By Brian Bingaman
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Last year marked a half-century of The Monkees’ entertainment phenomenon.
Micky Dolenz — who is also a musical theater actor and a fine furniture businessman — sang lead vocals on many of the originally-made-for-television singing group’s best known songs — “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and the TV show’s theme song.
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, recently spoke with Ticket’s Brian Bingman by phone about his upcoming solo show at Sellersville Theater and what fans can expect. This is part 1 in a two part podcast. Check back Thursday for Part 2. TOUCH HERE to listen if using a mobile device
He called from Los Angeles to promote some semi-rare solo concerts at 3 and 8 p.m. April 23 at Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, which will lean heavily on Monkees songs, including tracks from 2016’s “Good Times.”
“The thing about ‘Good Times’ that blows me away is that the equivalent of this happening 50 years after, y’know, the heyday … in 1966 would’ve been an act from 1916 having a hit album,” Dolenz said.
TOUCH HERE to listen to Part 2 if using a mobile device
Back in 1967, empowered by a wave of Monkee-mania, and to silence the music critics that complained loudly about their reliance on studio musicians on their chart-topping first two albums, Dolenz, the late Davy Jones, Nesmith and Peter Tork successfully lobbied to record and release “Headquarters,” an album on which they had creative control and played the instruments. It sold 2 million copies in its first two months of release.
“The Monkees sorta came out of left field, if you will … It was a TV show about a band. It was an imaginary band. It didn’t really exist, except on television, until we went on the road. And then, like Mike Nesmith always says, Pinocchio became a real little boy,” Dolenz said. “The closest thing that I think’s come along over the last few decades, with a similar sort of paradigm, would be something like ‘Glee,’ which is a TV show about an imaginary glee club. They can all sing and dance and act and play.”
“Headquarters Sessions,” a 2000 release of studio outtakes from the making of “Headquarters,” pulls back the curtain on just how arduous a task it was to attempt being an organic rock band while also meeting the demands of acting in a network TV show. “Back then it was a lot tougher to record than it is now,” he said. “With digital means … the equipment is faster and a lot less expensive, and time in the studio is a lot less expensive now.”
During a run of two primetime seasons on NBC, Philadelphia radio and “American Bandstand” personality Jerry Blavat appeared in one episode of “The Monkees.” “We remained friends, even, for years,” Dolenz said of “The Geator.”
“Over the years, I discovered — and this happens basically with every singing drummer that I’ve talked to, including Phil (Collins) and Don (Henley) … everybody — is that the audience wants to see you. If you’re singing lead, they want to actually be able to reach out and touch you,” Dolenz said. “I’ve talked to Ringo (Starr) about it — ‘cause, y’know, he goes out and does shows — and now he comes down front … a lot.”
Tickets are $55 and $79.50. Call (215) 257-5808 or visit www.st94.com and www.mickydolenz.com.