The Monkees’ best friend—the one and only person who really knows what’s happenin’ with the Monkees—tells ALL about the boys’ unbelievably beautiful, gloriously crazy “in person” gig in Hawaii! YOU too will be there in person when you read this on-the-scene story!
The departure time of Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz—known to the world as The Monkees—from the Los Angeles Airport for Hawaii last December 1, was one of the best kept secrets in show business. Not that the boys wouldn’t want the world to know, but it had been decided by the “upper echelons” that the start of the Monkees’ first live “in person” appearance would be strictly business. In other word, no unnecessary obligations or distractions. This meant that not only were there no press people at the airport, but there were no fans either. The Monkees didn’t seem to notice this or say anything about it, but I knew they would have preferred a bit more of a send-off. Like they were about to do the biggest gig of their entire life and all was super quiet on the Western front!
Boarding the jet with the Monkees was their road manager, Rick Klein, Monkees producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, Screen Gems V-P Steve Blauner, choreographer David Winters, publicist Howard Brandy and me, your author. The flight to Hawaii was very enjoyable. There were only four other passengers in the first-class section, so we practically had the whole cabin to ourselves.
The flight took about five hours and most of this time sped by as we ate a groovy dinner and watched Cary Grant in Walk Don’t Run. About an hour was consumed by playing cards (gin rummy, poker and blackjack) and, as usual, Davy Jones won. I really believe that Davy has a fairy godmother watching over him. Like he always wins. Always! We are all beginning to think that maybe Davy should stop working and start playing cards for a living.
On each flight to Honolulu, United Airlines has a kind of contest for the passengers in first-class. Each passenger is allowed to guess how much time he thinks it will take for the plane to reach the halfway mark on the flight—and the one who comes closest to the correct time wins a bottle of champagne. The stewardess wrote all our guesses down and at the halfway mark she brought out the list, compared the guesses to the actual flying info the captain had given her, and—guess who won? That’s right. Davy Jones. Grinning with delight, Davy draped a serviette over his arm and personally served the champagne in iced glasses to the four “outside” passengers who were sharing first-class with us. They really were thrilled and delighted.
Davy got his come-uppance during the trip, however—and it was Micky who gave it to him. Micky is very good at card tricks, and he duped Davy into being his “straight man.” Micky would pull the same trick over and over on Davy, who was astounded and confounded by Micky’s “magic”. Davy never did figure out how Micky did it! He just kept muttering his latest favorite expression, “You swine!”
All during the card shenanigins [sic] on the flight, Peter quietly read magazines and a paperback book or two. I think that Peter is the most serious reader in the group, and he always carries a book or a magazine about with him. Mike? Well, he was the “sleeper” of the group on this flight. I knew that he was privately worrying and wondering about what kind of reception the Monkees were going to get in Hawaii (all of the fellows were actually very preoccupied by this same thought), but Mike managed to fall fast asleep and no one was the wiser as to what his inner-thoughts were.
As we circled the Honolulu Airport to prepare for landing, the Monkees pulled themselves together for whatever might be awaiting them below. Mike had on old levis, a denim jacket and beige lace-up type soft moccasins; Davy wore a purple sweater, dark slacks and a black leather jacket; Micky had on dark slacks and a Navy peacoat; and Peter wore slacks, a green and purple striped velour pullover and the red velvet “travel slippers” that we were all given while on the airplane (by the way, Peter wore these slippers during the entire Hawaiian trip).
When the plane landed, none of us had the slightest idea of what to expect. The landing area is sort of L-shaped, and as you taxi toward the terminal building the place looks absolutely deserted. When the door was flung open and the Monkees walked out, what they saw was unbelievable! It was the most fantastic welcome in the world! None of us had dreamed it would be so fabulous. There were over 2000 screaming fans lined up around the runaway, waving, calling and holding up enormous banners and signs (MONKEES—WELCOME TO HAWAII!, WE LOVE DAVY, MIKE, MICKY & PETER!—and like that). Needless to say, the Monkees were overwhelmed by this reception. Peter was the first to leave the plane and I have never seen him look as happy as he did when he saw the fans. He waved and they all went crazy—screaming even louder and waving back even harder! Next, Micky appeared and the roar of the crowd increased. It was deafening by the time Davy and Mike disembarked. There were lots of kids right there on the runaway [sic]. Micky walked down the ramp into the crowd & started signing autographs; Then the rest of the boys went down and followed suit. The security guards and deejays from K-Poi Radio notified the Monkees that it was time to get into the limousines and go to the hotel. The boys started to walk away, but the kids didn’t want to let them go.
