“I guess he’s kind of like our Neil Young,” Dolenz says, likening Nesmith to Young’s occasional reunions with Crosby, Stills &Nash, who have carried on regardless. “I will always love singing and playing with him. He’s always welcome. But he’s always marched to the beat of a different drummer.”
Q: Are you glad you agreed to this whole thing?
A: What whole thing? The Monkees?
Q: We could go that far back, but I’m asking more specifically about the latest reunion tour and new album.
A: I’m thrilled. Are you kidding? We knew we would have something going on for the 50th anniversary. But to have it explode like this — it’s just unimaginable. The equivalent to this happening — for us to have a Top 20 record with “Good Times” — would be like Al Jolson or Enrique Caruso having a Top 20 album in 1966 when the Monkees first came out. You just wouldn’t believe it.
What has the reception to "Good Times!" been like?
We’re selling hard copies of this thing, apparently at the equivalent of a million-selling copies. I mean, somebody told me how many we’re selling, and I went, “Well, what’s this? That’s not a big number.” And they said, “No, it’s the equivalent of a million-seller, back when people really bought records. The fact that you’re actually selling hard copies is a great, great thing.”
How excited were you when Adam Schlesinger started recruiting all these legendary composers for “Good Times!”?
Adam was the magic name. We’d all heard his work on “That Thing You Do,” and it was obvious that he knew how to do the ‘60s in the ‘90s, and the ‘70s in 2016. As soon as we heard his name, Mickey (Dolenz) and I looked at each other and said, “Great!” And then? Here came the songs!”
Tribune: Does it bother you that the Monkees aren’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
Dolenz: "Not at all. I don’t really chase that stuff myself. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a wonderful organization. I do a lot of work for their charity foundation. But it was started by three guys, two of them in music and one in publishing, and it’s like a private country club. They have the right to have in whoever they want. That’s their prerogative."
On Jan. 21, 1967, just a few months after their TV show became a hit with kids across America, the Monkees performed at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. This was no ordinary stop on their tour, though, as footage from the concert was used in the television episode “The Monkees On Tour,” the last of their first season, featuring a day in their lives on the road. If you watch it, note the scenes filmed at Mountain Shadows Resort, and the inclusion of classic Valley radio station KRUX! The episode truly plays as a mini-documentary of a band in its prime — in retro Phoenix!
Can it really be possible that The Monkees’ TV show debuted 50 years ago? Wow … just trying to let that sink in. Hard to believe that Peter, Davy, Micky and Mike have been delighting us with their Marx Brothers-meets-Beatles antics for so long. In celebration, Rhino Records has released a three-disc set, spanning their entire career.
There’s nothing surprising about this collection; all the hits are here, represented by their most recent versions. I’ll never tire of hearing “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Mary, Mary.” Also included are key tracks from their 1980s comeback, “That Was Then, This is Now” and “Heart and Soul,” as well as their latest singles, “You Bring the Summer” and “She Makes Me Laugh.” A splendid collection.
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