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Exclusive: Talking with Dave Alexander of The Monkees Touring Band

December 13, 2013 by  
Filed under blogs, Fred Velez, news feed

Fred Velez with Dave Alexander, photo by Linda Walsh

By Fred Velez.

Dave Alexander is a musician and a member of the Monkees touring band since the early 1990’s to the most recent 2013 Monkees tour. He is also a member of the Micky Dolenz touring band and was a member of the Davy Jones band, and is part of the Beatles tribute band Glass Onion. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dave on December 6th, 2013 for this exclusive interview:

Fred Velez: A little bit about your background, Dave. Where do you hail from?

Dave Alexander: I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts in a town called Malden.

FV: When did you first get into music?

DA: I think I joined my first band around age fourteen or fifteen, something like that, I played my first gig.

FV: Do you remember a lot about your first gig and how it went?

DA: There are two separate gigs that I remember. One was part of my high school Jazz band, we got paid money to play a small function in Boston. It was a typical Jazz band gig, it was really fun. Then I remember playing for a girl’s Sweet 16 birthday party, and that was really cool. It was a little more fun too, I got to play in a Rock band. I was playing bass guitar at the time. That was like the gig where I realized you can pick up girls from being a musician. (Laughs)

FV: Outside of those first paid shows, what were your other professional gigs?

DA: I played around a lot of clubs and some small music halls through the late 80’s and early 90’s. I was an accompanist for a bunch of acts. I played around the country a little bit, nothing major. My first real major gig I think was June of 1993 at the Kennedy Center for a show called ‘The Real Live Brady Bunch’.

FV: Was that the first time you worked with Davy Jones? When was the actual first time?

DA: That happened about three months later in Pontiac, Michigan. I always loved comedy, and I grew up loving the Monkees and I grew up loving the Brady Bunch. And sure enough, in 1993, my dreams came true. I was at the right place at the right time and I met the right people. Through working with comedy troupes playing music, I got into this show that was already up and running and gaining more popularity called ‘The Real Live Brady Bunch’. I took over as musical director for Faith Holloway and her sister Jill Holloway gave away her directing position. It was like my first really big break. Working with the Brady Bunch show was just a blast. It was so much fun traveling around the country, playing for a lot of people, and getting paid good money. And little did I know, in August, a little bonus started to happen that we were going to be working with a certain guest star. I couldn’t imagine who it was. When I found out it was going to be Davy Jones, I flipped out, because I always wanted to be in the Monkees since I was a little kid. Being a fan of the Brady Bunch and the Monkees, this was the next best thing! It was amazing, I called my mother, I told all my friends. It was a very exciting time, I never thought that it would happen like that.

FV: Very cool. Did working with Davy lead directly to being part of the Monkees touring band?

DA: I would say that, sure.

FV: What was the year that was the first time you worked with the Monkees?

DA: During ’93 after meeting Davy briefly for a couple of weeks only. In ’94 he actually went on the road with us. We were doing one-nighters all around the country on a bus tour with the Brady Bunch (show). And it turned out that me and Davy got along really well, we just connected well. He and I had similar musical tastes. We would hang out in the back lounge of the bus, and just sing together and jam together, singing and talking and playing guitar. It was a lot of fun, we kind of got to know each other that way. So, it was the end of that year in ’94 that he called me on the phone, and I just couldn’t believe it was him, I was still sort of shell shocked. He asked me if I was available in March to go to Japan to be a part of his band for his solo tour. And he said “Of course if you say no I understand if you’ve got other things going on, that’s all right”, and I’m saying “No, No, No, I want to go!” So, I join on with his band in March of ’95. From there, we did a couple of cities here and there. And then around the summertime is when I met Micky. Davy introduced me to Micky Dolenz and we played a bunch of concerts together in the summer of ’95, including a show at the base of the World Trade Center.

FV: Oh, I was at that show. I’ve got pictures from that show, and I was recently looking at the pictures and I said “Is that Dave?” (Laughs) Aviva Maloney, was she in the band at the time?

