The Monkees

^^^I've actually seen that "New Monkees" show, unfortunately. :D It was lame, the guys playing the group weren't funny or interesting, and it didn't stay on long, maybe 2 or 3 episodes. Micky is right about it being a stupid idea, lol. I'm not sure but I think Micky might be talking about Don Kirshner when he says someone is an idiot. They had problems with him in the 60s (especially Mike) and got him fired. But I don't know if Don was involved in the New Monkees or not.
Just in case anyone interested in seeing the Monkees, guess what? In the Metro yesterday there was an article about the Monkees touring soon after 45 years in the UK. The article said three of the original members: Peter Tork, Davy Jones, and Micky Dolenz are due to do a 10 date tour in May in Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, and Birmingham. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
woohoo!!! I am going to plan on making one of the US dates, thanks for the info!
Micky's and Peter's audition tapes have been found!

I bought chewing gums, in every package you got a picture of someone in the Monkees.
In the back of the picture you got a piece of a picture and you had to buy more chewing gums to get more pictures to get all pieces in the puzzles.
Of course you got pictures you already had and friends had them too so you couldn´t change.

It was a long time ago but I think I most have loved the Monkees then.
[h=1]Q&A: Michael Nesmith on His Surprising Return to the Monkees[/h][h=2]'I feel this is the start of the ending for me here . . . the end of the beginning'[/h][h=3]by: Andy Greene[/h]<!-- --> <!-- -->Michael Nesmith
Courtesy of Michael Nesmith

When Davy Jones tragically passed away in February, many Monkees fans presumed it was the end of the group. Even members of the band thought it was probably over. "There is a faint chance we'll continue," Peter Tork told Rolling Stone. "I don't know whether we could structure something without Davy. I had a couple of thoughts, but I don't know if they're workable."
What he didn't count on at the time was former Monkee Michael Nesmith returning to the fold. With the exception of a short European run of dates in 1997, Nesmith hasn't participated in any of the Monkees many reunion tours since their split in 1971.

As Rolling Stone announced this morning, he's had a change of heart and the three surviving members of the band will hit the road in November. We spoke with Nesmith via e-mail about the reunion tour and his other future plans.

When I spoke with Peter and Micky shortly after Davy died, they said they hadn't really spoken to you since the 1997 European tour. Where and when did you guys first begin communicating?
We reconnected at a private memorial for David the three of us arranged that was held at a private home.

What made you want to return to the band after all these years? Is this something you'd been contemplating for a while?
I never really left. It is a part of my youth that is always active in my thought and part of my overall work as an artist. It stays in a special place, but like things in the past it fades in and out in relevance to activities that are current. Getting together with old friends and acquaintances can be very stimulating and fun and even inspiring to me. We did some good work together and I am always interested in the right time and the right place to reconnect and play.

Any regrets about not joining them on their tour last year? Were you ever tempted to guest for a song or two last year?
No. It was, as usual, a question of schedules and timing and the focus of our individual work. Had there been an opportunity to join them I would have – but we were out of sync schedule wise.

How will the show address Davy's absence? Will songs he originally sang be included?
David's presence and his past will be throughout the show. He will be missed in his absence, but very much on our minds and in our heart. We will include some of the songs he sang, and do our best.

What sort of setlist can fans expect? Are there certain rarities you're hoping to bring back? Has the band been assembled yet?
We are focusing around Headquarters – our first real sojourn as a band – but the setlist will include all the Monkees fans expect. There are songs of mine and Peter's that have not been performed that we will play. The three of us will play the Headquarters material as we did in the studio – but the shows backing band for the other material will be the same as the last tours – with the exception of the inclusion of my son Christian on guitar.

Is there any talk of recording new material?

Are you interested in continuing with the group after this string of dates ends in December?
Continuing is a big word. If you mean receptive to more concert dates, as I say I am always interested – but much will depend on the logic of events.

I've heard you might go on a solo tour and perform material from your RCA albums. Is that the case? If so, when might that happen?
Yes. But more than the RCA albums. There is a lot of material around later work in video that is fun to play as well. I am doing a short four-concert tour in October in the U.K. And I am looking at a longer solo tour in the States in the spring of '13.

I also heard you want to write a book. What are the plans for that?
I am in that process. This will be my third book – the first two are novels and this will be a type of nonfiction. I use "type" as an equivocator since there is some fiction in it. It is more amarcord than autobiography, more a study of events past in my life and times and how they fit together than a recollection. Vidal made the distinction in his book Palimpsest between the memoir and the autobiography – and that's a good definition for this new book – a kind of memoir – and Tropic of Cancer is another good way to look at the mixture of true stories and fictionally enhanced but real events. (Not to presume to compare myself with Miller or Vidal.) No publisher yet.

Fans haven't heard much from you in a very long time. Now there's all these projects seemingly at once. What's the impetus for all this?
I feel this is the start of the ending for me here – or more precisely, as Churchill had it – the end of the beginning. Now is the time.

[h=3]They don't worry about their place in rock history. Besides, they're too busy singing on their reunion tour.[/h]By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
4:18 PM PST, November 9, 2012

The Monkees haven't toured together in more than four decades, so it seemed only logical that at a rehearsal this week in North Hollywood, the band's three surviving members might not be in sync.

But two days ahead of a short reunion tour that began Thursday in Escondido, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork communicated in a secret language as if it were still 1969.
In the middle of a long jam, Nesmith, 69, took his hands off his vintage-style Gretsch guitar and began addressing Dolenz in an elaborate sequence of arm and hand signals (think of ground crew guiding a plane in at LAX). Dolenz, 67, quickly answered in similar body language from behind his gold metal-flake drum kit. Tork smiled.

