A member of The Monkees' extended family has passed away from natural causes in California at the age of 79. Keith Allison was a friend of Michael Nesmith's from Texas who acted as a session musician on several Monkees recordings, including "Auntie's Municipal Court," "Zor and Zam," "D.W. Washburn," "Rosemarie," the studio version of "Circle Sky," and "Through the Looking Glass."
Mr. Allison composed "Auntie's Municipal Court" with Nez, and this enduring track from The Monkees' fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, was performed at every stop on the recently completed Monkees Farewell Tour. "I came up with the intro and I played two guitars on the track - one tuned down a full step," recalled Allison in an interview with Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval. "We broke for lunch and Mike had written most of the lyrics. He said, 'I'd better call Micky [Dolenz],' and he came down from Horseshoe Canyon and did the vocal right then and there. We finished the whole thing in one afternoon."
Ultimately enjoying a prolific career in music, Mr. Allison appeared on recordings by Sonny & Cher, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, and many others. Keith also toured with Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart in the mid-1970s and played on the group's eponymous album.
Multiple media outlets have noted Mr. Allison's passing, including the Hollywood Reporter, and their tribute can be read via the link below:
Eric Goulden, also known as Wreckless Eric, is an English rock/new wave singer-songwriter, best known for his 1977 single "Whole Wide World." More than two decades after its release, the song was included in Mojo magazine's list of the best punk rock singles of all time. Monkees fans surely are familiar with this classic track as in 1987, the group covered the song on Pool It!, their first album of new material since 1970.
Earlier this week on "Ericland," Goulden reminisced about his Monkees fandom, expressed appreciation to The Monkees for covering "Whole Wide World," and shared his thoughts on the current "Monkees Farewell Tour" after attending a recent show in Tarrytown, New York. You can read Eric's entry below:
The latest episode of The Monkees Pad Show features an exclusive interview with Barbara Hamaker, who worked in The Monkees' front office and also traveled with the group during their legendary 1967 summer tour. Known back then as "Barbara Monkee," she talks to host Joe Russo about her experiences with The Monkees during the height of Monkeemania, her interactions with luminaries like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Rafelson, and Bert Schneider, watching The Monkees jam with Frank Zappa, and much more. Enjoy this fantastic conversation via the link below, and be sure to follow The Monkees Pad Show on Facebook and Twitter!
Dave Evans was a screenwriter on The Monkees television series. He is responsible for the episodes "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers," "Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth," "Too Many Girls," "I Was a Teenage Monster," "Find The Monkees," "Alias Micky Dolenz," "The Christmas Show," and "Monkees Race Again." He also co-wrote "The Frodis Caper" with Micky Dolenz.
Watch episode 3 of The Monkees Pad Show, as Dave speaks with host JR about his personal friendships with each of the Monkees, writing episodes like "The Frodis Caper," his interactions with Charles Manson, working with Bob Rafelson & Bert Schneider, and much, much more!
Adam Schlesinger, who produced The Monkees' 2016 album Good Times! and Christmas Party (2018), passed away on April 1, 2020 at age 52 from complications of COVID-19.
Adam was a songwriter, musician, and record producer who was a member of the bands Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, along with the supergroup Tinted Windows, whose song "This Is The Day" was featured in There's Something About Mary. His notable achievements also included TV and film songwriting, which stretched from That Thing You Do to Music and Lyrics to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Fountains of Wayne was perhaps best known for the early 2000s hit single "Stacy's Mom," which was nominated for a Grammy.
Adam will be celebrated by a virtual concert show that will stream live at 8 p.m. ET on May 5, 2021 with all ticket proceeds benefitting MusiCares and The Bowery Electric, the Manhattan venue that recently reopened and where portions of the concert were filmed. Micky Dolenz is one of many special guest performers, which also include Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Sean Ono Lennon, Courtney Love, Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Drew Carey, Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5), and Adam's Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter, who spearheaded this tribute concert.
