Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones (along with Micky's sister, Coco) performed a series of shows at New York City's Riverboat Cafe (in the Empire State Building) in 1977. Here's a photo from their April 17, 1977 concert, courtesy of Judith Supple Hadlock.
Sandra Schock recently shared some of her Monkees artwork with the Live Almanac. Here's a great sketch of Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork with their touring band. For more of Sandra's artwork, be sure to visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
The Live Almanac would like to extend a warm thank you to Micky, Peter, and Michael Nesmith for all of the fun and excitement they brought to the road this year. I'd also like to recognize Andrew Sandoval, who produced the tour, along with the entire staff and crew that worked behind the scenes. Andrew was also kind enough to share photos of set lists from numerous shows on the tour with the Live Almanac, and that was much appreciated. If only Davy Jones had been around for it all.
With that being said, the 50th Anniversary concerts wouldn't have been the success they were without The Monkees' touring band: Wayne Avers (guitar/musical director), John Billings (bass), Rich Dart (drums), Dave Alexander (keyboards), and Coco Dolenz (vocals/percussion). Everyone involved with the tour should take a bow!
In the meantime, I'm going to begin work on my essay for the 50th Anniversary Tour page here on the Live Almanac, along with creating a page dedicated exclusively to Michael Nesmith's final concert with The Monkees at the Pantages Theatre this past September.
I would also like to take a minute to thank everyone for their constant support of this website and blog. I have been overwhelmed by your kind email notes and well-wishes. I continue to be astonished by the traffic flow the site receives!! I was also honored that The Monkees Live Almanac was mentioned this year in online articles published by industry websites like Billboard and others, and author Peter Mills gave a shout-out to the Live Almanac in his newly published book, The Monkees, Head, and the 60s (which I highly recommend):
John Wilson, Alan Adkins, Jim Catapano, Fred Velez, Patrick Zappi, Daniel Eckert, Mark James Melhi, Amy Collen, and Brian Marchese also deserve recognition. In honor of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary, they composed essays for the Live Almanac (and in Brian's instance produced a podcast) celebrating the group's history and impact, and their work has greatly enhanced this website.
Finally, a hearty thank you to John Hughes, Andrew Sandoval, Dan Wingate, and everyone at Rhino Records, who provided Monkees fans with two monumental releases this year. Good Times!, The Monkees' first studio album since 1996's Justus, shot to the upper echelons of the charts and captured the spirit of the group's '60s recordings, due in large part to Adam Schlesinger, who produced the LP. Rhino's Blu-ray set, which featured all of the Monkees episodes, Head, and 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee restored from their original prints (along with a bevy of bonus features), allowed The Monkees' legacy on film to jump into the 21st century.
Now, stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac in 2017 for all it will bring to Monkees fans!
Rich Dart has been the drummer in The Monkees' backing band since 2012, and he also supports Micky Dolenz during his solo performances. Today on Facebook, Rich reflected on The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour and how being associated with the Monkees organization has impacted the last decade of his life:
Tonight is the last show of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour and quite possibly the final Monkees show ever. It's been a long and amazing year. Who would have thought that ten years ago when I accepted a gig at the Goodspeed Opera House to play a production of Pippin that it would have led to this today?! I have been blessed to not only work with but become a close knit family with the great band of hard working musicians (Wayne Avers, David Alexander, John Billings and Gemma Dolenz). I have gained new friendships with a phenomenal crew whom without there would be no show (Tim Iseler, Chip Auchincloss, Austin Becker and Sabrina Rush - along the way Martin Garneret, Francis Sapienza, Guy T. Koepp, Noamme Elisha, and Dave Butterworth). We were fortunate to have some great musicians from our extended Monkees family join us at times (Vrandel Brescia, David Robicheau and Felipe Torres and of course Michael Nesmith) as well as getting to play with some amazing guest musicians from all walks of the industry and I have gotten to meet many people who I have been a fan of since my childhood. I have met numerous fans who have shown so much appreciation for the shows that I felt so blessed to bring joy to others the way this music has brought joy to me over the years. I want to extend a big thanks to all of these people but especially to the man who put it together, our manager and producer, Andrew Sandoval. Not only is is he a great person and a good friend but he is the only person I have met that knows more about the Monkees than I do and for those that grew up with me, you know that's pretty big in my book! LOL.
It has been one heck of a ride and tonight we head to Gold Coast, Australia for what will be a happy occasion as we once again give it our all to perform this amazing catalogue of music but also a sad one as it brings a gigantic chapter of my life to close. I cannot thank Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork enough for this incredible opportunity.
I return home on Saturday night to business as usual with a pop in at the Creamed Corn gig Saturday night (I know - I'm nuts) and a Greg Piccolo gig on Monday night. But tonight, I get to back the Monkees one more time.
Happy belated birthday to Monkees touring bassist John Billings, who celebrated the big 5-0 this past Friday in Los Angeles before The Monkees took the stage at the Pantages Theatre. Video is courtesy of his fellow band member, Dave Alexander.
Christian Nesmith posted this picture on his Facebook page just now showing Micky, Michael, and the band in rehearsals for this week's upcoming concerts in Tuscon and Phoenix, Arizona, and Friday night's big homecoming show in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre.
