In early 1997, all four Monkees embarked on a tour of the United Kingdom to promote their 1996 album, Justus. Here's the complete concert from NYNEX Arena in Manchester, England on March 15, 1997:
In an August 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Peter spoke about the origins of The Monkees' 1996 album, Justus, and one of the tracks he wrote for it:
"Michael was becoming involved with [his future wife] Victoria [Kennedy] at the time. He played her the soundtrack to Head. She asked who was playing bass and he said, 'That's Peter.' Then she said, 'Who wrote that part?' And he went, 'Oh, that was Peter too.' Then he had the idea that the theme song to Friends sounded exactly like Headquarters. He just caught a charge and wanted to see it through, so he asked me and Micky to come jam with him. It was the first time we'd played together like that since 1969.
"I played bass. Micky was on drums and Michael was on guitar. We sounded just the same. It was really amazing. We had a jam, and as a result we brought in Davy and did Justus. I think the whole album is entirely under-appreciated. Nobody else was in the studio besides us and the engineer. I wrote 'Run Away From Life.' It's about fantasists. It's sarcastic as all hell, really pretty nasty. But with the album, I think we were operating under some limits we didn't need to. Mostly, I think it was a big mistake for me to not play more guitar. Micky's drumming is just ferocious on that record though."
The Monkees celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the debut of their television show on September 12, 1996 in Santa Monica, California with a private party for family, friends, and former co-workers from the series. The evening included an advance preview of Justus, the first Monkees album by the full quartet since 1968.
After releasing Justus, an album of all-new material in late 1996, The Monkees began work on an original one-hour prime time TV special in January 1997, and it eventually aired in the United States on ABC on February 17, 1997. This article, from the March 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine and written by MBF editor Maggie McManus, details the genesis and filming of the television special, the group's first since 1969's 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
Read much more about The Monkees' 1997 television special at The Monkees Film & TV Vault.
Last year, it was great fun covering in real time the release of Good Times!, the first new Monkees album since 1996's Justus.
The widespread use of the internet was still a relative novelty in '96 when Justus arrived, and it was up to the traditional outlets to provide the extensive, in-depth coverage of the latest Monkees happenings. There was no greater source of Monkees news and information at that time than Monkee Business Fanzine and its editor Maggie McManus.
Scanning these pages from the December 1996 issue of MBF proved quite nostalgic. I was a junior in college when Justus hit record shops in October 1996. After my 9:30 am class that day, I purchased the CD at the town's music store. The campus bookstore carried Goldmine magazine, and if I'm remembering correctly, I had read their stellar review of Justus prior to purchasing it.
This MBF article provided early sales figures, initial reviews, and much more about the album. Enjoy, and as always, a big thanks to Maggie McManus!
Reviews for Justus were less enthusiastic in comparison with those for Good Times!:
The March 1997 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine provided an update on Justus sales figures and more:
And check out the great photo of The Monkees from the Justus era, taken in Santa Monica, California in late 1996.
This song (not to be confused with "You and I" from The Monkees' Instant Replay LP) was written by Davy Jones & Micky Dolenz and appeared on the 1996 Monkees album, Justus, the last to feature all four Monkees.
"You and I" was originally released on the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart LP in 1976 in a different arrangement with Micky singing the lead vocal. It was also the B-side to the "I Remember the Feeling" single.
In 1998, Micky Dolenz released a CD of demos that featured unreleased tracks, songs that eventually made their way onto The Monkees' 1996 album Justus, and more. This booklet was autographed by Micky:
"Beverly Hills" was the B-side to Micky's 1982 Japanese single, "To Be Or Not To Be."
"Mike sent out a bunch of unlabeled CDs of that album to a bunch of radio stations and reviewers," Micky Dolenz remembered. "The unlabeled ones came back with great reviews — about this new garage band! It’s so funny."
Thanks to Al Bigley for sharing this interview with Nez that was conducted by an Australian radio station in early 1997.
Jeff Gehringer, a frequent contributor to the Live Almanac blog, wrote this review of the November 1996 Billboard Live club show that was designed to promote the Justus album. The piece originally appeared in the December 1996 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine. For easier reading, click on each image to enlarge.
Live in 2021