Here's a real treat: Parade magazine conducted an interview yesterday with Micky Dolenz, Coco Dolenz, legendary photographer Henry Diltz, and Monkees producer Chip Douglas on their Facebook page in promotion of It's Christmas Time Once More, a collection of holiday classics recorded by Davy Jones.
The album, originally issued in 1991 as It's Christmas Time Again, was re-released in November 2020 after being given a contemporary treatment featuring Davy's original vocals along with brand new guest appearances by Micky, Coco, Henry, and Davy's singer/songwriter daughter Annabel Jones, all overseen by The Monkees' celebrated producer Chip Douglas (Headquarters, "Daydream Believer," and more).
It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to download on iTunes and stream on Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify. You can also purchase a compact disc edition from the official Davy Jones Shop.
Enjoy the interview below or watch it here.
In 1991, Davy Jones released the cassette tape It's Christmas Time Again. And now, almost thirty years later, the album has been given a contemporary treatment featuring Davy's original vocals, along with guest appearances by Micky Dolenz, Coco Dolenz, Henry Diltz, and Davy's singer/songwriter daughter Annabel Jones, all overseen by celebrated Monkees producer Chip Douglas.
Douglas was at the helm for The Monkees' two most acclaimed albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., as well as some of their best single sides, including "Daydream Believer," "Goin' Down," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Words," and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." He recently talked about the opportunity to revisit Davy's early '90s holiday collection. "This was a rare chance to remix and enhance these recordings by adding the lovely voice of Davy's daughter Annabel whose heartwarming vocals on 'White Christmas' and 'Silent Night' were well above and beyond my expectations," Douglas told Rolling Stone. "Micky and Coco Dolenz beautifully enhanced 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and Henry Diltz, and other friends, added just the right gusto to 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing.'"
"Singing with my dad on this record was an extremely beautiful and healing experience," Annabel said in a statement. "What a gift to be able to share a moment like this!"
The Monkees delivered their first-ever holiday album, Christmas Party, via Rhino Records in 2018. That album featured posthumous contributions by Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012.
It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to download on iTunes and stream on Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify.
People has just published an interview with Annabel Jones where she speaks about singing with her father and much more.
Rolling Stone is also covering the release of Davy's Christmas album.
The Associated Press included Davy's Christmas album in a laundry list of reviews spotlighting current holiday releases:
Get ready to get in the holiday mood with Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Goo Goo Dolls, Jamie Cullum, Davy Jones, Keedron Bryant, Leslie Odom, Jr. and more
UPDATE 12/5/2020: It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to purchase on compact disc from the official Davy Jones Shop.
If you are in the area, join Coco Dolenz, her brother Micky, Monkees keyboardist Alex Jules, and guitarist Peter Andrews as they take the stage at The Coffee Gallery in Altadena, California this Saturday, November 16. Check out the link below for more information and how to obtain tickets to the show!
Gemma "Coco" Dolenz (Vocals)
John Billings (Bass Guitar)
"As it always does, news like losing a friend and coworker always hits you from out of nowhere and leaves you stunned. In the end, I remember he and Pam taking me to breakfast in 2013 at the end of a long run on the road, us 3 praying together when the food arrived. I had not seen Peter do that before, so it was a real comfort to me then and it is especially now.
Here's what I like to remember:
He loved busting me on my bass parts, but also would take time to listen to my headphones I had nearby, with that iso'd bass track cue'd up. He'd smile and say "Oh yeah, it does go that way." Then he'd walk off and smile at me during the show when that part would pop up live.
He was always kind to me. Yeah, all of us on that stage had our moments with each other in this band, but he was a gentleman. Always.
Great hugger. Always greeted you with one.
In San Francisco, I had had a particular rough morning trying to return a rental car, running uphill to the hotel, pack to leave on the bus...everything conspiring against me to not be on time and feeling not so pleasant. Amy Don Billings was saying good bye to me to return home, it was chaotic and I was throwing suitcases under the bus...not one of my finer moments....Peter grabbed Amy, looked after her and brought her over to me. She still talks about that simple kindness he showed her to this day.
He wasn't The Clown, but he loved to clown around.
Loved, and I mean LOVED the blues.
Great smile. Just real.
Always quick to sign things for me whenever I asked. Always.
Didn't mind me being a goofy photographer and snapping his picture whenever. Never once said "no".
Loved his woman and did not mind PDA. That dude showered Pam Grapes with so much affection. They could be like teenagers. It was sweet.
Loved his kids. Treated his step children like his own. That of course spoke volumes to me, made him even more of a good man.
Knew more about music theory than I did. I just pretended to know and nod when he'd start lecturing me on the finer points.
Goodbye Peter. I hope you see all our friends and family now that you're home."
(Courtesy of John Billings on Facebook)
Rich Dart (Drums)
Christian Nesmith (Guitar)
Circe Link (Vocals)
Sandy Gennaro (Drums: 1987, 1996-1997, 2001-2002)
Wayne Avers speaks to The Monkees Live Almanac about "The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show" and the touring band
On June 1, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will begin their first tour as a duo at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, Arizona. Entitled "The Monkees Present: The Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz Show," fans have already been promised a set list full of surprises and deep cuts, and the 17-date tour is likely to be one of the most unique in the live performance history of The Monkees.
Longtime Monkees guitarist and musical director Wayne Avers recently spoke with the Live Almanac about the upcoming concerts. "The Nez and Micky combination gives us a chance to play some songs that have never been played live by The Monkees before," Wayne said. "It's also the 50th anniversary of the movie Head, so we will highlight some of the songs from its soundtrack. And of course, besides all of the new selections added to the set list, we will play all of the classic Monkees hits everyone loves to hear."
Wayne also revealed the musicians that will constitute the backing band, and the lineup includes both familiar and fresh faces. "We have added steel guitarist Pete Finney (from Nez’s First National Band) and Paul Kramer from Nashville on fiddle/banjo/guitar so we can replicate the more country-influenced songs of The Monkees more accurately."
Wayne Avers / Guitars & Vocals
Wayne Avers is no stranger to Monkees fans. He has been a part of The Monkees' family since the group's 30th Anniversary Tour in 1996, acting as musical director and handling lead guitar duties. Wayne has performed onstage with all four Monkees at Wembley in 1997, appeared twice on The Tonight Show with the group, and took part in The Monkees' massive 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2016. Residing in Nashville, Wayne is an ardent collector of guitars. "I play the guitar because I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964," he told the Live Almanac in April 2017.
Christian Nesmith / Guitars & Vocals
Christian is Michael's eldest son and first joined The Monkees' touring band upon his father's return to the group in 2012. His songs have been heard in both film and TV (Blades of Glory, The Hills Have Eyes, Lionheart) and he has composed commercials for companies ranging from AOL to ESPN to Starbucks. His theater credits include being the musical director for the first ever production of Hair in Moscow, Russia. Christian was also musical director for Hair in Los Angeles in 2007 (which also featured Circe Link), and that production was awarded Best Musical of the Year by LA Weekly. In 2016, Christian contributed greatly to the arrangement of "Birth of an Accidental Hipster," a key track from The Monkees' album Good Times!
John Billings / Bass
John Billings was introduced to the Monkees family by Wayne Avers. "Wayne had been in the Monkees circle for nearly 20 years and had, at that time, run Micky Dolenz's band. The bass chair opened and Wayne brought me into the fold," John told Epiphone.com. John resides in Nashville, where he owns a recording studio. When performing with The Monkees live in concert, John received some good advice from Avers on how to approach the songs. "Wayne gave us a fundamental direction," John said. "Go back to the records."
Rich Dart / Drums
Rich Dart began his association with The Monkees in 2010 when he started playing drums for Micky Dolenz during his solo performances. He joined The Monkees' backing band in 2012 when Micky, Michael, and Peter Tork delivered a series of concerts in honor of Davy Jones. Rich has had an eclectic career as a free-lance percussionist. He has played with various symphonies, jazz groups, theater troupes, rock bands, country bands, and percussion ensembles. Rich also played drums for Avenue Q on Broadway and for its first national tour, and traveled with a production of Pippin.
Pete Finney / Pedal Steel Guitar
Paul Kramer / Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar
Paul Kramer is a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter, and this Nesmith/Dolenz tour will mark his first association with The Monkees. Paul has toured with nationally known recording acts including Gary Allan, Travis Tritt, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, and the Special Consensus Bluegrass Band. His fiddle and mandolin stylings have graced the recordings of Lionel Cartwright, Suzy Bogguss, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Buddy Spicher & Vassar Clements, and Carolyn Martin. He has released three CDs: Swing Street, The Bloggrass Boys and Low Budget Christmas. He currently performs with several bands including Paul Kramer & Swing Street, 50 Shades of Hay, The Grassaholics, Nashville Fiddle Mafia, and on the General Jackson showboat. (Biography courtesy of 50shadesofhayband.com)
Alex Jules / Keyboards & Vocals
Alex Jules is new to the band (replacing longtime Monkees keyboardist Dave Alexander) and is a New York born and raised rock and roll singer/songwriter now based in Los Angeles. You can sample some of Alex's work on SoundCloud.
Coco Dolenz / Vocals
Micky's sister, 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. She has been touring with The Monkees since 2012. You can also hear Coco at Micky's solo shows, 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."
Circe Link / Vocals
Circe Link joined The Monkees' band for the first time in 2014, performing backing vocals with Coco Dolenz, and more recently performed with Michael Nesmith's First National Band Redux. A singer, songwriter, and musician in her own right, Circe has previously described her music as ranging from "Cowboy Jazz to Alternative to Americana." She has recorded several albums, including a live CD from a successful tour of Japan. Circe writes, records, and performs with her companion, Christian Nesmith.
Be sure to get your tickets to see Micky, Nez, and the band this June. And stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for more updates soon!
UPDATE 3/9/2019: When "The Mike & Micky Show" returned to the road in March 2019, Paul Kramer was no longer featured in the lineup. Probyn Gregory is the newest member of the touring band and plays guitar, banjo, and trumpet. You can read more about Probyn in this March 2019 post from the Live Almanac's blog.
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.
Coco will also appear with former Wings guitarist Denny Laine when Laine celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the group's famous 1976 U.S. tour on August 27 in Westlake Village, California:
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."
In comments left on the post Coco also noted that Micky was present at the session, which saw work completed on "Love's What I Want" and "A Better World."