DA: No she wasn’t, but it’s a good segue. The next year, 1996, earmarked the Monkees 30th anniversary, so they got Peter Tork and hit the road. But, as I learned over the past twenty years, there’s always a caveat with them. They always have to come to some agreement, they all have to have their individual thing that makes them agree to do a show. That year, 1996, Peter’s was ‘I have to have someone from my band in the (Monkees touring) band’. So, he was allowed to bring in somebody into the band and that person was Aviva. Because of that I had to take a hit and kind of got cut from the band that year. But Davy being a loyal friend, he wanted to help me out. He offered me a road job, basically driving one of the trucks around on their tour, doing some stage managing stuff. So I took it, because it was money (laughs), and I got to be on the road with the Monkees. It wasn’t that shameful a deal for me, I sort of just went along with the flow of things, I’m that kind of guy. It bugged me at the beginning, but I said I’m glad that he’s offering me to have a good paying job. It went on like that for about one and a half to two years where I was just part of the road crew, and that also included the ’97 tour of England with Mike Nesmith joining the band. It was fun, just being around that whole atmosphere and it worked for me.

FV: What was it like working with all four Monkees?

DA: It was cool, you know. Mike was pretty quiet, he kept to himself that year. He did have a lot to do with the production of the show, how it looked. One of his caveats (I believe) was that his son’s (Jason) band was the opening act for that tour, I think that was one of the things they agreed on for the tour. Nancy Boy opened for them, they were great too, I really enjoyed working with them. So yeah, it was really cool, it was very professional, let’s put it that way. It was fun hanging around, we all used to generally hang out at bars when we had a day off, you know, partying it up, but I don’t think Mike was into that scene, he didn’t really hang out with us that much.

FV: How did the ‘Loafy’ nickname come about?

DA: During the ‘Brady Bunch’ years, we used to have ‘sponsors’ for our show. I love to act, I love to make people laugh. I used to do characters and impersonations. Davy saw me doing an impersonation of Meat Loaf, the singer. And for some reason, he just right off the bat started calling me ‘Loafy’. He used to joke that he can’t remember my name, so he associated me with ‘Loafy’. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t remember my name, it was his too! (Laughs)

FV: I remember you in the shows when they introduced you as ‘Loafy’ and when you used to do the imitation of Meat Loaf singing a parody of ‘I Would Do Anything For Love’, which got a big laugh from everybody when you got to the punch line, that was a lot of fun!

DA: (Laughs) Yes.

FV: Now (drummer) Sandy Gennaro was in the band at that time, and you and Sandy did that hysterical ‘Archie and Edith’ routine from ‘All in the Family’ during some of the tours. How did that originate?

DA: We always used to hang out, Davy loved to hang out with the guys. Part of the criteria was how much you can make each other laugh, and that was always a fun thing. Just one day, I remember we were in Florida somewhere, we were just driving in a van, being transported somewhere. Sandy started talking about watching the ‘All in the Family’ show, laughing really hard, talking about the jokes and what they were talking about. And I just came out and did Edith for the first time. It was the first time they ever heard me do it, and their eyes lit up, “Oh my God, that’s unbelievable!” Davy didn’t really quite know what it was, but he knew it was funny because everyone else was saying “That’s incredible, how do you do that?” That’s how it happened. It just came out of the blue.

FV: Yeah, I remember those shows when you and Sandy did that and the whole place was like on the floor laughing. And it was fun when you guys did it last year at the (2012 Davy Jones) Memorial and the (2013) Monkees Convention.

DA: Yes, I’m sure you have not seen the last of it! (Laughs)

FV: (Laughing) I bet! What memorable highlights stand out for you from any of the Monkees tours?

DA: Well, there’s a couple definitely that stand out. One of them was when Cyndi Lauper joined us one night on stage. She was an idol of mine since she came on the scene in the 80’s. I never knew that Sandy used to be her drummer until I met him, and I told him “Wow! I saw you in concert!”. It’s weird how full circle things come around. So, she happened to be playing at the same fair as us (except the night after) in Texas. So she was there the night before to see us guys play. She came to the show, she was watching from the wings. And then Davy asked her to join him on stage to sing ‘Daydream Believer’. And it was the highlight. She didn’t really remember the words too much. So, she kind of turned and made eye contact with me in order to follow my lips. (Laughs) So, that was like a huge highlight being on the stage with Cyndi Lauper, that was really cool. And I think last year (2012) at the Greek Theater on my birthday, that was a big highlight of my career. Cause, even though my good friend Davy wasn’t there, I knew he was there in spirit. But, playing with Nesmith and the other guys on my birthday, and Micky announcing it to the crowd at the Greek Theater, that was certainly a huge highlight.

