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Here they come: The Monkees perform tonight in Tacoma

July 10, 2011 by  
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Before the Jonas Brothers, before ’N Sync or the Backstreet Boys, even before the New Kids on the Block, there were The Monkees.

The iconic boy-band living in a rainbow-colored beach house in a ’60s TV show were a pop phenomenon that outsold The Beatles, and they have kept coming back for new generations ever since. Now they’re back again – well, three out of four of them. Their 45th anniversary tour includes Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.

And it’s all still pretty much the same humor, the same songs, the same Monkees, said lead singer Davy Jones.

“It’s going very well. We’ve got a two-hour show with a lot of classic hits and stuff pulled off albums. We’re having a great trip, everyone’s enjoying it. In fact, we’re on our way now from South Bend, Ind., to – where are we, guys? – Milwaukee, I think, and we’re watching a lot of the women’s World Cup soccer – Australia versus Brazil. They’re playing really well,” said Jones on the phone, pretty much in one breath.

Back when The Monkees went on the air as a TV-created pop band in 1966, Jones was the British lead singer grooving up front with the tambourine. A good drummer who was pulled out front because he was too short to see behind the set, Jones was actually an actor: After leaving school to seek his fortune as a race jockey, the Manchester boy found fame as an 11-year-old on the soap opera “Coronation Street,” then as the Artful Dodger in the first musical production of “Oliver.”

Riding that role to New York at 16, Jones was nominated for a Tony, which caught the attention of producers at Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems. A few years later, he teamed up with fellow actor Micky Dolenz on drums and musicians Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith to be The Monkees: the “pre-fab four” that would captivate TV viewers with zany humor and hits such as “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

The Monkees disbanded in 1970, but they never went away. After the series ran again in the 1980s, the group made reunion tours every decade, mostly without Nesmith.

At 65, Jones – who splices Monkees tours with a successful singing and stage career, plus horseracing – is a fast-talking Artful Dodger, barreling through an interview with charm and a stream of opinions. Such as:

Jones on touring, despite vowing in 2008 he’d never play with Peter Tork again: “Well, I said I wouldn’t get married again, and I did. As you get older, the kids grow up, you all deal with the things that happen to people in life, so it gets easier. You experience the same things as everyone else.”

On the tour music: “We’ve got about 40 songs, it’s all very much The Monkees. We’re playing a lot of songs people requested on an Internet thing we did. We have a great eight-piece band. Peter’s playing French horn, banjo and keyboard. Micky’s on drums. I’m up there banging my tambourine. We’re just having fun.”

On living up to people’s expectations: “Well, you can never make it the way it was. But not a lot of things have changed. The audience is not necessarily musical, they want to hear things the way they were the first time. So we bring back the memories. They’re still the same arrangements, just a bigger sound.”

On Mike Nesmith’s absence: “Mike’s not roadworthy. He doesn’t want to take the bus. It’s not a small enterprise to get everyone on the road. It gets tense.”

On getting into The Monkees: “When I was on the Ed Sullivan show and saw The Beatles, I looked at all the screaming 14-year-old girls and I thought, “Hello! I want to have a look at this!” So I signed that (Columbia Pictures) contract. It was pretty much being in the right place at the right time.”

On boy bands these days: “It’s all about the marketing. Bands like Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync had great songs. … I respect them. They can sing and hopefully they’ll be revered in years to come. But if I may say so, people are tired of some whiny guy with a voice that’s not exactly Pavarotti, know what I mean? On stage, I have this joke where I say that Justin Bieber may have taken my haircut, but he didn’t steal my songs.”

On fame: “You get people like Tina Turner and Cher, they go to Europe, people appreciate them, then all of a sudden they’re back demanding high money in Las Vegas. What goes around comes around.”

On wild living: “Why are we still going? Because we’re not bringing out the scotch for an overnight bus, it’s more likely to be chamomile tea. We don’t hit the bar after the show, there’s no beer at lunchtime. We gotta set a good example. I don’t get on the racehorse a week before each show. It’s very disciplined. That’s why the energy’s still there.”

On TV these days: “They’re running the same old episodes over and over again, and Jerry Seinfeld is sitting in New York getting a million every time it runs, while young actors can’t get a chance. They should be taking that money and using it to make interesting new shows.”

On playing with The Monkees: “It’s like new each time we do it – some new joke or riff. That’s who we are. I don’t know if the Backstreet Boys have that kind of camaraderie. We’ve been to the top of the mountain and back.”

via Here they come: The Monkees perform tonight in Tacoma | Music – The News Tribune.


2 Responses to “Here they come: The Monkees perform tonight in Tacoma”
  1. OlsonBW says:

    My wife and I went to the concert in Tacoma and it was a lot of fun. Too bad the vocals weren’t louder though.

    Peter Tork kind of asked for suggestions so they could make more money. How about selling CDs, Hoodies, and hats as well as the t-shirts and tambourines. I would have bought them too.

    The concert was great fun. I definitely hope this isn’t the last one or the last one in my area.

  2. Duchesssammi says:

    Peter Joked about taking pictures and “If you made money selling the pictures or videos to let them know”
    It was simply to let people know they had no limits on picture taking and promoting them.

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