Daydream Believers (Peter Tork commentary)
The first comment I have, and the strongest one, is how amazed I am at L.B. Fisher. I’m so amazed at L.B. Fisher. He doesn’t look anything like me, and yet he really looks a whole lot like me. I was so, actually—I was actually really taken with uh, the, I thought, how did they find a guy who smiled like I do? And then it turned out that he actually worked up a different smile than his own. You wouldn’t know it was him to meet him. You wouldn’t recognize him on the street, and uh, he um, he caught my smile. I feel ripped off.
(00:00:39) [Two girls are dancing during the opening credits.]
Yeah, they wouldn’t allow breasts like that on The Monkees.
(00:00:51) [The opening credits list Harold Bronson as the creative consultant.]
Harold Bronson is being eased out of Rhino, the company he founded. He’s uh, he’s the guy who uh, licenses The Monkees’ logo, and uh, he’s on his way out, if not out as you hear this.
(00:01:08) [about the character of Van]
They consolidated the, the producers.
(00:02:02) [“This is Hollywood; these guys fall off trees.”]
I fell off a tree, actually.
(00:02:20) [Van and Harris are discussing the show.]
It’s funny. They had to consolidate both producers, and then they had to give him an aid, so there were two guys just the same. They didn’t save a guy. Heh heh heh ha. Why would you do that? I don’t know. They actually didn’t pay any attention whatsoever to the producers, although.
(00:02:49) [Peter’s friend is telling him to audition for the show.]
Steve Stills told me to go audition.
(00:04:09) [Davy is going to the audition.]
Davy’s hair was all very short and up in those early days.
(00:05:32) [Micky is at the audition.]
Micky’s hair was not curly in the early days either. Heh. He too thought you had to comb your hair back and up, had a pompadour, the whole thing.
(00:05:42) [“You were a star. You had your own TV series.”]
Yeah, Frankie Avalon, probably a better model. Heh heh heh heh heh heh.
(00:05:52) [“I’m your average, out of work, starving college student with no direction in life.”]
Architecture, I think he was taking.
(00:08:26) [“He’s a little too Pat Boone for a rock group.”]
Heh heh heh heh ha ha ha.
(00:08:44) [audition boxes montage: “A manufactured image to capitalize on the zeitgeist of a new era.”]
With no philosophies.
Uh, I’d been a—I took piano from the time I was nine. I had a guitar in high school and a banjo before college, and I was a folk singer for a couple of years. Two and half years in New York City when all of this came down.
Uh, Michael had been the guy who ran the hootenanny, or what now, we now call open mic, at the Troubadour when it was a folk house, and uh, I went up there a number of times to, to do my uh, to do my act.
(00:10:50) [The Monkees are at a diner. “Well, remind me not to visit Texas! Heh!”]
Yeah, he was a little tough. I don’t know if they’re gonna do this scene right.
(00:11:40) [Davy starts eating with his hands.]
That’s, that’s exactly what happened. Except, there was no food fight afterwards.
When I was in New York uh, in uh, ’65 I think it was, early ’65, I was uh, I was gifted from a voice on high, which told me to leave town. It actually was cosmic. I have no idea where it came from, but I—it was unmistakable, and it was irrefutable, and I, I caught the first—I hitch-hiked out there as, and uh, and I was involved with The Monkees within maybe two and a half months at the time, like maybe three months before, from the time that I got there.
(00:12:41) [“So act like a drummer.”]
I didn’t—I did teach him how to play drums, but it was really, “Okay, hit it on the one, count four. One, two, play it on the three, play the bass drum on the four,” just di-di di-di di, like that.
Uh, Davy was a singer on Broadway, you know. You don’t get to do that without being musical. Micky was a campfire guitar player for couple of years before the um, before The Monkees. It’s just Mike and I were the only ones who were going about this primarily dedicated to being uh, instrumental, singer-songwriter types.
