Don’t believe everything you hear on the boss radio. Take it with a grain of salt when a Good Guy Dee Jay spews the news on your squawk box. He may be talking into the mike through his hat.
One prominent L.A. disk jock all day repeated an “inside scoop” that Davy Jones had quit the Monkees to return to England and start a solo career with a new background band. It was a bucket of baloney, of course. Some day Davy will go on his own. Monkeeville isn’t his habitat for the rest of his natural. But he isn’t the kind of a jerk who will break a contract, quit in the middle of a successful TV series and leave his pals in the lurch. Like all music stars he plans to get into record production, personal management, or some non-music business when his day as a star is over.
Monkees are super-experts in concert stage brinkmanship. They’ve developed the art—or is it a science? of building up audience emotion with the normal howling and screeching to the very brink of mass explosion; then, with a well-rehearsed sound, pushing it over the brink into a flaming volcano of passion as 10 or 20,000 Monkeemaniacs blow their minds with tonsil-tearing screams and ear-rending wails.
It’s a planned part of the program which can be varied from time to time. One sure-fire over-the-brinker happens half way through I Got A Woman when Micky Dolenz suddenly falls to his hands and knees, screaming and sobbing into the mike. Mike Nesmith picks him up and half carries him towards the wings but the Mad Mick breaks away and again collapses on stage to scream and sob.
Brinkmanship is groovy showmanship. Many bands and singers etch Top 40 disks but their stage act is dull as homework. It may be worth the price of admission just to see the Beatles, Rolling Stones or Beach Boys in the living flesh, but that ain’t enough for lesser song-men who need to do more than stand around and get looked at as they sing.
A Rolling Stone show is another beautiful example of brinkmanship. Together the guys build up the audience pressure, then Mick Jagger shoves the crowd over the brink into the abyss of bliss with his own special shtick, a combination of sound and sight. The Jagger goes about as far as a bloke should go in projecting sex appeal. He knows when to stop which is more than we can say for some performers.
An act right for crowds in an adult joint can bomb at a teen-age concert. Dick Clark dropped PJ Proby from his traveling shows when, despite warnings, “PJ continued his barrage of suggestive gyrations, off-color language,” to quote Joan Rice, teen-age music critic for the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Fugs, a Greenwich Village songroup now on nationwide tour, also go a rather rotten route, according to the Cash Box critic who is usually tolerant of wild acts. Fug leader Ed Sanders, he says, “shouts four-letter words while wiggling and jiggling through sick songs like ‘Kill for Peace.’”
Well, we don’t shock easy but we do bug out at bores with maxi mouths and mini talents.
The Doors are anything but bores. See them if they come your way this summer. When they played the N.Y. Ondine, customers who paid $10 minimum each, returned night after night for encores. They were the sensation of the new Santa Monica Cheetah. People danced to the Jefferson Airplane, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Grateful Dead and Byrds, but they were hypnotized, sat down on the dancefloor digging the sound of the four Doors, and after each number this sophisticated non-screamer crowd screamed, whistled and stomped their delight. The Doors, a West Coast group, play their own songs with a wild rompy beat that apes no known group. This is the MBG—Mighty Big Group of the future. Lead singer Jim Morrison could be the new Mick Jagger. He has the looks and personality magic that won’t stop.
What new artists fear more than somewhat after one or two best-selling records is a jinx called 4-D—Discovery, Deification, Droopery and Disappearance. Many show business sensations have been wiped out by this curse.
The Buckinghams blew into town recently on the wings of three soaring chart songs, Don’t You Care, Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Kind Of a Drag, still scared of dat old debbil 4-D. Once it started success happened too quickly to give them self-confidence. They pinch themselves to make sure what’s happening is for real, and cross their fingers to make it last.
The early Byrds flew swiftly through Discovery and Deification the worshipful adoration of the music-loving masses. Suddenly their popularity dropped down when Gene Clark dropped out and they seemed headed for that last deadly D, Disappearance, oblivion. Jim McGuinn married and became a father. Mike Clark took off for Mexico. Chris Hillman moved out of town. David Crosby was a lost soul in search of an identity.
