Real World viewers might think watching kids living and fighting and digging music together is some kind of an original concept. In fact, fans of The Monkees were watching Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork do just that on TV over thirty years ago. We figured the rerelease of the foursome’s nine original albums (three in September, three this week, and the last three in January) provided a perfect opportunity to catch up with drummer and group goofball Dolenz, 49, who has spent the last 20 years directing TV and film, and is currently starring as deejay Vince Fontaine in Grease on Broadway.
1. Watching MTV, do you feel like the Monkees were ahead of their time? The Monkees was a television show about a band, so in that context it’s nothing at all like the bands on MTV. There really hasn’t been anything like it before or since — except maybe Spi¨al Tap.
2. How was it touring with Hendrix in ‘68? Strange and embarrassing. He’d be in the middle of ”Purple Haze” and kids would be going ”We want Da-vy!”
3. Is there a cover of a Monkees song that you like? I haven’t heard many of the covers that were done, to be honest. I remember that the Sex Pistols’ version of ”(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” was kind of interesting.
4. Do the Monkees have any reunion plans? With the rerelease of the albums, Rhino Records also has a new Monkees film in the works that’ll have all of us in it. There’s a possibility of an animated series; certainly going on tour, I should think. Davy and I toured the U.S. doing old Monkees stuff this summer, actually.
5. Where is Clarksville? There are a few in the U.S. I think the one that [songwriters] Boyce and Hart meant was in Tennessee, a jumping-off point for the Armed Forces. ”Clarksville” was an antiwar song.
6. What gets the heaviest rotation on your CD player these days? Classical or the Beatles.
7. Do you ever watch music videos? I like Aerosmith’s ”Cryin”’ and ”Crazy,” but only because of Alicia Silverstone. I like anything with her in it.
8. What would surprise people about you? I eat cereal with orange juice, I mean I put o.j. on the cereal. I don’t like milk. And maybe that I’m working on a degree in physics at the Open University in England.
9. Do you have a favorite Monkees episode? I think ”The Devil and Peter Tork.” That show had Peter selling his soul to become a successful harp player, of all things. It’s a Faustian legend.
10. Which do you prefer, wide-wale or narrow-wale cords? Definitely wide. Are people really wearing cords again?