Andrew Sandoval talks "50 Summers of Love," potential for a new Monkees album, and more on "Zilch" podcast
UPDATED @ 8pm EST: A great show by Andrew, and be sure to listen to Barry Mann's demo for "Love Is Only Sleeping" (at 5:26), a song The Monkees recorded in 1967, and appearing on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Thank you very, very much to Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Peter's Facebook Team, and Andrew Sandoval for their continued support of The Monkees Live Almanac. I'm honored. Please visit the homepage to read the generous comments they shared with me about the site!
50 years ago today, The Monkees commenced work on "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Andrew Sandoval documented the June 10, 1967 session at RCA Hollywood, one day after The Monkees' triumphant concert performance at the Hollywood Bowl, in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Gerry Goffin & Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is one of Chip Douglas's most complex productions for The Monkees. Sadly, session tapes will not survive for this landmark date so it is impossible to follow this wonderful creation step-by-step. The basic track is most likely recorded with Chip Douglas and Eddie Hoh forming the rhythm section of bass and drums while Michael and Peter perform on electric guitar and piano. Union documents indicate Micky is also present for this session, and it is quite possible that he contributes some acoustic guitar to the track. Additional guitar overdubs will be recorded tomorrow.
Chip Douglas: "Mike played the lead guitar. That was my riff that I threw in there and taught to Mike. Not many guitar players can play it the right way. ... It's kind of an offshoot of the Beatles song 'I Want To Tell You' but in a different tempo and with different notes.
"I wish I could hear the original demo, because I can't recall if I got a [lyric] line right or not. It's in the bridge, 'creature comfort goals can only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see.' For 'make it hard for me to see,' for some reason I had the impression that I didn't do the right line in there, or changed it possibly. I couldn't understand that line, or something like that. One of those great mysteries.
"I do remember seeing Carole King up at the Screen Gems office from across the room after we did 'Pleasant Valley Sunday.' She kind of gave me this dirty look. I thought, 'Was it that line that I got wrong, perhaps? Or didn't she like the guitar intro?' It was faster, definitely, than the way she had done it. She had a more laidback way of doing stuff."
Michael Nesmith: "I remember that we went after the guitar sound. Everybody was trying to get that great big present guitar sound - Beatle [amplifiers] in the studio, playing really loud trying to get the sound, and it just ended up sounding kind of ... like it does. Kind of wooden. There was a tube-type of limiter/compressor called a UREI 1176, and boy you could really suck stuff out of the track. That was the first time that we really could do it. I think everybody got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record."
On June 11 and 13, 1967, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was treated to overdubs, including backing vocals from all four Monkees.
In a 1982 interview with Bruce Pollack, Peter Tork discussed the blending of Micky and Michael's voices throughout "Pleasant Valley Sunday":
"A notion of mine that I was really pleased with took over at one point, and that was having two guys sing in unison rather than one guy doubling his own voice. So you've got Mike, who was really a hard-nosed character, and Micky, who's a real baby face, and these two voices blended and lent each other qualities. It's not two separate voices singing together, it's really a melding of the two voices. Listening to that record later on was a joy. "
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" was issued as Colgems single #1007 on July 10, 1967, right in the middle of The Monkees' ultra-successful summer tour that year. It was backed with "Words," written for the group by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The single is considered to be one of their most successful (certified Gold just four days after release), and it's worth noting that radio gave attention to both sides. As a result, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" peaked at #3 in Billboard while "Words" topped out at #11. The songs were later featured on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
This evening on his UK radio show, Iain Lee spoke with Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, the legendary new wave group responsible for songs like "Tempted," "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," and many more. Afterwards, Iain relayed details about the interview on Facebook, in which Tilbrook referenced The Monkees' 2016 album, Good Times!, while also hinting about writing for a future Monkees release:
"Um. How to say this. I literally just had Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze on my show. I said it was sad he wasn't asked to write a song for Good Times. 'Oh we were,' he said, 'but we couldn't fit it in. But they're doing another record and we're writing one for that...'"
No further information is available regarding Tilbrook's comments, but it should be noted that in a March interview Micky Dolenz raised the idea of The Monkees working together in 2017:
"We’re talking about another Monkee project. Nothing to announce at this point, but it’s in the air because this year is the 50th anniversary of our first real tour. So there’ll be stuff going on this summer and fall and then, well you just never know."
Stay tuned to the Live Almanac, and for a link to the Tilbrook interview once it's archived online.
UPDATE @ 8:40pm EST:
Joe, who owns Joe's Record Exchange in Fort Myers, Florida, has informed the Live Almanac that he received an email today from a record distributor regarding a brand new Monkees compilation coming this summer from Rhino Records. Here's what Joe had to say:
"I own a record store in Florida. I received an e-mail today from one of the distributors I buy new vinyl from, and it was about an upcoming Rhino promotion called '1967 Summer of Love.' There are 19 releases scheduled, and one is by The Monkees called Summer of Love. The only information given is that it is a 'New 1 LP and 1 CD compilation' with a scheduled release date of July 18, 2017."
It's unknown, of course, if this collection will contain any new Monkees music, and I'd like to stress that Rhino Records has yet to officially announce such a compilation. It's interesting nonetheless, on top of Iain's interview with Glenn Tilbrook. Thanks, Joe!
