Few people who grew up in the 1960’s can forget the phenomenon of The Monkees which was an American television show that ran from 1966 to 1968.
The show featured band members Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, who were a Beatles style band that was put together specifically for the television show.
It was a revolution for the 1960’s, with bands like The Beatles developing huge teenage fan bases around the world, and putting a band together was a unique concept, the brainchild of Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
Although the show itself was cancelled in 1968, the band continued recording until 1971, and their songs still sound great today, but it’s now an unbelievable 39 years since their last recording together, and I wonder what they are doing now.
Davy Jones sang lead vocals for The Monkees, and was the odd one out in the group in more ways than one. For a start he was English, the other three Monkees were American.
Being short, his father had wanted Davy to be a jockey, and he learned to ride horses at an early age, but then ended up getting into show business through a friend who worked in the West End.
Not many people know, but in the early 1960’s Davy played the role of Ena Sharples’s grandson in Coronation Street, which is still the UK’s longest running soap opera.
One thing led to another, and Davy ended up as a member of The Monkees, the one that thousands of teenage girls literally fell in love with. In December 2008 Davy Jones was named Number One Teen Idol Of All Time by Yahoo Music.
These days Davy spends his time between the UK and the USA, appearing annually at the Flower Power concert series in Epcot in Florida.
We caught up with Davy when he was performing as the star of Alladin in Pantomine in Fort Lauderdale in December 2007, where he told us that he still keeps horses, in fact he rides close to where we live.
Davy has been divorced twice and has four daughters. He re-married on 30th august 2009 to Jessica Pacheco, who is a presenter on the Latin television station Telemundo.
He will be performing at the Rrazzzroom in San Francisco from October 8th to 10th, so if you are out that way, don’t miss him. He is touring through out the USA all year, the full schedule is HERE.
You can also get the latest news on what Davy is doing at Keeping Up With The Joneses where I learned that Davy had a great concert in Sacramento on 11th September, teaming up with Rick Springfield and Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits).
Micky Dolenz was the drummer with The Monkees and also sang vocals, but he started out in television with a 1956 children’s program called Circus Boy, about an orphaned boy who worked with the elephants at his uncle’s circus.
He was at college when he was picked for his part in The Monkees, and at that time he couldn’t even play the drums, and needed lessons to help him to mime for performances.
Micky was through it all a better vocalist than a drummer, and by the end of The Monkees television series he had developed a talent for producing shows.
In 1980 Micky both produced and directed a sitcom called Metal Mickey, which was about a small loveable metal robot. He also produced a stage version of the show Bugsy Malone, starring a then unknown 14 year old Welsh actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Micky has toured with Davy Jones over the years, as well as with his sister Coco Dolenz, and has worked a lot in television, creating the British children’s television show Luna on which he worked from 1983 to 1984. He also has appeared in a number of theatrical performances around the USA.
He released his first album in more than 15 years on 31st August 2010, which is a 14 track tribute to Carole King and is titled King For A Day.
In 2010 Micky was cast alongside Debbie Gibson and Tiffany in a science fantasy movie called Mega Python vs Gatoroid.
Like Davy Jones, Micky is on his third marriage, and has four daughters.
Michael was born in Houston, Texas, and developed a singing voice at an early age, participating in the choir and drama activities while at school.
He left school in 1960 prior to graduating to join the Air Force, and was trained as an aircraft mechanic. He was discharged in 1962, and together with another musician friend began to write songs and poetry, leaving for Los Angeles to pursue a career in music.
It was here that Michael got noticed, and ended up auditioning for The Monkees. The rest as they say is history.
After leaving The Monkees in 1968, Michael enrolled in UCLA and studied American History and Music History.
Collaborating with his friend John London, he formed the First National Band in 1969, and they have been credited with being pioneers in what is now known as country-rock.
Michael’s company Pacific Arts Video became a pioneer in the home video market, producing and distributing pre-recorded video tapes. He was the executive producer of a number of movies, including Repo Man, Tapeheads and Timerider.
He has had a number of other musical partnerships over the years, and is best known for his song “Rio”. In 1992 he reunited with The Monkees when they recorded their last studio album, called Justus.
Michael’s latest project is VideoRanch3D which is an internet virtual world that hosts live performances at virtual venues.
Michael has also been married three times, but announced in July 2010 that he was separating from his wife, Victoria Kennedy, who he married in April 2000.
Born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington DC, Peter was one of The Monkees who did begin studying music at an early age.
He started to play the piano at the age of nine, and moved on to learn the banjo, accoustic and bass guitars while still at school.
In the early 1960’s Peter moved to New York and became part of the Greenwich Village scene, becoming good friends with Stephen Stills, who ended up moving to the Los Angeles area with him.
It was Stephen in fact who suggested that Peter audition for a new television series about four pop musicians, and Peter ended up being selected.
Although the group did not always play their own instruments on the first two Monkees albums, Peter did in fact play keyboards, bass guitar, banjo, harpsichord and more.
Peter grew frustrated with the direction in which the group were going, and in December 1968 bought out the last four years of his contract. He did create a group together with his girlfriend, and added his talents to recordings of other well known musicians.
In 1986 Peter Tork reunited with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz for a Monkees reunion tour, and later played with his own bands The Peter Tork Project and Shoe Suede Blues, as well as other music and cinematic projects.
In the 1990’s Peter did have brief appearances on several sitcoms, including Boy Meets World, Seventh Heaven, Wings and King of Queens.
2008 saw Peter writing an advice column called Ask Peter Tork on The Daily Panic.
Peter reported on his web site on 3rd March 2009 that he had a rare slow growing form of head and neck cancer, and had extensive surgery the following day.
Although a biopsy showed that the cancer had not spread further, a spokesman for Peter said on 11th June 2009 that the cancer had returned. Peter was given an 80% chance of keeping the cancer contained.
So there we have it, The Monkees are still in the entertainment business as individuals, and collaborating on occasion. I wonder where we will see them in another 5 years?
The Monkees (Wikipedia)
The Monkees Official Site
Davy Jones (Wikipedia)
Davy Jones (Official Site)
Micky Dolenz (Wikipedia)
Micky Dolenz (Official Site)
Michael Nesmith (Wikipedia)
Videoranch (Michael Nesmith Official Site)
Peter Tork (Wikipedia)
Peter Tork (Official Site)