Nesmith, who hasn't taken part in a full-fledged U.S. tour with the other Monkees since 1969, then translated. "This means," he said haltingly as he continued gesturing, "chili … dog … with … cheese."

You can take the man out of the Monkees, but … well, you know where this is going.
Humor is a key element in the camaraderie among these men, who along with the late singer Davy Jones vaulted to fame in 1966 with their hit TV show "The Monkees" and the string of recordings they made for each week's episode. Even though they were originally hired to portray a zany famous rock band on TV, the songs made bona-fide pop stars out of the four amateur actors-musicians.

Following their first run-through of the whole set at a dress rehearsal Wednesday in Escondido, Nesmith exhibited genuine curiosity, and a little nervousness, when he asked a visitor how the show would come across: "Do you think Monkees' fans will like it?"

Nesmith has reason to question how they'll be received since the band will be touring without one of its lead singers, who was the British heartthrob of the band in the TV series. The reunion tour, which plays the Greek Theatre on Saturday, follows Jones' death this year of a heart attack. He'd toured periodically with Dolenz and Tork since the Monkees released their final album in 1970 and is being saluted in this round of shows through photos, film footage and recordings of some of his songs.

"Of course we miss Davy," Tork, 70, said, "and it's sad to be playing without him. But when Davy, Micky and I were touring, it was sad to play without Mike."

Over the years Nesmith skipped most of the Monkees reunions, citing commitments related to his solo career — including running the Pacific Arts music and video label he launched in the '70s, producing films (including "Repo Man") and writing two novels. (Nesmith trivia: He produced music videos for Lionel Richie's 1983 single "All Night Long (All Night)" and Michael Jackson's 1987 hit "The Way You Make Me Feel.")

But behind the scenes, Jones made remarks during the '97 British tour that hinted at tension with Nesmith, and the 2011 Monkees tour ended prematurely because of reported disagreements Dolenz and Tork had with Jones regarding business facets of the tour.

That's all water under the bridge. "This show, it's not about a loss, it's not a memorial," Nesmith said. "It's acknowledging the gain and the contribution that David made. At this time of our lives, we don't have illusions about what this is: It's about the good work we did."

The Monkees' career lasted barely four years but yielded four No. 1 albums, half a dozen Top 10 singles, three of which reached No. 1, a TV series that's become a comedy classic that still airs around the world and the avant-garde 1968 film, "Head," which reflected the anarchic zeitgeist of the late-'60s while satirically relating the story of the Monkees' rise from creative puppets to masters of their own fate.

"There's no other story like it in entertainment," said music historian Andrew Sandoval, author of the 2005 career diary "The Monkees." "They released their first single in August 1966, the show premiered in September, and by January they'd won their fight for artistic control. It's as if the contestants on 'American Idol' came in one day and said, 'Fire the judges and the producers, we're taking over.' "

That refers to the famous showdown between the Monkees — with Nesmith leading the charge — and music world impresario Don Kirshner, who controlled the music the group recorded, largely from his bevy of esteemed Brill Building songwriters including Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and Neil Diamond.

Kirshner also had an authoritarian hand over how the band's records were made and packaged. The contributions of ace Hollywood studio musicians who played most of the music on the group's first two albums, "The Monkees" and "More of the Monkees," went largely uncredited, creating the impression that all the music was played by Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith and Tork.

"When they handed me the second album and there were no musician credits on it, I started to smell a rat," Nesmith said. "My position was, 'If you don't need me for this. Replace me. Tell people, "Michael died. Here's the new guy, his name isn't Michael, it's Bubba." ' But the reaction was, 'No, you're right, there is something good here.' That's where the [1968 film] 'Head' came from.

"We thought it was a huge victory," he said. "It was hard fought and it was brutal but it was worth it.... We came up against a corporate monster and just said no — and not in the Reagan-era sense of the word. In that sense, people recognized we don't need to be making stuff up. If you look at what we're actually doing, it takes your breath away."

That bit of pop history will underscore this tour, a portion of which will be devoted to their third album, 1967's "Headquarters," the first after the battle the led to Kirshner's ousting.

"It's the first album we were the musicians on, the first which we had creative control over," said Tork, who performs and records with his own band, Shoe Suede Blues, when he's not occupied with Monkees business, while Dolenz has kept active in musical theater and recently released a new solo album, "Remember." "We were very pleased with ourselves — rightly or wrongly — with that album."

The reunion show also will include all the songs from "Head," the experimental film written by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson.

Today the Monkees have no shortage of fans, and not all of them are boomers. The TV show went into syndication in the 1970s, then became a major hit with a new generation at the dawn of MTV, which ran episodes three times a day in the 1980s, leading to a major Monkees revival. Their original studio albums were reissued and returned the group to the Billboard charts two decades after it formed.

Nesmith, a pioneer of video music who received the first music video Grammy Award 20 years ago, recently set Monkees fans abuzz when he wrote on his Facebook page that Jimmy Fallon was begging to sing "Daydream Believer" in Jones' place on the upcoming tour, then subsequently teased that Kevin Spacey was lobbying for the job.

"I think I was just channeling Mike of the Monkees, reconnecting with his impish self," he said. "I started to see from the feedback of [fans] responding to the notion about who should sing 'Daydream Believer' where it fit into so many people's lives."

