Monkee Micky Dolenz promises piston power in a city near you

“Pleasant Valley Sunday” song stylist Micky Dolenz has a dozen appearances lined up into March 2019. Stick around as the Monkees frontman exclusively divulges what audiences can expect plus a complete itinerary. Meanwhile, go, Johnny B. Goode! Dolenz rocks out while stepping in for then recently deceased compadre Davy Jones at Epcot’s Flower Power concert series in Orlando, Florida, on May 20, 2012. Image Credit: Photography by Mike Thomas

Oddball Gretsch drummer Micky Dolenz tallied 12 Top 40 A-sides on Billboard’s Hot 100 with the Monkees, the most critically lambasted, ironically durable band to legitimately challenge the Beatles’ chart supremacy post-“Paperback Writer.” The Prefab Four’s not so secret rock weapon, Dolenz supplied dramatic tenor lead vocals on two-thirds of those hits. “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “[I’m Not Your] Stepping Stone,” “Words,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” are ubiquitous oldies radio staples over 50 years after they were waxed to 7-inch 45 rpm vinyl.

The twenty-tens have epitomized a comeback for Dolenz as both a band member and solo artist. The Monkees reunited for their acclaimed “45th Anniversary Tour” in 2011 with usual suspect Michael Nesmith missing in action. After Davy Jones’s unexpected death the following year of a massive heart attack, “Papa Nez” made peace with any lingering road reservations for a well-received West Coast mini jaunt, his first appearance with the group in 15 years.

Subsequent treks consisting of two and a half hour setlists raked in the dough and a Billboard Top 20 debut in 2016 for Good Times!, the Monkees’ highest charting album since The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees dropped 48 years earlier, confirmed the potency of the Monkees’ multifaceted discography. Five months after another startling Monkees studio set spearheaded by Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger — Christmas Party — Dolenz and Nesmith are back in action come March 2019 for “The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show.” Nesmith’s life threatening quadruple bypass heart surgery prompted the tour’s four make-up dates plus eight brand new ones.

Dolenz garnered considerable steam with two back to back concept studio albums routinely praised, King for a Day and Remember. The latter featured “Quiet Desperation”, a country-tinged ballad influenced by his mother’s Texas upbringing. It’s notable as Dolenz’s first songwriting credit since 1996’s failed experiment Justus, the Monkees’ quasi sequel to Headquarters in so much as all instruments were tackled by band members.

Through the looking glass: Twenty-three-year-old Micky Dolenz poses for a Monkees photo shoot in Las Vegas on December 7, 1968. Peter Tork had recently departed the quintet after the failure of their cult classic film “Head” — hence the need for the new trio shots. The “Instant Replay” album would be distributed several months later in February 1969 via Colgems and contains Dolenz’s fine composition “Just a Game” as well as his definitive reading of Boyce and Hart’s “Through the Looking Glass.” Image Credit: Photography by Henry Diltz

Dolenz commandeers a smattering of solo shows annually, ably assisted by kid sister Coco Dolenz on Everly Brothers-reminiscent harmonies along with members of the Monkees’ touring band. During a candid interview with my “Jeremy’s Instant Monkees Mayhem” column, the veteran Monkees rhythm guitarist contemplated his musical heroes and a few tunes that fans can definitely expect to hear onstage. “My influences musically became Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis,” divulged Dolenz. “The real rock and rollers.

“In fact, my audition piece for The Monkees television show was ‘Johnny B. Goode’ by Chuck Berry. I recorded a cover version for Remember which I’m very proud of. The arrangement is very different than Chuck’s original. I did that with quite a few of the songs on the album.

“I’ve always performed ‘Johnny B. Goode’ at my solo shows. However, I usually stick with the original version. I’ve slowly started incorporating the re-arranged version, so you’ll have to come to the show to find out which one I ultimately perform.

“I also sing ‘Randy Scouse Git’ and the Archies’ ‘Sugar Sugar’. I tell the story of why I’m doing these tunes, because I find that if I don’t do an original Monkees tune, the fans like to know why I’m singing that particular song. When you think about it, it’s kind of a behind the music type scenario [laughs].

“Lots of people may not realize that guitar was my first instrument and still is to a great degree. I play guitar on quite a few tunes when I’m on my solo show because people like to see me downstage. On the Monkees show I get up on the drums considerably more.”

“Cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean, to a daydream believer, and a homecoming queen?” On August 2, 1967, during a break from their sold out North American summer tour, the Monkees decamp to Chicago’s Fred Niles Studios aka the Rainbow Room to film the “Daydream Believer” video as well as other footage assembled for the quartet’s Emmy-winning NBC television series. Left to right are frontman Davy Jones, multi-instrumentalist Peter Tork, songwriter-guitarist-producer Michael Nesmith, and a tambourine-wielding Micky Dolenz. Image Credit: Photography by Henry Diltz
Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones belt out a Monkees tune during a 1976 Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart concert somewhere in the USA. Incidentally, on May 29, 1976, “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart,” a full length album of new material with Monkees tunesmiths Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, was dropped on Capitol Records to underwhelming sales. The two Monkee singers and the “Last Train to Clarksville” songwriters toured amusement parks throughout 1975 and into America’s bicentennial year but went their separate ways in early 1977. Image Credit: The Dave Farley Collection
See a clever fan-created video set to the Monkees’ rock solid, long-unreleased “Steam Engine” featuring Micky Dolenz delivering one of his most spirited lead vocals. Tracked during the summer of 1969 as Dolenz was winding down his Monkee session commitments, “Steam Engine” finds “Headquarters” producer Chip Douglas behind the console, Byrd Clarence White on “StringBender” Telecaster, future Michael Nesmith and the First National Band stalwart Red Rhodes supplying fuzz-laden pedal steel guitar, and Jim Gordon of Derek and the Dominos on drums. Video Credit: YouTube user Monkees Archives; Music Credit: Rhino Records

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