“YES!” demands Davy. “YEAH!” from Micky. “OF COURSE,” says Mike. “WHAT ELSE?” concludes Peter. Anyone who has seen a Monkee concert will agree that the Monkees do play their instruments and play them very well!
Monkee Mike, who is the most interested in the musical activities of the group says, “I’d like to tell everybody that we do play on our own records now!”
At first the boys didn’t play all their album band tracks. Not because they did not know how to play their instruments, but because they just did not have the time. Imagine shooting a television show from seven in the morning until seven at night every day and having enough energy left over to go into a recording studio for several more hours!
So, in the beginning, the boys spent their Saturdays recording, which didn’t allow them time enough to do everything. During the entire month of November, they had even less time because they were rehearsing their stage act every night from 8 to 11 o’clock!
Mike and Peter especially were very upset about this situation. Who wouldn’t be? They knew that as soon as people found out that session musicians were used on some of their records, they would be knocked and everyone would say that they didn’t have any talent.
But there was nothing they could do about it. All the boys were putting everything they had made into making the television program the best. Says Peter, “Our first responsibility was as actors. It took a lot of working together for us to become a good comedy act. We had to learn a great deal about each other and how each of us would react to things and what was funny and what wasn’t. There was never any question of whether or not we could play the instruments, it was just a matter of having enough time.
“Davy plays bass on ‘I’m A Believer’ and he’s learning piano now, as well. On stage, he plays a bit of drums while Micky sings ‘Mary, Mary.’ Mike and I have been playing guitar for years and Micky is a very good drummer. No one is happier than we are that we have the time now to play on our records.”
Mike continues, “The reason we have enough time now is because we’ve learned to shoot the show a lot faster. Six months ago, it took us five days for every half hour program—except for Micky, we just weren’t accustomed to filming a TV series. Even then, it was the fastest filmed show on the air.
“Now we’ve got it down to only three days. That leaves us every Monday and Tuesday in the recording studio. We are on the road doing live shows every weekend.”
Since their first concert in Hawaii, the Monkees have accompanied themselves on stage. David Winters, who was choreographer for TV’s “Hullabaloo,” sort of directed the act. “He told us what song sounded best in what place and how our actions looked from the audience’s point of view. But we put together the act and decided what we were going to do on stage.”
Are the Monkees just a product of other people’s talents?
Considering that they ad-lib much of their TV show, and they sing and play their music (some of which they have written) and they have developed their own, original and sensational stage act, what do you think. Right!