What happened was they’d gone stale. The separation and idleness was exactly the right medicine for what ailed them. When Gene bombed as a solo artist-performer, Jim, Chris, Dave and Mike had an incentive to prove they would make out without him, though they didn’t say it out loud.
The reunited Byrds began to swing again. The song that first sprung them to fame was Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man; now for good luck they spun another Dylan original, My Back Pages for the LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Both are Top 40. The four Byrdmen look cleaner, fresher, brighter and happier than ever.
Brian Wilson is worried. He also feels as if he’s gone stale. For months he labored over the writing and producing of one single, Heroes and Villains, and more months over the Smile album.
“I feel like I’ve lost my talent,” he groaned. “I’m working harder and getting less satisfaction than ever before.”
And never have Beach Boys spent so many weary months in the recording studios trying to finish one album to big brother’s satisfaction.
Brian doesn’t yet realize that all creative artists have to suffer through those agonizing periods of self-doubt, emotional emptiness and creative sterility.
Also the Beach Boy’s bag has been hoo-dooed by the legal complications of breaking their Capitol Records contract to release on their own Brother label. Dino, Desi and Billy were also hung-up by contract hassles when they tried to switch from Reprise to Brother. Billy, as you know, is Carl Wilson’s brother-in-law.
Dino Martin, probably the best-looking 15-year-old boy in the world, is starring in his first movie, an offbeat original titled A Boy, A Girl, written and directed by John Derek, produced by Jack Hanson, owner of Jax (ladies’ slax and mods), and the exclusive Daisy Club, private Beverly Hills discotheque where the young starlets hang out nightly.
Loyola school authorities had no objection to Desi Arnaz and Billy Hinshe wearing long hair. Troubles came from other kids. D&B cut their hair in disgust after one short-haired bully picked a fist fight with them on the staircase. A few days later Annie Wilson, Carl’s wife, was attacked in a service station by crew-cuts making wise cracks about her straight black very long and beautiful hair. Long-hairs are gentle people; what’s with these violent hateful short-hairs? Beatle-haired Rodney Bingenheimer and Sal Mineo were jumped by skin-heads and crew-cuts outside Music City. It happens all the time.
Footloose and fancy free, Paul McCartney is taking advantage of the fact that marriage isn’t compulsory. Jane Asher is his favorite girl but not the only one. And vice versa.
Unlike the Beatlemates, Jane doesn’t want to give up her career and Paul doesn’t want a career girl for a wife. So he explained to friends, and it sounds like sense.
After flying to Denver to celebrate Jane’s 21st birthday, Paul hippety-hopped to San Francisco and an incognito sojourn among the happy hippies of the Haight-Ashbury district. He was alone and disguised. The girl he picked up didn’t recognize the famed Beatle although she said several times he reminded her of someone.
In Beverly Hills, Paul stayed at the home of Mama Michelle and Papa John. They cruised the Sunset Strip with Derek Taylor and Lou Adler, and he enjoyed a private date with a delicious dish of femininity. We heard but couldn’t confirm that Paul bought a house in La Jolla, seaside suburb of San Diego, Calif., using a corporation name to conceal his identity.
Many top pop stars like to dress like slopniks, according to the current mode, and display their wealth and status with expensive cars and luxurious homes.
Not so the Mama’s and Papa’s. Michelle and John Phillips, when they attend a fancy function, are among the best-dressed stars of stage, screen and recording studio. They are beautiful people in beautiful clothes; she in shimmering silks and mini-sheaths, he in a tailored tux, lacy dress shirt, $100 Italian custom-made boots and long flowing red-lined silk cape that would make Beau Brummel turn envy-green in his grave. Even kooky Denny is often gorgeously garbed and groomed.
Mama Cass, a new mother, revealed she’s been married for three years.
Cass, beloved by everybody and with so much love in her heart, is called The Earth Mother by the people who know her best.