(00:14:07) [“My family moved all the time, you know. I was the new kid my whole life.”]
My parents basically wound up settling down when they, when I was about nine or ten, but before that, it was all over the place.
Always wanted to be a performer um, and I, and I like music a great deal um. I’d rather be a musical performer than a comedy performer, but I would rather be a comedy performer than play music all alone by myself and never play for anybody else. I mean, music is about communication anyway. You can hardly be a, a musician without performing, but um, but I’d rather perform than, than not. I’d rather play music than do comedy and act. Just basically because I think the, the ratio of uh, effort to satisfaction is better for me in music.
(00:15:33) [“You guys ready to lay down a track?”]
Except that we never did.
(00:15:59) [“Okay guys, we’re gonna try this one more time.”]
That’s very much how it was. I, I walked in and uh, and uh, with my—they said, “We’re recording tonight”. I brought my guitar. They said, “What are you—pft, what are you, brought your guitar? What, are you kidding? Pft!
(00:16:17) [“What do are we gonna have to do to get you guys to just sing the song?”]
We knew who this guy was. Actually, we didn’t meet him uh, we met him separately. They uh, they consolidated again; it was uh, the, the producers, Boyce and Hart, who were arranging the sessions at this time.
(00:17:48) [The test audience is watching the pilot.]
This was the pilot, and it was very difficult. We didn’t have any idea how to do this at this point.
(00:18:15) [The Monkees run past a waiter, and he falls over.]
Heh. The waiter actually did a full three hundred and sixty degree somersault.
It was all very tightly directed. The, the most—later on, during the year, as we got better, they got to the point where if we didn’t like a scene, we could rewrite it, as long as it kept up with the plot and, and, you know, and had it, we could improve the jokes and so on uh, but uh, you know, it was under, it was still under pretty rigid circumstances. We had a show to make.
(00:18:55) [“We just officially became the lowest testing pilot in the history of NBC.”]
I was out of the country at—I was back east when all this was happening. This was not participatory among us, but that doesn’t matter much.
(00:19:57) [Davy and Mike’s auditions.]
These are accurate. These are very good uh, remakes of the actual uh, personality uh, what you call personality tests.
(00:20:59) [Van tells the group that the pilot test went great.]
I hadn’t heard from them. I called them. It was like January or February or something. I was at my parent’s house for Christmas, and, and I just called them and said, “I haven’t heard from you. Why not?”. “Well, we lost your number. We’re sold. Get your butt back out here”. That was all *I* knew.
(00:21:25) [A banner reads “Radio KHJ Welcomes The Monkees”.]
(00:21:37) [“I even got the town to change its name to Clarksville for the day.”]
This train, heh, this train was not the last train to Clarksville; it was the last train from a city which allowed itself to be renamed Clarksville somewhere down the San Diego area, and they just, they, they took the kids down there on a train and, and back. Flew us down. We did, we performed on the train, actually did shows, did, did songs on the train on the way back. Three, three twenty minute shows with a completely different gang of kids in the, in the boxcar every uh, every show.
They couldn’t uh, they couldn’t do it as it actually was done. I mean, we actually had to play the songs on a moving box car in a tr—it was rocketing up to coast at sixty miles an hour, trying to play that way, the, shaking back and forth. But it was good.
Micky actually had to play the drums.
Yeah, this was, it was very explicit. It was a rip-off of Hard Day’s Night um. I have to say that the, I think a huge element in the success of The Monkees was that Bert and Bob were Beatles fans themselves. They didn’t look at Hard Day’s Night and go, “The kids—We could make a TV show; the kids will love it”. They went, “We want to be a part of this, and the way we can do it is to create a TV show for ourselves”. I mean, they, it’s, you know, it was like the, the producer character here pretty much did, you know, act out—we, we get to see the enthusiasm. Those two guys were very enthusiastic about The Beatles, particular Bo—uh, particularly Bert, I think.
