The Characters are a rock band that formed in New Jersey in 1982. Monkees fans will recall that the group performed at Monkees conventions in the mid-1980s in Illinois, California, and New Jersey. They also made a cameo in the 1987 "Heart and Soul" music video.
The Characters are scheduled to appear at Micky's upcoming solo show in Ridgefield, Connecticut at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Friday, August 1. In this interview with Characters lead singer and rhythm guitarist (and longtime Monkees fan) Danny Solazzi from The Monkees Hour in 1987, Danny talks about the origins of The Characters, his interactions with The Monkees in the mid-1980s, recording with Chip Douglas, and much more. You'll also get to hear a Characters song, "Maryann," and Danny's impression of Chip Douglas!
Be sure to visit The Characters on the web.
Here The Characters perform "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" at the 1986 Monkees convention in Hollywood:
Danny Solazzi has posted an interview conducted with Chip Douglas in 1987 during the period when Douglas was producing The Characters:
Monkee Business Fanzine was a quarterly publication that featured all the latest about The Monkees and their individual careers, as well as original articles, classified listings, and much more. It was published by editor Maggie McManus from 1977-2002. Each member of The Monkees would speak personally to Maggie, making it the most reputable source for Monkees information, before and after the 1986 revival of the group. By the early 2000s, the rise and rapid spread of the World Wide Web helped make publications like MBF become defunct.
In this interview with Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio, Maggie talks about the birth of MBF, her assessment of The Monkees' legacy, the fractured relationship between the group and MTV that had occurred at the time of this 1987 interview, and more.
Chip Douglas produced some of The Monkees' greatest recorded output, including the albums Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., along with the singles "Daydream Believer" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Chip is also a former member of The Turtles and the Modern Folk Quartet.
In this interview with Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio that was aired on The Monkees Hour on December 5 and 12, 1987, Chip discusses a multitude of topics, including his work with The Monkees in 1967, the 1976 Christmas single, Don Kirshner, his thoughts on the Pool It! album, and much more.
Chip guested on the program once again in 1988, and that interview will be posted at a later date.
Hank Cicalo has enjoyed a career as a recording engineer for the last fifty years. Among the artists recorded by Cicalo are The Monkees, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and George Harrison.
Hank engineered all or parts of Monkees albums beginning with their debut LP and concluding with 1969's The Monkees Present. He was also the engineer for Michael's first solo effort, The Wichita Train Whistle Sings. In the summer of 1967, Hank recorded three Monkees concerts that were finally released on two different collections in 1987 and 2001.
In this interview that originally aired in 1990 on the Headquarters radio program, you will hear Hank recall his days with The Monkees, including how he ended up with the songwriting credit for "No Time" and the high stakes sessions for Headquarters.
Bassist Bobby Dick was a member of the 1960s music group, The Sundowners, who opened for The Monkees (along with Jimi Hendrix and Lynne Randell) on their 1967 summer tour. In this two-part interview from the Headquarters radio program (originally airing on August 18 and September 1, 1988), Bobby talks about his days with The Sundowners, touring with Jimi Hendrix, and what it was like being on the road with The Monkees in 1967.
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.
Dave started his career as a greeting card writer. He was a staff writer for The Monkees the year the show won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy in 1967. He also penned the premiere episode of The Bill Cosby Show, was involved with Laugh-In, and wrote extensively for Love American Style.
A special passion of Dave's is writing for animation. He was a staff writer for Bullwinkle producer Jay Ward, and though not involved with the Bullwinkle show itself, he worked to develop new animation projects for the studio. One of his credits includes being part of the team that created the Cap'n Crunch cereal concept and name.
In this 1988 interview with Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio on The Monkees Hour, Dave reminisces about his work with The Monkees, his friendship with the group, and more.
Famed lyricist Gerry Goffin appeared on the Headquarters radio program on WBAU-FM New York for an interview that aired on December 29, 1989. Goffin and his former songwriting partner (and ex-wife), Carole King, authored many classic Monkees songs, including "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Porpoise Song," "A Man Without a Dream," "Sometime in the Morning," "Star Collector," "Take a Giant Step," and "I Won't Be the Same Without Her." Michael Nesmith worked with Goffin and King in composing "Sweet Young Thing."
