Sometimes Davy Jones seems too o good to be true. Is he for real or is his courtesy, charm and charity merely an act for the image he wants to create for himself?
We wondered, so we asked a mutual friend who’s known Davy for four years, Marcia Strassman, actress and songbird, whose Flower Children Uni disc was a recent manywheres smash. They were both on the Broadway stage at the time, he in Oliver, she in Best Foot Forward.
“Man, you’ll never find anyone nicer in the whole world,” she raved. “We got to know each other very well. If he’s your friend, he’ll cut off his right arm for you. He is a warm, sincere and fantastic human being.
“David can do anything and do it well, which just KILLS me! He dances fabulously. He has a much groovier voice than you hear on records because he’s not doing the kind of material best suited for his voice on the Monkee scene. Not only has he a tremendous voice but he can also sit down and play the drums.
“Another thing I love about David is no matter how much he can do now, he wants to do more. In the middle of everything else he’s doing now, he’s taking piano lessons.
“We spent a lot of time together in New York, and I never ceased to wonder at his friendly and lovely manners. When he walked into a room with a gang of people in it he made his personality felt throughout the room. He could charm the birds out of the trees.
“The first time my parents met him was at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party, which I didn’t want. I told them a year before DON’T DO IT, if you do, I won’t show up! So they made it a surprise party in the Improvisation, a place where we all hung out. I was stunned when I walked in and they all yelled ‘Surprise!’
“David came late, and he went through the whole bit with the apologies and everything to my mother: And my mother just fell in love with him. The thing is with David… he’s a gentleman right down the line which is rare, indeed, among young actors.
“When I came to California this year I called David and we made a date on the phone, but I warned him that I’d had to cut off all my hair because a hairspray commercial had ruined it.
“Later we went to a party and he introduced me to everyone, saying ‘Marcia used to have such beautiful long hair… Yes, I used to be in love with this girl because she had such magnificent long hair.’ He still does it when we’re with somebody who didn’t know me before. And just to please David and make him happy, I’m letting my hair grow long as it was four years ago.”
In the beginning many snippety snobs smeared the Monkees for perpetrating what they called non-music on an ignorant teeny-whopper public. The static was whether they played their own instruments in recording sessions. What a lot of rot!
Certainly the Beatles aren’t expected to tweak, twang and bang their g-tars and hides. Paul and John are tuned to sounds the like of which the human ear has never heard before. The haunting trilling background on Baby, You’re a Rich Man was a string quartet tape of a Mozart concerto modulated to a lower key, speeded up and then played backwards. What you hear on Love Is All You Need is fragments of the French national anthem, a military march, an early Beatlesong (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) and an ork doing Greensleeves plus a barrage of eccentric electronics. There are no frontiers to what the Lennon-McCartney imagination can conceive.
There may be some truth to the tale that the Beatles will change their official name to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for tax purposes. As “Beatles” they are in the 90 per cent income tax bracket. Another name and a new corporation could save them up to 40 per cent which isn’t worth sneezing at. Taxes are why many record companies have subsidiary labels too.
Regard the bottom of the Sgt. Pepper LP cover which is supposed to be a casket decorated with flowers bearing the Beatles name, represent a funeral for the Beatles organization. The four Liverpool lads stand beside the casket born again as the Sgt. Pepper’s Band, according to Billy James, record producer, manager and maestro who knows the Beatles very well.
While Eric Burdon and his Animals rate top money for commercial concerts and club gigs, they gladly play for no pay often. Burdon is a groovy cat with a heart as soft as kitten fur. He and the Animals were one of several mighty music-makers who entertained 20,000 beardless hippies and straight kids who bedded down on the Monterey Pacific College grounds throughout the freezing nights during the fantastic Int’l Monterey Pop Music Festival. Individual members of different groups also joined together in impromptu jam sessions spurting improvised music to the sleep-heads by the light of the frosty stars.
And Eric’s boys were the first to volunteer when a tribe of hippies organized a musical love-in in the heart of Watts, L.A.’s Negro slum. The happening was motivated by the desire to flash the message of “Flowers, Love and Music” to the ghetto where hate and poverty often explode into riots and violence. When the police came the hippies pelted them with flowers instead of bricks and sticks.
Englishman Eric feels completely American in spirit. He’s here oftener than there. England today, he says, “is just one shade of gray” while America is a mosaic of flashing colors and smashing sounds.