And here, they’re uh, you know, they’re, we’re lip-syncing to the record uh, and that is actually the record that we uh, that’s ac—they’ve actually used the actual record for the tape, soundtrack of this, so that’s actually The Monkees record um.
(00:25:57) [Harris drives away from the set.]
Heh heh. That’s not an authentic California plate. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. In those days, California plates were three letters and three digits.
(00:26:19) [The Monkees drive through the locked gate.]
Actually, it does relate to one thing, but not this uh. Davy, heh heh heh, Davy Jones came up to the guard gate and said, “Let me in; I’m working there,” and they said, “We don’t, we’re not, can’t possibly be; we don’t have any long-haired weirdos working here”. Davy said, “Open up the gate, or I’m driving through it”. Man said, “You drive through that, it’ll be the last gate you ever drove, drive through”. Davy drove through it, ha ha ha. But uh, well, I don’t um, I don’t uh, I, and I think it’s the last gate he’s ever driven through.
Um, the rest of it was that we were just, we were such cut-ups that we actually lost a lot of uh, assistant uh, directors, a lot of uh, A—one AD just went right in the bathroom and puked his guts out and left because he couldn’t deal with us because we were so unprofessional. I mean, Bert and Bob wanted wild, young kids, you know, and so what he actually did was he got two young pros—Micky and Davy were professional performers—and he got two off-the-wall musicians who didn’t know anything about discipline.
(00:28:04) [The Monkees are clowning around at the network affiliates dinner.]
We did mess up the um, the network uh, the network gathering. It caused us to uh, it, it, it caused us to get a, to take a setback in the terms of the numbers of stations who carried the show uh, we—Bert had a script all lined up for us for what to do there, and we just wouldn’t do it. We just violated the script, and uh, and it, they didn’t like it, and a lot of network outlets wouldn’t uh, didn’t carry us, or at least they didn’t carry us when the network wanted them to.
(00:29:00) [The Monkees and Mike’s family are hanging out on the beach.]
Heh heh, we never hung out together uh. I mean, we often visited each other in the early days uh, you know, invited each other to our parties, and I went over to Micky’s all the time, and uh, uh, we talked a lot about uh, you know, helicopters and atomic energy and the Heisenberg principle, uncertainty principle uh, and, he had a great little recording studio. We actually wound up making a record uh, in his recording studio, that uh, splendid little record, I think. But um, we never, you know, had group picnics, company picnics, where the four of us went on the beach together or anything like that.
Meanwhile, Christian, the young baby here, is now a wonderful guitar player, as are all of Michael’s sons. Christian, Jonathan, and Jason are all excellent guitar players. Jason was in a group with uh, Donovan’s son Dono—Dono Leitch uh. They were in a group called Nancy Boy. I thought they were gonna do something, didn’t uh, wound up not happening, but uh, they were uh, I thought they were a great group. Jason’s a wonderful guitar and so are Jonathan and Christian.
(00:30:25) [The Monkees theme montage]
I think I saw that Monkee walk in a Cary Grant–Myrna Loy movie once. You know the Monkee mov—the Monkee walk? Tha—we just did it over there with, you step outside each other’s legs like that.
(00:31:48) [Don Kirshner tells the group their first single is a hit.]
I knew right away. I knew that Bert and Bob knew what they were doing. They had a full plan. I told a guy while I was waiting for the pilot to sell—I was in New York—I told a guy, “If this goes at all, it’ll go, it’ll be very big”, and he remembered my saying it years later, and uh, I knew that uh, I knew that it would, I knew that it would, I knew they’d had a plan in mind.
(00:32:24) [Micky and Peter are mobbed in the mall.]
I had a moment a little like that when it was tough.
Just that I invited more, there were more kids uh, wanting autographs than I knew how to, how to deal, deal with.
(00:33:40) [Van, Harris, and Don are discussing the group doing a concert; The Monkees are arguing while practicing for the concert.]
This scene is very fictionalized. We actually did not know Donny before we began to play together. We’d played together working on the pilot, and we actually knew how to play together uh, and when it came time to do the show, I don’t have any under—information that Donny didn’t want us to play uh, and I don’t think it mattered to him in the slightest. We were certainly ready to play. We were better than this at this point already, as a, as an actual musical band um, and everybody knew that we had to go out and play. I, I, I don’t uh—and we didn’t have this kind of fighting amongst us. We’d basically, we just played the songs, you know, it’s just like if we had to do something, we did it, and uh, Davy actually got upset about being the tambourine player when we did our record. Later on, we made a record of our own, and he played tambourine all through it. He got sick of that, but uh, um, other, you know, and always these things are fictionalized, so.
(00:35:08) [“You guys can’t handle that? HUH?!”]
Michael had his own way of controlling things; this wasn’t it. Heh heh heh uh. I don’t know that I can characterize it. He was just a manipulator and, and uh, and uh, always ahead of the game, and always knew, always knew how to push things around to make them happen the way—I mean, he pretty much uh, pretty much kept himself in charge. I don’t know how he did it exactly to tell you—if I knew how he did it, I’d have done it myself actually.
(00:35:50) [Mike apologizes for pushing the group too much during rehearsals.]
He never apologized. Michael never apologized about anything, at any time, under any circumstances, as far as I know, whatsoever. I mean, I don’t know about his marriages, but.
(00:36:28) [A plane flies by.]
Hawaii. It was a great concert actually.
(00:36:57) [“So really, it’s a win-win situation.”]
Heh heh heh.
(00:37:57) [Davy is singing “I Wanna Be Free” on stage.]
First time he dropped on his knees, I thought, “Boy, how corny can you get?”. Heh heh heh heh heh heh.
(00:38:21) [A girl runs up on stage during the concert.]
L.B. Fisher, who plays me, told me that when they were doing these things, the kids actually came on to them. The little girls actually gave them the superstar treatment, and they’re looking at each other going, “What are you doing? We’re just the actors playing the parts here,” and the girls were just “AHH! Ah! AHH!”. Heh heh. Reflected glory somehow. Course, L.B. Fisher’s young and cute still, so. Heh, like I used to be.
By this time, we’d already done all the tunes long enough. We knew what we wanted to do pretty much, so it wasn’t musically scary, it was just we had a few planned, things planned. We sort of talked over some ideas beforehand. We hadn’t rehearsed them, and managed to pull them off more or less, and uh, it was a great first show. I mean, there were a lot of things wrong with it as a, as a show, but uh, they were acceptable, and they could be fixed, and they were right, you know. We got done with Hawaii, and we knew what we wanted to do as a show. We had seen The Beatles live in, at, in uh, Dodger Stadium, and in those days uh, the main act just did twenty minutes like everybody else, and we said, “We can’t be doing uh, twenty minutes. I went to see The Beatles and they just did twenty minutes. I said, are you kidding? I wanna—I love The Beatles. I wanna see more of The Beatles, and,” so we wound up doing, so we did hour long shows.
(00:40:44) [“Let’s hear it for The Monkees and the next number one single in America!”]
Donny never did get it. He thought uh, he thought we wanted to take over his life, and in fact, all we wanted to do was just, I mean all *I* ever wanted to do was be the side man on my own, on the, on the actual sessions uh. Later on, it turns out that he had made a promise to Neil Diamond that the next single would be his, and uh, he thinks that—he still thinks—that we were in the way of that. He doesn’t, he still hasn’t gotten it. We’ve said it many times to him. All we wanted to do was to be the sidemen on our own music uh. We would’ve been delighted to do a Neil Diamond song if he had, if he’d said, “I have to do a Neil Diamond song. I put myself in a corner. Help me out here. What can we do?”. We’ll do the Neil Diamond song. We know, we know you know what’s good, Donny. For goodness’ sake, we don’t want to take over everything. We know who you are. You know, all we wanna do is—I just want to play on the records, I don’t wanna be—I don’t want other guys playing the guitar parts and the bass parts, and I’d rather have Micky play the drums.