Circe Link and Christian Nesmith will once again be a part of The Monkees' backing band when Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork perform in front of a sold-out audience at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California on September 16. The show is already more than noteworthy as it will apparently be Michael's final live performance with the group.
When his father returned to the stage in 2012 for a Monkees tour that year after the passing of Davy Jones, Christian joined the band, playing guitar beside Wayne Avers. His companion Circe Link was welcomed aboard for the 2014 Monkees Tour. Both Circe and Christian have their own music careers, often recording and performing together.
As a preview of the Pantages show, here's Christian, Circe, and Micky Dolenz performing stellar versions of both "Porpoise Song" and The Beatles' "Good Morning Good Morning" during a special 2015 online performance:
You can read all about Christian, Circe, and the rest of The Monkees' backing band in the Live Almanac's archives.
John Billings has been the bass player in The Monkees' touring band since 2012. Here's a great interview with him that was conducted by Ken Mills over at Zilch. Enjoy!
Greg Briggler played trombone in The Monkees' touring band from 2001-2002.
Last August, Micky Dolenz joined Christian Nesmith, Circe Link, and company for a special online mini-concert. 7a Records will document this unique appearance with a new vinyl EP due this July!
John Billings, bassist in The Monkees' touring band, shared this photo on Facebook of Wayne Avers (lead guitarist in the band) and Vance Brescia backstage at last night's show at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. Brescia wrote The Monkees' 1986 comeback hit single, "That Was Then, This is Now," and joined Micky and Peter onstage last summer, too:
That is Wayne's very cool Gretsch that Vance is holding:
Vance also joined Micky and Peter onstage for the performance of "That Was Then, This Is Now."
John Billings has been the bass player in The Monkees' touring band since 2012. He recently shared some photos on Facebook from The Monkees' current swing through Florida.
Aviva Maloney, who first performed in The Monkees' touring band in 1996, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against The Monkees and Warner Music Group on Friday, April 1, 2016. Maloney was present for each successive Monkees concert tour until 2014. That spring, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork embarked on a short tour without Maloney in the lineup. She briefly returned to the backing band with her last appearances taking place in April 2015 in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
The complaint alleges that Maloney was replaced by a younger woman with no apparent disabilities, which seemingly refers to Circe Link, who accompanied The Monkees onstage for the first time in 2014. The suit states that Maloney was fired over the phone by Wayne Avers, who has acted as The Monkees' musical director and guitarist since 1996.
Here is the text of the Hollywood Reporter article regarding the lawsuit, which was published late this evening on their website:
A 57-year-old woman who toured with the band for nearly two decades says she was fired because she did not look good on stage and fell asleep at a rehearsal, according to the lawsuit.
An ex-musician for The Monkees says she was fired in a four-minute phone call after playing with the band for nearly 20 years and later was told it was because she didn't look good on stage, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday.
Aviva Maloney is suing Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, two founding members of The Monkees, Warner Music Group and others involved with the band's tours for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate disability and wrongful termination, among other claims.
Maloney, 57, plays saxophone, clarinet, keyboards and other instruments and says she was the first female member of the band when she joined them on their 30th Anniversary Tour in 1996.
She says she's been described as Davy Jones' best friend, and after his death in 2012, defendants gradually reduced her role in the band "because of her legally protected characteristics" including her age, sex and disabilities.
A few days after she was fired in 2015 by musical director Wayne Avers, Maloney claims Tork told her husband that she should join Overeaters Anonymous because she was eating to resolve emotional problems and didn't look good on stage. She claims Tork also complained that she didn't wear makeup on stage and had fallen asleep at rehearsal.
Maloney says she was diagnosed with lupus, which causes fatigue, and rheumatoid arthritis in 2003 and defendants knew of her illnesses because they were like family.
"Defendants failed to recognize that Plaintiff's falling asleep at a rehearsal, if it happened, may have been a symptom of her disabilities, warranting reasonable accommodation," states the lawsuit.
Her replacement is a woman under 40 years of age with no real or imagined disabilities, according to the complaint, which Maloney says is proof she was fired in substantial part because of her illness and age.
Additionally, Maloney claims defendants intentionally misclassified her as an exempt employee to avoid paying overtime and she wasn't paid what she was owed at the time she was fired.
She's suing for restitution, past and future lost wages and statutory and punitive damages.
Representatives of the band and WMG have not yet commented on the lawsuit.
Here's a photograph of Davy Jones and Aviva Maloney performing at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida on June 6, 2011.
(In comments left on the post, she also noted that Micky was present at the session.)
Coco has a long history with The Monkees. She provided harmony and background vocals on such Monkees tracks as "Shortly Blackwell," "Little Girl," "Midnight Train," and "Mommy and Daddy." She wrote for teen magazines in the 1960s at the height of her brother's fame, and in the late 1970s, she toured with Micky and Davy after the dissolution of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. In 1987, Coco released her own album, One Voice.
Coco has been a part of The Monkees' touring band since 2012, providing background vocals, harmonies, and percussion. You can hear Coco at Micky's solo shows, too, where she often duets with her brother on "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Crying in the Rain" while taking over on lead vocals for Michael Nesmith's own "Different Drum."
Andrew Sandoval provided a picture from the session on Facebook while revealing a new song title, "Better World."