You can purchase your ticket to the virtual show now and read more about this special event below:
Rolling Stone: Courtney Love, Sean Ono Lennon, Micky Dolenz to Play Adam Schlesinger Tribute
Brooklyn Vegan: Adam Schlesinger virtual tribute ft. Courtney Love, Peter Buck, Sean Lennon & more
AP: Tribute planned for Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID-19
Last month The Monkees Pad video podcast debuted and was a resounding success, welcoming its first-ever guest, Monkees historian and author Andrew Sandoval. Now host Joe Russo has returned in Episode 2, featuring none other than Chip Douglas!
Long revered by Monkees fans, Douglas acted as producer of two of the group's most acclaimed albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., along with some of their best single sides, including "Daydream Believer," "Goin' Down," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Words," and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." Joe's brand new interview is all the more special since Chip has granted relatively few interviews in recent years. Highlights include an inside look at the recording sessions for Headquarters, original video, plus an exclusive airing of an unreleased vintage Davy Jones recording, "Bright Sunny Day."
Listeners can look forward to a "Part 2" of the interview where Chip discusses his work on the Pisces album and much more. For now, enjoy Joe's conversation with Chip Douglas below, and don't forget to follow The Monkees Pad podcast on Facebook. You can also read more about Chip in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac.
Neko Chohlis first met Micky Dolenz when the two attended college together in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. From that friendship with Micky, Neko became involved in the Monkees project, traveling with the group throughout 1967, and later providing artwork for Monkees albums and picture sleeves (seen below). Today, Neko is known for his work as an abstract artist.
Recently Neko was a guest on Plastic EP Live TV where he gave a fascinating interview that included his recollections of meeting Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix while on tour with The Monkees, his dealings with Colgems Records, how Davy Jones befriended Jan Berry (of Jan and Dean fame) after Berry's auto accident, his previously unknown contributions to The Monkees' 1968 single, "D.W. Washburn," and much more!
The Monkees Live Almanac is saddened by the news of the passing of Ryan Brady. Ryan was a Vice President at Atlantic Records and host of the popular Paul McCartney-themed podcast, Take It Away. He and Annabel Jones were married in 2018. The Live Almanac would like to pass along condolences to Annabel and all those who knew Ryan.
UPDATE 12/8/2020: Annabel Jones has posted tributes on Facebook to her late husband, Ryan Brady, including an announcement of the Ryan Brady Memorial Fund:
Micky Dolenz speaks with Forbes.com about Frank Zappa, playing drums, missing Davy & Peter, and more
Adam Schlesinger, who produced The Monkees' 2016 album Good Times! along with the group's first-ever holiday collection Christmas Party (2018), passed away on April 1, 2020 at age 52 from complications of COVID-19.
"As many of you are aware, Adam had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and although he had been making some small improvements over the last few days, Adam's condition was critical and he was ultimately unable to recover from COVID-19 complications," read a statement on April 2 provided to CNN. "He was truly a prolific talent and even more so, a loving and devoted father, son and friend."
Adam was a member of the bands Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, along with the supergroup Tinted Windows, whose song "This Is The Day" was featured in There's Something About Mary. His notable achievements also included TV and film songwriting, which stretched from That Thing You Do to Music and Lyrics to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Fountains of Wayne was perhaps best known for the early 2000s hit single "Stacy's Mom," which was nominated for a Grammy. Schlesinger was also an Emmy-winning songwriter for the CW musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a show for which he composed more than 100 songs. He received an Oscar nomination for writing the title song to That Thing You Do, directed by Tom Hanks, as well as two Tony nominations for his work on the musical adaptation of John Waters' film Cry-Baby in 2008. In addition to his songwriting, Schlesinger produced recordings for such musical artists as They Might Be Giants, America, and Robert Plant.
Good Times!, The Monkees' first album of all new material since 1996's Justus, was produced by Schlesinger and included his own composition, "Our Own World," along with a song co-written with Micky Dolenz, a send-up of an oft-used phrase utilized by Dolenz over the years, "I Was There (And I'm Told I Had a Good Time)." The album peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 in June 2016.
Schlesinger appeared onstage with The Monkees in New York City during the group's 50th Anniversary Tour, performing "I Was There" and "Steppin' Stone."
Micky Dolenz remembered Adam in an interview with WCBS FM. "He was such a great guy, a gentleman, and funny, and so smart. And obviously an incredible producer, writer, performer. I wrote a song with him on Good Times! I just can't believe it. That's by far the closest person to me that's been affected [by COVID-19] and I think about him all the time. What a loss."
