Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Monkees Rock

Rest in Peace, Davy Jones.
What happens when you pay the best songwriters of the 60's to write outrageously inventive songs for a hand-picked group of young performers who also happen to be great vocalists and published musicians themselves? Then train them with a New York cabaret improvisational comedy pioneer, film the result with French New Wave film techniques, and spend most of the time shooting at beaches and amusement parks in San Diego?
The Monkees.


The ultimate rock group.

The Nez, real life inventor of MTV, country rock pioneer,
originator of mail order video, film producer,
and owner of one of the first Gretsch 12 string electric guitars.

Micky, the best vocalist of the 1960's, Broadway and British TV series producer,
owner and manager of swing revival haven The Derby Club...

Micky's sister, Coco!

Micky's wife! She's a British high-fashion model!

No kidding, here she is, Samantha Juste! The Flower Power Girl!


Really! Here they are on their Hawaiian Honeymoon!

At one point the Monkees (originally out of work musicians and actors) were touring as rock stars playing stadium gigs while acting as themselves as - get this - out of work musicians auditioning to star in a new TV show - on the #1 show on TV that nobody over the age of 16 seemed to understand while writing their own songs and being dumped on by the press for not playing their own instruments after playing one of the first Moog synthesizers ever made on their 4th album of hit songs. These guys outsold the Beatles AND the Rolling Stones. Part of the confusion was that they played and improvised as themselves under their own names, based on their own characters, in fact the show was sold to NBC based on their audition tapes as themselves, so they continued to talk directly to the camera during the show and then, afterwards, the most popular part of all episodes were the interviews at the very end where each Monkee stepped out of character (which was their own to begin with) and told you exactly what they thought of current events, which is what the show was doing all along...
making this the very first ad-libbed reality TV show.

AND - keep in mind that none of this was supposed to be serious; it was an incredibly funny satire of commercialism, conformity, television, the music business itself and the uptight standards of the older generation.

Here's the Nez with his pal George Harrison.

They were the Beatles' favorite group.
They were WAY ahead of their time.
To this day, it's all too complicated to understand.

We gotta be free!

Davy in the middle of a rip.

The Greatest Movie Ever...

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