Written by Cathy Hurley and Kevin Dillon, the two review various stops on the '97 UK tour in this article that originally appeared in the June 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine. The opening act for these shows, Nancy Boy, featuring Michael Nesmith's son Jason, is also spotlighted.
As you probably already know, the ever cynical British press wasn't so kind to The Monkees during their tour of the United Kingdom in March 1997. Television interviews from this time period often show seemingly tense exchanges between The Monkees and those who are conducting the interview (and sometimes with each other). The print articles were much the same, and this Q piece (factual errors and all) finds The Monkees in somewhat rare form. To read, click on each image and then click on it again.
The December 1997 issue of Guitar World magazine featured an extensive piece on The Monkees entitled "Monkees in the Middle." This is a rarely discussed article that I don't believe has been previously available online.
Published in the aftermath of the 1997 UK tour which saw Michael Nesmith depart the group, the article features comments from a clearly disgruntled Davy Jones, who doesn't hold back his feelings at the time about Michael, the UK tour, the Justus recording sessions and more.
A wide variety of other topics are also covered: the auditions; Raybert; Boyce & Hart; Jimi Hendrix; The Monkees and the counterculture; Frank Zappa; Head; Don Kirshner; Peter's friendships with Roger McGuinn, Cass Elliott, Stephen Stills and Jim Morrison; the television series; the group's recording career and more.
Personal thought: It seems wholly unimpressive on the author's part that he misspells Micky's name in this piece (over and over!). You'll probably note a few other small details that are off the mark as well. And his total misfire when assessing the albums Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and Head tends to leave one's head spinning. Despite these nit-pickings, parts of the article document a seemingly tumultuous time in Monkees history in the late 1990s and is presented for that purpose.
(Click on each image and then click on it again to enlarge.)
Below is the missing part of the article that should be between
pages 208 and 209. Thanks to Maggie McManus, former editor of Monkee Business Fanzine, who contacted Guitar World back in 1997 to retrieve for fans the missing section from the magazine.
. . . counterculture chic. They just couldn't.
The Monkees' reaction to psychedelia was, typically, a mixed one. Jones, for the most part, wasn't very impressed: "I never went to Woodstock or to the Monterey Pop Festival especially. Because I thought it would be all stoned out hippies, smoking dope and free love. And I didn't want to be showing my willie in the middle of a field."
Tork was the Monkee who got the deepest into hippiedom, embracing pacifism, spirituality and other standard hippie belief systems. His early friendship with the members of the Buffalo Springfield put him in good standing with the hip Sunset Strip social scene. He was friendly with Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas (someone else he knew from the old Greenwich Village folk scene) and with Janis Joplin. "I have fond memories of jamming with [Byrds leader] Jim [Roger] McGuinn," he says, "and just hanging out with Crosby and Stills. Jim Morrison came to my house drunk as a lord one night and was leering at all the women through the kitchen window outside. 'Hey, baybee.’"
Ambivalent and internally divided as ever, the Monkees began work on their first (and only) feature film, Head, in 1968. It has since become something of a cult classic. A true curio of cinematic history, the obliquely plotted movie occupies a genre niche all its own: a queasy mixture of Sixties art film, Beatles-eque romp and "acidploitation" freak out a la Peter Fonda's The Trip. Rafelson and Schneider were at the helm once again. But their co-producer/co-writer on Head was none other than Jack Nicholson, Rafelson's friend, who was then just at the start of his stellar film career. "We all went up to Ojai [a small, arty town an hour out of L.A.] and sat around for a weekend just talking into a tape recorder for hours and hours," Dolenz recalls: "Just rapping and going off into strange places. Jack took the tapes away and out of that, basically came the movie Head, which I'm very proud of."