FV: Wow, very nice. Besides the Monkees what other big names have you worked with?

DA: One year we were the band for Peter Noone and Bobby Sherman for the first Teen Idols tour, Davy, Peter and Bobby. That was pretty fun.

FV: Yes, I got to see the Teen Idols show with Davy, Peter Noone and Bobby Sherman at Westbury, did you do that show?

DA: Oh yeah.

FV: Oh cool, then I saw you there too! (Laughs)

DA: Other than that not many. I played with the Turtles, and we were onstage with Procol Harum at one gig, that was pretty awesome. Of course, Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere & The Raiders, the Chiffons who sang ‘He’s So Fine’, we played with them one time, that was cool. And we worked with Andrew Gold just a few months before he died. And we worked with Jerry Corbetta, the lead singer from Sugarloaf, he was a trip! (Laughs)

FV: You weren’t on the 2011 Monkees tour which sadly was the last one with Davy.

DA: No, it’s kind of a bittersweet thing. I had just recently met Jennifer (now my wife), it was probably like a three or four year courtship up to that point. We were friends, we were hanging out all the time and getting to know each other even better. When I started hearing that the Monkees were going out on tour again, and I had been in Micky’s band. So I’m thinking “Oh no, what’s going to happen?” So I started calling everybody, my friend Dave Robicheau and Aviva, everyone. And they all said the same thing; nope, they’re going to use Davy’s band and they each get to pick one person, Micky gets to pick one person and Peter gets to pick one person. At that point Davy has another keyboard player. So, I heard they were going out on tour again and I wasn’t included. Micky took Wayne Avers, his musical director, and Peter took a guy named AJ who played bass in his band Shoe Suede Blues. So, I sent an email to Micky, I told him I really needed this tour. He told me he was really trying, but there was really nothing he could do about it because it was essentially Davy’s tour. He suggested that I write to Davy myself or call him and talk to him and see what happens. I said that’s good enough for me and I decided that I’ll just forgo this tour and I’ll just wait and see what happens. And as I told Jennifer, something better is going to happen, something bigger is coming down the line. And sure enough, it did. It’s bittersweet, but I was right to be patient, I was right not to be a hounding, pestering kind of person. And now, I’m back touring for the past couple of years during this Nesmith/Monkees tour.

FV: Now there were rumors flying around prior to February of 2012 that there was a possible Monkees tour with Nesmith to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the ‘Headquarters’ album. At that point, were you approached about doing the tour, and was there anything about the rumors that the Monkees were going to tour with Nesmith and that Davy was going to be involved as well?

DA: All I know as far as the facts go, I got a call around late in the summer. I didn’t hear anything until late in August. That’s when I first got a call if I was available to go out with Nesmith and the Boys.

FV: Ok, here comes the tough question: Where were you when you received the news about Davy’s passing?

DA: Well, I was in my bedroom and I was waking up and my good friend Dave Robicheau called me. He just found out about 9:30 in the morning, I think I was the first one that he called. Of course I thought it was a joke at first, I just saw him (Davy) about a month prior. I knew something was up, but I didn’t think he was sick.

FV: One of the last times you saw Davy, how was his health during that time? Did he seem like he was ill, was he very tired, was it very noticeable?

DA: No, his performance was high energy. It’s tough to pinpoint unless you know something’s up. We knew something was up, both Jen and I, but we didn’t know it was anything health related. But, we could tell there was something up, but we didn’t know what it was, we couldn’t put our finger on it. You know, I couldn’t tell you if he was short of breath, he was himself. He was very happy to see me, that’s for sure. So, I couldn’t tell if anything weird was going on health-wise.

FV: Now, a few weeks after Davy passed away, you and Micky were at the Fest for Beatles Fans. It was Micky’s first public appearance after Davy died. How difficult was it for you and Micky to make that appearance so soon after what happened?

