On Thursday, June 29, just over 12 hours after flying into London from Paris, The Monkees attended one of the largest pop Press Conferences ever held in Britain. Gathered in the huge Buckingham Suite Ballroom of Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel were more than 300 reporters, magazine writers, press photographers, radio interviewers and camera crews representing TV and cinema newsreels. This was the first time The Monkees had given a Press Conference of this type, a surprising fact which emerged during the 20 minutes of intensive questioning, which formed the main part of the function. And all the while, as answer followed answer, movie equipment whirled and a hundred cameras kept up a constant clickety-click rhythm. Maybe ten or twenty thousand photographs were taken. Many of these you will see in magazines during the coming months.
Meanwhile, every word spoken by THE MONKEES during the entire Conference is to be preserved on these pages. This month there is only room to print about half of what was said. The rest of the questions and answers will appear in the September issue.
Q.: Can you tell me how much you earn in a week after your managers, agents and associates have each taken their shares?
DAVY: Er, I clear about three and a tanner, four bob, I dunno. No, we make quite a bit of money but personally most of my money goes in taxes to support all kinds of American officials.
Q.: You come here surrounded by a sort of mythology about being a pre-packaged group and under considerable attack from the critics. Does this matter to you and do you think it is true?
PETER: No it doesn’t bother us that we come under attack. As far as we’re concerned you can’t help that. These stories about us being a pre-packaged group, I mean in the sense you mean the words, it is quite true.
MICKY: Jolly good!
MIKE: It’s pretty much the same way everybody else forms a group whether it’s John Lennon walking down the street asking Paul, Ringo and George to join him or whether someone puts an ad. in a paper. You’ve got to start somewhere.
MICKY: The original idea was to be a television show and the musical kind of group, the record-making thing kinda happened as an extension. It wasn’t intended to be like this, as big as this. And it just so happens that we four get along as well in the recording studios as we do on a stage. It kinda worked pretty groovy.
Q.: What thoughts have you all given to what you’re going to do when the series goes off?
DAVY: We know it’s sold for another year in America and we have a pretty good chance of making it another year after that. I should think, in about six years from now we’ll still be playing together, I suppose.
MICKY: We’ll probably go off and do different things—like one of us or two of us, and then three and then four, and then one of each and two of another… you know, you never can tell just whatever kind of whichever way the wind blows.
PETER: I hope that’s perfectly clear!
DAVY: I didn’t understand a thing!
Q.: Is the feature film you’re going to make later this year or early next year going to be an extension of your TV series or made on an entirely new concept?
MICKY: We’d like it to be an entirely new concept. If you’ve any ideas please let us know. Anybody! Mail ’em in! We’re looking for really groovy ideas.
Q.: Micky, after you’ve finished your TV series are you going to continue with your pop career?
MICKY: It’s impossible to get out of the pop world when you’re in it. Because you take it along with you. In forty years from now the people I’m playing to now I’ll be playing to then. I mean they’ll still be my fans if I’m popular and it’ll be pop, but it’ll be something different. I intend to stay in the field of entertainment. I’d like to get into production and movies and records and shows and films and making candle stick holders on my lathe. And I’m getting into electronic music and I’m trying to discover anti-gravity… and all kinds of things like that!
Q.: What’s the position with you as far as being drafted into the American army is concerned?
PETER: They’re not doing it to me yet.
MIKE: I’ve been in and served more or less.
DAVY: I haven’t been in yet and I don’t think I’m going to go in. I’m still thinking about it. They won’t call me up. Too short.
Q.: “Alternate Title” was originally “Randy Scouse Git”, I believe. I don’t see any reference to that line in the lyric. Can you please tell me something of what the lyric is about?
MICKY: The title I heard on a BBC television show called Mr. Rose (In fact the programme was “Till Death Do Us Part” but Micky probably watched both programmes—Editor.) I don’t understand a lot of what they say here. Somebody was walking around and somebody said to him “Randy Scouse Git”. I thought it was the name of one of the characters and I used it as the title. The lyric hasn’t anything to do with anything. I was in England and I was sitting in the Grosvenor House Hotel and I was just writing down things that were happening and things that people were doing and saying and, like, birds out on the sidewalk were yelling and waving and screaming. Each one of those things has a legitimate and very valid and very uninteresting meaning.
Q.: When you prepare for a press conference like this do you anticipate the line of questioning or do you agree on a certain line the answers ought to take?
MICKY: We’ve never had a press conference like this. It’s the first one ever. It’s really neat too.
Q.: Did you do any preparation for it?
DAVY: We had breakfast this morning!
MICKY: We’ve been asked the same questions before, but not in this kind of circumstance.
Q.: I’d like to ask Davy just how far his plans as an independent record producer have gone and, if he is recording groups, who are they?
MICKY: The Beatles!
DAVY: Yeah, I have a group called The Children. They’re a Texas group, six boys and one girl. We cut three tracks at a recording studio in Hollywood. Turned out well.
MICKY: I didn’t even know that!
More press conference questions and answers next month