No longer does England swing like a pendulum, we’re told by British artists and returning travelers. The British scene is a “joyless frenzy.” Without American acceptance, English musicians can’t make the payments on their instruments and amps. The money they make in England is chicken feed. This is a severe hang-up for Englanders who are denied U.S. working permits. Not long ago every femme fan dreamed of making the London-Liverpool scene to flash on their fave groups and personal idols. Except for the Beatles, most are here now.
So save your bread, as Eric Burdon sings, “and fly Trans-Love Airways to San Francisco… where the people may not know it but they are beautiful.” The American dream includes Indians too.
San Francisco is Liverpool-By-The-Bay today. There are, it is said, about 300 S.F. bands blowing the brains of the happy, hairy hippie denizens. Several have already made the Big Time—Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company. San Francisco, the San Franciscans claim, is the most happening city in the world.
The Beach Boys are growing artistically with every new record and album. Boss BB Brian Wilson, trying to keep up with the Lennon-McCartney team, has reached the heights of his creativity as producer, arranger, composer and conductor. He’s up so high he gets dizzy and scared looking down.
Money and maturity have brought no peace and bliss to Mike, Carl, Dennis, Bruce and Al. As striving starters in the mad world of mod music the BBs were a carefree happy-go-lucky bunch living in Hawthorne, driving old jalopies, chasing pretty girls and having a ball. Now they have expensive sportscars, speedboats, magnificent manors in the Hollywood and Beverly Hills hills with swimming pools, not to mention wives and children, but they also have personal problems and repulsive responsibilities they never had before. So they work not for joy but for money. They have, we’re sorry to say, become recluses rarely mixing with former friends and old cronies.
The Mamas and Papas, on the other hand, are still the beautiful and wonderful people they were at first. Living, laughing and sharing their love, John, Michelle, Denny and the incredible Cass socialize with the crowds at the Sunset Strip clubs, all-night delis, love-ins, fairs and festivals where they learn what’s happening: the Mamas and Papas are hippies at heart.
Don’t knock the hippies, because the flower power crusade is the biggest yellow balloon that ever happened to any youth generation since the Children’s Crusade of 1200 A.D.
“The hippies are a segment of our society which by 1970 will dominate the American population,” predicts the director of the recent Hippie Revolution TV documentary.
There’s more to come in the mass media about the movement. Paul Jones, star of U-I’s Privilege, says that Paul McCartney is teaming with him to produce a UK-USA TV spectacular tabbed The Generation of Hippies.
Paul Jones added, “We’ll try to show how the hippies are shaping the world of the future through a social revolution powered by the example of love.”
“Brown shoes don’t make it,” declared Carol Hartman, 18, boutique designer. “The old hand-me-down codes of dress, art, music, tradition, prejudice and hypocrisy are being trampled down by the booted feet of the Children of the New Hip.”
“To be a hippie you don’t have to wear bells, beads, blossoms and hanging hair, and you don’t have to drop out of school,” Sky Saxon, lead Seed, said. “By force of circumstance millions of kids can participate in the movement only parttime, but their hearts belong to the hippie credo of soul beauty, universal love and flower power.”
Love and marriage, overwork, and sick-of-and-fed-up attitudes are the main reasons members drop out of music groups. Ego problems are also heavy in band break-ups. Boss performers with egos inflated by publicity and fan worship clash with their comrades and make them hard to work with. The drop-outs often become flop-outs when they try for instant stardom on their own.
Paul Revere counted 27 Raider quitters since his band was born. The most serious defections were Jim Valley to the Dunhill label as composer and artist, and Phil, Drake and Smitty to their own Brotherhood scene.
“Those who quit the Raiders to get out of the business forever were back again within two months for less money,” Paul claimed. “Two years is about par for a group to hold the same personnel.
“The Raiders command every waking hour seven days a week. Many former members of the band were not prepared for work. They thought there was still time for fun, and there isn’t if you are going to be successful.”
Don’t be surprised if the Byrds disband. Roger (Jim) McGuinn would rather write songs and produce records than lead a band on club gigs and one-night hops. Mike Clarke is so far out he doesn’t care what he does. If the Byrds splinter, Dave Crosby half-promised to join the Buffalo Springfield replacing Neil Young who has other ambitions. If Dave gets in, Ritchie Furay wants out. McGuinn changed his monicker [sic] from Jim to Roger on the advice of a Holy Man in India who had found a name, Patrick, for his son.
The Hermits may leave Herman Pete in the fall. Although paid well to stick around, they feel useless. The little they get to do musically could be done by studio musicians and hacks.
We leave you now with a slice of advice to all maidens fair: Wash your hair or there’ll be some flowers growing there.