Here’s an inside look at everyone’s favorite group - told by Dave Clark
Dave Clark was reluctant to tell us his story. He had been invited down to the Monkees’ set and didn’t want them to think he had come for any publicity reasons. We explained that by telling us the story he could share his experiences with all the Monkees fans, so he agreed. Here is his story…
During his two week vacation, Dave Clark was invited to visit the Monkees set by their producers. When he arrived on the set, the Monkees were busy filming a scene in their set “house.”
Dave’s immediate reaction to the whole set up was one of surprise. He couldn’t believe the casual atmosphere that prevails at all times—the director calling out instructions and the Monkees ad libbing terribly funny lines.
When the scene was finished, Davy Jones glanced up and noticed Dave watching from the back. Annie Moses introduced Dave to Davy and Davy seemed very excited. It was unusual, since the Monkees are so often meeting big stars, that Davy was so enthusiastic. He called to Peter who was pouring coffee nearby, “Come here, Pete, I want you to meet Dave Clark!” Peter, too, was eager to meet one of the long-time pop leaders.
Conversations during the filming breaks centered around the Monkees successes and Dave’s, as well. Dave and Davy often chatted about England and then Davy laughed, “I have to tell you about a really funny incident. You know, I remember seeing your show at Carnegie Hall in New York when you first came over here three years ago! I really dug ‘Glad All Over’ and ‘Bits and Pieces’ and I was really excited about seeing your group in concert. At the time I was playing in ‘Oliver’ and my hair was a little darker than now, about the color of my eyebrows.
“So I was sitting in my seat and the group had come on stage and of course, everyone was screaming. All of a sudden a little girl in the row in front of me turned around and pointed at me and shouted ‘That’s Dave Clark’s brother!’ Before I knew it, there were girls all around me and grabbing at my clothes, so I had to leave! I was really disappointed I didn’t get to see your whole show.”
Dave asked the Monkees if they weren’t excited about playing for London for the first time and Peter told Dave, “Our first record, ‘Clarksville’ wasn’t a hit over there. When we finally did make the charts, even number one, there were lots of knockers, so we really want to show them what we can do!”
Later I talked with Dave about his opinions on the Monkees and this is what he had to say:
“There has been so much comment on the Monkees, good and bad, and I always like to form my own opinions, so I was really happy I had the chance to meet them and get to know them. I think the groups that are knocking them and saying they don’t play their instruments and they’re not good performers are wrong. You can’t knock success! I wonder if those who are knocking the Monkees could do as well? Ninety-nine per cent couldn’t do a quarter of what they’ve done!
“I usually don’t go down to film sets, but I was invited and I went out of curiosity. I planned to stay a half an hour and I was so impressed that I stayed all afternoon. I think they’re very talented people, they have a great sense of humor and the way they ad lib is very natural.
“I was surprised to hear that they filmed each episode in three days. That just seemed unbelievable to me. Then I found out that they work like a machine together. If they weren’t as professional as they are, they couldn’t do it. I also found them very much down to earth. They’re not big heads at all!
“There have been remarks that the Monkees aren’t good musicians. And we talked about this on the set. I told them that when I first started someone asked me ‘Are you a good drummer?’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t consider myself a good drummer,’ which I don’t. There are thousands better than me, but there are thousands worse.
“They’ve been criticized for being a ‘manufactured group’, but it doesn’t matter if someone spends millions of dollars on a publicity campaign if the kids don’t like your records they won’t buy them. If they don’t like you, they won’t turn on the TV. You’ve got to have that little bit of magic, that little bit of magnetism. Obviously, that’s what the Monkees have!
“I think the Monkees are the biggest thing since the Beatles. I went to Peter’s home for dinner and we spent the evening talking about music. I found him to be a very talented guitarist. People say they’re not musicians, but I think Peter’s a brilliant guitar player.
“A lot of people don’t realize they’ve been around for years—working and roughing it. Davy Jones worked in the states for six years, so you can’t say that’s getting to the top the easy way! I think it’s great—Davy being English, going out of the country unknown and coming back and being treated like a king. It’s a great achievement.
“I found Davy and all the Monkees to be very down to earth. I’m for all of them. They’re great!”