Some Thoughts About Monkees Fans
I’ve met some pretty interesting people through my interest in the Monkees over the years. There was a girl (I’m going back 25 years here but I still won’t name any names…let’s call her Hazel) who seemed to be living out some rock’n’roll dream. I ran into Hazel at a screening of “Head” at the long-gone and still-lamented Thalia, a fabulous repertory movie house in uptown NYC.
Hazel’s interest in the Monkees was what I call the “second wave.” She’d grown up on the Monkees, gone onto other things, and then come back to them. She wasn’t a groupie (were writers even allowed to have groupies?) but she made it pretty clear she was on the prowl for some good clean fun.
I recently found out Hazel had become an authority on abstinence and has been all over the world promoting a book on the subject. Wow Hazel, you had me fooled, for sure!
After meeting many Monkees fans one thing becomes clear—they are a diverse bunch. From professional musicians and film-directors to your average everyday Janes and Joes, these folks come in every shapes and size and you never know who is a fellow traveler. That guy sitting next to you on the airplane could be one. Maybe he shares your deep affection for Micky’s delicate singing style on “Sometime in the Morning.”
There are a variety of categories of Monkees fans–the Davy brigade, the Nez nerds, aficianados of Brill Building pop, fans of TV sitcoms, retro psychedelic 60s ravers and, always, a new generation experiencing them for the first time.
Sometimes, to paraphrase Frank Zappa’s talking cow in the movie “Head,” “Monkees fans is ze craziest people.” We’ve all met the type. That guy who dutifully kept his copy of “The Prison” in pristine shape for when they got that yearning to revisit Papa Nez’s multi-media fantasy world (some were so devoted they never even opened their copy of “The Prison” at all).
Those fetishizers, cultists, and collectors can be found in every corner of pop culture but by no means do they define your average Monkees fan. The truth is most Monkees fans are a generous and engaging. Some, like my friends Duane Dimock and Ed Finn, are generous to a fault. Duane lent me his Monkees finger-puppets and a scale-model Monkeemobile when I was making a “garage commercial” for MTV to promote my book.
Guys like Duane are common in the Monkee world. Ultimately being a fan of the Monkees is a way of celebrating this enduringly-fascinating group and also a way of making connections. That feeling of community is one reason I believe there is still enough interest in the Monkees 45 years later to mount a new tour. It will be nice to see some of my old (or should I say older) friends at the shows this summer, reunited in both our passion and our memories.