Happy Birthday to the Monkees' Micky Dolenz, who turns 74 today (March 8th)!!! Micky Dolenz will always be best remembered for singing lead on such group classics as “(Theme From) The Monkees,” “(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” along with the Monkees' first two singles — and chart toppers, “Last Train To Clarksville” and “I'm A Believer.” Over the years, Micky has appeared in such Broadway, regional, and touring casts of Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA, Pippin', Grease, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, and Hairspray. In recent years he's also performed a solo revue of Monkees classics with his sister Coco.
Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith are once again on the road as a duo, dubbed — “The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show.” We spoke to Micky about how he and Nesmith address the recent death of Peter Tork in the current shows: “We, um, have a couple of little moments during the show where we, sort of, do a little, kind of a tribute thing, I guess, you'd say. Nothing too maudlin, or over the top — but definitely a tip of the hat and a little bit of a tribute to Peter and his music, a couple of times during the show.”
In November 2017, Micky released his latest album, Micky Dolenz & The Metropole Orchestra: Out Of Nowhere. The album features new takes on such Monkees favorites as “Last Train To Clarksville,” “Sometime In The Morning,” “D.W. Washburn,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone,” “Porpoise Song,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “Daydream Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “I'm A Believer” — along with covers the Beatles' “Hey Bulldog” and Lenny Welch's “Since I Fell For You.”
In 2016, the Monkees scored their biggest hit in 48 years with their album, Good Times! The set, produced by Adam Schlesinger from Fountains Of Wayne, is the band's highest charting album since 1968's The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees, hitting Number 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and debuting at Number Six on Billboard Top Albums chart.
Good Times! features songs the group passed over back in the day from such heavyweights as Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Harry Nilsson, and Neil Diamond. The main draw of the new album is the inclusion on newly written songs by such “modern” songsmiths as Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Oasis' Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard, XTC's Andy Partridge, and Adam Schlesinger.
Last year the band released its first holiday set, titled Christmas Party, which features new vocals by Dolenz, Nesmith, and Peter Tork — with the late Davy Jones featured on two vintage recordings.
Micky has always tried to separate himself from the politics and drama surrounding the Monkees over the years, and looks at it as just another facet of a long and successful career: “Y'know, you can be brothers in arms, and you have your good times and your bad times, and you have your sibling rivalry which always exists. But the bottom line for me was that I always looked at it as this cast of a television show and I was playing the wacky drummer. And when I get back together (with them) I put on that mask, and I go out onstage as “Micky — the wacky drummer.'”
Micky Dolenz told us that out of the four, he and Davy Jones shared a particularly strong bond: “David and I hung out together, we had similar backgrounds, so we tended to gravitate toward each other, 'cause I guess for the show-business; but also, we had children. We got married and had children at the same time in Los Angeles.”
Micky explained that cross-promoting the Monkees using all the popular mediums of the day was a cutting edge marketing technique that paved the way for how all future pop bands would eventually be sold: “The thing the Monkees did was — the project, not us, four guys — but the Monkees 'project,' was really the first time that the television and radio and record industry had sort of had this convergence. There'd been slight, little bits of crossover here and there; people like Ricky Nelson, y'know, and like, Paul Peterson from The Donna Reed Show, um, but not nearly to the level that happened with the Monkees.”
We asked Micky Dolenz, if seeing how Rhino owns the Monkees brand — along with their '60s masters and the TV show — if they had stringent guidelines for the musical direction for the critically acclaimed Good Times! comeback album: “No, no, no — it was 'Let's get everybody involved (that) we can.' Obviously not David, except (laughs), we found this tune with him singin'; and I called the family and I said, 'You guys have a problem with us including this, an old session' And they said, 'Absolutely not.' So Rhino got very excited about these tunes, these unfinished '68 tunes, for the 50th anniversary — with the 'Wrecking Crew' on it. Then, the next thing that happened was they introduced me to Adam (Schlesinger), and I knew who he was, and I knew who (his band) Fountains Of Wayne was.”