And uh, in fact, we did make an album, a third album, and it was pretty good, and it sold uh, about—it sold less than the second album, but by only by as much as the second album sold less than the first, so that the downward slope was about the same. Don Kirshner thinks he left, and we went into the toilet, but it’s not the case.
The “Theme to The Monkees” song, Micky re-recorded that in Italian: “Tema Dei Monkees” uh, and uh, but that’s it, as far as I know. There was not, nothing like The Beatles doing uh, “She Loves You” in German or anything like that, no. I mean, The Beatles did it in German because they’d been in Germany, and they spoke the language, and they liked it, you know, and it was uh, it was a sort of a way of being grateful to Germany, but uh we only did it because uh, something about content laws in the various countries. If we had to, we did, otherwise we wouldn’t. The people, the kids didn’t mind. The kids always bought American, English language records anyway.
The music is The Monkees’ music. These records are Monkee records. They’re the actual old records redone. They’re not re—they’re not redone.
(00:44:33) [“And we have to be back here by six a.m. tomorrow morning.”]
(00:45:08) [“There’s a revolution going on right now.”]
And Davy didn’t want any part of it. Heh heh heh hee hee.
I don’t know. I don’t know if we did talk about anything very much. It, we, it was really just uh, jokes and…
(00:47:09) [After the press conference where the reporter accuses them of faking it on stage.]
Actually, it was Mike that blew the whistle on us. He told the, he went to a press conference and said, “Tell them we’re fake because, by god, we are!” and I, they never would have made a big deal out of it if he hadn’t said anything.
(00:47:35) [“Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars?!”]
They were twenty-five. Twenty-five thousand. Which was a lot of money for me in those days, I’m telling you.
He actually put his fist through a wall.
(00:49:23) [“We’ll succeed or we’ll fail based on what we do.”]
Actually, Michael never said, “what we do”. He uh, he basically just, it was his music. I mean, this is uh, this is…
Michael really, in my estimation, never was interested in, in the groups being the, the musicians except uh, as a way station to his own ideals, his own ambitions uh. He wanted uh, he wanted to be in charge.
(00:50:14) [“You guys think you’re such big stars now, you can take over the show?”]
Actually, he never challenged us that way. He just said, “You all want to do this?”, and we all said yeah, and he said okay.
(00:50:23) [“We can use his songwriters. We just really wanna play.”]
There it is.
(00:52:13) [The Monkees are performing “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” in concert.]
These are actual uh, live uh, Monkees uh, concert uh, the sound, the soundtrack is actually us playing live somewhere in the sixties.
(00:52:58) [The Monkees are being chased by a bunch of fans outside the hotel.]
Detroit, Chicago, New York, played Forest Stadium in New York um. Forest Hills Stadium in New York um. Do they have us jumping into a cop car here? This actually happened in Cleveland.
(00:53:38) [The cop car drives off.]
Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. Jumped into a cop car to save ourselves from the marauding teenagers.
(00:55:12) [Micky is running around the stage.]
Micky really was lumbered behind the drums. He should have been the front man. This is actually pretty close to what he would be like if he got up, when he got up front, which we did. This actually, this is the way we did do it. Davy jumped up and played drums so that Micky could come down and…
I mean, it’s an example of the kind of musicianship Davy had that we just say, “Would you play the drums here while we do this?”. He say, “Well, what do I do?”. Well, the bass drum and the snare. Okay, blam, blam, blam, blam. He just took it over like that and kept time perfectly. In fact, he should have been in the rhythm section. He was, had better time than the rest of us put together.
(00:57:32) [The Monkees are in London.]