Suddenly, the whole scene became just like a “romp” on The Monkees (you know—those wild, running, skipping, hopping and jumping scenes on the TV show). The fans broke through the guards, the boys started to run, and this caused everyone to start running. Within seconds, pandemonium reigned supreme! After ten minutes of struggling, the boys were stuffed into the limos. I personally had to pull Davy from the clutches of about fifty girls and almost carry him to the car.
When we were all safely inside the limo, we suddenly realized that in the shuffle we had lost Peter and Tom Moffat, K-Poi’s top deejay! The other limo was already passing through the runaway gate when we spotted Peter darting under the airplane. The driver quickly circled the plane and as we drove by, Peter—with the style of a real “romp”-er—jumped on the back of the limo’s trunk and away we went! When we passed Tom, we slowed down and he hopped up beside Peter. And they both clung with one hand and waved back at the pack of pursuing fans with the other!
Our destination—the Royal Hawaiian Hotel—had been kept top secret, so things were pretty quiet when we arrived there. After the boys checked in and cleaned up, they held a press meeting in Howard Brandy’s suite. That took care of business for the day, and we all went to the Queen Surf night club, where they have authentic Hawaiian music and dancing. The highlight of the evening is when the dancers go out into the audience and select customers to teach the hula to—on the spot! One of the beautiful hula girls approached our table, studied us, giggled shyly and pointed—right to Davy Jones! Davy is a pretty good dancer, but if you have never done the hula before—well, watch it! Anyway, Davy was game (as usual) and his first hula lesson was probably one of the funniest scenes the Monkees have ever gone through—on or off camera.
Friday, December 2, was an interesting day for the boys as well as for the regular K-POI listeners (if they could believe their ears when they heard what they heard). The Monkees went to visit the station and once there decided to take over the airways for a while! Micky became K-POI’s newest dee jay, Micky The D; Mike and Peter alternated in giving the news, weather and farm reports (can you imagine what the local folks thought when they heard Mike Nesmith delivering the latest dairy and egg prices in his thick Texas accent?), and Davy got on the “hot line” and answered Monkee-fans’ personal questions about the group. All in all, their Monkee madness was a smashing success.
Success is a word that would have been an understatement for what happened to the Monkees the following night at their concert. Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy started rehearsing at 8 A.M. at the Honolulu International Center (HIC), Saturday, December 3. I won’t tell you about the rehearsal, because that will give away what happened at the actual show, but I will tell you that the guys worked harder than they have ever worked before (which is very hard, considering that perfectionists they all are). They went through the entire show twice and were exhausted when they finished rehearsing at 6:15 in the evening—but when the limos came to pick them up to take them to the concert at 9 P.M., they were all bright and fresh and sparkling again. The Monkees wore new black suits, white shirts and paisley ties. As our limos drove up to the private entrance to the backstage of the arena, they were suddenly smothered by hundreds of fans who seemed to appear from out of nowhere. After sitting in total darkness for the ten minutes it took the security guards to clear the way, we entered the backstage area. In their dressing rooms, the boys talked a little about their costume changes and nervously awaited their cue to go onstage.
All at once, all the lights went out in the auditorium. The Monkees were sneaked into two large cabinets, which were made to look like over-sized speakers; the Monkee Theme came bouncing out of the real speakers; and two big spotlights fllashed [sic] down onto the stage just as Davy, Peter, Micky and Mike burst out of their boxes. You would have to hear the deafening roar a sell-out crowd of 8,300 enthusiastic fans can make to believe it. It is a sound none of us shall ever forget as long as we live—and it was beautiful!
The first tune the boys broke into was Clarksville, and the roar of the crowd rose quite a few decibels. I was standing on the edge of the stage, and I could see all the guys’ faces light up as the noise grew louder. The tune ended amid great cheering, and the Monkees went into She’s So Far Out She’s In (another lead sung by Micky) unable to hear themselves playing. In this number, the boys started bouncing around the stage, creating havoc in the audience. Whenever one of the guys would look or wave toward one section of spectators, that area would surge up like a wild wave in the ocean—swelling and pushing forward. There were moments when I really worried. It became almost unreal, especially with the eternal popping of thousands of flash bulbs that lighted up the stage like strobe lights—making the Monkees’ movements at times look like a revved-up silent movie.
Mike sang Be The One, a song with a Western flavor which he wrote and produced himself. It was a slower tune and helped to calm the audience down. After this, Mike picked up his 12-string and started plucking a few strings. Davy went over and picked up his mike (receiving an ovation that made it seem like 20,000 people were in the crowd) and began to sing I Wanna Be Free. During his song, various still pictures of Davy were flashed onto two big screens on the backdrop these were alternated with pictures of world leaders and “freedom group” shots were thrown in too). The crowd yelled so loud that it was impossible to hear Davy or the music. Next, Micky sang Mary Mary from the Monkees’ new LP, and all the while the audience never ceased to show their abundant appreciation for the Monkees’ great musical talent—talent which some people had previously declared the boys didn’t really have!