But of the fans who bemoan that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has never inducted the Monkees, group members aren't among them. "It's their museum [and] I don't feel the least bit slighted, or snubbed in any way," said Nesmith, the Texas-born musician famous for his green knit beanie and who was originally pigeonholed as "the smart Monkee."

"The Monkees will be wherever they belong — I have a lot of confidence in that because of where we have popped up, in the right places, over time," Nesmith said. "Put the Monkees in the Smithsonian if you want to do something worthwhile in terms of memorializing the band's place in the culture."

Back in the day the Monkees' legitimacy was often questioned by those out of grade school, but it was never an issue for the band they were partly modeled after, the Beatles.

"The Beatles always got the whole Monkee thing," Dolenz said, adopting a Liverpudlian accent to quote John Lennon: "It was John who was the first one to say, 'It's like the Marx Brothers.'"

"The Monkees were in the mix with most of the lions of rock 'n' roll," Nesmith said, "but we got there by special permission because of the TV show. None of us are fooling ourselves into thinking we are one of the great classic-rock bands. We are kind of an iconic garage band, sort of the inmates taking over the asylum, and we have a lot of fun."

This spring, Michael Nesmith will embark on his first US solo tour since the early 1990s. Announcing the tour today on Facebook, Nez will play fifteen concerts around the country. “I have accepted a few dates here for solo concerts starting west and heading east. I'm putting the players together now, about fifteen dates in all,” Nesmith wrote.

Dates and venues will be posted here as they become available.
The Monkees - The Complete Series On Blu-ray
Release: January 2016

&#8226; All 58 episodes, newly remastered in stunning HD from the original negatives for the very first time, plus the 1969 TV Special &#8220;33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee&#8221;
&#8226; Bonus material featuring commentaries from all four Monkees, original Kellogg&#8217;s Monkees commercials, and more
&#8226; The 1968 Monkees film &#8220;HEAD&#8221; in HD with never-before-seen outtakes
&#8226; Unique packaging including a 7&#8221; of two previously unreleased TV mixes
&#8226; Strictly limited to 10,000 individually numbered sets
&#8226; Only available at

50 years ago today on September 8, 1965, when producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider placed a classified ad in The Hollywood Reporter seeking &#8220;4 insane boys,&#8221; they had no idea that they were about to unleash Monkee-mania! But that&#8217;s exactly what happened the following year when the first episode of &#8220;The Monkees&#8221; debuted on NBC on September 12, 1966.

On the 50th anniversary of that fateful casting call, Rhino is excited to announce the upcoming release of the entire series (58 episodes) in stunning high-definition Blu-ray for the very first time, painstakingly restored from the newly located original film negatives. The 10-disc Blu-ray collection with also include the 1968 cult-classic &#8220;HEAD,&#8221; along with many never-before-seen outtakes from the film. It&#8217;s the beginning of many surprises planned to celebrate The Monkees&#8217; 50th anniversary in 2016.

While we don't have final package art yet, we will be revealing it soon, along with behind-the-scenes making-of videos and samples of the stunning new transfer vs. the current versions, plus plenty of surprises, like this original TV spo...y 50 years!

Shipping January, THE MONKEES - THE COMPLETE SERIES ON BLU-RAY is now available for pre-order exclusively at This fan edition is individually numbered and is strictly limited to 10,000 sets &#8211; this WILL sell out quickly, so place your pre-order now!
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May 27, 2016, 9:54 AM ET ABC News

Here it is! The Monkees' first studio album in 20 years was released today.

"Good Times!" celebrates the band's 50th anniversary and features new contributions from surviving members Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. It also includes tunes written especially for the project by a variety of respected modern-rock artists.

Nesmith told ABC News that he was pleasantly surprised with "Good Times!"

"I thought it came out great, and the songs that people have been writing for it I thought were great," noted Nesmith.

"It just came together like an ordinary record, but because it was our 50th [anniversary], we knew it was gonna be kind of a touchstone, so everybody had high hopes for it," he continued. "And then when it came out like it did, it was like, 'Holy smokes, this actually…sounds good!' And so, we were thrilled."

The album includes tunes written by Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Oasis' Noel Gallagher, The Jam's Paul Weller, XTC's Andy Partridge and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard. Nesmith said he especially liked Gibbard's contribution, "Me and Magdelana," as well as a track that Weller and Gallagher co-wrote, "Birth of an Accidental Hipster."

On "Me and Magdelana," Nesmith trades lead vocals with Dolenz. He said that working with his old band mate on the parts for that song, and other tracks, was one of the things he most enjoyed about making the album.

"It was very easy 'cause we worked together for so long," he pointed out, adding that "having the different writers gave us so many more things to say and so many more opportunities at a good time. Ha! No pun intended."

"Good Times!" certainly shares many elements with The Monkees' classic 1960s material, including infectious melodies and jangly guitars.

Still, Nesmith feels that the new album is more than a trip down memory lane.

"The thing that I think works so good about the new record is that it really is in the moment," he insisted. "It's happening right now. These are real people, right now, singing it in this real time."
by Denise Crosby Aurora Beacon-News February 20, 2017

Fermilab Scientist Herman White and Assistant Director for Communications Katie Yurkewicz show Micky Dolenz the 15th floor of Wilson Hall during a tour of the lab in Batavia. (Fermilab / Handout)

As you can imagine, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory gets lots of really smart visitors to its Batavia site, among them high-ranking politicians and some of the world's top scientists, including Nobel Prize winners.

But Fermilab staff members were so excited about last week's guest, many of them were standing in the conference room looking out the big window to the entrance as they anxiously awaited the arrival of &#8230; 1960s pop star Micky Dolenz.

When it comes to celebrity fandom, those physicists aren't monkeying around.
Dolenz &#8212; an actor, musician and director best known for his gig with the iconic group the Monkees on TV &#8212; contacted Fermilab archivist Valerie Higgins back in November about taking a tour of the facility.

Turns out the multitalented entertainer has been a physics geek since middle school when a teacher ignited his passion for the subject. And he had visited the Batavia lab in 1970, while starring in a play at Pheasant Run Playhouse, when the gigantic accelerator tunnel was first being built.

The reason for this recent call: He was giving a concert in St. Charles and wanted to know if he could donate the 16mm film he'd taken from that tour nearly 50 years ago, as well as drop by for another visit.
Higgins, of course, was more than ready to roll out the red carpet. Only 30, she's far too young to have watched the television show featuring the Monkees in their prime &#8212; it only ran from 1966 to '68 &#8212; but knew all the songs from the records her mom had kept over the years.

Perhaps even more excited was Fermilab senior scientist Adam Lyon, who is associate division head for systems for scientific applications.
<aside class="trb_ar_sponsoredmod" data-adloader-networktype="yieldmo" data-v-ymid="ym_1606461062581172542" data-role="delayload_item" data-withinviewport-options="bottomOffset=100" data-load-method="trb.vendor.yieldmo.init" data-load-type="method"> </aside>Just typing that title tells me I'm in way over my head interviewing this guy. Thankfully, the very personable Lyon and I talked mostly about his own Monkees fandom. Now 47, he said he grew up watching the successful pop group in syndication, and, it turned out, his wife, Caryn, is a huge fan from watching the Monkees on MTV in college.

Even after learning about Dolenz's interest in physics, Lyon and Higgins both were "blown away" by the amount of knowledge Dolenz knew as they and other Fermilab staff gave their guest a four-hour tour of the facility. That included the Main Ring: the original four-mile-round particle accelerator ring Dolenz saw being built in 1970.

According to Lyon, Fermilab stopped using the Main Ring in 1997 and built a new accelerator in a new tunnel to feed particles into the Tevatron. Still, much of the Main Ring is intact with many magnets still in place.

Dolenz also got a tour of the remote operations center, the DZero and Tevatron, the MC1 building and Muon g-2 Experiment, and toured the MINOS underground neutrino area. And throughout the day, even surrounded by some of the brightest people in the world, he "held his own," said Higgins, which delighted those really high-IQ folks to no end.

But their guest, she added, also was excited that he could talk to people about particle physics, as he described it, "without their eyes glazing over."

Despite having a concert the next day, Dolenz joined a group of scientists for a TGIF gathering at the on-site pub, staying until 10 p.m. conversing with physicists about such topics as the gravitational wave discovery, the Higgs Particle and the large Hadron Collider.

"It was clear he was just so happy to be in a room where everyone understood physics," said Higgins.

"I've been a fan of particle physics for my whole life. My first email address back in the early'90s was Higgs137," Dolenz said later in an interview with Fermilab staff.

Of course the rest of us have no idea what that means, but it turns out he's referring to both the Higgs boson and the number of the fine structure constant, a number former Fermilab Director Leon Lederman observed as one of the most recurring in physics.

I, for one, still don't know what that means &#8212; but I'm happy to report that, even after all that smart talk, Fermilab hosts could still see the other side of the Monkee known as the goofy one.

"He was playful, funny, friendly and eager," noted Higgins, "but also very intelligent."
By Andy Greene | February 20, 2018 | Rolling Stone

The Monkees' Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz are hitting the road in June for their first-ever tour as a duo. They're calling the tour The Monkees Present: The Mike and Micky Show (as opposed to simply "The Monkees") because their fellow surviving bandmate Peter Tork is not participating. Though the set centers around the classic group's vast catalog, Nesmith and Dolenz plan to roll out deep cuts and rarities.

"It will be very different than a Monkees show," Nesmith told Rolling Stone in January. "I mean, it'll be Monkees music, but there's no pretense there about Micky and I being the Monkees. We're not. We're the remnants."

The Monkees reformed in 1986 shortly after MTV put their old television show into heavy rotation, earning them an entirely new generation of fans. With the sole exception of a brief fun of U.K. show in 1996, Michael Nesmith didn't participate in any of the reunion tours. Shortly after the death of Davy Jones, however, he stunned fans by returning to the group for three consecutive summer tours. He participated in their 50th anniversary LP Good Times! in 2016, but he stepped away from their touring outfit, leaving Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork to continue as a duo.

On September 16th, 2016 Nesmith - who resurrected his early 1970s country rock band the First National Band in early 2018 - played a show with the group at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles that was billed as a farewell to "Monkee Mike." He doesn't view this tour as a reversal of that decision. "This isn't Monkee Michael and Monkee Micky going out," he told Rolling Stone. "[But] we're using the Monkees logo and name to promote it."

Peter Tork explained in a press release that he was skipping the tour to focus on his upcoming Lead Belly tribute album, Relax Your Mind. "I have in general made no secret of the fact that all these recent years of Monkees-related projects, as fun as they’ve been, have taken up a lot of my time and energy," he said. "Moving forward, I have blues projects that I want to give my attention to, hence Relax Your Mind. So, I'm shifting gears for now, but I wish the boys well, and I've learned to never say never on things further down the line."

