This highlight from the first season of The Monkees aired 50 years ago tonight on NBC. The article also examines The Monkees' comments at the end of the show regarding the Sunset Strip riots (an event referenced later by Michael Nesmith in the song "Daily Nightly").
And check out all of the Gretsch gear below that was prevalent throughout this episode!
Over the last few weeks, longtime Monkees fan Jennifer Winkle has been sharing with the Live Almanac her rich collection of photos from Monkees concerts going all the way back to 2001. Jennifer has taken some great photos, and you'll be seeing them here on the blog and elsewhere over the coming months. Here's two from The Monkees' show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on December 2, the last night of the 2012 tour.
(Screenshot courtesy of the Sunshine Factory)
Last Friday evening, Michael Nesmith joined Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork for his first appearance on The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour. All photos in this slideshow are courtesy of Central Coast Photography, unless otherwise noted.
The Monkees are well-known for playing Gretsch instruments. Michael Nesmith used his blonde Gretsch guitar (Model 6076) on The Monkees television series, in the recording studio, and on the concert stage throughout the 1960s. Peter Tork employed a burgundy Gretsch bass guitar (Model 6073) and Micky Dolenz played a champagne sparkle Gretsch drum kit, both of which were also seen on The Monkees' TV show and onstage. Gretsch even made a one-off custom model bass guitar for Davy Jones.
When The Monkees arrived in 1966, Gretsch immediately produced a Monkees model guitar that was available on the market until 1968. GretschPages.com describes the Monkees guitar:
"The 6123 was fitted with two SuperTron pickups, it had real f-holes, and special features like a unique pickguard and truss rod cover sporting the Monkees logo, and a fretboard with thumbnail markers top and bottom."
Sales of the Monkees Gretsch, however, were disappointing. Despite the high quality nature of the instrument, Monkees fans didn't rush to buy it. Some Gretsch experts have even surmised that purists, perhaps caught up in the furor at the time about the group's nontraditional origins, were not interested in a customized Monkees guitar.
It is speculated that relatively few (maybe a couple of hundred) Monkees model Gretsch guitars were produced. This item had to be ordered directly from Gretsch by the given guitar store. Today, the Gretsch Monkees Signature Guitar is a highly sought after collectible that has been known to sell for thousands of dollars through online retailers like eBay.
Earlier this month, Monkees fan Justin Rakowski shared photographs of the Gretsch Monkees model guitar that's part of his personal collection. He told me the story about tracking one down and where he ultimately purchased it. Justin then suggested the possibility of cataloging all of the Gretsch Monkees guitars that might still exist, and I thought that was a great idea!
Over the last two weeks, I've had the great pleasure of exchanging emails with Wayne Avers, longtime lead guitarist and musical director in The Monkees' touring band. Wayne owns a Monkees model Gretsch (that was refinished in black years ago). He shared photographs and a great amount of information about these unique guitars, including famous musicians who own a Monkees model Gretsch.
This summer, The Monkees Live Almanac is attempting to catalog as many people as possible that possess a Monkees Gretsch guitar. Ideally, I would like each owner to provide a brief history about how and where they purchased their guitar, the amount of money they paid for it (if you care to share this information), along with a picture. Submissions will be organized together at a later date, and we'll start with Wayne Avers!
Please contact me by any of the following options below:
Monkees fans and guitar enthusiasts: please consider sharing this post on social media to help attract attention to this project!
Further information about instruments used by The Monkees, Gretsch, and more can be found by clicking the image below:
I attended The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour in Philadelphia recently with a few people, including my sister, who took this picture!
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."