In this interview, hosts Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio speak with Gerry about a variety of subjects, including his early songwriting career, the Brill Building, Don Kirshner, writing with Mike Nesmith, the meanings behind "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the psychedelia of "Porpoise Song," and much more.
Gerry passed away this week at the age of 75.
Here's a brand new upload to the Live Almanac's YouTube channel! Micky covers a lot of ground while talking about Jimi Hendrix, learning how to play his Moog synthesizer, the pre-Monkees bands he was involved with (including The Missing Links), his first impressions of Davy, Michael, and Peter, and much more.
"All of Your Toys" and "The Door Into Summer" songwriter Bill Martin talks to the 'Headquarters' radio program
Bill Martin is a musician, songwriter, screenwriter, comedic, and voice actor. His first contribution to The Monkees came in the form of "All of Your Toys," recorded during the very first studio sessions that featured the group supporting themselves instrumentally. Because of a publishing dispute with Screen Gems, the song never saw the light of day until it was aired on the Missing Links compilation in 1987. He also composed "The Door Into Summer," which did see release on 1967's Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album. Martin later collaborated with other artists, including Harry Nilsson ("Rainmaker," covered by Michael on his third solo effort, Nevada Fighter).
In the early '80s, Bill co-starred in Michael's Elephant Parts and then co-wrote the screenplay to the 1987 movie Harry and The Hendersons (with Steven Spielberg as executive producer). In 1997, he made a cameo appearance in The Monkees' ABC television special as the refrigerator tour guide. Martin lent his voice to various animated series throughout the years, too, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and multiple Star Wars video games.
When The Monkees played in Seattle, Washington on their 2013 summer tour, Michael dedicated that evening's performance of "The Door Into Summer" to Bill.
Lynne Randell was a British born singer who experienced her greatest pop music successes in Australia. At one point in the mid-1960s she was Australia's most popular female performer and had hits with "I'll Come Running Over" (a song originally recorded by Lulu), "Heart," "Goin' Out of My Head," and "Ciao Baby." In 1967, Randell toured the United States with The Monkees (along with Jimi Hendrix) and wrote for teen magazines during this time period. Lynne passed away in 2007.
In this insightful 1988 interview on the Headquarters radio program, Lynne speaks with hosts Paris Stachtiaris, John Di Maio, and Valerie Lionel about her experiences on tour with The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix, her music career, Peter's push to get Lynne on the bill for the '67 tour, meeting Davy, her recollections of Hendrix, and much more. You'll also get to hear Lynne performing live in 1967.
Henry Corden was a Canadian-born American character actor and voice artist best known for taking over the role of Fred Flintstone after Alan Reed died in 1977. Monkees fans, of course, recognize him from the group's television series where he portrayed Mr. Babbitt, the group's landlord. In this 1989 interview with Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio on the Headquarters radio program, Henry discusses his career, the impact of television, working with Micky's father, and his recollections of being a recurring character on The Monkees.
Peter Tork appeared on the Headquarters radio program for a two part interview in September 1989. Host Paris Stachtiaris speaks with Peter about a variety of subjects, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony; reuniting with Mike onstage in 1986 and 1989 (Peter revealing that a song from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was proposed for the 1989 Monkees reunion in Los Angeles but was later dropped); the meaning of his song "Sea Change;" recollections on composing "For Pete's Sake" and "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again;" why Peter's tracks weren't considered for The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees; his first directorial experience on the television series; playing live with The Monkees in the early days; Jimi Hendrix; Janis Joplin; and much more.
(Part 1 of this interview also features a version of "So Goes Love" as performed by The Turtles.)
I'd like to take a moment once again to thank Paris Stachtiaris for sharing his archives with the Live Almanac!
Harold Bronson, who along with Richard Foos founded Rhino Records in 1978, has been a longtime supporter of The Monkees. Rhino began releasing Monkees compilations in the early 1980s and eventually moved to reissue the original Monkees albums starting in 1985. The company later acquired the group's music and film library from Columbia Pictures in the early 1990s from Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. Despite Bronson's absence from the company since the early 2000s, Rhino has continued to treat the Monkees catalog with the utmost respect, issuing numerous box sets, rarities compilations, and more (largely thanks to Andrew Sandoval's involvement with Rhino over the years).