Nesmth also hinted that there might be slightly more to Tork's decision than the need to focus the Lead Belly album. "I'm afraid I would betray a confidence if I said any more than, 'This is not a right time for him,'" he told Rolling Stone. "He has his reasons. They are very private."

Even without Tork, the tour will be a great chance for Monkees fans to see Dolenz and Nesmith explore parts of the catalog that past tours have neglected. "These 16 special performances will feature songs that span the group's entire career – from its 1966 eponymous debut to 2016’s Good Times," reads the press release. "The shows will highlight many of Nesmith's compositions, including some that have never been performed live."

"I love being onstage with Micky," Nesmith says in a statement. "We've been collaborating for over 50 years, so it's hard to believe it’s never been just the two of us. I'm excited to dust off some tunes that I haven’t played for a long time too."

Dolenz concurs. "Right from the get-go, I admired Mike's songs," he said in a statement. "When we used to get together around the campfire to sing in the early days, we were always doing his songs. We always had such a great a vocal blend; he was the one who encouraged me to write songs of my own. I've always been a big fan and now we finally get to do the Mike & Micky show that we riffed on back when we were shooting The Monkees."

Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith Tour Dates

June 1 - Chandler, AZ @ Chandler Center For The Arts
June 2 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Orpheum
June 3 - San Diego, CA @ Humphrey’s
June 5 - Anaheim, CA @ The Grove
June 6 - Saratoga, CA @ The Mountain Winery
June 8 - Stockton, CA @ Bob Hope Theatre
June 9 - Stateline, NV @ Harrah's Lake Tahoe
June 12 - Denver, CO @ Paramount
June 14 - Chicago, IL @ Copernicus Center
June 15 - Huber Heights, OH @ Rose Music Center
June 16 - Cleveland, OH @ Cain Park
June 18 - Toronto, ON @ Sony Center
June 19 - Kitchener, ON @ Centre In the Square
June 21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Keswick Theatre
June 22 - New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
June 25 - Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
by Andy Greene October 10, 2018 Rolling Stone

Two years ago, the Monkees stunned a lot of people — especially themselves — when their 50th anniversary album Good Times! hit Number 14 on the Billboard 200 and earned them some of the best reviews of their entire career. There was a lot of talk about a followup, but nobody could agree on what direction to take. “We really caught lightning in a bottle with Good Times!,” says singer Micky Dolenz. “I remember people asking about a Good Times! 2, but that didn’t fire me up. It felt too risky to try doing that again.”

But then Rhino threw out the idea of a Monkees Christmas album, which the group somehow never did during their Sixties heyday or at any of their many reunions. Once Good Times! producer Adam Schlesinger signed on to project and everyone from Rivers Cuomo to XTC’s Andy Partridge, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and even novelist Michael Chabon agreed to write songs, the idea became just too good to pass up. “It all came together so fast,” says Dolenz. “You have no idea.”

Christmas Party (out Friday) is a mixture of new songs, like the Rivers Cuomo–penned “What Would Santa Do” and Andy Partridge’s “Unwrap You at Christmas” (which you can hear below) and classics like Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and “Silver Bells.” There’s also a few left field takes like Alex Chilton’s “Jesus Christ.” Dolenz sings lead on the majority of the songs, but Michael Nesmith tackles “The Christmas Song” and “Snowfall.” “He didn’t want to write a Christmas song,” says Dolenz. “But when he heard about the project he went, ‘Hmmm. I think I’d like to do a couple of classics.'”
There are also two songs (“Silver Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka”) that feature the late Davy Jones on lead vocals. They were recorded many years ago when he created his own Christmas album, though new instrumentation has been paired with his original vocals. “The originals weren’t even full-blown recordings,” says Dolenz. “They were demos, but thank goodness they had good, clean vocals.”

Perhaps the most interesting song on the album is “House of Broken Gingerbread,” which Schlesinger wrote with Michael Chabon. The lyrics describe a surreal scene at a Christmas celebration where “mistletoe is hanging by a thread” and “the misfit toys just shake their head.” “Boy,” says Dolenz. “What crazy lyrics!”

Peter Tork didn’t participate in the last Monkees tour and hasn’t been seen much in public over the past year. His sole contribution to the record is a banjo-driven rendition of “Angels We Have Heard On High.” “I love the fact that he put banjo on a Christmas song,” says Dolenz. “He’s had his health issues and we’re sending him good wishes.”

The album wraps up with a bluesy rendition of “Merry Christmas Baby” with Dolenz on lead vocals. “I hope I wasn’t kidding myself when I did that,” he says. “My pre-Monkees roots were Otis Redding, Fats Domino and Little Richard. I wear that hat on that song. I just didn’t want to embarrass myself.”

There are no plans to promote Christmas Party with any sort of live work, but Dolenz and Nesmith are returning to the road in March to play the four dates they had to postpone this year when Nez underwent quadruple bypass surgery. “Nobody knew, especially him, what was wrong and how bad it was,” says Dolenz. “The tour might have helped save him because if he’d just been sitting home watching TV, he might not have noticed how sick he was.”

Gearing up the Monkees machine for a mere four dates seems like a lot of work, but Dolenz says there’s “definitely a possibility” they’ll add on more shows to the itinerary. For now, though, he’s just happy that Nesmith is back in good health. “When I saw him again a few weeks back it was pretty emotional,” he says. “We’re really like brothers in that there’s so much unspoken and understood that can be said with just a glance.”

He’s also still in shock that the Monkees are still releasing new music after all these years and there’s actually an audience for it. “It’s just crazy,” says Dolenz. “The equivalent to Good Times! going Top 20 would have been someone like [Italian opera star] Enrico Caruso, who was popular in 1917, having a Top 20 record in 1967.”
By Chris Morris November 2, 2018 Variety

The rough, sometimes druggy genesis of the American independent movie business of the ‘60s and ‘70s was recalled by Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith of the Monkees during a sold-out 50th anniversary American Cinematheque screening of the band’s ill-fated feature film “Head.”

Looking out into the Egyptian Theatre before the film unspooled, Dolenz drolly asked one audience member, “You’ve seen it? Can you tell me what it’s about?”

The evening was hosted by the Monkees’ Boswell, producer Andrew Sandoval, who asked for a show of hands of how many in the crowd were returning “Head” cultists and how many were seeing it for the first time. The 60 percent or so making return trips were hugely enthusiastic, but Sandoval wasn’t making any promises to the 40 percent newbies, warning dryly, “We’ll see how many of you are here when we’re done.”

Relentlessly post-modern and lacking anything even vaguely resembling a conventional plotline, “Head” was the feature debut of director-writer Bob Rafelson, who co-wrote the film with then 31-year-old Jack Nicholson. Rafelson and creative partner Bert Schneider’s company Raybert had produced the hit NBC series “The Monkees,” which made stars of its fictitious, fabricated “rock band” — Dolenz, Nesmith, Peter Tork and David “Davy” Jones. (Ten years ago this month, Tork and Jones came to the same theater for a 40th anniversary screening, so now every member of the Monkees has been to the Egyptian to defend — or just share bemusement about — the movie.)

Using every au courant film technique at their disposal, the production team created a determinedly non-linear film that played further tricks with the already self-referential, self-parodying roles familiar to viewers of the Monkees’ Beatles-inspired show. It made for head-spinning moviemaking — and it also utterly confused, perplexed and alienated the group’s young fans, and maybe even its stars.

Released months after the cancellation of “The Monkees” by NBC, “Head” brought the band’s two-year run as a hit-making machine to an abrupt halt. Moreover, the film itself was a colossal, virtually unseen flop that essentially ended the quartet’s career. However, like all things Monkees, it was ultimately embraced in later decades by the Pre-Fab Four’s cable-bred latter-day cult.

Viewed today, “Head” plays at dizzying and somewhat fatiguing speed. The film careens from one parody to another, spoofing Westerns, prize-fighting pictures, science fiction and, most notably, war movies (as the film was shot at the height of the Vietnam conflict). Its quick-cut visual bombardment employed color-blasting solarization, multiple exposures, jazzy optical printing, vault footage (from Rita Hayworth in “Gilda” to TV car salesman Ralph Williams) and a live concert sequence shot in Salt Lake City.

Though music seldom gets in the way of its antic shape-shifting, “Head” sports a couple of wonderful song sequences: a brightly solarized rendering of Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Porpoise Song,” shot underwater in the Bahamas, and Jones’ show-stopping song-and-dance reading of Harry Nilsson’s poignant “Daddy’s Song,” performed with the film’s choreographer Toni Basil.

Following the picture’s conclusion, Nesmith and Dolenz returned to the dais, with the latter quipping in mock relief, “I’m so glad none of you left — or at least not many.”

The musicians noted that the style of “Head,” and in fact the entire emerging creative scene in Hollywood during the late ‘60s, centered around youthful, hip talents — Nicholson, actor Harry Dean Stanton, artist Ed Ruscha — who were then just beginning to garner attention. Nicholson, previously best known for his work on Roger Corman’s exploitation films for American-International Pictures, was “the king of those guys,” Nesmith noted.

“Along came these young bucks,” Dolenz recalled, referring to such talents as Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (whose huge 1969 biker hit “Easy Rider” would be released through Raybert). This new generation of directors, writers and actors were intent on “breaking down the old traditional Hollywood paradigm.”

Both Rafelson and Schneider had family roots in Old Hollywood: The former was the nephew of Ernst Lubitsch’s screenwriter Samson Raphaelson, while the latter was the son of Abraham Schneider, who succeeded Harry Cohn as the head of Columbia Pictures. The younger Schneider took a radical route, winning a 1975 Academy Award as the producer of “Hearts and Minds,” Peter Davis’ Vietnam War documentary.

Nesmith noted that the use in “Head” of a notorious and shocking piece of Vietnam news footage — General Nguyen Ngoc Loan’s summary execution of a Viet Cong prisoner on a Saigon street in early ’68 — upset him so much that he couldn’t watch the rest of the film at an early screening. But Schneider was insistent on using the scene, telling the musician, “No, it’s anti-war, and it’ll have a big effect on the war.”

“Bert was very politically motivated and very left-wing,” Dolenz said, while Sandoval added bluntly, “Bert and Bob were both provocateurs.”

New ideas called for new techniques, both Nesmith and Dolenz noted. When the script for “Head” was being developed, the Monkees spent some time in Ojai, tossing ideas around with Nicholson and Rafelson. “We stayed pretty stacked up that whole weekend,” Nesmith recalled. “Rafelson said, ‘We’ll just riff.’ Nicholson was the king of riffing… He kept us all really high.”

“Jack came over to the house a number of times…[and] talked and smoked a bit,” Dolenz remembered. “He was getting insight into our personalities.”

Yet, in the end, despite significant creative input from the Monkees, Dolenz admitted, “I’m not sure what it’s all about… I don’t know exactly what Bob and Bert had in mind.”

