And now for something completely different. Here's a blast from the past.
The New Monkees television series was the brainchild of Steve Blauner, a former partner of original Monkees producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. Inspired by the The Monkees' 1986 revival, auditions for the series were held at the height of the 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. The reaction from Monkees fans (as well as Micky, Davy and Peter) along with the general public was swift and largely unflattering.
The group consisted of Jared Chandler (bass and vocals), Dino Kovas (drums and vocals), Marty Ross (guitar and vocals), and Larry Saltis (lead guitar and vocals). The series premiered in syndication in the fall of 1987 (while Micky, Davy and Peter were in the middle of their tour that year). Twenty two episodes were originally ordered, but due to low ratings, only thirteen were ultimately produced. An accompanying eponymous album also sank quickly as The New Monkees failed to make any dent in pop culture at the time. The series has not found its way to DVD and the album is long out of print.
From all accounts it appears Kovas had been a Monkees fan from the beginning. In this interview he speaks of collecting Monkees records as a kid, and moving on to the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart LP as well as the works of The First National Band. And this YouTube video seems to show a pre-New Monkees Kovas doing his best karaoke to a sped up version of "Oh My My."
The New Monkees celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2007 in Los Angeles, an event that sparked their first live performance. Below is the most extensive piece I've seen written about the group, and it includes a complete filmography that lists each episode along with a brief description. This article originally appeared in the July 1995 issue of Television Chronicles.
Today, the New Monkees project seems to be nothing more than a rarely discussed curio. The video below the article comes from the Live Almanac's YouTube Channel and features coverage of the auditions. A future blog post will include an interview from this same issue with Marty Ross.
(For easier reading, click on each image and then click on it again.)
Interview with Wayne Avers