Schlesinger was effusive in his praise of Dolenz in a 2016 interview with Fast Company when talking about the recording sessions for Good Times! "Micky was a real workhorse, and I think he did more hours in the studio than all the other guys, in total, because he sang most of the songs. He was a real trooper, and his voice is incredible – in most cases, when you’re working with older singers, you’re having to transpose things lower, and in Micky’s case, we’re actually having to transpose things higher, because he’s got this incredible range."
Adam's collaboration with The Monkees on Good Times! was seemingly a high point in his career. "They were all incredibly easy and fun to work with," he told Fast Company. "Everybody has the attitude of 'let us know what we can do to help - here are some ideas, take them or leave them.' They're very collaborative."
The Monkees' official website paid tribute to Adam Schlesinger after the announcement of his death, while also highlighting his work on Good Times! "Even the most optimistic Monkees fan couldn’t have guessed just how wonderful an effort Schlesinger would help put together. It wasn't just a comeback album, it was an instant classic that was – without question – the best thing the band had released since the '60s."
Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab For Cutie, whose song "Me & Magdalena" proved to be a highlight from Good Times!, also commemorated Adam.
"I never got to meet Adam," Gibbard relayed during an at-home live stream concert after Schlesinger passed. "We had a lot of connective tissue - a lot of friends in common - but we never had a chance to meet. But I owe him a huge debt of gratitude because he was integral in picking 'Me & Magdalena' for The Monkees to record four years ago."
"I always thought as one does in life that you have plenty of time to say thank you, or I love you, or to give somebody a compliment or what have you, but that day obviously did not come," said Gibbard. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm so grateful to him for helping me realize a lifelong dream, which was to write a song that would be recorded by The Monkees, a band I grew up listening to."
Adam Schlesinger returned to the producer's chair for The Monkees on Christmas Party in 2018. Schlesinger co-wrote one of the standout tracks on the holiday collection, "House of Broken Gingerbread," with novelist Michael Chabon.
Adam was survived by his two daughters, Sadie and Claire, his girlfriend Alexis Morley, his parents Barbara and Stephen Schlesinger, and his sister Lauren.
Listen to the latest podcasts from Rhino, NPR's Fresh Air, Zilch, Nesmith, Tork, Goffin & King, and Rolling Stone as they honor the life and accomplishments of Adam Schlesinger.
This past Saturday, Liverpool Tours and Charles Rosenay sponsored "The Peter Tork Memorial Convention" in New Haven, Connecticut to commemorate Peter's birthday month and the one year since his passing. Michael Nesmith remembered Peter in a special video that was screened at the event and published on the Videoranch YouTube channel:
An official tribute video was also produced for the convention, featuring appearances by Micky Dolenz, Bobby Hart, Valerie Kairys Venet, Wayne Avers, John Billings, Sandy Gennaro, Fred Velez, Ed Reilly, Rich Dart, and many more:
After a flurry of albums with the First and Second National Bands in the early 1970s, Michael Nesmith began to broaden his artistic scope. In 1972, Nez formed Countryside Records, a subsidiary of Elektra Records, to produce and promote country and western artists including Red Rhodes, Tom Holbrook, Steve Fromholz, and Garland Frady. One of Michael's most noteworthy projects from this era included his collaboration with British musician and singer-songwriter Ian Matthews on the album Valley Hi. Matthews had previously been a member of the folk rock band Fairport Convention, and Nez acted as producer for his 1973 LP on Elektra.
Valley Hi is noteworthy for Matthews' version of "Seven Bridges Road," a song later made famous by The Eagles on their 1980 album Eagles Live. Rhino Records highlighted the track earlier this week in an article entitled "5 Things You May Not Have Known About Mike Nesmith" while celebrating Michael's recent birthday:
He produced, sang, and played on Ian Matthews’ version of "Seven Bridges Road." Written by Steve Young and arguably made most famous by the Eagles, Nesmith recorded Matthews’ version of the song in 1973 for Matthews’ VALLEY HI album, and if you listen to that version first and then listen to the Eagles’ version, what you will notice is that the tempo and arrangements are pretty much identical. Like, to the degree that Nesmith later said of that similarity, "Son of a gun if Don or somebody in Eagles didn’t lift [our] arrangement absolutely note for note for vocal harmony. If they can’t think it up themselves [and] they’ve got to steal it from somebody else, better they should steal it...from me, I guess."
Matthews also covered Nesmith's classic "Propinquity" on Valley Hi.
And now, this period of Michael Nesmith's career and his work with Ian Matthews has been examined in much greater depth by Peter Mills, author of The Monkees, Head, and the '60s, in his new blog Pete Sounds. Peter relayed to the Live Almanac that he had to leave an abundance of material for his book on the cutting room floor, but now fans can enjoy his research about this often overlooked period of Nesmith history. Click the image below to visit Peter's blog!
Micky Dolenz to appear at "James Burton and Friends" benefit concert with Sammy Hagar, Queen's Brian May, and others (UPDATED)
On November 12, legendary musicians will gather at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center for "James Burton and Friends," a concert event benefiting the James Burton Foundation. Mr. Burton, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, is a famed guitarist who has played on numerous recordings, and he also acted as a session musician for The Monkees in the 1960s. The Burton Foundation supports music education for those in need through guitar donations and music instruction to schools, hospitals, and community service organizations.
Micky Dolenz is scheduled to be a part of the benefit concert and will take the stage with Mr. Burton, Sammy Hagar, Brian May (Queen), Joe Walsh (The Eagles), Jason Scheff (Chicago), Paul Shaffer (The Late Show with David Letterman), and many more. Tickets are still available!
UPDATE 11/14/2019: Footage and more from the Burton benefit concert:
Actor and comedian Rip Taylor, known for his flamboyant personality and showering himself and others with confetti, who made countless appearances on television, film, and in nightclubs, passed away on October 6. Monkees fans will remember Taylor as a multiple episode guest star on The Monkees, appearing prominently in second season highlights "Monkees on the Wheel" (as the distressed casino manager) and "The Frodis Caper" (as the diabolical Wizard Glick).
Taylor was also spotted in The Monkees' 1969 NBC television special, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, during the "Listen to the Band" segment.
The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter eulogized Taylor, while also noting his appearances with The Monkees.
"In 1967, Taylor showed up as a sobbing casino manager on an episode of The Monkees. 'Oh, officer, thank goodness you're here,' he says to a police detective called to investigate a rigged roulette wheel. 'I just found this wire attached to the wheel. And whenever I'd shift my stick, the house would lose a bet. Could you die?'"
-The Hollywood Reporter
On March 25, 1968 the last original episode of The Monkees aired on NBC. "The Frodis Caper" was written by Micky Dolenz and Dave Evans, and in his debut behind the camera, directed by Micky. Taylor portrayed Wizard Glick, who was out to control people's minds through a hypnotic eye broadcasted on television sets. "This is my attempt to address the manipulation of the American mind by the media," Dolenz relayed in a 2003 DVD commentary for the episode. "Hooray, The Monkees save the world from the evil machinations of the media . . . I guess it didn’t work, though, did it?"
Rip Taylor was 88.
Paris Stachtiaris interviews legendary Monkees and rock music photographer Henry Diltz about Woodstock
Monkees fans are likely to recall the name Paris Stachtiaris, co-host of Headquarters ("The only radio show in America dedicated to The Monkees") that originally aired on 90.3 WBAU-FM, the radio station of Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, from 1987 to 1990. Cassette tapes of the program, which featured interviews with Monkees luminaries like Chip Douglas, Ward Sylvester, Jim Frawley, Coco Dolenz, Lester Sill, Monte Landis, Gerry Goffin, the individual Monkees themselves, and others, were frequently traded among fans in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
And now in 2019 Paris is back, with co-host Ben Brown, producing a special in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock that will air Labor Day Weekend on HCS internet radio. Paris and Ben's premier guest is the renowned rock photographer Henry Diltz, the official lensman of Woodstock who also has photographed The Monkees extensively since the 1960s. Paris has informed the Live Almanac that he is planning to play Rhino's recently released (and now sold out) 38-disc box set, containing nearly every note played at Woodstock, during the special.