From these group sessions emerged a movie with a unique structure: The first and last sequences in “Head” feature a leap off Long Beach’s Gerald Desmond Bridge.

“The movie does not have a beginning or an end — it’s circular,” Dolenz said. He recalled that at a New York party to launch the film that drew such art world luminaries as Andy Warhol, the feature ran simultaneously on five unsynchronized Moviolas, allowing attendees to drop into the “story” wherever they liked.

Ultimately, moviegoers decided to drop out on “Head” completely. Poorly reviewed when it was reviewed at all, the feature swiftly disappeared off American screens. Its abject failure and the cancellation of “The Monkees” hastened the departure of Peter Tork from the group in early 1969; the remaining members called it quits in 1970. Many reunions would follow from the ‘90s on; Nesmith and Dolenz noted their plans for more duo concert dates in 2019. (A Monkees Christmas album featuring Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork was also released last month.)

While Schneider (who died in 2011) and Rafelson went on to make such commercial and artistic successes as “Five Easy Pieces” and “The King of Marvin Gardens,” the cataclysmic flop of “Head” robbed the producers of an outrageous bit of advertising copy.

Dolenz recalled that when he asked Rafelson about the cryptic title of the movie, the director replied, “When we make our next movie, we’re gonna be able to say: From the Producers Who Gave You ‘Head.’”
by Harrison Smith February 21, 2019 The Washington Post

The Monkees, in 1966, featured Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith. The made-for-TV pop band spawned a frenzy of merchandising, record sales and world tours that became known as Monkeemania.

Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

The death was announced by his official Facebook page, which did not say where or how he died. Mr. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

If the Monkees were a manufactured version of the Beatles, a “prefab four” who auditioned for a rock-and-roll sitcom and were selected more for their long-haired good looks than their musical abilities, Mr. Tork was the group’s Ringo, its lovably goofy supporting player.

On television, he performed as the self-described “dummy” of the group, drawing on a persona he developed while working as a folk musician in Greenwich Village, where he flashed a confused smile whenever his stage banter fell flat. Off-screen, he embraced the Summer of Love, donning moccasins and “love beads” and declaring that “nonverbal, extrasensory communication is at hand” and that “dogmatism is leaving the scene.”

A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Tork mostly played bass and keyboard for the Monkees, in addition to singing lead on tracks including “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again,” which he wrote for the group’s psychedelic 1968 movie, “Head,” and “Your Auntie Grizelda.”

At age 24, he was also the band’s oldest member when “The Monkees” premiered on NBC in 1966. Not that it mattered: “The emotional age of all of us,” he told the New York Times that year, “is 13.”

Created by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, “The Monkees” was designed to replicate the success of “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!,” director Richard Lester’s musical comedies about the Beatles.

The band featured Mr. Tork alongside Michael Nesmith, a singer-songwriter who played guitar, and former child actors Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, who played the drums and sang lead, respectively. Like their British counterparts, the group had a fondness for mischief, resulting in high jinks involving a magical necklace, a monkey’s paw, high-seas pirates and Texas outlaws.

“The Monkees” ran for only two seasons but won an Emmy Award for outstanding comedy and spawned a frenzy of merchandising, record sales and world tours that became known as Monkeemania. In 1967, according to one report in The Washington Post, the Monkees sold 35 million albums on the strength of songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” which all rose to No. 1 on the Billboard record chart.

Almost all of their early material was penned by a stable of vaunted songwriters that included Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Diamond, David Gates, Neil Sedaka, Jeff Barry, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. But while the band scored a total of six Top 10 songs and five Top 10 albums, they engendered as much critical scorn as commercial success. In one typical review, music critic Richard Goldstein declared, “The Monkees are as unoriginal as anything yet thrust upon us in the name of popular music.”

When the Monkees landed in Tokyo in 1968, around 1,000 fans gathered to see them arrive.

Detractors pointed to the fact that the band, at least initially, existed only in name. While the Monkees appeared on the cover of their debut album and were shown performing on TV, their instruments were actually unplugged. The songs were mostly done by session musicians — much to the shock of Mr. Tork, who recalled walking into the recording studio in 1966 to help with the group’s self-titled debut.

He was “mortified,” he later told CBS News, to find that music producer Don Kirshner, dubbed “the man with the golden ear,” didn’t want him around. “They were doing ‘Clarksville,’ and I wrote a counterpoint, I had studied music,” Mr. Tork said. “And I brought it to them, and they said: ‘No, no, Peter, you don’t understand. This is the record. It’s all done. We don’t need you.’&#8201;”

After the release of the band’s second album, “More of the Monkees” (1967), Mr. Tork and his bandmates wrested control of the recording process and wrote and performed most of the songs on records including “Headquarters” (1967) and “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” (1967).

They also started touring, playing to sold-out stadium crowds and backed by opening acts that briefly included guitarist Jimi Hendrix. But as Mr. Tork’s musical ambitions grew, leading him to envision the Monkees as a genuinely great group of rockers, he began to clash with bandmates who saw the Monkees as more of a novelty act.

He left the group soon after the release of “Head,” a satirical, nearly plot-free film flop that featured a screenplay co-written by actor Jack Nicholson. Mr. Tork seemed to have taken his cue from musician Frank Zappa, who made a cameo in the movie, telling Jones’s character that the Monkees “should spend more time” on their music “because the youth of America depends on you that show the way.”