In this 1989 interview with Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio on the Headquarters radio program, Bronson speaks about his career in music, Rhino's relationship with The Monkees, tracking down tapes for the Missing Links project, the "Heart and Soul" single/MTV controversy, the sessions for Pool It!, and more.
Former Cherokees member Doug Trevor talks about the '68 Monkees Australian tour and more on "Headquarters"
Doug Trevor is a former member of The Cherokees, the group that opened for The Monkees in Australia in 1968. He later worked with Davy Jones in the 1970s, and his song, "Sitting in the Apple Tree," appeared on Davy's 1971 solo album on Bell Records. Doug also composed "Sail On Sailor" from the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart LP (1976), and "How Do You Know," the B-side of Davy's 1981 Japanese single, "It's Now."
Doug reconnected with The Monkees during their 1988 visit to Australia, leading the backing band for those concerts and continuing in that position throughout 1989 when The Monkees toured Europe, North America and Japan. In this two-part interview from the Headquarters radio program, hosts Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio speak to Doug about his career, his recollections of the '68 Monkees tour of Australia, coming to America in the early '70s and calling on members of The Monkees, working with Davy, and much more. You'll also hear Boyce & Hart's version of "Tear Drop City" during Part 1 of the interview.
Jack Good co-wrote and produced The Monkees' 1969 NBC television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee. He also portrayed 'Lance Kibbee the Sot' when Peter Tork made his directorial debut on the 55th episode of the group's TV series, "Monkees Mind Their Manor."
On these two installments of the Headquarters radio program, hosts Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio speak to Jack about his career, including his work with The Monkees.
James Frawley directed 28 episodes of The Monkees television 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 also appeared in the second season episode "Monkees Blow Their Minds" as 'Rudy Bayshore,' and voiced the dummy 'Mr. Schneider' many times over, 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.
During these two episodes of the Headquarters radio program, hosts Paris Stachtiaris and John Di Maio speak to Jim about his career as well as his experiences and recollections of working with The Monkees, Bob Rafelson, and Bert Schneider.
Here's a list of Monkees episodes that were directed by Jim Frawley:
Longtime record executive Lester Sill was involved with the Monkees project from the very start. In the early days, Sill was the music coordinator for the group, overseeing the recording process under the helm of Don Kirshner. When Kirshner was sacked in early 1967, Sill took over as musical supervisor. He later became president of Colgems Records.
In this frank two part interview that originally aired in July and August 1988 on the Headquarters radio show, Sill discusses many topics, including how he got started in the music business, the Beverly Hills Hotel incident, The Monkees as musicians, his impressions of Michael, Peter's recording techniques for "Lady's Baby," traveling and recording during the 1967 summer tour, the Head soundtrack mylar cover, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, his regret on releasing "D.W. Washburn" as a single in 1968, and much more.
(Both episodes also contain some unique audio, too, including "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" from the Mobile, Alabama '67 bootleg, Davy performing in Japan in the early '80s, live material from the 1987 US tour, etc.)
This episode of Headquarters also includes a live solo version of "I'll Spend My Life With You" by Peter, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" with Nez at the Greek Theatre in 1986, a live performance by Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart of "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," and a Christmas song by The New Monkees!
Be sure to check out the recent blog post about Bill and his years spent working with The Monkees.
To accompany today's blog post about Bill Chadwick and his relationship with The Monkees, here's an insightful and revealing interview with Bill from the Headquarters radio program conducted by host Paris Stachtiaris in the summer of 1988. Bill covers a lot of ground, including his recollections of Jimi Hendrix opening for The Monkees at Forest Hills in New York in 1967.
Ric Klein was Micky's stand-in and can be seen frequently in the background or as an extra on the TV series. He also acted as stage manager for The Monkees when the group was on tour. Ric was the best man when Micky married Samantha Juste in July 1968. He also co-wrote "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye" with Micky, a song that appeared on The Monkees Present album in 1969. Ric passed away in the early 2000s.
In January 1989 on the 29th and 30th episodes of the Headquarters radio program, Ric was a guest of host Paris Stachtiaris. Ric talks about how he met Micky, his experiences with The Monkees, touring with the group, working on the television series, Samantha Juste, and much more. The shows also include some live material from the 1987 US tour and Monkees imitation recordings released at the height of Monkeemania in the 1960s.
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith