In this interview with Salon, XTC's Andy Partridge talked about writing songs for the brand new Monkees album, Good Times!, including the album's first single "You Bring The Summer."
"Music is so abused these days": XTC’s Andy Partridge opens up about songwriting, painting and developing the "cruel parent gene" toward your own art
Here's what Andy had to say:
"And I was contacted on Twitter by the man who manages the Monkees, Andrew Sandoval. The Monkees are going to make one more album, one last hurrah, and they want to do it in the style of ’66, ’67 Monkees. [Sandoval] knew I was a fan of the Monkees as a kid, and said would I write something for them? I thought fantastic, so I wrote them a bunch of things, wrote them a few new ones, and sent a couple that I thought they might like. And their first single is going to be one of those songs."
It’s "You Bring The Summer," right?
"Yeah. So I was channeling my inner Neil Diamond there. Which is easier to do, really, than my inner Carole King."
Micky talks about "Good Times!" sessions & possible Nesmith live appearances during 50th Anniversary Tour
Micky was recently a featured performer on the Flower Power Cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 27 and visited Jamaica and The Bahamas. In this video filmed by Cindy Ferrier during a Meet & Greet event on the cruise, Micky spoke about The Monkees' 50th Anniversary and the group's upcoming new album, Good Times!
Here is a summary of Micky's comments:
Rhino's John Hughes, who is the executive producer of the upcoming Monkees album, Good Times!, shared this message on Facebook:
"14 songs. 10 days. A lifetime of special memories and music. Much peace and love to Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Adam Schlesinger for making dreams come true. Good times, indeed."
Andrew Sandoval also remarked about the sessions on Facebook:
"It was a lot of fun being in the studio this past week with Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork & Michael
Nesmith + an incredible host of midwifes: Adam Schlesinger, Peter Min & John Hughes.
Good Times are coming."
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval, who is also producing this year's 50th Anniversary Tour, made the following remarks on Facebook today regarding the new Monkees album, set for release this June:
"There are a lot of tracks that feature all three singing and playing, but this is not a Justus style album where they spent months learning the songs. Frankly, I think the results are more personally enjoyable as a Monkees fan. This actually sounds like a Monkees album with a ton of great songs on it. It doesn't attempt to be contemporary- something that makes Pool It! & Justus sound very dated now. The original Monkees sound is now really timeless, and this album has that quality."
Good Times! recording sessions are a family affair. Christian Nesmith posted this photograph minutes ago on Facebook. He's joined by his brothers Jason and Jonathan, and of course, Papa Nez!
Could we be lucky enough to hear Peter's banjo return to a Monkees album? Let's hope. And don't forget to pre-order Good Times! on Amazon, iTunes, or at your favorite retailer!
Micky laying down drums
On Episode #49 of Zilch! A Monkees Podcast (made available on February 9, 2016), John Hughes of Rhino Records (The Monkees' record label) spoke with Ken Mills about the brand new Monkees studio album, Good Times! Here are some highlights of their conversation:
John Hughes also spoke to Ken Mills regarding details of The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour and more. Their conversation regarding those topics will be transcribed in a future blog post.
According to Rhino executive John Hughes, "You Bring the Summer" (written by XTC's Andy Partridge) will be the first single from The Monkees' upcoming album, Good Times!
Noel Gallagher, who was the co-lead vocalist and principle songwriter for the band Oasis, has teamed up with Paul Weller, who achieved notoriety with the punk rock band The Jam and later with The Style Council, to write a song for The Monkees' new album.
Warner Music Group owns Rhino Entertainment, and Rhino Records will be releasing the first new Monkees album since 1996 in June.
Appearing on the Zilch! podcast in the latest episode released this afternoon, Rhino's John Hughes, who is acting as executive producer for the brand new Monkees studio album, Good Times!, confirmed that all three members of The Monkees will be full participants on the album:
"[Producer] Adam (Schlesinger)...is working very closely with all three guys...all three are on the album and full participants…playing on tracks, singing (obviously), contributing songs...it's really all The Monkees, and that includes Davy."
Davy will be a part of the new album by way of Neil Diamond's "Love to Love," first recorded in 1967 but never officially released on an original Monkees album. It will appear on Good Times! in a reworked version with Davy's lead vocal.
Please note that this is a MUST LISTEN interview, and it's available for streaming and downloading on the Zilch! website.
If Monkees fans weren't already enticed by the impending release of a limited edition Blu-ray box set of the group's 1966-1968 television series this spring (along with the 1968 feature film Head and a bevy of other bonus features), they were certainly delighted by this week's news that The Monkees, more specifically Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, will embark on a sprawling concert tour to celebrate the group's 50th Anniversary. On top of all these developments, a brand new studio album, Good Times!, has been announced with a release date of June 10, 2016.
Good Times! is already monumental as it marks the first time The Monkees have entered the recording studio since Justus, the 1996 LP that brought together Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter for the first time since 1968. Considered a mix bag by most fans, Justus remains notable in the group's canon as the final collective effort put to tape by all four Monkees. Recorded in Hollywood at NRG Studios in the summer of '96, the album was written, produced, and performed entirely by The Monkees. Good Times! promises a different approach.
An exclusive article published online by Rolling Stone magazine on Friday, February 5, revealed that the songbook for Good Times! will feature contributions from both Michael Nesmith ("I Know What I Know") and Peter Tork, The Monkees' contemporaries (Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Harry Nilsson), and a bevy of notable rock stars, including Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Noel Gallagher (Oasis), Andy Partridge (XTC), Zach Rogue (Rogue Wave), and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie). The album's producer, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) will also contribute material. Micky talked about the all-call to songwriters as the album initially began to take shape. "I began doing research and I realized that the whole indie rock scene is all about recapturing that 1960s jangly guitar sound of The Monkees, amongst many other groups, of course," Dolenz explained to Rolling Stone. One reason we don't have a final track listing yet is because once we put the word out all these people said they wanted to get involved." When speaking specifically about two finished songs, Gibbard's "Me and Magdalena" and Rogue's "Terrifying," Micky was pleased that they were consistent with The Monkees' brand. "They're all keeping with our sensibility," said Dolenz. Cuomo's "She Makes Me Laugh" has also been confirmed for the album. Andy Partridge of XTC, a lifelong fan of The Monkees, took to Twitter to show his excitement for Good Times! "The Monkees gave me SO MUCH joy as a kid, it's all I can do to repay it. They are liking 3 of my tunes so far, and I hope they dig the latest?" Partridge's "You Bring the Summer" is another lock for the album.
Details remain hazy, but the track lineup is shaping up to consist of unfinished vintage material along with the brand new compositions. Davy Jones, who passed away suddenly on February 29, 2012, will be represented vocally on the album by Neil Diamond's "Love to Love," which Micky informed Rolling Stone that he hopes to add a harmony vocal to the track. "Love to Love" was recorded in early 1967 and never saw official release in the 1960s. It later emerged on a 1979 Australian compilation and was collected on the third volume of the Missing Links series, which showcased previously unreleased Monkees songs. The title track, Harry Nilsson's "Good Times," was originally attempted in January 1968 by Nesmith and Nilsson (featuring Michael on electric guitar) and will be fleshed out to become a duet of sorts between the late Nilsson and his longtime friend Dolenz. At least two other songs written for The Monkees in the 1960s but never released are also slated to be a part of the project. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who contributed to every 1960s Monkees LP outside of the Head soundtrack, could be represented on Good Times! by "Whatever's Right," described as a "laidback country-like number" by Andrew Sandoval in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation. A backing track for the song was completed in August 1966 by Boyce & Hart with no other Monkee involvement. Another vault find, Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Wasn't Born to Follow," whose backing track was completed in March 1968 by Lester Sill and Shorty Rogers, was never given any treatment by The Monkees.
Despite the fact that nothing has been officially recorded, Good Times! is scheduled to be released by Rhino Records, The Monkees' longtime label, early this summer. Various changes at Rhino through the years has resulted in The Monkees being a high priority for the label and other times less so, but Rhino is seemingly very enthusiastic about a brand new Monkees studio album. "There have been some recent personnel changes at Rhino and the incoming personnel were very, very pro and positive about the Monkees," Micky told Rolling Stone. "[Rhino executives] John Hughes and Mark Pinkus both said they wanted us to make a new album, and they spelled out the exact kind of album that would go down well with the 50th anniversary and with our fans." Within 24 hours, publicity generated by the announcement of Good Times! resulted in the album placing as high as #12 on Amazon's best selling music list (due to pre-order sales) and caused The Monkees to trend on Facebook.
The reaction within the Monkees fan community regarding the arrival of Good Times! was largely positive, but lots of questions about the project remain. Rolling Stone reported that Peter will likely be adding vocals, guitar, and possibly some banjo to the album. Nesmith's advertised songwriting contribution, "I Know What I Know," is the only certainty when it comes to his involvement, but despite online conjecture, The Monkees Live Almanac can report that the door is not closed on a more active role for Michael. (UPDATE 2/9/2016: Rhino Records executive John Hughes has now confirmed that Michael will be a full participant in the making of the album.) The Live Almanac can also exclusively share that Monkees archivist and live concert producer Andrew Sandoval is part of the proceedings, and that Micky will indeed be drumming on parts of the album.
Micky isn't hiding his enthusiasm for Good Times!, telling Rhino Records that "This is one of the most exciting Monkee projects I’ve been involved in for decades!" Keep checking back with the Live Almanac for more updates and information about The Monkees' brand new album.
Yesterday's buzz and publicity surrounding the announcement of the first new Monkees album since 1996 has resulted in Good Times! ranking high on Amazon's best sellers list for music. Have you pre-ordered yet?
XTC's Andy Partridge has already contributed one song to the upcoming Monkees studio album, Good Times!, called "You Bring the Summer." Sounds like more are on the way...
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