For much of the 1970s, Mr. Tork struggled to find his own way. He formed an unsuccessful band called Release, was imprisoned for several months in 1972 after being caught with “$3 worth of hashish in my pocket,” and worked as a high school teacher and “singing waiter” as his Monkees wealth dried up. He also said he struggled with alcohol addiction — “I was awful when I was drinking, snarling at people,” he told the Daily Mail — before quitting alcohol in the early 1980s.

By then, television reruns and album reissues had fueled a resurgence of interest in the Monkees, and Mr. Tork had come around to what he described as the essential nature of the music group, which he joined for major reunion tours about once each decade, beginning in the mid-’80s, in addition to performing as a solo artist.

“This is not a band. It’s an entertainment operation whose function is Monkee music,” he told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper during a Monkees tour in 2016. “It took me a while to get to grips with that but what great music it turned out to be! And what a wild and wonderful trip it has taken us on!”

He was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942. His mother was a homemaker, and his father — an Army officer who served in the military government in Berlin after World War II — was an economics professor who joined the University of Connecticut in 1950, leading the family to settle in the town of Mansfield.

Both parents collected folk records and bought him a guitar and banjo when he was a boy. Peter went on to take piano lessons and studied French horn at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where he reportedly flunked out twice before settling in New York City. At coffee shops and makeshift folk music venues, he performed with the shortened last name Tork, which had been emblazoned on one of his father’s hand-me-down sweatshirts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Tork played with guitarist Stephen Stills before moving to Long Beach, Calif., in 1965. Stills moved west as well and auditioned for “The Monkees” after the show’s producers placed an advertisement in Variety calling for “4 Insane Boys, Ages 17-21.”

When Stills didn’t get the part — purportedly on account of his bad teeth — he suggested that Mr. Tork audition. “I went, ‘Yeah, sure, thanks for the call,’ and hung up,” Mr. Tork later told the Los Angeles Times. “Then he called me a few days later,” finally persuading Mr. Tork to try out.

He later appeared in episodes of television shows such as “Boy Meets World,” playing the love interest Topanga’s guitar-strumming father, and in recent years performed with a band called Shoe Suede Blues. Mr. Tork also released a well-received 1994 solo album, “Stranger Things Have Happened,” and partnered with folk singer James Lee Stanley for several records.

Mr. Tork’s marriages to Jody Babb, Reine Stewart and Barbara Iannoli ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Pamela Grapes; a daughter, Hallie, from his second marriage; a son, Ivan, from his third marriage; a daughter, Erica, from a relationship with Tammy Sustek; a brother; and a sister.

Many of the Monkees reunion tours were conducted without Nesmith, who inherited a fortune from his mother, the inventor of Liquid Paper, and worked as a country-rock musician, songwriter and producer after the band first split up. Nesmith returned to performances after the death of Jones, the Monkees’ singer, in 2012, which helped spur a 50th anniversary reunion tour and album, “Good Times!,” four years later.

And while the Monkees were dogged by reports of squabbling and frequent tensions — Mr. Tork was once head-butted by Jones and said he dropped out of a 2001 tour because he had a “meltdown” and “behaved inappropriately” — Mr. Tork insisted that they were at their best when they were together. Their musical chemistry was special, he said, even if it was the result of a few producers looking to cast a few handsome men for a television show.

“I refute any claims that any four guys could’ve done what we did,” he told Guitar World in 2013. “There was a magic to that collection. We couldn’t have chosen each other. It wouldn’t have flown. But under the circumstances, they got the right guys.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So sorry to hear we lost <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PeterTork</a>. The Monkees never got the respect they deserved. Their music catalogue remains one of the richest in Pop History. Thanks for being such a big part of my childhood &amp; beyond, Pete. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIPPeterTork</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">JF: My thoughts about Peter Tork <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PeterTorkRIP</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; They Might Be Giants (@tmbg) <a href="">February 22, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Very sad news... <br><br>R.I.P. Dear Peter... &#128591;&#127995; <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Julian Lennon (@JulianLennon) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our hearts are broken by the loss of our life-long friend Peter Tork. He was a talented musician and gentle soul. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. <br>Much love, <br>Deana Martin <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Deana Martin (@DeanaMartin_) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Peter Tork was a member of my family; I loved him &amp; shared many yrs &amp; miles with him. Music was his greatest love &amp; he &amp; I spent copious hrs trying to get this song, &quot;A Better World&quot; out to the public. He felt the message deeply &amp; now it reminds me of him.<a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Andrew Sandoval (@cometothesun) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There are no words right now...heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork. <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#petertork</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#themonkees</a> <a href="">@TorkTweet</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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Michael Nesmith:
Pardon me if I am being dogmatic -- but I think it is harder to put together a band than a TV show -- not to take anything away from TV shows. These days I watch MSNBC -- mostly aghast at what I see -- and what I am missing is "madcap".

Peter Tork died this AM. I am told he slipped away peacefully.

Yet, as I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. It's going to be a rough day.

I share with all Monkees fans this change, this "loss", even so.

PT will be a part of me forever. I have said this before -- and now it seems even more apt -- the reason we called it a band is because it was where we all went to play.

A band no more -- and yet the music plays on -- an anthem to all who made the Monkees and the TV show our private -- dare I say "secret" -- playground.

As for Pete, I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever -- that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him -- a brother in arms. Take flight my Brother. - February 21, 2019 at 9:41 AM

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">RIP PETER TORK. A musician and member of the Monkees. We all watched this upbeat weekly homage to the Beatles. Condolences to his family. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) <a href="">February 21, 2019</a></blockquote>
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