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Monkee sees, Monkee does — but always with at least one old mate done with all that

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under davy, news feed



BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Hey, hey, he’s still a Monkee. But Michael Nesmith definitely isn’t.

Davy Jones, lead vocalist of NBC’s made-for-TV pop rockers, made that manifestly clear after a session for PBS’ 60s Pop Rock: My Music, a new pledge drive concoction set to premiere on Dec. 3rd.

Davy Jones on TCA tour/PBS photo

But c’mon, let’s just suppose that the stars all aligned, and the recalcitrant Nesmith joined Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork in one last climactic Monkees concert. After all, they’re one of the few 1960s groups with all of their original members still among the living. And a number of The Monkees’ hit songs, including Daydream Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday, I’m a Believer and Last Train to Clarksville, have stood the test of time. Which at this point is 43 years after the once wildly popular NBC show was canceled.

Jones quickly interjected. “It’ll never happen,” he told “Mike Nesmith does not belong in the group anymore. He doesn’t sing in the group. He doesn’t perform like Micky, Peter or I do. There’s no place onstage for Mike Nesmith anymore. He stands there. We are animated. We move, we dance, we talk. He doesn’t want to be in the group, so why push the point?”

Sorry about that.

Jones, 65, is part of a PBS nostalgia kick, if not a full-blown wallow. During its two-day portion of the Television Critics Association “press tour,” the publicly funded network also had sessions touting The Ed Sullivan Comedy Special and a four-part America in Primetime series that revisits four iconic TV genres. Smokey Robinson also showed up to promote the Australian group Human Nature’s reprises of classic Motown singles in an Ultimate Celebration special.

The Pop Rock: My Music show will be co-hosted by Jones and Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame. Both will re-croon some of their hits while also introducing groups such as Chad and Jeremy, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Kingsmen and Percy Sledge.

Jones insists that “my voice is better, I sing better, I’m feeling better about my life.” Still, he couldn’t resist a series of moth-eaten jokes about the advancing years of participants, including himself. One of the Hermits’ biggest hits, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve got a Lovely Daughter,” has been retitled “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Walker.” And Jones now sings “Denture Queen.”

Badda bing bang thud.

Being a still spry embodiment of The Monkees is something he’s learned to live with — and cash in on. But Jones also reminds his audiences that he got into show business as a teenaged Artful Dodger in a West End production of Oliver before taking the role to Broadway and earning a Tony nomination.

A generation or two later, he played the villainous Fagin in latter day productions of Oliver. Jones is not shy about praising his performance.

“My Fagin was as good as any Fagin,” he said after the formal interview session. “As good as Alec Guiness, Ron Moody, Clive Revill — any of these people. But you’d have to see it to believe what I’m sayin’.”

He’d still like to play Joel Grey’s role in Cabaret or have a go in Stop the World — I Want to Get Off.

“As a 65-year-old man, I can’t be doing Barnum,” he said. “You know, bouncin’ on a friggin’ high wire.”

Reprising the old Monkees hits is hardly a high-wire act for him. Audiences lap it up and Jones is content to satisfy them.

All of the groups in the PBS Pop Rock: My Music special are “just taking advantage of the things that made them successful,” he said. “You know, Tony Bennett probably gets pissed off every time he sings ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco.’ But maybe he doesn’t, you know. Maybe he wishes he had 10 more of those.”

For Jones, “the hardest part is going back to the hotel room” after being “somebody’s Elvis” during another Monkees-fueled concert performance. “Then I’m just a 65-year-old man sitting there.”

But there are worse fates. And when a woman on Social Security swoons at the mere sight of him, well, that’s show biz.

“They used to throw knickers, and now they are throwing Depends,” Jones said. “What can I say?”

via Monkee sees, Monkee does — but always with at least one old mate done with all that | LocateTV Blog.

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