Micky Dolenz, of the Monkees, Lights Up The Paramount in Huntington April 11
What comes to mind when you think of Micky Dolenz and the Monkees?
Lighthearted fun, fun, fun. Well, here he comes.
Micky Dolenz brings his 2023 tour to The Paramount on April 11 celebrating the Monkees’ third consecutive No. 1 album, Headquarters, plus all their great hits.
For Dolenz, who today enjoys an impressive career as an actor, musician, writer, and TV producer, show business started early. Long before the Monkees, he was a child star in the television series Circus Boy from 1956-1958. In 1965, he auditioned for a new TV show about a rock band and was chosen along with actor-musicians Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork.
The Monkees TV show debuted on Sept. 12, 1966 on NBC. It was an immediate success and won two Emmy Awards for outstanding comedy series and outstanding directorial achievement in comedy. Their first four albums reached No. 1 on the charts and launched three No. 1 singles: “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer” (both with lead vocals by Micky), and “Daydream Believer.” In all the group garnered 14 Hot 100 albums and a dozen Top 40 hit singles.
Micky Dolenz’s career wove directorial, acting, writing and producing credits around decades of the Monkees tours and recordings, with and without other members of the original band.
Before Dolenz’s upcoming concert at the Paramount, he stopped for a chat with the Long Island Press.
You were on The Tonight Show on Feb. 27 and Jimmy Fallon thanked you for encouraging him as a struggling young comedian. What does it feel like knowing you were such a positive influence on his life? I was a little taken aback. He was so complimentary, so grateful and gracious. Of course, I remembered him, and as he said, my partner and I were in development on a TV show and we were casting the lead. I was a fan. Obviously, he’s done pretty well. Yes, I was humbled.
Who was the person who encouraged you in the early days of your career? In my case, I was born in the business. My parents were actors. They met doing a play in Hollywood. My earliest recollections are on the set with my father and I basically followed in his footsteps. I never had a burning desire to be in the business. The influences are my mother and father. In singing and music, it was my mother who was a singer. We always had music in the house. After Circus Boy, I was just a typical teenager at high school.
One of the smartest things my parents did was to take me out of the business cause it isn’t the years of success that mess the child stars up, it’s after the success when suddenly you’re a has-been at 10. Going through your teenage years is tough enough, but going through them as a struggling has-been actor, it’s not healthy.
After high school, I was floundering. My father passed away, which didn’t help, at 17. A friend said let’s go to college, take architectural drafting and become architects. Great idea! I like building because my dad had been very handy. I started going to Los Angeles Trade Technical College, studying architecture and doing little day-acting jobs between semesters. In ’65, I auditioned for the Monkees, got the pilot, but I didn’t quit school, because I knew most pilots don’t sell. When the pilot sold, I quit school.
When you look back at your career, is there one thing you are most proud of? In acting, I’m proud of The Monkees show winning two Emmys and I’m proud of Circus Boy. Musically, it would be the singing and the No. 1 records, albums and singles. Then when [I was cast in] Aida, the Elton John/Tim Rice musical on Broadway, that was huge.
Is this 2023 tour a celebration of the Headquarters album? Yes, Headquarters was the first time the television producers and record companies allowed us to record a whole album. We had recorded little bits and pieces before when they gave us permission, but now we had total control due to Nesmith’s desire to write, sing, and make the songs ourselves. He’d been promised that when he was cast in the show and he was disappointed that it didn’t happen. We had no control over anything originally on the show, records, album covers, or liner notes. We didn’t pick what was going to be recorded by whom or where or when. Absolutely nothing!
After Nesmith led a palace revolt, as we call it, with Headquarters we finally had the green light. But in all truth, I’m not sure we would be able to do a complete album earlier because we were introduced to each other on the set. I’m very proud that the album was on the charts a year and was only kicked out by The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band, so it’s in good company.
Who owns the name “the Monkees?” The Monkees is a brand which I have no control over, the record company does. So, like in the tour I did with Mike, the official name was The Monkees Present The Mike and Micky Show. And this time it’s The Monkees Celebrated by Micky Dolenz.
Do you know many fans still think of the Monkees as a band? The Monkees was a fun, lighthearted, happy musical theater on television. The Monkees was not a band. It was a cast of a TV show about an imaginary band that didn’t really exist. When we went on the road as a band, Nesmith said, “It’s like Pinocchio becoming a real boy.” And it’s so true. The show was fun. It made people feel good.
What comes to mind when you think of your relationships with Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork? For me it was mainly a professional relationship with all the guys. It did get pretty intense because of the success and the time spent together. But as far as personalities go, Jones was funny and charming. Tork was a great musician, very creative, passionate about his music and art. Nesmith was hysterical; very witty sense of humor. I got along great with everybody.
Is there a final thought you would like to leave with Long Island audiences? I am celebrating the album Headquarters, but I’m also doing all of the great Monkees hits. I tell stories about the songs and songwriters. I like telling the story about Jimi Hendrix opening for us. Anybody who likes that kind of a show, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.
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