Chip Douglas is fondly remembered by Monkees fans as the producer of the group's two most acclaimed albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., along with some of their best single sides, including "Daydream Believer," "Goin' Down," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Words," and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere."
Chip was a noted musician even before Michael Nesmith approached him about taking over the production reigns for The Monkees after the dismissal of Don Kirshner. As a member of the Modern Folk Quartet and then later briefly with the Gene Clark Group, Douglas subsequently joined The Turtles, performing on and arranging their classic 1967 track, "Happy Together."
In this exclusive interview for the Live Almanac conducted by British broadcaster and longtime Monkees fan Iain Lee, Chip broaches a wide range of topics in relation to his history with the group. When formulating the questions, it was my goal to move beyond discussion of the Headquarters era, which has been chronicled in great detail. As a result, Iain gets Chip to talk about the inspiration behind his song "Steam Engine" and the expensive recording sessions that surrounded it, as well as his memories of "Today" and "I'm a Man," two tracks recorded during his tenure with The Monkees that never received a proper vocal. The 1976 Dolenz/Jones/Tork Christmas single, working with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz in the early 1970s, Michael Nesmith's recording sessions, Peter Tork's reaction to Chip's role as Monkees producer, and much more are covered throughout the 30 minute conversation.
This interview has been in the planning stages since the summer of 2013, and I'm pleased that we are finally able to present it here on the Live Almanac's blog. I'd like to thank both Chie Hama, who played a key role in getting us in touch with Chip, and Iain for taking the time from his busy schedule to conduct the interview. And of course, thanks to Chip Douglas for being accessible to the fans and for all of his contributions to The Monkees and their recorded output.
Iain is currently working on another Monkees-related release, Micky Dolenz: The MGM Singles Collection, highlighting Micky's early 1970s solo singles. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for that project.
Enjoy the interview!