Micky looked worried. He was about to be torn to pieces, so I suppose he had good reason!
Wembley Stadium in London is a huge, noisy auditorium. And it was not only filled, but also surrounded by fans. Fans eager to get to a Monkee and kill him with love. Outside the enormous back doors, equally enormous limousines were parked. The fans had their eyes on the cars and totally ignored a crummy, clapped out van parked close by.
Attendants pushed a short, slight boy in ruffled lace shirt and three other long-haired kids out of the doors and they sprinted for the cars. Micky bit his lip, pushed his hair, still sweaty from a tremendous performance, off his forehead, clasped my hand in his and jumped into the back of the anonymous van.
As the limousines sped out, the crowd surged towards them. The van eased quietly away and the Monkees were gone.
Meanwhile, enthusiastic fans clung to the Rolls and waved at its occupant shouting “Davy! Davy!” The long-haired kid in the back, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Jones, smiled wearily. It’s a tough job being a decoy for the Monkees.
It’s an even tougher job being a Monkee. And Micky was uptight. No one likes a prison, even if it is an air-conditioned, all-comfort four-starred one. And that’s what Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel became for him. Fans booked into all available rooms. Journalists were on the lookout. Tough guards patrolled the Monkees’ suites, and made it as difficult for them to get out as for intruders to get in. Micky wasn’t happy.
A naturally social person, he likes to be meeting new and interesting people, to be talking to his friends, to be wandering around snapping with his camera. He likes his fans, in small and safe quantities, and wants to talk to them.
“It’s our job to entertain them. We want to keep them happy, it’s a tough job, but it’s the one we’ve chosen. We know we succeed because they buy our records, watch our shows and come to the concerts. But what do they want? We rely on our personal contact with the fans so that we know we’re doing right by them. We’d really like to meet them but what can we do? You can see what it’s like.” He pointed around him to where grim-faced guards, all looking alike, were stalking around sharp-eyed for gatecrashers.
Micky felt trapped. The people he did come into contact with—hotel porters, waiters, cleaners, etc.—treated him like an idiot child, a favorite toy or a dumb animal. The men resented, it seemed to me, his success and while not being hostile were cool as only an Englishman can be. The women wanted to mother him. And swamped him with requests for autographs: “It’s not for me you understand, ducks, it’s for me gal. She finks you’re smashing.” Micky’s smile never slipped as he signed the book and received the cuddle of thanks.
If it had been me, I would have exploded in frustrated fury within moments. Micky bore it all very calmly and all that was ruffled was his hair.
Occasionally he was able to break the chains that bound and chat with new faces or look up friends made on the previous visit. We spoke for some time. Made a few plans which fell through, unfortunately, because of his killing pace of commitments.
“I’m gonna come back here as Micky Dolenz, person, not Micky Monkee and then we’ll see England. I want to get down to Brighton (where I have an apartment), and I’d like to see Stratford-on-Avon again but properly. I’ll get a car and we’ll cruise around looking at everything. I wish Sammy and I could get away for a time, get to know each other.”
The fact that Samantha is so well known in England didn’t help matters at all. Micky and Sammy could go nowhere without comment. Their slightest movement became an event of national importance.
But Micky managed to break out once. He sneaked out of the hotel and across the road to a park and had a mini-freak-out with some young kids. Running, jumping, never standing still, they danced, sang and played together. Micky clowned, got them to do mad things and it all seemed to pass unnoticed. As Micky said: “To make youngsters laugh is the toughest job in the world. It’s also the most rewarding.”
Typical Dolenz—extrovert, happy, kind, considerate. Occasionally moody, but who wouldn’t be; his built-in love of life and people keep him on the rails when most people would have careered way off the tracks.
All I can say is that I’m looking forward to Micky coming back to England for that real visit when we can do the whole thing properly. I must persuade him that not all the English treat their favorite stars like their favorite dogs!