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Exclusive Interview With Coco Dolenz

March 10, 2017 by  
Filed under M.A. Cassata, news feed

by M.A. Cassata


What we have learned so far is that Coco Dolenz has spent most of 2016 as a vital part of what the music media has termed the concert experience of the year—handling the background vocals for brother Micky and fellow Monkees legend Peter Tork on The Monkees’ coast-to-coast 50th Anniversary tour.

But as all die-hard Monkees know Coco also contributed vocals to the track “Birth of an Accidental Hipster” from the group’s critically-renowned album Good Times!  

Micky’s much-loved by Monkees fans younger sis has produced three solo CDs, and has written her own solo show—appropriately billed as “Songs on My Music Stand.”

‘“Songs on My Music Stand”’ represents songs I’ve performed for years, signature pieces, and ones I always wanted to do,” explains Coco. “They were on ‘my stand’ at home like one might have a pending or to do file on their desk.  We re-wrote some of the lyrics to ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘The Lady is a Tramp,’ to reflect my personal journey and make the piece timely.” Also in the show are: “They Can’t Take That Away,” “God Bless The Child” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Coco continues to appear often as a vocal artist in her own right in brother Micky’s successful solo shows. In these concerts, she delivers an awe-inspiring version of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘60s classic “White Rabbit” and sings a lovely duet with Micky on the great Carole King’s Brill Building-era ballad “Cryin’ in the Rain” as arranged for Micky’s 2010 tribute album—King for a Day.

Back in 2015, she teamed up with Spanky McFarlane of beloved Sixties pop band Spanky and Our Gang fame for two knock-out shows in the L.A. area.

In this exclusive interview, we ask Coco some of your most need to questions, particularly what it’s like being Micky’s sister (and performing with him), her music, favorite Monkees memories and future projects.

Please tell our readers about the new live performances you are doing (solo and with Micky? How did that come about?  

Micky was asked to return to 54 Below and he asked me if I’d like to sit in with him, as a guest, and do a few numbers with him. (After twisting my arm really really hard I agreed.)

He was then asked whether or not I would like to do my own show at the 9:30 spot after his show on the 25th. I said yes, and here we go. 

What songs will you be performing solo and with Micky?  

Micky and I will be  doing a few signature songs we’ve been performing for years and a few surprises too. My set Songs on My Music Stand covers a wide range from show tunes to jazz, ballads and performance pieces.

Why did you choose these these songs?

Mostly because of their lyric and how it relates to my life. Others just because they are incredible songs that I enjoy singing or have always wanted to perform.

What’s your experience as a sister to a hyper-famous guy?

It runs the gambit of emotions but mostly I take it in stride. He’s been famous for as long as I can remember Ha!

What are some of your favorite memories (including songs, venues, tours, etc)  performing with Micky?

The cruise ship shows were great fun. It was my first opportunity to sing with an orchestra and we saw some beautiful places. Songs — ones where we get to utilize our harmonizing skills and break out of the box. Touring with him since 2000 and lately the Monkees shows have been an education one doesn’t get in school.  Venues –  some of the great old theaters especially the Paramount in Austin TX, where my mom was born, and performed as a college student.

Fans loved seeing you as one of the backup singers for the 50th Anniversary Tour. What did you like best about being on that  tour?

The fact that we could say  “Wow 50 years?” The quality of the music and the show itself, how it stayed fresh from night to night. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and the audiences reflected back joy, love and appreciation. Perfect combination.

Our readers would also really like to know about your thoughts on the other Monkees.  Do you have fond memories of the other guys?

Of course.  The early crazy days when it was like I just got 3 more big brothers. Sitting around singing just for the fun of it. David teaching me how to jump a horse. Music and life conversations with Professor Tork. Getting a call from Michael 1978-ish,  come down to Carmel and shoot an idea he had for a show called Pop Clips. Throughout the years they all have been great supporters.

What kind of fan interaction experiences have you had? Any surprises, that kind of thing?  

A few ‘fans’ have become friends which is very nice. And I have received some very heartfelt letters and gifts which are unexpected and incredibly thoughtful. I am constantly reminded of how much we are appreciated. It’s nice to be able to do what you love and for others to love what you do.

How about memorable solo performances?

Singing at events with speakers like Dr Wayne Dyer, Buckminster Fuller, Mark Victor Hanson.  The first time I performed Songs on ‘My Music Stand’. Singing the theme from ‘Titanic’ on a ship in the middle of the ocean.. and every time I sing “White Rabbit”… I get goose bumps.

We do too!


M.A. Cassata
Author of 20+ books

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