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Exclusive Interview:Rock And Rules

May 13, 2011 by  
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The Monkees were the original boy band, but transcended claims of fakery to define ’60s pop. Clash interviews Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz about their life experiences.



Davy Jones: I moved from England to America when I was fifteen. It wasn’t risky, because I had a job. I was in Oliver on Broadway. It was tough though; there was no show on Christmas Day and I didn’t know what to do. I just sat on the pavement outside the theatre eating a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. I was going, ‘What am I doing here? This is ridiculous. I want to go home’. But you’ve got to grow up and you’ve got to move on. Personally, though, it was a risk, because I had to be a grown-up before most kids have left school.


Peter Tork: The noise about The Monkees not being the kind of band that everybody thought was the ideal band, and because we were actors playing that kind of band, the fact that that wasn’t the reality bothered a lot of people, who had got it into their heads that that was the only valid artistic expression on the face of the earth, and they accused us of selling out. If that was in fact the only valid aesthetic, we would have been selling out, but it wasn’t. Not one of these kids didn’t enjoy some TV show or other.


Mickey Dolenz: There was an enormous amount of control and structure. We were hired. We had press at 2.30, 3.30, 4.30, 5, then to the studio, wardrobe call… this was every day for years. Twelve hours a day we were on the set just filming the show, and then we had to rehearse, and at night we were recording. It was hard work and it was constant. We would have a hiatus in that we could go party sometimes, but boy, even at nineteen or twenty years old, you can’t party that hard and get up at that time in the morning, and you’d had to learn your lines for the next day’s shoot…


Davy: I didn’t know about royalties. We were in the studio one day and we made up a song as we’re talking. Then we came out the studio and the engineer says, ‘That was cool. We ought to do something with this.’ We said, ‘You can have it.’ We gave him the publishing on the song and everything. He bought a friggin’ house in the Valley for $75,000 with his royalities statement! We weren’t making that kind of money! We were making four hundred dollars a week for getting up at that time in the morning. But we didn’t care. We had a TV show, we were acting, and we were friends. It was just one good fun time. We had money in our pockets, we were driving our new cars, and it wasn’t about dollars and cents at the end of the day.


Mickey: There are two words in show business; there’s ‘show’ and there’s ‘business’. You’ve gotta be pretty good at both to get successful and stay successful. You’ve got to have the talent – that’s the ‘show’ part of it – but you also need to have the business chops, or else you’d better hire somebody that does.


Peter: Give all you’ve got to this, because if you’re thirteen or fifteen or seventeen and you want to do this, if you put this on hold and become a dentist, you will be thirty-five, and you’ll be working off your student loan until forever before you get to pick up your guitar again. Whereas if you keep going and you decide finally that as a practical matter you don’t want to pursue this as a career, you can start to become a dentist at thirty-five. You can’t do it the other way around.

via Rock And Rules: The Monkees | Clash Music Exclusive Interview.

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