Jun 012016


On Facebook, that scourge of Rock Town Hall, I got sucked into pissing off modern-day Monkees devotees over their celebration of some article declaring The Monkees as the “Motown of Rock.” This is the kind of shooting-fish-in-a-barrel nonsense that makes me think it’s time to build a new church, a new congregation from the wonderful materials we’ve developed here. As I just got done telling some legendary digital Power Pop Nerd, if he wants to compare the Monkees to The Supremes or The Temptations be my guest. I’ll keep my mouth shut and not say something pissy like, “Well, let’s not go crazy, they’re more like Martha & The Vandellas…” For all our hard work, the core belief that Greatness is somewhat better than Goodness has failed to take root. There must be a way to get these people back on the path toward Greatness, despite how far they’ve strayed from said path.

Where the Motown comparison falls apart, and where the myths of The Monkees being “fake” crumble, is in the nagging fact that less than two years after forming, The Monkees deliberately stepped out of the star-making machinery that created them and assumed creative control of their music and image. In a particularly rock ’n’ roll move, Mike Nesmith sealed the contentious break with the band’s puppet-master Don Kirshner (ironically, a Hall Of Fame inductee in part for creating The Monkees and The Archies), by putting his fist through a wall while shouting to Kirshner, “That could have been your face!” From there, the band started writing, playing and touring in earnest (hand-picking then relatively unknown Jimi Hendrix as their opening act, no less). Once they started calling their own shots, they made their most critically acclaimed album, Headquarters, which Mojo called “a masterpiece of ’60s pop.”

It occurred to me that the annual beef that The Monkees are getting shafted by not being inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame may be tops among Rock’s First-World Issues. Is there no better sign of Rock Entitlement than the energy one expends on that topic? What other First-World Issues in Rock come to mind?

May 172016

I am tired of death, politics, and the disastrous start for my Minnesota Twins. So let’s get happy and get ready for the best of summer of our lives with The Monkees’ new single, written by one Andy Partridge!

Whaddaya think? That Micky Dolenz has friends in high places!

Jul 162015
Daydream Conceiver

Daydream Reliever

A few years ago my wife got me hooked on Hogan’s Heroes, a show I enjoyed as a kid but never subscribed to, if you know what I mean: I had little rooting interest in the characters and plotlines other than an instinctive love of Newkirk’s turtleneck and sideburns. As an adult, however, I realized what a comic genius Werner Klemperer was as Klink, not to mention the comedic support provided by dummkopf Schultz. Bob Crane’s Hogan is an outstanding wiseass character, who my wife pointed out is very much in the vein of one of my old college friends. They’re all great, even LeBeau, the little Frenchman in Stalag 13, who used to annoy me with his spells of overt cuteness when I was a kid.

Every few years since childhood I tune into reruns of The Monkees. Once I even rented a DVD of the second season from Netflix. Each time I try revisiting The Monkees the show gets worse. I still enjoy seeing them lip-sync to one of my favorite Monkees songs, but the wacky hijinx style, which was innovative in its time, looks more and more like the Nickelodeon tweener sitcoms my boys used to watch when they were of that age. And speaking of spells of overt cuteness, I don’t think a single entertainer’s cutey-pie routine has ever annoyed me more than Davy Jones’ act. Not when I was a kid. Not to this day. If I want to gorge on cuteness I’ll watch a Shirley Temple movie. That’s cute! Davy just strikes me as the worst kind of attention-seeking ass kisser.

Look at me! Aren’t I adorable? And don’t you love my British accent? Here, let’s have a little tap dance!

Yuck! Any time he shows up and gets a few lines on an episode of The Monkees I want to denounce my fairly strong case of Anglophilia.

Over the last 2 years, as I’ve grown to admire and love that little French rascal Louis LeBeau, I’ve had a recurring thought: What if LeBeau replaced Davy Jones in The Monkees? The benefits, as I see them, would have been mind blowing, show altering, and even extend to exerting positive influences over Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz’s burgeoning egos.

Jan 222014
Peter Tork, late-period Monkees persona.

Peter Tork, mid-period Monkees persona.

Q: If you could throw a snowball at any member of The Monkees, who would it be?

A: Tork — his Monkees persona is really irritating in the later seasons

In a recent Dugout Chatter, Townsman hrrundivbakshi‘s answer to the above question brought to light a key rock ‘n roll topic that somehow has eluded public discussion…until now.

Mar 022012

Check out this Head-era Monkees interview with longtime Philadelphia DJ Hy Lit. At the 4:07 mark, Mike Nesmith starts talking about the band’s next album, a proto-KISS solo album concept, in which each Monkee leads a side of a double album through his personal musical vision. Mickey Dolenz joins in with a note about his interest in electronic music and his Moog synthesizer, which goes way over Lit’s head. Soon after Peter Tork starts calling for an end to the interview. The late Davy Jones looks really cute.

Rock Town Hall asks you to imagine the track listing, in descriptive terms, including sequencing and real and/or imagined song titles, for this planned double album.

If you can manage any of that challenge, how would your Monkees double-album concept release have stacked up against the KISS solo albums?

Jan 312012

I had no idea the following TV special existed. This must have come out during my first days or months as a father. I had more pressing matters at that time, but nevertheless…fascinating. See if you don’t agree—and see if you’re not shocked by something at the 4:05 mark. Et tu, Davy? After the jump

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