If you—and you alone—could talk privately to Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy, here is what they would confide to you: the secret thoughts and intimate feelings that reveal them as they really are.
Many of you have written to 16 Magazine asking what the Monkees like to talk about when they are relaxed and away from the cameras. What you seem to want to know most of all is what really concerns them—apart from their show-business careers, of course. So let’s take a trip into the private world and thoughts of each of America’s most popular teen idols and find out what it’s like to have a private conversation with Micky, Mike, Peter and Davy.
Alone in the living room of the hideaway home he recently purchased in Laurel Canyon, Micky Dolenz is very relaxed and very forthright. If you ask him straight out what matters to him more than anything else in the world, this is what he will say to you: “Some day, when all this television, recording and doing concerts is over, I hope that I will be able to contribute something great to society—something that will be there forever. By ‘great’, I don’t mean something that will stand the world on its ear. I mean something that is full and complete and meaningful. For instance, I would like to be able to point to a house one day and say, ‘You see that house? I built it with these hands from the ground up’.”
At this point, Micky will proudly point out the window toward his garden. “That bridge out there—the little wooden one across the brook—I built that. I feel good about it, because it’s nice to look at.” Micky will pause, then continue: “Don’t get me wrong. I dig being a Monkee and a pop star, but eventually I want to do more with my life. I believe that we all should set the highest possible standards and then do all we can to live up to them.”
Micky’s greatest fear
Micky will sit quietly, pondering for a minute, and then will say softly, “I have one great fear, and that is that maybe something will happen—I don’t know what, but something serious and unavoidable—which will prevent me from attaining my highest goals. I would hate to leave this earth too soon—before I can make a contribution that would be truly helpful and that would be remembered forever”
Micky’s voice trails off and he sits in quiet introspection. You understand, and you do not break the silence. Suddenly, Micky jumps up. It’s as though bright lights had flashed on everywhere, and he is once again a Monkee madman.
“Follow me!” he shouts, and rushes down the stairs to his den, where he starts pounding on his drums. You stand in rapt attention as he shouts, “That’s it! That’s it! Exactly what I was looking for! Now, I’ll put a few finishing touches on it and it will be done.”
Micky pounds again for awhile and then scribbles some notes, and after he has calmed down, he explains to you, “I just completed a song for which I wrote all the parts, and I’ve got it down in time for our next album.” He pauses and says, “Now, all I need is a title for it. Got any ideas?”
Enter “Bike Mike”
Before you can answer there is the roar of a motorbike outside, and you both hurry to see who has arrived. You know it’s Mike Nesmith even before he removes his helmet because of the way the bike is painted—bright blue with pearl white trimmings and TRIUMPH printed on the side of the gas tank. Mike takes off his bright white safety helmet and Micky rushes out and embraces him. Then they exchange “The Monkee Handshake”. It consists of pressing the palms of the hands together and bowing slightly. It’s called harnaste and it is an Eastern Indian form of greeting. Mike has driven over to pick up a set of photos Micky had taken of him and Phyllis. Micky gives Mike the photos, and then Mike asks you if you would like to go for a quick spin on his bike. As you hesitate, Micky says, “Of course, she would!”—and he picks you up and plops you on the back part of the bike’s big double seat.
Mike slaps his helmet back on his head and tells you to hang on. The next sound you hear is the loudest roar in the world, and in a split second you are both zinging through the winding roads of Laurel Canyon all the way down to the beach below! The water is beautiful, and Mike slows and finally stops.
“Let’s sit here and talk for a minute,” he suggests—and you climb up on a little sea wall and sit and listen to what the real Mike Nesmith has to say.
“There was a time,” he begins, “when I wondered what would become of me in the future. That was about three years ago, when I had no idea that one day I would be a Monkee on TV. There was a time when I wondered how I was going to support Phyllis and Christian. I wanted them to have the best of everything, and I didn’t want them to worry about the future. It’s funny, because now—in the eyes of others—I have made it. But I’m still not satisfied. I used to go to a drama class and afterwards, when all the other students had left, I would take my guitar and sit in the middle of the stage and play and sing. I pretended that there was an audience. That was like a dream and—in a way—it’s come true. But now I want to give even more—”
Mike’s voice trails off just as Micky’s had, and once again you sit silent, respecting his deepest, unspoken thoughts.
Mike’s big bang-up!
Soon, you are back on the bike and flying up the slopes towards Mike’s house on top of the highest hill in Bel Air. As you enter the driveway, you see Christian running toward the bike as fast as his legs will carry him, followed by the Nesmiths’ dog “Spotte”. You all go inside, where Phyllis is setting the table and is serving up bowls of hot chili. Between mouthfuls, Mike tells you about his big “bang-up” dream.
“I’m going to build some trails on the property around this house,” he says excitedly, “and I’m going to buy a fleet of motorbikes, and we are going to have ‘scrambles’ up here. In case you don’t know what a scramble is,” he adds with a grin, “it’s kind of ‘homemade’ bike racing.”
