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)
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval is the author of The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation and has produced The Monkees' concert tours since 2011. Andrew honored Peter Tork today on Facebook:
James Frawley was a monumental figure in the success of The Monkees televison show, directing 28 episodes of the series. In 1967, he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for "The Royal Flush." He was nominated again a year later for another episode, "The Devil and Peter Tork."
Frawley appeared on The Monkees several times over, including the second season episode "Monkees Blow Their Minds" as 'Rudy Bayshore' and as himself in "The Monkees in Paris." He also voiced the dummy 'Mr. Schneider' along with other uncredited voiceovers. His success continued after working with The Monkees, producing and directing numerous television shows and movies, including The Muppet Movie in 1979. Jim died in Arizona on Tuesday at age 82.
Here is a list of Monkees episodes that were directed by Jim Frawley:
Micky Dolenz remembered Frawley in a post on Facebook:
Adam Schlesinger, producer of The Monkees' two most recent albums Good Times! and Christmas Party, breaks down the tracks on the group's new holiday LP and much more on The Nightfly with Dave Juskow podcast. Thanks to Tracy Robison for the heads-up!
The Monkees visited the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee when they were guests on the July 19, 1969 edition of The Johnny Cash Show. The trio sang Michael Nesmith's "Nine Times Blue" in an appearance that was filmed earlier that May. Micky, Davy, and Mike were later joined by Johnny for a comedic take of "Everybody Loves a Nut," originally featured on Cash's 1966 novelty album.
Eddie Zyne, who played drums for The Monkees on their blockbuster 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour, has passed away. Micky Dolenz honored Eddie in a post on Facebook:
Neko Chohlis designed the artwork for various Monkees albums and picture sleeves, and traveled with the group while on tour in 1967. During the August 20, 1967 performance in Denver, Colorado at the Denver Coliseum, Neko treated The Monkees to cotton candy. Note that Mike is shown playing a 12-string Fender acoustic guitar after difficulties experienced with his usual Gretsch.
Here's a great photo of Micky with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5. Buck and McCaughey co-wrote the title track of The Monkees' forthcoming holiday album, Christmas Party.
On a personal note, I'm a longtime fan of R.E.M. and am thrilled that Peter is working with The Monkees. Scott is also closely aligned with R.E.M. as he was an auxiliary musician in the studio and on stage with the group from 1994 until their their breakup in 2011.
Scott's band The Minus 5 released Of Monkees and Men in 2016, described as "an imaginative tribute to the Monkees’ legacy in music and popular culture."
Thank you very much to John Hughes of Rhino Records for providing The Monkees Live Almanac with an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek in the studio when Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5) joined Micky Dolenz to record the tracks "Christmas Party" and "Jesus Christ" for the upcoming Monkees holiday album, Christmas Party. John is the executive producer of this latest Monkees project.
Left to right are guitarist Jody Porter, producer Adam Schlesinger, John Hughes, Mark Pinkus (President, Rhino Records), Micky Dolenz, drummer Brian Young, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey:
Peter Tork's "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" was one of the many highlights found on the soundtrack to The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head. Originally recorded and intended for release on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, "Long Title" featured contributions from Peter's longtime friend Stephen Stills, Buffalo Springfield's Dewey Martin, and Greenwich Village pal Lance Wakely. Peter's guitar work on this track stands as some of his finest.
The track appeared in the film Head during the Michael Nesmith birthday party scene:
Michael Nesmith is currently conducting a live Q & A session at the Steel City Comic Con in Monroeville, Pennsylvania:
UPDATE: Thanks to Jodi Ritzen at Monkee Meet & Greets and Videoranch for the live feeds, and don't forget that you can see Nez all weekend in Monroeville, Pennsylvania!
UPDATE #2 on 8/11/2018: Michael reconnected with John Cusack at Steel City Comic Con. Cusack starred in the 1988 film Tapeheads that was produced by Nez.
Recording Academy to Honor 2018 Special Merit Awards Recipients with "GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends" Television Special as Part of "Great Performances" Series on PBS
UPDATE 7/13/2018: This tribute to Neil Diamond is scheduled to air on PBS later this year. Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for more information!
