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Happy Birthday Monkees Michael and Davy

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under monkees alert

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Singer Mike Nesmith of The Monkees is 62. Singer Davy Jones of the Monkees=

is 59.


Q: I’ve been looking for years for two shows either on VHS or DVD. The
first was was “The New Monkees,” a sort of next generation sequel of
“The Monkees” from the ’60s. The other is another sequel, “The New WKRP=

in Cincinnati,” that aired for two seasons, 1991-92. Can you help me find=

out if these shows are available?

A: I didn’t have any luck with The New WKRP in Cincinnati, a syndicated
successor to the network show. But I have some good news about The New
Monkees: There are discussions about it coming out on DVD sometime in 2005.

That word comes from Larry Saltis, an Akron resident who was one of the new=

Monkees along with Dino Kovas, Jared Chandler and Marty Ross. Saltis hoped=

for big things from the show, but it lasted only 13 episodes in 1987.

Saltis is now out of the music business. He now works as a commercial
contractor for Construction Plus and finds life “quite peaceful.”

But you can still find some of his music, whether it’s on old New Monkees
recordings (which are for sale on eBay), CDs of his band Tower City or on
Satin Blue, a 2002album by Lino, another local musician and friend of
Saltis. And Saltis doesn’t rule out a return to music (either in Christian=

or secular music) “if I can enjoy it again.”

There has also been interest in the New Monkees from the likes of VH1, said=

Saltis. But the band members have tried to avoid venues where they’ll be
mocked for something that was very difficult at the time.

“We were working seven days straight,” he recalled. “Some of us had
pneumonia. We’re not embarrassed by it unless it’s made a joke of. We were=

doing the best we could….

“I got out of (Revere) high school and boom! I got my dream — I got a
record contract. And I got a TV show at the same time,” he said.

He admits to having had an inflated ego as a result of all the attention –=

and to some bitterness when things did not work out.

“If you asked me about it when I was younger, I would have said it was a
completely awful experience,” he said. “Looking back now, when I’m 36,
I’m thankful I got through it…. I’ve got a great experience to show my

He’s looking forward to a DVD, too. He used to have a complete set of New
Monkees episodes on VHS but “after a series of moves, I ended up with two.=

Return of The Hit Man
On Music Legend Don Kirshner’s To-Do List: Become Global Mogul

By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2004; Page C01


Cradling a cosmopolitan in his plump right hand, Don Kirshner is
reminiscing about his former life as a pop-music mogul and getting a little=

wistful. All the hits, all the bands, all the favors he did for
up-and-comers. But here he sits, at the best table in this swanky
restaurant, pretty much forgotten.


By 1963, Kirshner and Nevins were ready to sell their catalogue of
copyrights. There were a lot of reasons, not least of them the price that
Columbia Pictures was willing to pay for the lot: $3 million. Kirshner’s
half alone amounted to more than $9 million in today’s dollars, a
staggering sum for a kid who was an usher at a movie theater only a few
years before. Plus, Columbia would install Kirshner as musical director of=

Screen Gems, a division of the company that produced television and films.

It felt like good timing, especially when the teenage pop market began to
decline a couple of years later with the arrival of singer-songwriters such=

as Bob Dylan. But Vanity Fair recently estimated the value of those
copyrights at $1 billion. And the deal with Screen Gems, as it turns out,
ended in a fiasco.

Monkees Business

“My wife will kill me, but that chocolate thing sounds good,” says
Kirshner, ordering dessert. The chocolate thing turns out to be as big as a=

toaster. Kirshner hacks at the bottom of it with a fork, until it tips
over. Then he contemplates the question at hand. It’s a rather crass one.

“I’d say ‘very comfortable,’ ” he says, when asked if he’s rich, super-rich=

or comfortable. “You saw my house, it’s apparently the best lot in the
place. You saw the Mercedes.”

Much of that comfort comes courtesy of the Monkees. In 1965, he asked for,=

and was granted, one-third of all the musical profits from a new,
made-for-TV band being formed by Columbia. The idea was to translate the
Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” to the small screen. The music would
sell the show, and the show would sell the music.

Kirshner was in charge of the songs, which is why the “Prefab Four” had
tracks written for them by people like Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”) and=

Goffin and King (“Pleasant Valley Sunday,” which was inspired by the
couple’s drive to Kirshner’s house in the suburbs). Wedding the Monkees to=

Kirshner would yield two No. 1 albums, but as the band grew in popularity,=

its members began to resent the fluffy pop songs they were asked to sing.

Then there was the press. Kirshner was constantly celebrated in print as
the musical puppeteer behind the group. That ticked off both the band
members and the executives at Screen Gems. A meeting was called with top
Columbia Pictures brass. One of those in attendance was Steve Blauner,
Darin’s manager, because Blauner had brokered the deal between Columbia
Pictures and Aldon Music, and at the time, he was friendly both with
Kirshner and with some top Columbia executives.

“Because of all the bows Donny was taking in the press,” Blauner says,
“when the band went on tour, there were reviewers who didn’t believe they
were playing their instruments. And they were. All the bows he was taking
were hurting the act.”

Blauner says he gently suggested at the meeting that Kirshner keep a lower=

profile. At that, he says, Kirshner boiled.

“He kept saying, ‘That’s revealing, that’s very revealing,’ ” Blauner
recalls. “We’ve never spoken since.”

Kirshner says the whole dispute was about jealousy, over the credit he was=

getting, as well as his pay, which ran to the millions. The end came not
long after a meeting with the band at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he
summoned the Monkees to present them with a huge royalty check, plus a song=

he was sure would be their next hit. By then the group was determined to
write its own material, and guitarist Michael Nesmith punched a hole in the=

wall of Kirshner’s bungalow to emphasize the point.

“Donny was there with his attorney,” recalls Micky Dolenz, the Monkee
drummer who sang lead vocals on many of their hits, “basically presenting
us with this money and saying, in so many words, ‘Why don’t you shut up and=

cash the check?’ And that’s not the sort of thing you said to Mike Nesmith=

at the time. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less. I was 20 years old,=

making money. But Mike led this revolt, and out of camaraderie, we all went=


With both the band and the bosses fed up, Kirshner was fired. He later sued=

for breach of contract and won what he described as a huge out-of-court

And the song he’d been pushing on the Monkees? He started a new band, this=

one a quintet of cartoon characters based on a comic book he’d seen his son=

reading. Ron Dante handled the vocals. “The Archies” became a hit TV show,=

and “Sugar, Sugar” sold more than 10 million copies.

“I said, “Screw the Monkees. I want a band that won’t talk back,’ “
Kirshner says. “It was the Number 1 song of 1969. It outsold the Rolling

=A9 2004 The Washington Post Company

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