UPDATE #2 @ 10:30pm EST:
Andrew Sandoval, Monkees archivist and concert tour producer, spoke exclusively with the Live Almanac about the initial report above:
"No comment on recording, but we await any new Difford & Tilbrook song. Here's hoping."
Chris Difford is Glenn Tilbrook's songwriting partner in Squeeze. Thanks, Andrew!
UPDATE #3 on 5/10/2017 @ 4:15pm EST:
You can now listen to Iain Lee's interview with Glenn Tilbrook, and the Monkees discussion begins at the 2:00 mark.
UPDATE #4 on 5/23/2017:
Rhino Records has announced a new Monkees compilation, Summer of Love, as referenced in the first update above.
Andrew posted the following photo on his Instagram account:
In the era before DVDs and Blu-ray, Rhino Records released a limited edition (and numbered) 21-tape box set of The Monkees TV series in October 1995. Co-produced by Andrew Sandoval and featuring a packaging design made to look like a vintage television set, the box included the original 58 episodes along with the unaired version of the pilot, and 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
The collection was reissued in 1997 without the collectible watch that was included in the original release, and the boxes were not individually numbered:
DVD sets of both Season 1 and Season 2 appeared in the early 2000s. The series debuted on Blu-ray (with a bevy of bonus material) in 2016, just in time to celebrate The Monkees' 50th Anniversary.
To view the complete contents of the 1995 VHS box and to read the liner notes from its 48-page booklet, be sure to visit Monkee45s.net.
The Monkees, reduced to a trio after Peter Tork's departure, appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on June 17, 1969 (their visit being taped the previous day). They sang two songs, "Daydream Believer" and "Goin' Down," and were backed by their 1969 touring band, Sam & The Goodtimers. Here's the audio of their performance, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel:
Between songs, Carson conducted an interview with The Monkees, a segment that seemingly grew cringeworthy as Micky talked about things like Robitussin cough syrup and holograms. Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval documented the event in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Videotape of this appearance no longer exists. In the 1960s, NBC infamously erased old programming because tape was expensive, a move that later infuriated Carson after he asked for classic clips for a retrospective show and nothing was available. "No one was doing reruns, there was no home video, there was no cable TV, there was no other outlet," Carson's nephew Jeff Sotzing said in a 2012 interview. "There were only 3 television source outlets; ABC, CBS, NBC, that was it — they didn’t have any place to re-run them." It was after this occurrence that Carson requested that his shows be permanently archived. Sotzing went on to say that less than 1% of Tonight Show material from 1962 to 1972 has been accounted for, and to date, The Monkees' appearance is not part of the small amount of footage from that era to have survived.
This summer, Micky Dolenz will be performing in the 50 Summers of Love show, along with Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and The Raiders, and The Fab Four, a Beatles tribute band. The tour, which is being produced by Andrew Sandoval, will open on July 14, 2017 in San Diego, California at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Tickets for that show go on sale April 1, and be sure to stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for additional dates as they are announced.
Micky also has a host of solo shows scheduled for this year, so...he may be coming to your town!
And I must say that I'm in total accord with Andrew's song selection below!
Famed studio musician Louis Shelton, who played the famous guitar lick on "Last Train to Clarksville" and was featured on numerous Monkees songs in the 1960s, guested with Micky, Peter, and the band last night during the group's final show of their 50th Anniversary Tour in Gold Coast, Australia.
Andrew Sandoval marked the occasion in a message on Facebook:
A cool moment featuring the wonderful Louie Shelton, a Candy Store Prophet and a key component of the Boyce & Hart sound. What was really a thrill was how Micky & Peter performed "Last Train To Clarksville" tonight, like they were doing it for the first time in 1966. This was in fact the first time they had ever performed with the man who played guitar on so many of their classic recordings from 1966-1969.
Of note, this is the song they've played the most since they started performing in December 1966 (pre-"I'm A Believer"). We shared so much great history this year, and this along with the appearances of Michael and hearing Davy's voice every night brought home that there is still very much a real group called The Monkees.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval produced this year's 50th Anniversary Tour. Today on Facebook, he took a moment to reflect on the shows and more:
Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork played close to 50 different songs over the past 7 months, across 66 concerts in four countries (covering 30 of the 50 United States, Canada, New Zealand & Australia). We were joined by Michael Nesmith for four tremendous shows, one of which I think was maybe the best concert I have ever seen The Monkees perform.
This year, The Monkees had a new album called Good Times! that was a Top 20 charting album in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. This just blows my mind.
I have been proud to present The Monkees in concert for 160 shows from 2011-2016: the group's longest period of continuous activity since the 1960's.
We owe a great debt to our fantastic band: Wayne Avers, John Billings, Rich Dart, Gemma Dolenz & David Alexander. This year, we were blessed by having such wonderful guest musicians as David Robicheau, Vance Brescia & Felipe Torres.
Our tremendous crew pulled off a consistently great production. Thank you to Tim Iseler, Chip Auchincloss, Austin Becker & Sabrina Rush. We were helped immeasurably on a number of dates by Guy T. Koepp, Martin Garneret, Francis Sapienza, Noamme Elisha, Dave Butterworth & Matt Littlejohn. Special thanks to Scott Gawlik for his work on our videos and live concert filming.
Lastly, my extra special thanks to everyone who came to "watch us sing and play" in this wonderful five year period. Your support, trust and love have made it all possible.
Michael Nesmith recorded his 1978 album, Live at The Palais, at this venue in 1977: