This article, submitted by longtime friend of the Live Almanac Al Bigley (who is also co-host of the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion podcast), features a conversation with The Monkees during a West Coast promotional tour for their 1968 feature film, Head. Peggy King reports in the December 7, 1968 edition of the Oakland Tribune on The Monkees' feelings about the end of their NBC television series, including what King calls their "famous Flying Saucer episode," Michael Nesmith's ruminations of future Monkees activities, discussion of a double album (that never came to fruition), filming the TV special that became 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, and more. A highly recommended read for Monkees fans!
This photo of The Monkees, previously seen on social media and various online outlets, was seemingly taken during this Oakland Tribune interview:
And don't forget to listen to the latest episode of the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion!
On October 1, 1968, The Monkees were greeted rapturously as they arrived in Japan to perform a series of live concerts in that country for the very first time. One of these historic shows was filmed (most likely during the two day, three-concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) has long existed as a bootleg (complete with Japanese voice introductions before each song), but much to the chagrin of Monkees fans, the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System] in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
I first acquired a cassette tape of this particular concert in the late 1980s that ultimately relayed a sprightly and resolute performance by The Monkees, exhibiting just how far these four individuals with disparate musical backgrounds had come to achieving a "group" sound in a relatively short amount of time.
For years, Monkees fans have clamored for some sort of official release of this concert, even if it was just the audio portion as it seems the video footage has seemingly been lost to time. In the latest twist of this long-sought after piece of Monkees history, Live Almanac contributor Justin Rakowski has commenced a project to restore the original Japanese concert bootleg. In an effort to present the cleanest audio possible while also removing the invasive voice introductions before every song, Justin has "demixed" the audio. For those that aren’t familiar with "demixing," Justin relayed some details to the Live Almanac. "It’s essentially the process of using specific programs that can run a algorithm on a mono track and separate out individual signals like vocals, guitars, bass, and drums," Justin said. "The inherent problem with the Japan concert is not only the mono mix but the narrator that talks over the beginning of each song."
Justin talked more about the challenges of his project. "Obviously the parts where the announcer talks is the hardest area to fix. It's easier when the announcer is not talking over The Monkees' performances. Even when there is commentary over the instrumental beginning of each song, I can remove the announcer, but the music underneath sounds like someone is playing with the volume knob so the music cuts in and out, leaving some bars with no recoverable information. So what I’ve done is flown in other parts of the song in to fix those areas."
And now, here are the initial results of Justin's experiment! While we're all doing our best to hunker down during this international health crisis, take a listen to Justin's work and keep your fingers crossed that the video of this concert finally emerges!
"Last Train to Clarksville" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I Wanna Be Free" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"D.W. Washburn" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"It's Nice To Be With You" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I'm a Believer" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Salesman" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
For "Salesman," Justin has offered up something special:
"Enjoy this 'what if' video using my newly demixed track of 'Salesman' synced up with edits of the 8mm Australia tour footage posted by Iain Lee's RareMonkees YouTube page."
In this sequel to Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees Songs, One By One, authors Michael A. Ventrella and Mark Arnold look at the careers The Monkees had outside of the TV show and the band: From Micky’s early appearances as "Circus Boy" through Peter’s financial and legal problems to become a respected performer with his band Shoe Suede Blues, to Davy’s frustration with record labels and his many solo albums for his fans, to Michael’s evolution from country rock founder to the creator of MTV and video technology ahead of many others. They look at the various reunion concerts, the movies and plays, and the ups and downs of their varied careers, all with insight and humor.
Below is commentary found on the back cover of Headquartered: A Timeline of the Monkees Solo Years, courtesy of Dean Friedman:
"Some people are so ignorant as to imagine that The Monkees are not a 'real' band. That’s crazy! That’s like saying that lemon meringue pie is not 'real' food. They’re both an inspired synthesis of disparate wholesome, delicious, natural ingredients combined, orchestrated and executed with expert skill and sublime results. What this book makes irrefutably clear is that all four Monkees were consummate professionals – talented musicians and skilled performers, all – producing strong, creative, original, yet inexplicably unheralded, music recordings and video content before, during and after their frenzied 'Monkees' moment. Never underestimate a 'pop star.' There’s always more to them than you could ever imagine. This book proves it. I will always love lemon meringue pie. And I will always love The Monkees."
Thanks a lot to Ronald Vazquez for sharing this photograph taken during The Monkees' appearance at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri on August 5, 1967. Check out Nez with a Rickenbacker!
Be sure to stop by and look around the fantastic Written In Our Hearts Facebook page where they recently shared this undated photograph of Davy Jones onstage in the 1960s:
Thanks a lot to David Lillicot for sharing some clippings and articles from his personal collection, all centered around The Monkees' tour of Australia in September 1968.
These ads promote The Monkees' appearances at Sydney Stadium on September 21 and 28, 1968:
David also had the opportunity to interview Davy Jones in a piece published in UK music magazine NME in 1968. Davy talks about the movie Head, songwriting, and more:
Japan experienced the first rebirth of The Monkees in the 1980s even before Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork reunited for the mega-successful 20th Anniversary Tour of North America in 1986. When "Daydream Believer" was used in a Kodak commercial in Japan in 1980, Monkeemania was rekindled as the group's television show returned to the airwaves and Monkees albums were reissued, causing them to chart in that country once again. Demand for The Monkees was so high in Japan that Davy, Micky, and Peter (with The New Monks) all toured there individually between 1981 and 1982, playing to extremely enthusiastic audiences.
Thanks to Iris at Iris' Little Monkees Corner for sharing these 1981 clippings of Davy and Peter in Japan!
Earlier this afternoon, Rolling Stone magazine's website published an interview with Michael Nesmith conducted by Andy Greene. In it, Nez speaks openly about a wide array of topics and people, including the post-Monkees days with Red Rhodes, his relationships with Peter Tork and Davy Jones, touring with Micky Dolenz in early 2020, the scope of The Monkees' legacy today, the recently issued Cosmic Partners live album from 7a Records, and much more:
UPDATE: Rolling Stone followed-up their interview with Nez by putting the spotlight on the opening track of his 1972 album, And the Hits Just Keep on Comin':
In 2014 the former president of The Monkees Unofficial Fan Club (published in the early 1980s), Michael Luciano, passed along images and newspaper articles to the Live Almanac from his private collection that documented The Monkees' appearance at Curtis Hixon Hall on August 1, 1969. Yesterday, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that particular concert, I shared the post from 2014 on the Live Almanac's Facebook page, which generated considerable attention.
And now, Michael has been kind enough to provide the Live Almanac with more exclusive coverage of this show, starting with this piece originally published on August 7, 1969 in the St. Petersburg Times:
Also from the August 7, 1969 issue of the St. Petersburg Times is a photo of Micky Dolenz performing in Tampa:
And thanks to Michael, we can enjoy this wonderful photo of Davy Jones onstage with the band that supported The Monkees in 1969, Sam & The Goodtimers:
Finally, here's a photo of fans and the crowd assembled at Curtis Hixon Hall:
Thank you very much to Michael Luciano for sharing these fantastic pieces from his collection with The Monkees Live Almanac!!
An Evening With The Monkees 2020