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Micky Rocks Congress

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under monkees alert

Micky Rocks Congress

(watch CSPAN for this)

Television sitcom rocker Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees will be joined
by three members of Congress in a Capitol Hill performance designed to
boost legislative support for the Performance Rights Act.

Dolenz will be appearing in the Capitol Visitor’s Center, and will be
joined by a bipartisan set of sidemen, including Joe Crowley (D-NY) on
guitar, Tom Rooney (R-FL) on drums and Ted Deutch (D-FL) on keyboard.
Event organizers say there will be other surprise guests.

The session is scheduled for Wednesday 6/23/10 at 4:30 Eastern.


Dolenz to release Carole King tribute

Former Monkees singing drummer Mickey Dolenz, the self-described
“wacky drummer,” during the Hollywood fabricated quartet’s heyday in
the mid-’60s, will release a Carole King tribute album on Aug. 24. The
album, “King for a Day,” contains 15 songs written or co-written by
King, one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century.

“She wrote so many different types of tunes,” Dolenz told Billboard.
“Things from “Crying in the Rain” (a hit for the Everly Brothers),
“Don’t Bring Me Down” (The Animals), and “Up on the Roof” (The
Drifters) – the spectrum is as wide as you can possibly get.”

King and her then-husband Gerry Goffin wrote “Pleasant Valley Sunday,”
a smash for the Monkees in 1967.

Dolenz will perform songs from the upcoming album on his new tour that
begins tonight in San Jacinto. There also will be a free concert at
Warner Park in Woodland Hills on Aug. 29, and a Sept. 26 performance
at the Los Angeles County Fair.


Davy Jones: A Monkee at 64

Davy Jones is driving across Florida to Busch Gardens, where he’s
booked to perform three outdoor concerts, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and
3:30 p.m. It’s raining, the kind of Florida rain you’re sure is
leaving dents in your hood.

“It’s torrential down here now,” Jones says in a recent telephone
interview. “We’ll probably be playing to five people in the park. But
it’ll be OK. It doesn’t matter to me, actually, whether there’s 100 or

“We put it out; we go to perform. We always say, You had better be
good if you follow Davy Jones. I’m telling you that now, because I’m

He laughs, and the comment doesn’t come across as braggadocio. Then he
picks up the conversation and takes it all the way to the amusement
park in Tampa. The most popular member of one of the most popular
musical groups is in a talkative mood.

Jones was the original American idol, the first of four young men
picked from auditions for a television show about a struggling rock
‘n’ roll band. The show was called “The Monkees,” and the quartet of
the same name rivaled the Beatles for popularity in the late 1960s.

As Paul McCartney was the cute Beatle, Jones was the cute Monkee —
only cuter, all 5-foot-3 of him. Now 64, he will perform the Monkees’
hits with his band (not the Monkees) as part of the Sixties
Spectacular on Saturday at Proctors. Also on the bill are Peter Noone
of Herman’s Hermits, the Grass Roots and the Capital Region band
American Cafe.

On the phone, Jones explains all the things he’s doing — finishing an
album of standards, writing a musical, singing with symphonies,
hosting a PBS show on ’60s music, taking care of his horses and, yes,
performing concerts.

He owns a farm in Beavertown, Pa., but is living now in what he
describes as a modest apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his
flamenco-dancing wife Jessica Pacheco, who is half his age. As he
talks, he meanders often to a favorite topic: staying grounded in his
world of celebrity.

“The Monkees went to the mountaintop,” he says. “The Monkees opened
the door to the world for me. But I didn’t ask to be an authority, an
example. However, once you become successful, you become better
looking, you become more attractive, you become more articulate, you
become all of these things that you’re not. And if you start believing
that, then you’ve got a major problem.”

He says he’s had no choice but to deal with intrusions. Although it’s
been 44 years since “The Monkees” premiered on NBC, Jones is still

“As soon as I leave the house, I become a public commodity,” he says.
“It’s like it never went away. I walk through an airport, and people
say, ‘Hey, Davy, how are you doing?’ When I go to the supermarket,
people point at me, and I say, ‘Hello, how are you? That’s all right.
Yeah, no problem.’

“I grew up on the street, you know, where I knew everybody, and
everybody knew me. And that’s what I prefer.”


Hall of Fame honors Nesmith, who’s always ahead of his time

Michael Nesmith is receiving the Warren Skaaren Lifetime Achievement
Award at the 10th annual Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards tonight . This
is an award for, as one might imagine, lifetime contribution to movie
and film culture.