Flight to Peter’s house
There’s a phone call for Mike. It’s Peter, and he wants Mike to come over. Mike hops up from the table and says, “You might as well come along”—and you happily trail behind him. Soon, the two of you pull up into the cement paved carport beside Peter’s house. As you enter, Peter is finishing tuning his guitar.
“You are just in time for the concert,” he says.
He explains that he has learned several new songs from a New York buddy who has been living at his house, and he proceeds to play and sing them for you and Mike. When the concert is over, Mike has to split—but Peter invites you to stay. You decide that this must be the day all of the Monkees need someone to talk to about their deepest feelings, for as Peter is making a bowl of cereal he turns to you.
The day Peter cried
“The other day,” he says, “I was thinking about a time when I was 14 years old. There was something I wanted really bad—now, I can’t even remember what it was. Anyway, my mom and I had an argument, and when you are 14 you know who wins. Your mom wins, that’s who. I really got upset. At first about what I considered an injustice, and then about the fact that I got into an argument with my mother.”
Peter lowered his voice and continued, “Well, that actually made me cry. I went off to my room and closed the door and I cried. Then a funny thing happened. My dad knocked on the door and walked in without waiting for me to answer. I was so embarrassed I could have died, but he did the most wonderful thing. He sat down beside me and, without asking me what the trouble was, he explained to me that I shouldn’t be embarrassed because I was showing my emotions. He helped me to understand that people with real feelings cry real tears, and they are nothing to hide or to be ashamed of.”
For a moment, Peter stood looking out the kitchen window with the bright California sun shining on his golden hair. He has a faraway look, but you know where he is and you understand.
The ring of the phone interrupts the silence of Peter’s pad. “Why don’t you answer that?” Peter suggests, smiling suddenly.
You feel a bit reluctant, but who can resist the thrill of actually answering a Monkee’s telephone?! You pick up the receiver and shyly say, “Mr. Tork’s residence.”
The immediate response is, “’Ullo! What have we here?”
You almost drop the phone—because that’s Davy Jones talking to you! Naturally, you become totally tongue-tied. You hear Davy laughing at the other end of the line and finally, in desperation, you turn to Peter and say—“It’s Davy. I mean, I think it’s Davy.”
Peter takes the phone, chiding you. “Don’t get nervous, hon,” he says. “He’s just a human being—like you and me.”
After a hurried conversation, Peter hangs up the phone and says, “Come on. We’re going to Davy’s house!”
You hop into Peter’s SAAB sports car and tool off toward the Hollywood Hills. As you walk up Davy’s garden pathway, you smell the aroma of home cooking. Peter chooses to enter the back door and there—standing in the kitchen over a hot stove—is the one and only Davy Jones!
Dinner with Davy
Davy is cooking up a big batch of scrambled eggs, and it seems that you are just in time for a snack. As you, Peter and Davy sit around Davy’s large Edwardian dining room table of polished mahogany, you can’t help but notice how polite and neat Davy is. If there is an “orderly Monkee,” then it sure is Davy!
After your snack, Peter departs. “Got to get back to my song writing,” he yells over his shoulder, and you find yourself sitting with Davy as he takes a sunbath by his swimming pool. He is wearing his “Love Beads,” and he introduces you to his brand-new puppy dog “Susie.”
“Keith and Judy Allison got ‘Susie’ for me,” he tells you. “Keith’s German shepherd married Paul Revere’s white Husky, and they became the proud parents of this little puppy,” he says hugging the little dog. “It was love at first sight for both of us.” He looks down at the puppy and smiles “Right, ‘Susie”?” All at once Davy becomes very serious, and again you know that you are about to hear a very private conversation.
David’s untold secret
“I was just thinking about my father,” Davy says after a moment, “and wondering if I am going to be able to get back to Manchester to see him this Christmas. There is so much work to do, and so little time,”
Davy is silent for a while. Then he says, “I really hope I get to go. If anything ever happened to me, my father would be the most unhappy person in the world—and I don’t have to tell you I feel the same way about him. Our family has always been very close, and though I have many friends I love him more than anyone in the whole world. In the end, he’s really all I’ve got.”
Davy sits staring off into space for a long time, and when he turns you see that there are tears in his eyes. “I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to my dad,” he continues. “I guess that’s really not important to anyone else. That’s why I keep it a secret.”
He stops talking and you want to tell him that it means a lot to you too, that you understand how it is when someone has that much love in them, but somehow you realize you don’t have to say it. Somehow you realize that Davy knows what you are thinking. At the same time, you turn and smile at each other—and you feel a great tenderness for David Jones.
Once again it’s time to go. Come back and visit with the Monkees and me again next month. The February issue of 16 Magazine goes on sale December 21. We’ll see you right here then!