Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Monkee-ing Around

We're still receiving comments about The Monkees, Micky Dolenz,
"Davy Jones Sings", etc, etc, etc. ... so here are a few more we'd like to share:

re: THE MONKEES (et al):

>>>Micky was always MY favorite, too ... I think he is one of the greatest, most under-rated voices of the '60's ... and he STILL sounds great today ... as proven both in concert a couple of weeks ago at The Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana, as well as on his brand new CD release, "King For A Day". (kk)

Not sure the story behind him, but I believe he learned to play the drums later on.


Thanks, and great newsletter!

Jersey John
Micky had done some singing prior to joining The Monkees ... but hadn't really had any great commercial success with it. (A couple of tracks he recorded earlier for Challenge Records, "Don't Do It" and "Huff Puff", finally saw the light of day after The Monkees started hitting the charts ... but never really made any noise on their own. Over the years in concert, he's entertained us by telling stories of ... and then performing ... early "club" favorites like the old Lenny Welch torch song "Since I Fell For You" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", which Micky said he sang at his Monkees audtion to ultimately win his role on the television series! Of course Micky was no stranger to TV ... even earlier than that he starred on "Circus Boy" as young Mickey Braddock way back when!!! And, believe it or not, later in life he audtioned for the role of The Fonz on "Happy Days"!!! One can only imagine how bizarre THAT might have been!!!)

Prior to his success with The Monkees, I believe he played a little guitar and then learned the drums once cast in the role of the drummer ... and became quite proficient at it, too. He used to joke that it was like Starsky and Hutch having to go out with REAL guns to chase criminals through the streets ... or William Shatner being asked to fly a rocket into space ... yet the four actors hired to PLAY The Monkees on TV had to learn how to perform on stage as singers and musicians or risk being criticized (or crucified) by the cynical critics who said they weren't a "real" band. Fact is, they weren't!!! They were four actors with SOME musical abilities thrown together to PLAY a band on TV ... yet they BECAME a real honest-to-God band and ultimately began recording and producing themselves in the studio ... and have toured for four decades since in reunion shows. It's all really pretty amazing when you actually think about it! (kk)

I have a Two-Record Set that I bought many years ago at a record convention in Eugene, Oregon. It's called "The Monkees", and it has a drawing on both sides of the cover of all four Monkees. No liner notes, nothing. It was released by Laurie House, which I think was an RCA budget label. If I remember correctly, the labels are RCA. I've tried to look up Laurie House and all that jazz to find out whenst it was released, but no luck so far. That "My Favorite Monkee" 45 is funny! I also have the Bell album "Re-Focus", which Arista later re-released as "The Monkees Greatest Hits" in 1976 (I have that one, too, as well as the cassette version, which I really wore out upon relistening to it).
I had the Laurie House LPs, too ... it was a "Made-For-TV" marketing album that came out a time when there was virtually NO Monkees music left in print ... so it made for a nice addition to any record collection. "Re-Focus" was a bit hard to find, too ... I remember being disappointed with the "new" stereo version of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" ... I think this was the first time I had heard anything other than the original mono single mix. (By the same token, I've often complained before about HATING the stereo version of "Steppin' Stone" ... because that's NOT the way it sounded on the radio back in 1967!!! While some of our readers go through great lengths to find rare, alternate, stereo and foreign mixes of songs, I wanna hear these songs the way I first experienced them, coming out of my tiny little AM radio way back when!!!)
Honestly, I think Rhino's done a GREAT job with reissuing and repackaging The Monkees stuff ... all the original CD's are coming out again as double and triple-disk sets with both the mono and stereo mixes ... plus ALL kinds of bonus tracks and alternate takes, early rehearsals, etc, etc, etc. But honestly, HOW many times can we be expected to keep buying the SAME thing over and over and over again? It really is a rip-off at some point ... buy the "new and improved" version ... and then, five or six years later, be expected to buy the "newer and more improved" version because they've added an extra track or two. But we do it!!! (Actually, I'd like to get the super deluxe "Head" Soundtrack that just came out ... and I don't even particularly care for the music from this film ... it's just SUCH a nice package that I want to add it to my collection!) kk
Yes, as a lifelong fan of The Monkees, I love it every time they are popular again and it pisses off all the old hipsters who bashed them. (You don't know HOW many hippies I would argue with about the Monkees' musical merits because they [holy fuck!] used STUDIO musicians! I told my Mom the other night about the Beach Boys not playing on their albums and she was shocked! Fuck Jann Wenner - the Monkees should be in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame!
I also remember the cover of "Barrel Full Of Monkees" from when I as little (saw it on Wikipedia), but we never bought it. I probably didn't realize what it was (I was 5 or 6 when that came out). It's like "Star Wars" - HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DO THEY HAVE TO RELEASE THIS SAME STUFF????? I wish I could afford the new Monkees Album releases with the two discs. That's why I always liked some of these other Monkees releases like "Monkee Flips". The new double CDs are releasing a lot of the "Missing Links" stuff on those new releases. Rhino has done an excellent job on the Monkees releases. Yes, "HEAD" is a big 3-CD release which I can't afford, like the 3-CD "The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees". Poverty is getting VERY old! "HEAD"has been remastered and redone (the film) and is available on some 60's Counter Culture Movie Set or something like that. I hope Rhino decides to remaster the "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee", not that they have the technology to do that sort of thing.
I don't mind it so much when you're truly UPGRADING your collection ... to me that's well worth it and, as the technology has improved, so has the quality of many of these releases ... it retrospect for the overwhelming lack of respect The Monkees seem to get from the world at large, it's really pretty amazing that their catalog has been given the degree of attention it has. (Hmmm ... maybe some of those "know-it-all critics have been missing something all along that we FANS have LONG been hip to!) kk