Head is basically the Monkees' attempt to make a heavy Sixties statement, their opportunity to delve into all the controversial themes they'd been forbidden to touch on their TV show: the Vietnam War, the vicious cycles of corporate media and capitalist society in generally--all that lovely hippie shit. The film is also laced with a self-mocking sense of humor. Although they attribute much of this vein to Rafelson's dark sensibility, Head is essentially the Monkees attempting to join the counterculture by denouncing themselves as "plastic." In what is arguably the film's best cameo, Frank Zappa leads a cow across a soundstage while advising Davy Jones to work on his singing. To this day, Jones seems to harbor a certain resentment about the scene: "That was completely Bob Rafelson--Mr. Cynic--and Bert Schneider--Mr. Whacko. They have me do this little song and dance and then, in a sense, dampen my flame by having Frank Zappa standing there saying. 'Well, that was very white, man. Mooooooo. Not very good, was it?' But Frank was okay. We had him on another program. Frank was full of the fun of the fair. He knew what it was all about. It wasn't a personal putdown. He understood what we did."
The way Tork and Dolenz remember it, The Monkees weren't snubbed by their fellow musicians. That was more of a media pursuit. Like Tork, Dolenz socialized with the hippest rock stars of the day, including the Beatles and Hendrix. "The Beatles never had a harsh word to say," Tork recalls. "Janis Joplin never bad-mouthed us. When Jimi Hendrix was asked directly about all that, he said, 'Well, Peter and Mickey are sweet guys.' The people who bad-mouthed us were people who were not sure if they had careers of their own." "And the press," adds Dolenz. "Rolling Stone still hates us, to this day."
By 1968, the Monkees were feeling the musical consequences of starting out as a fictitious garage band, rather than a real one. There was no common vision. They hadn't originally banded together out of a shared love for a particular style of music, the way most...
Does anyone have a color version of this photo? If you do and wouldn't mind sharing, please contact me.
Longtime Monkees collector and expert Gary Strobl has apparently signed a deal to publish his long talked about book on The Monkees. Monkees and rock photographer Henry Diltz is part of the project. Strobl is also discussing the possibility of releasing live film footage from the 1997 UK tour.
This message appeared on the Forgotten Hits blog on Sunday:
How are you? Busy as a bee, I'm sure. Thank you for your amazing Forgotten Hits. I am reaching out to you and your readers to help me find the missing pieces of The Monkees puzzle. Henry Diltz and I along with Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik have recently signed a contract with Omnibus Press to put together a 500-page hardcover, full-color coffee table book on the original phenomenon of The Monkees. I am trying to track down anybody who may have been connected to or experienced the original Monkeemania. I am looking for interviews, original newspaper clippings, photos, radio station surveys, concert tickets, posters, etc. from the time frame of 1962 - 1973. Anybody who contributes to this project will get a proper credit in the book. I want to make this the most definitive book possible on The Monkees. I am sending you the PDF which defines the goal of this book. Our beloved David Jones told me on February 12, 2012, at the Burbank Marriott, "Gary, it's time to finish your book. I will help you get it done." We also talked about editing together the last seven concerts with all four Monkees that I shot in England in March, 1997. I want to fulfill these dreams for both David and me. I could sure use your help. Anyway, drop me a line when you have the chance. Here are a some photos from the last weekend I spent with David. David Keeler took these wonderful photos. I hope you and your family are in good health. Onward and upward!
(There was no contact information provided in order to submit items to Gary.)
Here's a complete concert from the 1997 UK Justus Tour in Bournemouth, UK at the Bournemouth International Centre on March 16, 1997. There have been various bootlegs from this tour floating around for years (both audio and video), but I have never seen video footage of the Bournemouth show.
This was uploaded on YouTube by Monkees fanatic Suzanne Gee. Thanks, Suzanne.
The Monkees were profiled in the February 15, 1997 issue of TV Guide during the leadup to their ABC television special and the UK concert tour. The group twice appeared on the cover of TV Guide in January and September 1967. (Click each image to enlarge.)
I just found this video on YouTube that was recently uploaded (I believe by former Monkees backing band keyboard player Dave Alexander) that shows The Monkees rehearsing "You and I" at Wembley Arena in 1997 during the Justus tour. The audio appears out of sync, but it's definitely interesting footage and something I haven't seen previously.
Live in 2021