The Woodstock Radio Special will air on HCS internet radio beginning Friday, August 30 at 5:00 PM through Monday morning, September 2, and you can preview the interview with Henry from the special right now! And don't miss a selection of Henry's photographs from Woodstock, courtesy of his website.
Thanks to Paris for keeping everyone informed about his latest project, and be sure to check out the archives of the Headquarters radio program here at The Monkees Live Almanac!
Congratulations to Amy and John Billings on the opening of Wine Down Nashville, a new music and event-based establishment in Nashville, Tennessee. John has been The Monkees' bass player since 2012 and also performs with Micky Dolenz. He resides in Nashville with Amy, who has long dreamed of opening a wine restaurant.
"Wine Down Nashville is a boutique wine bar created by musicians but made for all," John relayed to the Live Almanac this weekend. "It reflects both of our histories, some of our adventures, and especially our love of wine. We are open for all walks of life, but we're putting an emphasis on local events, corporate meetings, parties, and Amy's favorite pet project: meet and greets by some of our favorite musical artists, creatives of all walks, and a glimpse into Nashville's musical studio and touring force. Stay tuned!"
John also alerted the Live Almanac that a special treat awaits Monkees fans inside Wine Down Nashville. "I'm displaying and selling some of our favorite behind the scenes photography [of The Monkees] that I've taken over the years. I haven't previously displayed or presented any of it, but with Amy's help, it's going to be part of our boutique wine bar." John shared photos of his work that currently adorns the walls of Wine Down Nashville:
Stopping in at Wine Down Nashville to give his seal of approval was Wayne Avers, longtime Monkees guitarist and musical director:
Wine Down Nashville is located at 2720 Old Lebanon Road #111 in Nashville, Tennessee. Be sure to like the Facebook page and visit the website. And best of luck to Amy, John, and their staff from The Monkees Live Almanac!
Late A&R head’s reissues of everyone from the Ramones to the Monkees combined a scholar’s authority with a fan’s zeal
Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval remembered his friend Gary on Facebook:
Recorded during The Monkees' 30th Anniversary Tour in the summer of 1996, Two Man Band featured Peter Tork and his longtime friend, singer/songwriter/musician James Lee Stanley, performing selected covers and songs by Tork, Stanley, and The Monkees.
Peter and James first met in 1964 when Peter was a member of the Phoenix Singers during Peter's Greenwich Village days. In 1994, James Lee's Beachwood Records issued Peter's first solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, and the duo began to perform together in the aftermath of its release. The intimate, acoustic nature of their shows inspired them to replicate that formula inside the recording studio, and Two Man Band was born.
In 2001, Peter and James released Once Again, which was followed by Live/Backstage at the Coffee Gallery in 2006.
Two Man Band is an excellent album that the Live Almanac highly recommends. Listen to an insightful interview with James Lee Stanley where he talks extensively about the album on the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion podcast:
AllMusic delivered praise for Two Man Band in its review of the album:
"Following the artistic success of his debut solo CD, Stranger Things Have Happened, Peter Tork teamed up with Beachwood labelmate James Lee Stanley. This pairing allowed Tork to further explore his acoustic, blues, and easy listening side. And, as with his first release, this is an excellent album. Both artists compliment each other and the music is very accessible. Tork has a wonderfully pleasing and distinctive voice, and Stanley's voice is a perfect blend. The two alternate lead vocals and composition credits and this, too, works. Stanley contributes more original tunes to the collection, while Tork is content to write a couple and choose suitable covers (such as the brilliant 'Milkshake,' a clear standout of the CD). 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' is outstanding and rivals the Monkees' version. One wonders what direction the Monkees would have taken had Tork had more control. That said, this album is a treasure. A perfect album for late summer nights while relaxing."
Two Man Band can be purchased on compact disc today through Amazon or CD Baby. The album is also available for downloading on iTunes and can be streamed on Spotify.
Thanks very much to Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of Two Man Band with The Monkees Live Almanac!
In Memoriam: Michael Nesmith
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart returns
Dolenz sings Nesmith - The E.P.
50th Anniversary Editions
Micky Dolenz Live!