>>>Micky Dolenz is keeping a tight lid on his pairing up with ace guitarist Phil Keaggy for a new CD project. Phil Keaggy is considered one of the greatest guitar virtuosos of them all. Mickey was instrumental in getting Jimi Hendrix on the Monkee tour. By the way, King of The Fuzz Guitar ... Davie Allan ... was a schoolmate of Micky Dolenz at Grant High School in Van Nuys. Micky sure does rub elbows with the greatest guitarists! (Boobie "The Vibe Man")

My friend Brian Mason will be interviewing Phil Keaggy on his weekly radio show this Sunday here in Nashville. I've encouraged Brian to ask Phil about the project he's working on with Micky, so perhaps we'll get some inside info. I had an opportunity to hear a rough cut of one of Micky's new tracks with Phil Keaggy on guitar. I can't share it with the group yet, but I must say it sounds great. Here's a recent photo of Micky with his Phil Keaggy mug.
David Lewis

By the way, I heard back from noted Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval the other day and he sent me TONS of pictures of these Davy Jones releases we've been talking about recently. Here are just a few more (obviously proving that all this stuff really DOES exist ... it's just next to impossible to actually FIND any of it!!!) kk

And finally, this from FH Reader Bill Hengels, who sent in a piece he found online naming The Top Ten Greatest Band Reunions.

Click here: Together Again: The 10 Greatest Rock and Roll Reunions
Of course, groups like Led Zeppelin and the recently-reunited Buffalo Springfield made the list, just as one would expect them to ... but The Monkees came in at #10, thanks to Michael Nesmith joining them on stage back in 1986, in time for the 20th Anniversary Tour! With 45 years just around the corner, isn't it time for these guys to play nicely with each other again?
Every band has a different reason for splitting and every band, it seems, has a different reason for getting back together and re-igniting the musical flames. Sometimes it’s cash, sometimes it simply the burning desire to re-kindle their youth. Often, there’s some unfinished artistic business to attend to. But whatever the reason, a reunion concert is always something special for the audience. Here are 10 of the most memorable.
10. The Monkees: 1986
In 1967, Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike sold more records than The Beatles. The pre-fab four’s TV sitcom won an Emmy, they brought the world Jimi Hendrix, gave career breaks to Tim Buckley and Jack Nicholson and then split soon after the TV show was cancelled. In 1986, with MTV playing the heck out of the old TV shows, The Monkees went back on the road, re-creating the original lineup just once, when Michael Nesmith made a surprise appearance on stage on Los Angeles.


Hard as it may be to believe, The Monkees always had a certain kin-ship with The Buffalo Springfield back in the day. (The fact that Peter Tork and Stephen Stills were one-time roommates may have had something to do with it ... legend goes that it was Stills who first auditioned for the part on the television series but, after producers decided he had bad teeth, suggested that his roomie give the role a shot instead!)

Since mentioned above as one of the great recent reunion (and with rumors now circulating about a full-blown reunion tour), here's a neat little piece submitted by FH Reader "Wild Bill" Cody:

Wow, I don't know what this Andy Greene guy is smoking, but this will NEVER HAPPEN! No way McGuinn would EVER agree to a Byrds reunion, same with Chris Hillman. They did it once, but that was then and this is NOW. However, if it was even a possibility, I think you'd also have to add Barry McGuire and John Sebastian to the mix. (These two guys could twist McGuinn's arm).
BUT you never know ... I'll tell you what, should it happen, I'd be in the 1st ROW for this show! And with my "bucket list" of things to do, I'd gladly take on the responsibility of the promoter for this extravaganza!
Willd Bill Cody

How Buffalo Springfield Could Pull Off a Tour With the Byrds

(It wouldn't be simple but it could definitely work.

Here's a step-by-step guide):
By Andy Greene
Nov 11, 2010 3:26 PM EST
Word is that Buffalo Springfield
will tour next year. But how exactly would that work? Neil Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash can command arenas and amphitheaters on their own, but Springfield can claim only one top forty hit, "For What It's Worth." It's hard to see them in anything bigger than theaters. Maybe what they need is another Sixties California folk-rock group to reunite and join the bill. In that case, what they need is the Byrds.
The Byrds, like Buffalo Springfield, have lost two members (Gene Clark and Michael Clarke). But the core group of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman is alive and well. The three did a series of shows as the Byrds around 1990, but haven't done anything since. If Buffalo Springfield do tour next summer, Stephen Stills will be available for the annual CSN tour freeing up Crosby to play with the Byrds.
The problem: Unlike Buffalo Springfield, the surviving Byrds aren't a good mix. Crosby has been bitching for years that McGuinn refuses to even consider a reunion. Chris Hillman is a born-again Christian and a Republican, meaning he's the polar opposite of Crosby. But this shouldn't matter. The Ramones toured the country in a van for twenty years while barely speaking. Certainly McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman can suck it up for a mega payday and to help secure their place in history.
The tour would involve three-quarters of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. So what role could Graham Nash play? The obvious answer would be to invite the Hollies. But Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds were L.A. folk-rock and the Hollies were a British Invasion group from a slightly earlier era. Also, their lead singer, Allan Clarke, has mostly lost his voice. Nash could cover most of the leads, as he did this year at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, but that wouldn't be ideal. And Nash's presence would practically require a CSNY set at the end of the night, which would reduce the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield to opening acts, and that would diminish the spirit of the whole enterprise.
Who would headline? The Byrds have a lot more hits, but you can't make Neil Young an opening act for anybody. They would have to co-headline, trading off who opens and closes. Then they'd need an opening act maybe, say, the Electric Prunes. Their bassist Mark Tulin has been working with Billy Corgan recently, and the Prunes still put on a great show.
Hey Live Nation, make Roger McGuinn an offer he can't refuse. We can make this thing happen.