It was pretty interesting. It’s good. We understand that the um, that Princess Anne, who lived in Kensington Gardens across the park from the hotel we were staying at, asked if one could arrange for one’s persons to be made less quiet, less noisy. One was losing one’s sleep.
(00:58:06) [Micky tells the group that The Beatles have invited them to a party.]
All I know is that uh, we were told by, our staff told us. I don’t know how the invitation came.
(00:58:16) [at The Beatles’ party]
Some black light. The Speakeasy Club in London. Beatles were known to hang there.
(00:58:26) [“Hey, Davy!”]
Davy wasn’t there.
(00:58:43) [Mike is talking to John Lennon.]
Mike wasn’t there either. Heh heh.
Paul, George, and John. Ringo wasn’t there.
(01:00:28) [Davy is talking to his dad.]
How did my family relate to the fact that I was a Monkee? Um, uh, I don’t know too much. They didn’t talk much about it uh, you know. When I got the gig, they were uh, they, they were congratulatory um, but uh, they uh, you know, and the kids used to come and rip up pieces of their lawn and things like that, and they had to, they had to uh, unlist their phone number because they were getting harassing phone calls for years on it, but I think all, I don’t, I don’t think they related at all, generally speaking uh. My brother and, brothers and sister related much more seriously um, particularly later. My brother, one brother of mine said to me, you know, “You’re part of Americana now”, and uh, I go yeah, I guess it’s true enough.
(01:02:13) [The Monkees are recording “All of Your Toys”.]
My favorite uh, single was uh, uh, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”. I think um, my favorite piece of Monkee music was a song that we did live on camera for our Christmas show called “Riu Chiu”. I thought we, the music was just spectacularly good for that, but I had a lot of fun with things like this. Micky on his synthesizer. Micky had one of the early synthesizers and played it brilliantly, I thought uh. I’ve always thought Micky had uh, incredible gifts that regrettably, he never really knew how to exploit. I was really sorry to hear about it, but he was really wonderful on the synthesizer for his, since he just totally freaked it out, flipped it out um, uh, let’s see uh. I liked a lot of the obscure songs from the third album um. “Daydream Believer” is a pretty good piece of music actually. It’s uh, it’s hard to say. There’s a lot of good songs that I like.
I don’t know that I, I don’t know if I can describe what it was like for us to start recording our own songs in the, in the studio uh. It was obviously a, a real treat to be able to uh, I’m, I regret that it had to happen the way it did, but what the heck um, uh, and I, and I’m not so sure. Well, I guess it, there’s not much to say really. I loved doing it. I was so opposed to the earlier style uh, at the time, but mostly because nobody told me, you know. It really hadn’t been a case of, “Listen, here’s what we’re gonna do first, and then, you know, and we’ll get around to the other later”. It never had been part of the plan. It was all about uh, you know, it was a shock to walk into a recording studio and not be allowed to play.
(01:05:14) [“Number one last week.”]
Yeah, there’s that too. The, number one… Beatles knocked Headquarters off of the number one slot. So uh, this, although, it’s, it’s not like this. We certainly didn’t get like, discouraged. Oh my god, we lost out on Headquarters! “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. All I cared about, all I cared about with uh, with Sgt. Pepper was what a good piece of music it was, what a good record it was.
It was three years for me from sign-on to sign-off. We, I signed on in October ’65, and the show came on, went on the air in the fall of ’66 uh. We were uh, on the road during hiatus uh, when the second album out. I expect it would’ve been the fall of ’67 or so when we put out uh—you’d have to check the timeline, but I think it was probably about the fall of ’67 when uh, Headquarters came out. When did Sgt. Pepper come out? Does anybody, nobody knows? That kind of thing.
(01:06:38) [Peter starts to cry.]
L.B. Fisher’s a really good actor.
It’s hard to uh, we certainly never went into terrible depression because The Beatles knocked us off of the number one spot.
(01:07:22) [“This is the great American narcotic machine at work, and we are caught right in the middle.”]
That sounds more like me than Mike.