UPDATE #2 on 9/18/2018: Tune in to see Micky Dolenz and Neil Diamond perform together for the first time on October 5, 2018. Check your local PBS listings!
Thank you very much to Jeff Gehringer for sharing these great photos of Davy Jones and Monte Landis at the 1986 Los Angeles Monkees convention. Monte, of course, is well known to Monkees fans, appearing in seven different episodes of the television series, perhaps most notably in "The Devil and Peter Tork."
UPDATE: Stranger Things Have Happened has been reissued on compact disc and vinyl by 7a Records.
In 1994, James Lee Stanley's Beachwood Records released Peter Tork's first ever solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, featuring several notable guest musicians and friends including Stanley, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Laurence Juber (Paul McCartney & Wings), Mackenzie Phillips, and Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles).
Michael and Micky provided backing vocals on "Milkshake," and Nez can also be heard on "MGB-GT," which was initially performed by Micky, Peter, and Davy Jones during The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. Davy was present at the recording session for "Milkshake" with his fellow Monkees, but never got around to putting his vocal on tape. (James Lee Stanley recalled the comedic circumstances that caused Davy to leave the session during this interview at 27:30.) Laurence Juber, who was a part of the final incarnation of Wings, provided the stellar guitar solo on "Milkshake." His guitar work can also be heard on "That Was Then, This Is Now," a Top 20 hit for The Monkees in 1986.
Peter contributed six originals to the set ("Get What You Pay For," "Sea Change," "MGB-GT," "Miracle," "Gettin' In" and "Tender Is"), and was also assisted by guest writers, including his brother Nick ("Pirates") and Martin Briley ("Milkshake"). Covers included Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Take a Giant Step," originally recorded by The Monkees in 1966, and "Higher and Higher," a song made famous by Jackie Wilson in 1967 that Peter reimagined as a banjo-driven piece. The title track was co-written by Michael Levine, who contributed "Since You Went Away" to The Monkees' 1987 album, Pool It!, which also featured "Gettin' In" in its original incarnation, while "Sea Change" had been performed during The Monkees' 1989 North American/Japanese tour. Peter talked about each song in the liner notes:
Peter's post-Monkees recordings were scarce until Stranger Things Have Happened. After leaving The Monkees in late 1968, Peter formed a new group, Release, but nothing was ever formally recorded. After laying low throughout most of the 1970s, Peter reemerged in late 1980 with The New Monks, and on February 13, 1981 they recorded a single, "Steppin' Stone"/"Higher and Higher." The 45 was eventually issued on the Claude's Music Works label, named after Peter's then-manager Claude Hayn. In 1982, Peter contributed "I Truly Understand" to the long-running CooP series.
Stranger Things Have Happened was produced by Peter and his longtime friend James Lee Stanley, who also collaborated with Peter in the 1990s and 2000s on albums like Two Man Band and Once Again. Peter made multiple television and personal appearances to support its release.
AllMusic delivered praise for Stranger Things Have Happened in its review of the album:
"Tork reveals himself as a solid rocker, starting from a folk idiom but working with lots of wattage on the instruments and no trace of wimpy singer/songwriter affectation in the playing. A few notable friends are aboard in addition to his direct collaborator and co-producer, James Lee Stanley - Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Mackenzie Phillips, and Timothy B. Schmit among them. There are songs drawn from across the spectrum of Tork's career, including a gorgeous, folk-style cover of 'Take a Giant Step' that made this reviewer smile so emphatically it was mixed with tears of joy; the exquisitely funny 'Milkshake,' a delightfully wry account of life on the road that includes Nesmith and Dolenz and some of the most charmingly silly choruses ever heard in a legitimate rock song; 'MGB-GT,' a very personal car song that may be particularly potent to middle-aged survivors of the 1960s; and 'Higher and Higher,' a folk/gospel song on which Tork mostly plays acoustic banjo, and which is so beguiling that one wishes he'd do an entire album in that idiom, style, and sound."
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith