Read this next sentence and then hold on to your hats because it’s gonna make you very, very mad indeed! Here it is: “The Monkees don’t care about their fans and that is proved by the way they always have bodyguards around to make sure that Monkee-Maniacs never get to meet their idols.” Are you fuming with rage?
Well, so are the Monkees. And me. And everybody who has anything to do with the boys. Because it’s just another example of something being printed by a Monkeeknocker who just hasn’t bothered to find out the truth.
Of course it stems, largely, from the Hollywood studios where the boys make their tellyfilms. Of course, there are security men there. But so there are on any movie set anywhere in the world. Of course, the Monkees do have special mates actually on the set—helpers who try to sort out problems and maintain a peaceful atmosphere in which Micky, Pete, Davy and Mike can give of their very best through long and tiring days… so that their millions of Monkee-lovers go on getting the tops in entertainment.
But to say the Monkees don’t care about their fans and the bodyguards are there acting as “buffers”… well, it’s rubbish. And there are umpteen facts to prove that it’s about the biggest hunk of rubbish yet printed about the boys.
Let’s re-cap on just a few of the things that happened in London. Let’s recall the morning that Micky Dolenz walked round and round Hyde Park with dozens and dozens of fans, despite being dog-tired after a show-biz party. He even sang to the fans, told them jokes, turned a somersault at one point. All he asked was that everybody didn’t crowd him or cause any trouble. His request was respected and afterwards he told us: “Suddenly I didn’t feel tired any more. It was real refreshing being out there and meeting fans and finding out their views on things.”
Or in the hotel. Davy spending ages at his hotel window, despite having just flown in to London, then nipping downstairs to sign autographs and give away pictures. And we’ve all seen the pictures of him spending sparetime sitting on window-sills of American hotels, waving to fans and joking with them and obviously enjoying every moment of it.
In any case, the very fact that the boys put on such a long show on stage shows how much they value the fans who spend good money to see them working. How many other pop attractions go through a show running nearly seventy minutes? Come to that, how many others put so much energy into a show.
When it comes to mingling with fans, Mike and Peter are maybe that little bit more reserved. But it was Mike who said: “I hate it when things get out of hand, because somebody, a fan, may get hurt. But just talking quietly to fans is rewarding to all of us. We admire their patience in waiting for us; least we can do is spare as much time as ever we can.”
And Peter varies between the shy-and-retiring and the inviter-in of fans, talking and gagging along with them right up to the last moment before he has to go on stage.
I’ve seen the boys ploughing through piles of autograph books, even when they’ve been working for around eight hours non-stop. I’ve seen Micky send a friend down to locate just one young fan who had been promised a signed picture.
Even so, there obviously have to be people acting as bodyguards. You can’t have people, journalists included, running willy-nilly all over a film studio. And theatre managements don’t like the backstage dressing-rooms being too cluttered up with visitors.
And there are times when the Monkees simply have to be left alone because they have plans to talk over and ideas to swop. But you have only to see them obligingly giving autographs even when in the middle of a meal to know that being a Monkee means being on show every moment of the day… and that the boys don’t object in the slightest.
So next time you read about the bodyguards and the security men, make sure you kick up a fuss about how unfair most of these stories are. They invariably paint the wrong side, the knocking side. WE know, don’t we, that the Monkees do whatever they can to keep in direct touch with the fans, with the people who idolise them.