DA: That was kind of good that we were together. It wasn’t anything that we had planned even. I knew Micky was going to be there so I went and I just stayed close to him. He had his wife, (Donna) to help him out with stuff, but I think the fact that I showed up really helped him out. It helped me out, for sure, cause we got to sort of lean on each other, just talk about all the things that we talk about at a time like that, you know. Try to remember the good times, you know what I mean? It was good for us to be together.

FV: That was Micky’s first performance of ‘Daydream Believer’ shortly after what happened. It must have been very tough to do that song. How was Micky when he was doing both the rehearsal and the song itself during the Beatlefest?

DA: I don’t think I was there at rehearsal, I showed up near the performance. I’m not even sure he rehearsed, he usually doesn’t. (Laughs) At the performance it was rough, you know, he definitely squeaked, we welled up. It was really rough.

FV: Linda (Walsh) and I were in the audience and we could see the emotion in Micky’s performance. We gave you and Micky a lot of credit to go through that after what you had just been through just a couple of weeks earlier.

DA: Oh yeah.

FV: Now you along with the rest of Davy’s band performed at the special memorial at B.B. King’s in April (2012), with Micky, Peter, Deana Martin and Davy’s daughters Talia and Annabel with Cousin Brucie Morrow emceeing. It was a very emotional evening for us and I’m sure it was for you guys. And I’m sure it wasn’t that easy putting that together. What are your specific thoughts about the memorial?

DA: Well, it was very emotional. I really didn’t have a lot to do with putting it together, although I offered my help. I know that it was a lot of work. In fact, if you ask me, I think there was a little too much work put into it. You could do one of those events for days, so I personally didn’t mind that it lasted as long as it did. You know, some people were saying that it was too soon and all this, but I didn’t really think so. You know, any time is appropriate, really. So, it was fairly well put together. At times like that, you know, you do all you can. Remember the best times, remember the good times, remember what made you laugh. That’s what I tried to bring to it, that’s what I remember.

FV: Even though the memorial was as long as it was (five hours), I thought it was very good and I think very appropriate.

DA: Yes, I think it was really appropriate.

FV: You already answered this question, but I’ll ask it again: A few months later it was announced there would be a Monkees tour with Michael Nesmith back in the fold. When you got the phone call about the tour was it a big surprise for you?

DA: Yes, it definitely was surprising. It was a nice surprise.

FV: Now, there was some controversy about Nesmith touring with the Monkees so soon after Davy’s passing. Did the criticism affect the tour in anyway, and how did the Monkees deal with the criticisms?

DA: From what I remember the tour was sold out, I don’t really think it really affected it so much. I know it affected the die-hard Davy fans and maybe rightly so, that’s where their loyalty is, you know. There’s nothing wrong with that, (Davy) was their favorite, in their opinion. (The criticisms) didn’t really affect (the Monkees), they just brushed it off. There were only a certain amount of people expressing their displeasure with it. I mean, what can you do? Like I said, everybody has their opinion that they’re entitled to it. It wasn’t like they went out to dishonor the guy, you know. I don’t think that it affected the tour or the guys so much that they had some criticism. But the other half of the people that are Nesmith fans were extremely excited, so it kind of balanced it out, you know?

FV: Right. I remembered that those shows with Nesmith were incredible. In your opinion, what were the differences that you felt in the concerts touring with the Monkees with Nesmith in comparison to the shows with Davy in the earlier Monkees tours?

DA: That’s easy, the music. Not that the music wasn’t a huge part of the show in the past. The Nesmith tours mainly focused on the music whereas the past tours focused a lot more on the Monkees’ show. Even though Mike did put on his Monkees’ hat, so to speak, during the performances he kind of, as he put it, went into ‘character’, it wasn’t as focused as much on the madcap in the Nesmith shows as it was in the past. To me, I’m a purist so I love the way the music sounds on the original recordings. So in the past, whenever we added a horn section that wasn’t there on the original records, I used to scratch my head a little, you know. Whereas now, the more we try to make the music sound like the record the happier I am about it. That’s where my heart is, I’m a purist.

