If you ever see a motorcycle careening around the curves between Topanga Canyon (next to Malibu) and Hollywood, look very closely—the rider with his brown hair flying in the wind could very easily be Davy Jones!
He sometimes stays with friends in Topanga. And when Davy leaves the canyon, the fog is still laying low over the hills, and the peaceful, twisting road that stretches between Malibu Beach on one side and the San Fernando Valley on the other is a lovely stretch of trees, sloping green hills and very little traffic. Davy can take the curves as fast as he wants—it all depends on how late he is to the studio.
To be on the set at seven o’clock Davy, usually walks out of his house about twenty minutes to the hour; as he swings through Columbia’s gates the clock shows a few minutes after-record time for the almost 25 mile drive.
The daily work routine
At 7:30 Davy, along with Mike, Peter and Micky, report for their daily “make-up.” Each Monkee has a separate table with a mirror and lights. All the tables stand in a semi-circle, almost directly in front of Peter and Mike’s dressing room. Because the powerful lights on the set tend to make a person look pale, Davy always wears a make-up base, but he needs nothing else to highlight his dark good looks. His hair is then carefully brushed into place, and he’s ready for work.
Now for a few minutes alone. After make-up Davy usually goes back to his dressing room to wait for the first scene. He might go over the script for the day, write some personal letters, or make a phone call. Then Gene Ashman, the costume man, shows up with the outfit Davy’s wearing in the first scene, and he slips it on.
While Davy’s in his trailer, the crew is going crazy getting everything ready for action. The sets are all ready—the set designers have been there the whole night before, designing and building the sets needed for that day’s shooting. They left for their homes just minutes before Davy arrived.
The lighting and camera men have been through this setting-up routine a million times before. Most of them are old pros. But each morning there are new demands and new excitement.
Finally everything seems to be ready. The second assistant director goes to Davy’s trailer, knocks on the door and tells Davy that he’s wanted on the set immediately. Davy makes some last-minute adjustments and heads for the set—and the day’s work.
It’s now eight o’clock, the time most people are just getting up for the day.
It’s all hard work!
The morning routine seldom varies. The Monkees rehearse a scene, then the director calls for the actual shooting, and if they’re lucky and everything goes right, one small segment of “The Monkees” is put on celluloid and kept. Sometimes Davy gets a few minutes in his dressing room to himself between shots, or when he’s not in a scene. But he only has time for relaxing.
Finally it’s one o’clock and everybody breaks for lunch. Davy’s already been working six hours!
It’s very seldom the four boys eat lunch together. Instead each one goes off with his own friends who’ve come to visit him on the set. Most often Davy takes off on his motorcycle, sometimes with a friend on the back, and goes down the block to a coffee shop called the “Copper Skillet” on the corner of Gower and Sunset Blvd. If there’s any time at all he may cross the street and go down a few doors to a men’s dress shop called “Lenny’s Boot Parlour” to look over the clothes.
Wednesday the pattern changes. The Monkees have a standing lunch date with the executive producer, Bert Schneider, in his office. It’s a “social hour” when the boys can talk to their boss in a relaxed atmosphere. They discuss millions of subjects, and it’s also a chance for them to air their gripes, etc. The Monkees adore Bert, and the feeling’s mutual!
Fans invited on the set
At two o’clock they have to be back on the set, so Davy tries to get to the gates just a few minutes before. It’s about this time that fans start gathering at the gates to catch a glimpse of their faves. From now, and on into the late afternoon adoring fans wait patiently for the boys to appear. And often their wait is rewarded. Sometimes when it’s not too busy on the set and the boys want to have some fun, they’ll go out to the gate and pick some girls to bring back to the set. Can you imagine getting such an invitation from Davy? Being his own special guest while he works!
The day drags on with very little change in the routine from the morning hours. When Davy isn’t in front of the cameras he might be in his trailer, or standing around joking with somebody—talking with a friend he’s invited to visit him. And of course there are always the magazine and newspaper people; if they get to talk to Davy at all it’s just snatches of conversation in between the filming on the stage.
Often there are celebrities who visit the fabulous Monkees… famous people the boys might or might not know. Touring groups like the Dave Clark 5 always make a point to stop by; they get a kick out of watching the boys go through their paces.
A date—or not?
Since seven or eight is quitting time, Davy may start thinking about a date—that’s if there’s no recording session scheduled. Davy will go back to his trailer to call some lucky girl and ask her over to his house that evening. He’ll tell her he’ll be home at nine o’clock—could she possibly go over and wait for him, and even cook dinner. The girls who Davy goes out with realize that he’s extremely tired after the day’s work, and they sympathize with him, to the point of having everything ready for him when he roars into his driveway in Hollywood.
But if he hasn’t planned a date, and if he doesn’t feel like going straight home when the day’s shooting is over, he and the others might go down to Projection Room 3. There they sit down in comfortable, theatre-like chairs and watch either the scenes shot the day before, or the show they completed the week before (but it won’t be on TV for months to come). The boys always joke about what’s going on on the screen, and make fun of each other—and themselves.
And a goodnight
When Davy gets home, and there’s no girl around, he’ll fix a quick dinner for himself. “I used to have a houseboy,” says Davy, “but I got rid of him. I’m used to doing things for myself.”
Later he washes his own dishes, and then goes into the front room where he’ll either watch TV, or practice on some new songs he and Charlie (Rockett) are working on.
About 11:30 he says goodnight to everybody and goes to his bedroom to prepare for another early day tomorrow.
His work day is over—and it’s lasted anywhere from 12 to 15 hours!
A weekend with Davy
It’s the weekend! On Friday after Davy leaves work he heaves a sigh of relief. No photographs tomorrow; he has the whole day to himself.
The morning dawns clear and crisp. Unless he’s gone to bed very late the night before, Davy usually can’t sleep past nine in the morning. He rolls over in bed and looks out the window. A perfect day to go riding.
“I’m usually up about nine,” says Davy. “First I go out and feed the animals. Then I cook breakfast… usually eggs and bacon. Maybe some of the fellows and I go down to the local store and stock up on groceries. If five of us go, five of us pay for the groceries. There’s always a lot of people over here but everybody’s doing their thing. Like this morning Steve (Possibly Steve Pitts) washed all the dishes, and Charlie did some cleaning, and Lindy went down to get the garbage can, and I made the breakfast. It’s like a wheel you know.”
Davy has a lot of problems living in Hollywood; he has to spend his days close to home. If he went out, say shopping in Beverly Hills, he’d be mobbed, so he has to entertain himself at the house. “I’ll fool around, then I might sit down and try to write a song, or water the garden and bushes, and all that stuff. I can’t go to the beach and things like that… the best thing that I found was to sit in the house and play records or write letters to my family and my friends.”
A new life
Davy’s made friends with people down on a private beach in Malibu, and he can go visit them if he wants to go to the beach—people might look at him there, but never really bother him. And he often takes off into the Malibu hills right behind their house to ride his cycle along the thousands of curving trails and roads that twist through the mountains.
In the evening he and friends may go out to a show. But usually they just have a few friends over and end up having a party.
When Davy’s average work day is 14 hours, he has very little desire to do wild things on the weekend. “I have to rest sometime,” he says. Even the super-charged Davy Jones has to run down at times!