But in Nesmith’s case, it might as well be an award for Most Unlikely
Career Arc and Ability to Possibly See the Future.

Even setting aside his recording career with the Monkees and after and
his role producing such iconic movies as “Repo Man,” it’s a kind of
amazing how much Nesmith did before a whole lot of people thought it
seemed like a good idea.

He learned all about entrepreneurship when his mother invented what
became Liquid Paper when Nesmith was 13 and built it up into a
multimillion-dollar company.

Music on television? He did that twice, once with the Monkees, then
again when he invented cable TV show Pop Clips for Nickelodeon, which
was sold to Time Warner/Amex and became MTV.

Home video? Yeah, he was there, too, with the pioneering distribution
company Pacific Arts Video in the 1970s.

Exclusive live music performances viewable in a virtual world? He’s
working on that now with the company Videoranch 3D.

Wearing a watch cap year-round the way he did on the Monkees? Oh, yes.

That wasn’t an act. He wore it to the audition to keep his hair out of
his eyes, and the producers =97 legendary Bert Schneider and future
directing legend Bob Rafelson =97 kept it in the show.

“I’m wearing one right now,” Nesmith says from his studio in California.

Though Nesmith has long been associated with California, he has
serious Texas roots. “I’m a fifth-generation Texan,” Nesmith said. “My
mother was divorced when I was a toddler, and I had a remarkable
support system of brilliant aunts and uncles.” It was the sort of
environment that made him easy with new ideas and different ways of

Nesmith didn’t start playing music until he was about 19. “I was
coming out of the Air Force and was very drawn to music.” He headed to
Los Angeles to make it and auditioned for the Monkees, sort of on a

Working on the Monkees exposed Nesmith to all sides of filmmaking, but
it was production that interested him the most.

“I never thought of myself as a director and writer. Those guys are
really long-ball hitters,” Nesmith said. “But I enjoyed bringing all
the different parts together and watching them work.”

In the mid-1970s, a few years after Nesmith had gone solo and cut a
couple of records, he was introduced to something that was common in
Europe, but not in the United States. It would change his life. Then
it would eventually change everyone else’s life.

“I remember talking to executives outside of the U.S. who said, ‘You
have this single “Rio.” Over here we make little films to go with the
record, and national and state TV stations play them. It’s especially
helpful to artists who can’t tour. Are you interested?

Like Liquid Paper, like the Monkees, here was an opportunity to innovate.

“The idea of me just standing with my guitar and singing didn’t seem
right,” Nesmith said.

He and the director came up with some images, disparate stuff, him
dancing with a woman, beaches, outer space. “The director said, ‘I
don’t understand the narrative.’ I said, ‘I don’t either, but let’s
put them together and see what happens.”

Now, Nesmith is quick to say he believes in narrative: “In most
filmmaking, continuity is preserved at all costs. The storyline is
king, as it should be.”

But once they took the images down to the editing bay and started
cutting them together bingo.

“It really was something magic,” Nesmith said. “It kind of happened
with the Monkees, with Disney, with Busby Berkeley. The film grammar
was expressing itself with music in a way that was very natural, as if
to say, ‘Yes, that is the way that it was supposed to work.’

“Then I thought, ‘Gee, I wonder if this is science or if we lucked into it?

This is something Nesmith believes in =97 innovation grounded in
something real, something solid. Most of the technological and
cultural innovations Nesmith has been involved in, from music videos
to the home video market, he describes as applied science combined
with a little bit of vision.

“There was no home video business when I got into it. It was, at most,
recycled movies,” Nesmith says. “But video was the new grammar, it was
how people communicate with each other. When I started ‘Pop Clips,’ I
knew it was going to be very strange for a while. There just weren’t
that many videos.”

That is, perhaps, Nesmith’s best talent =97 watching, observing,
processing, noticing when the time is right for something. This is
what happened when he read Alex Cox’s script for “Repo Man,” the cult
1984 science-fiction movie set in Southern California’s hardcore punk
scene. Nesmith was executive producer on the project.

“I was impressed by the intensity of (Cox’s) intelligence,” Nesmith
said. “He was just hip and fun and genuinely funny. I was just
following along.”

These days, his baby is Videoranch 3D, an Internet-based space with
exclusive live performances at various virtual venues, sort of like
Second Life with James McMurtry playing. There isn’t anything else
quite like it around, which is familiar territory for Nesmith.

“It’s another long lonely road,” Nesmith laughs. “But you know an idea
is good when there is something that feels so natural about it. You
get swept along with it, but it’s very solid. So there’s comfort


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