FV: Right. On the 2012 Monkees tours, they had some really great, wonderful tribute moments to Davy. How were those shows constructed, who basically put the set list together, and was there a conscious effort to make the shows a memorial to Davy or just to make it a regular Monkees concert with an acknowledgment of Davy’s contributions to the group?

DA: I think they collectively put the set list together with some of Andrew Sandoval’s original suggestions of the songs they should probably do in the show. I know that they went in heavy with the ‘Headquarters’ anniversary, that’s basically what the tours were touted as, what they wanted it to be, an anniversary of the ‘Headquarters’ album. So, while it wasn’t so much a tribute to Davy show, it was certainly a celebration of the anniversary of ‘Headquarters’.

FV: I know the ‘Headquarters’ segments was one of the big highlights of the tour, as well as the segments saluting the movie ‘Head’. Definitely one of the highlights was the ‘Daddy’s Song’ sequence that had the band performing the song live while accompanying Davy’s image dancing from the movie with his vocals isolated. I thought it was brilliantly done. I’d like to know who came up with that idea and was is very difficult for the band to play live while trying to stay in sync with Davy’s pre-record vocals?

DA: I think that it was Mike that came up with the idea about it, either Mike and/or Andrew. It was most likely Mike because he likes that sort of thing. It certainly wasn’t the first time that has been done in concert. That’s a great thing to do. Sometimes there were technical issues that made it more difficult for the band to follow the track. The vocal track actually also had the trumpets and the trombones on it as well, and that’s what we would really listen to, the trumpets and the trombones carrying the rhythm that we focused on. Sometimes the video person might accidently speed up the tape a little bit! (Laughs)

FV: (Laugh) So, you guys had to try and catch up!

DA: (Laughing) Right!

FV: I talked to you about this when I saw you at Westbury, you guys didn’t play live on the track when you did the (2013) tour. That’s a shame, but was it the technical reasons why you guys didn’t do it live this time?

DA: I think that was one of the reasons. (For the 2012 tour) out of the twelve performances that we did, there were only three times that it didn’t work out perfectly. So, I was really bummed out that it didn’t happen again.

FV: For both the 2012 and 2013 tours, there were no Davy Jones/Monkees’ songs performed live with the exception of ‘Early Morning Blues & Greens’ from ‘Headquarters’ with Peter singing the lead. The segment with ‘Daddy’s Song’ again, and the finale with ‘Daydream Believer’ where the fans were invited from the audience to sing the song onstage with the Monkees. Were there any thoughts about adding more of Davy’s songs to the show, and who came up with the idea of having fans sing ‘Daydream Believer’? I thought it was a nice tribute to Davy.

DA: Yeah, that was Mike and Micky, they thought of that idea (I believe). That was a great idea. We were going to do ‘Shades of Gray’ with Peter singing the whole thing, but that never came through. Any other Davy/Monkees songs, it would be so hard to pull off, because you really associate certain things with Davy. You don’t want to have anybody try to conquer or do it. ‘Early Morning Blues & Greens’ was a perfect song because it’s a deep, deep cut. That was a really good idea, in my opinion.

FV: I agree. Now, you did the Monkees/Davy Jones Memorial Convention this past March (2013) and then later in the summer the Beavertown memorial to Davy, which Davy’s daughters were all in attendance at both and at Beavertown they had the statue unveiled in his memory. Do you have any special memories about those two events?

DA: Just hooking up with the girls again, it’s such a pleasure. Seeing them, they are really special people. They probably have it the hardest out of all of us. So, it’s always nice to see them and have fun, give them my love. Yes, that was a heartache, especially for Annabel.

FV: I liked what Micky said at the convention that you quoted at Beavertown, that the measure of Davy’s character can be seen in his daughters.

DA: Yeah, sure. It’s the truth.

FV: Now for you as a musician after a long tour is done, do you still stay in touch with the other members of the band?

DA: Yes.

FV: One word answer, not bad! (Laughs) I mean, do you guys hang out or anything like that?

