I’ve gotten to know Davy Jones very well during his (and the other Monkees’) trips to London—which is where I cover the action for FLIP.
As two Englishmen speaking casually and comfortably to each other about the pop world we both live in, Davy and I enjoy each other’s company.
This is Davy Jones—as I know him…
Davy Jones, as one young girl pop star here (Lulu) put it, “knows where it’s at.” And that rather simply sums him up. Davy is not a newcomer to showbusiness. He did not suddenly become a Monkee from now here!
You know of Davy’s early career as a boy actor playing bit parts on BBC-TV and working in the stage musical “Oliver.” Davy started out early and learned fast.
“By the time I was sixteen I had left school and was out earning a living,” Davy once told me, “You learn fast at that age—and you learn to fall on your feet.”
Davy is first and foremost an actor and in spite of his delight at finding himself a pop star, he stresses the emphasis. “I started out acting a pop star in the Monkees—suddenly the public decided to accept me as a pop star but I still feel I’m an actor.”
Another of Davy’s less obvious assets is his ability to hold life in persepctive. He is most unlikely to let success go to his head—firstly because success is not entirely new to him and secondly because he has a built-in protection against conceit. His weapon is humor and he uses a laugh to put the world into shape. When someone comes up with the internationally stupid question “Do you like tall girls?” he refrains from tearing his or the reporter’s hair out by the roots and let’s go with: “Sure—I like someone to look up to” or talks about himself as “That winkle-nosed little boy.”
Because his early experiences of showbusiness have given him a natural slant on life he is able to sum up his status and position with frankness and without fooling himself.
His reaction to that last paragraph would probably be to roll on the floor and hold his sides with laughter. Davy possesses one other very important human stabilizer—the ability to laugh at himself.
When I first met him in London he meant nothing in Britain—neither did the Monkees. But in America they were already the new sensations.
“I’m nothing to you here, am I?” he smiled pleasantly over breakfast. “It’s funny, I can’t explain to you what being a Monkee means in the States—we’re enormous. In a way it’s nice to come back to England and find you are treated as a normal everyday bloke. I’ve got a feeling that things will be different in a couple of months, though.”
They were, but the refreshing thing was that Davy was not.
I think the sheer professionalism of Davy’s manner with the press is probably one of the most incredible things about him. I watched him reel off an interview with a TV team which had come for a five minute interview and wound up doing a half hour spot. I watched a radio DJ with a tape recorder meticulously arranging his equipment and preparing for a long chat find himself with a breezy narrative which never necessitated him posing a question. I watched Davy trot out the room convinced that the long day was over and called back to do a further hour’s chat with me.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were with the fellow with the tape,” he grinned. “I’ll just take a keep-awake pill and be right back.” He did he came back and did about two and a half hours straight chat with me.
Another thing which impressed me about the mini-Monkee was his refusal to be drawn into any kind of a slugging match with some misguided English pop stars who had slammed the Monkees as cheap fabrications.
“Look, man,” he said, “I’m here to entertain people. I’m here to make people happy—least that’s what I hope we do. We’re not anxious to put anybody down. Do you think I need that kind of publicity. Look around you—I don’t need to say bad things about someone to get in the papers.” And I think he was really sorry for those that seemed to have to resort to this kind of behavior.
I remember one other act—simple but very Davy. A TV studio technician admired his cuff links. Davy was up from his chair on the set off to the bedroom and returned with an identical pair for the delighted cameraman!
That’s Davy Jones. A very special sort of person.