(01:08:06) [The Monkees win.]
This was great. It was great to win an Emmy. I was uh, I mean I didn’t ever win the Emmy. It was, uh, it was, this one went to the—we actually won two that year. The uh, Best uh, Comedy Series, which went to Bert and Bob, and Best Director of a, of a Comedy Episode, which went to James Frawley for uh, Princess Harmonica or something.
(01:09:13) [The Monkees are filming the episode “Fairy Tale”.]
This episode, it was the, it was way my favorite episode. Michael should have got an Emmy for Supporting Actress as the Princess. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
(01:10:17) [“Listen to that, man! So raw!”]
Actually, Micky understood Jimi Hendrix. I didn’t get him at first.
At the time, I always thought the best stuff was the blues. I pretty much always have. Good rock uh, good rock is one thing. Good rock is always great um. Good blues-based rock, good uh, but uh, it was uh, it was Micky who saw, we both saw him at Monterey. Micky and I both saw Jimi at Monterey. It was Micky who recognized his talent, actually. I just, he’d destroyed his instrument, and we had, he had followed The Who on stage, and The Who had destroyed their instruments, and I said, “I just saw this”. Heh heh. So, I didn’t get it. I was a little disdainful.
(01:11:15) [The crowd chants “We want The Monkees!”.]
Yeah, poor Jimi. “We want The Monkees”.
(01:11:27) [“Don’t you guys get it, huh? We’re clowns.”]
“Don’t you guys get it? Don’t you guys get it?” The writing falls down there. At this point…
(01:11:49) [Jimi flips off the crowd and storms off the stage.]
He flipped off the—we, we—I understand that Jimi flipped off the audience. I didn’t see it happen of course. That is to say flipped them the bird, raised his middle finger, whatever you can say in a PG-13.
(01:12:15) [“We’re gonna have cars too, lots of cool cars.”]
He uh, he bought a big house and a big car and, and kept himself pretty close to broke uh, until this mother died. His mother invented Liquid Paper, you know, and uh, when she died, he inherited uh, a quarter of a million dollars, and he hasn’t been hurting since.
(01:12:48) [“If you’re not preparing for a show or performing, you’re locked away in a recording studio.”]
I liked uh, I liked doing The Monkees because I liked working, you know, I loved the backstage thing. I loved the technical stuff of making TV shows. I loved the technical stuff of rehearsing. I loved the business of making records. That’s all, some of my favorite pastimes, that kind of thing, and so it was a thrill to be with The Monkees, you know, to watch the, the big-time pros do it right and learn. I actually directed an episode after watching, studying at the feet of the masters here, and uh, uh, so did Micky. Micky parlayed it into a directing career.
So I, I dunno, I gave away, I gave most of my uh, gave most of my, most of my money to friends.
(01:13:55) [Peter punches Davy.]
Davy hit me first. Heh. This is not how it went. I hit him, I hit him back. He, I did hit him back, but he hit me first, and it wasn’t this, and it certainly wasn’t about the singing of the song. It happened on stage. He was being a… he was being an awful person.
(01:15:34) [The Monkees are performing “Daydream Believer” in the Rainbow Room.]
I would have to say that we, I can tell you from myself that I liked and respected and loved each of them in different uh, different ratios um. Although, we’ve looked at the question a number of times amongst ourselves since then, and really, it’s much more like uh, a championship basketball team getting together for uh, reunions or, or uh, or the guys at the office, you know. It’s like uh, how many people at the place you work with do you, how many people you work with, where you work, do you think of as family, you know? Some of them and not all of them, and it’s pretty much just that way. We were actors, after all, we had, you know, and uh, when the scene called for us to be taking care of each other, we did that scene.
I have to say, I have a lot of affection for those guys though. Like I said, in different ratios. Heh heh heh heh.
We had a, actually had a parting of the ways this year uh, uh, early September, and uh, I don’t know when we’ll get back together again.