DA: Yes, whenever possible. I live closest to (drummer) Rich Dart, so I probably see him more than anybody. I’m friends with Dave Robicheau, I opened the doors for him to get the gig with Davy and the Monkees. We’ve been friends since before he was in the Monkees, even though he lives in Connecticut, he still comes up to Massachusetts once in a while which is always a treat. We’re good friends so that’s always cool. Aviva Maloney I talk to on the phone a lot. Wayne Avers every so often, not as often as I’d like. We see each other at Micky’s shows or Monkees shows unless he’s touring with somebody else. So yeah, mostly everybody I would say I see and keep in touch with, some on a regular basis.

FV: Now, are there any plans that you’re aware of for another Monkees tour in the future?

DA: I’d say there’s no plans that I’m aware of, but what I am aware of is that there are always offers on the table. You talk to the Guys, they get it together and sign the paper. So, I’m not aware of any papers signed, but I believe that there are offers for them.

FV: Well, we’ll keep our fingers crossed! (Laughs) Outside of the Monkees, do you have your own band, are there any current projects that you’re involved in that you wish to plug?

DA: Sure. I’m a big Beatles fan as you probably know. I have a Beatles tribute band, our favorite music. That’s been going on for like three years now up here in Boston. We’re called Glass Onion. Our website is It’s pretty fun. We don’t play as often as we’d like, but we’re plugging away. When you’re a musician you play stuff constantly, and it gets a little stale, so it’s good to change it up once in awhile. I’m involved in another group where I play bass guitar, which is the most fun I’ve had in many years, with a Rod Stewart impersonator. It’s really fun, it’s called First Class Fool (, its’ just a blast. And I also play with a Tom Jones impersonator, we play the Empire Raceway in Yonkers every once in awhile, that’s a lot of fun.

FV: That’s unique! (Laughs) Ok, we’re getting to the round up. Can you give me just a one word description for each Monkee: Micky.

DA: Funny.

FV: Peter.

DA: Genius.

FV: Michael.

DA: Smart.

FV: Davy.

DA: Heart.

FV: Is there a special memory about Davy Jones or the Monkees that stands out for you above all others and why?

DA: A special moment? It’s hard to say. I think we have to come back to just Davy because it was my first introduction to everything that happened to me up till now. I’ll never forget we were in Japan. It was really early on when we were beginning to know each other more. And we just had one moment where he and I completely clicked, that he knew that I was OK and that I knew that he was OK. We were in a public park in Japan sort of hanging out. I took out a piece of paper, Origami paper. I used to do Origami all the time (Note: the Japanese art of paper folding into different shapes like animals, birds, boats, flowers and other shapes.) So we’re in a public park. There are general people walking around. This is in Japan now, and here I am folding this piece of paper and Davy is kind of like looking at me inquisitively. And there’s a mother with a little child nearby who happens to notice what I’m doing. So, I finish up and make a little animal, I think it was a little bird with the flapping wings. And the little girl, she’s curious, so I gave it to her as a present. She was happy, and smiled, and that was it. I looked at Davy and he looked at me, like that’s where it all clicked for us. It’s like little, teeny moments like that can sort of define what I am all about. (Laughs)

FV: Very nice. Anything else you want to add?

DA: On this last tour I got to be on Peter Tork’s bus. I finally felt that moment that I just described with Davy with Peter after all these years. I feel now that I know him better than I ever have in my life and I love him. I think he’s an awesome guy and I hope I continue to work with him. And of course my man Micky. When he invited me to his wedding with Donna – (I got to go and hang out with his daughters and other friends and people from the band like (the late) Jerry Renino. And later [of course] meeting Mike, Christian and Jessica whom I absolutely adore.) – What I’m trying to explain is it all becomes family. I’m not sure if this happens often and I’m always curious if that’s what it’s like in every other band. I wonder if Rusty Anderson and Abe Laboriel Jr. in Paul McCartney’s band feel the same way, but when you asked me what other big names that I worked for, it’s like it doesn’t really matter. What matters to me is the family that I accrued over the years. That’s what being in the Monkees is really like to me. It’s a real family affair. Sure, it has its’ business aspects to it every now and then. But, for the most part, it all turns out to be an incredible family, with everything that every family has. Its’ quirks, its’ weird times, but mostly the good times. I absolutely love them ALL. =)

FV: Thank you for your time Dave, I really appreciate it.

DA: Sure, no problem.

Fred Velez, 2013.

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