At this point in the show, Mike sang an unreleased ballad, Prithee, followed by another one of his tunes from the Monkees first LP, Sweet Young Thing. The latter features a fantastic guitar solo which knocked the amazed audience out. Like that number really proved where the Monkees are at musically once and for all. Davy again picked up the microphone for another new tune. This one was I Can’t Get Her Off My Mind—and Davy did it with a thick Manchester accent which sent all the Hawaiian kids into instant madness (especially since during the entire number there were huge pictures of Davy and a little girl about five years old flashed on the screens on the backdrops).
After the intermission the guys did I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone, which was number one in Hawaii—so you can imagine the audience reaction to that. At the end of Stone, in which Micky sings lead, Davy took over the drums and Micky came forward with a mike and the guys kept faking endings to the tune until Micky was left alone on the stage. This was the beginning of the boys’ solo numbers. Micky announced Peter, who came out and did East Virginia Blues—a folk tune and the kind of music Peter likes best. He wore a white sweater, tan boots and tight checked slacks. The audience ate the whole thing up. Peter then introduced Mike, who did You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At Its Cover (an old Bo Diddley number). Mike had changed to a blue shirt, black boots and narrow grey and black striped pants. He had a back-up band on the tune and was able to move freely about the stage playing maracas.
Mike then introduced Davy, who came out on the stage in a black tuxedo with a white ruffled shirt and shiny black boots. He did The Joker (an Anthony Newley tune from Roar Of The Greasepaint—Broadway show tunes are Davy’s favorite kind of music). Meanwhile, Micky had slipped from the stage and now Davy introduced him. Micky came out in a flowered coat and with a pair of sun glasses on, a big hat perched on his head, a lei around his neck and sporting wildly striped pants. He threw the lei into the audience as he walked on an [sic] this caused a panic among the fans. He broke into I Got A Woman and danced all around the stage—and Micky can dance up a storm when he wants to. Then Micky started taking off the flowered coat and Mike came out and tried to restrain him—and soon they were deep into a “James Brown routine”. When Mike would finally get Micky off stage, he would come charging back on, do a flip and land in a split. Eventually, the guys got Micky off, but not before the crowd was on its feet cheering wildly.
When all of the Monkees returned to the stage, they had on grey suits and beige double-breasted Monkee shirts. Peter went into If I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate and Mike kept lowering his microphone until Peter was almost lying down by the end of the number. The fans thought this was very funny and shouted their approval. Next, the boys did another Hawaiian favorite, Take A Giant Step, with Mike playing lead guitar, Peter in organ—and Davy playing the bass! The last tune—and Mike made a mistake by announcing that it was to be their last tune—was I’m A Believer. Through out the song, thousands of flash bulbs popped until the arena was filled with a great white light. The crowds began to move down and tried to break through the police barricade. Behind the boys, the screens were showing a series of wild scenes from some Monkees’ “romps”, and in front hundreds of fans were hurling things onto the stage until it finally looked it was snowing in the arena. At the end of the tune, the boys put their instruments down and dashed off into a waiting limo. But the fans who had decided to miss the last tune and wait outside for a closer look at their new idols managed to get an eyeful, for the car was held up for 30 minutes by the waiting crowd.
Soon we were all extricated from the “situation” by the security guards and were rushed back to our hotel. There, we were spirited up to our suites and the doors were locked behind us. Suddenly, it was all over—all was quiet and still. Davy, Peter, Mike and Micky—and I—all looked at one another. In the same moment, we all must have had exactly the same thoughts: we felt strangely sad, like a beautiful fairy tale or dream had abruptly come to an end. But at the same time, we felt deeply and wildly happy—for the Monkees had made it. In glorious, beautiful, warm and happy Hawaii, they had proved to the world (and to themselves) that they were good—maybe even great—and that they were here to stay!
This is the first in a series of what I hope will be many groovy Monkees stories for you by me—David Pearl—in 16 Magazine. I’ll see you in the May issue with much more true inside Monkees news. So don’t miss the next issue of 16. It goes on sale March 21. See you then!
David Pearl is a 22-year-old former Texan who has been living in Hollywood for the past year. David, who has brown hair and brown eyes, knew the Monkees when they were just plain Davy, Peter, Mike and Micky—and he has long been best friends to the group. David, an accomplished bass player, works on the set with the Monkees each day, travels with the boys wherever they go and always shares in their very active social life. In other words, David Pearl is the one and only person who really knows what’s happenin’ with the Monkees all the time.
So, it is with great pride that we announce that from this issue forward David will be writing regularly for 16 Magazine, keeping you ’way ahead of everybody else on what really and truly is happening in the public and private, intimate lives of the Monkees.