarded Watt a plaster foot with a hole in it in response to Watt's remark about rock music.

Love said he planned to fly to California to catch a Wayne Newton concert last night, and described Newton as "a good guy, a decent man. You've got to be able to appreciate all kinds of art."

White House Communications Director David Gergen was spotted heading for an unrelated luncheon, and several reporters sought comment from him. His remark: "I'm just getting good vibrations from it."

In a brief question-and-answer period a somewhat peeved Johnston said, "We've had fun with this whole thing, but let's just put it behind us."