I mean, these actors had to play, had to play the part of guys who liked each other and were in sort of family together. Ask these actors whether they look each other up over the, have looked each other up since they made this movie.
(01:18:32) [“We do the third season the old way, or we’re off the air.”]
I did not sense this was the beginning of the, beginning of the end because, for one thing uh, they asked us if we wanted to do a third season. I said no. I just flat out said no because we were still doing leftover first year scripts when they asked me, and then the scripts got good and nobody asked me the question again, so I never got a chance to say yeah, if the scripts are this good, I’ll do a third year like this, but uh, and no, I didn’t ever have a sense of the, of the end of it uh. It’s a funny thing. I saw the uh, saw the beginning coming. I saw the success, but I didn’t see the tapering off, the ending of it uh. On the other hand, I, neither did I see the revival, reunion revivals in, in uh, the eighties and the nineties and 2001 uh, all of which were very successful and a very pleasant surprise.
Basically one or another of a series of uh, concert promoters had the idea, and we all got together and said, yeah, we’ll do it. Three of us, four of us on one occasion.
(01:20:09) [“Something significant like… a building.”]
These, this is actually relatively accurate, about the uh, the brainstorming sessions. Barnstorming. Brainstorming sessions for Head uh. Jack and Bert and Bob and the four of us. Basically all we said was we just don’t wanna make another episode of the TV show uh, and we did have a tape recorder running. We talked all weekend. I wish I could hear that tape recorder, that tape.
I mean, I certainly didn’t have this kind of prescience. The uh, the movie is, is, you should see, if you haven’t seen the movie Head, you should see the movie Head. It’s out there. It’s abstract. Well, it’s not abstract; it’s surreal.
(01:22:09) [“And if this movie busts…”]
Which it did. Only, of course, of course, nobody came on, on the set and actually said to us, you know. They’re not going let anybody come in and tell the boys you’re doing, it’s, it’s doom. That’s an actual uh, poster. That’s the actual poster. Not a reproduction. That is to say it’s a poster of the original Monkees episode.
(01:22:51) [Head is playing in a movie theater.]
This is uh, reproduced footage. They re-remade this footage for uh, for this movie, featuring the actors as us.
I do not know who owns the movie. I think uh, Rhino may.
(01:23:32) [“Someday people are gonna appreciate our movie.”]
Actually, nobody will ever appreciate the movie. It’s just so obscure. It’s a little bit of a cult thing, but uh, but very obscure.
(01:23:57) [“Can you believe it was only two years ago when we came here for the first time?”]
There were a couple of uh, discussions of The Monkees uh. VH-1 did a Behind the Music and E! Television did the True Hollywood Story, and in both of those, they tried to make it out that when Donny was severed from the project, that the project basically tanked instantly, and uh, that part isn’t true. We uh, basically, like I said, the third album sold less than the second by about as much as the second sold less than the first, and uh, and, and in fact, we didn’t even want Donny gone, but um, the whole thing about the, The Monkees is a, pretty much a foreordained thing. It had a, it had a curve of its own. It had a power curve of its own, and uh, the amazing thing is how, how strong the influence is. How many people do still know about The Monkees. How much uh, how much of The Monkees is still well-known in the country. It could have been, I mean, how many people think about uh, you know, uh, let’s see, what was his name? Ho, uh, da da da da, McHale’s Navy. How many people think of McHale’s Navy today, you know? Not too many. The Monkees is still way up, probably not much more than I Dream of Jeannie, but appreciably. Heh heh heh heh heh.
(01:27:47) [The Monkees are discussing Mike and Davy talking to children in the hospital.]
This scene is entirely bogus. There was nothing anything remotely like this. As uh, as, as close as the rest of the show was to reality, I mean, given uh, you know, artistic license, this particular scene was out of the blue and had nothing to do with anything. We never did, never did do anything like this.
Anything artificial to end it on an up note, I suppose.