Last month Barbara told you how she got her wonderful job with the Monkees. This month you’re going to hear all about her exciting adventures on tour!
Exactly what does your job with The Monkees entail?
Mainly it involves the press and what people say about the boys. We send out releases, let people know what’s happening, who’s buying what car, who’s going to what country and we take care of who goes on the set. We make sure there are pictures on file so when some desperate columnist calls us we can rush out a picture.
Also, a large part of my job is keeping the files on everything that’s written about the boys all over the world. I have a complete file of clippings from around the world. It entails volumes of work. I must say London has overwhelmed me with their clippings. The press there must be fantastic.
What was your job on tour?
I was sort of an assistant to Marilyn Schlossberg and Ward Sylvester; that was my main job. A lot of times I would set up interviews with the coming radio stations. I would call ahead and say, “Are you ready for Mike? He’s on his way down.” And I would call ahead to the hotels and make sure all the reservations were straight.
What preparations have to be made at each hotel?
We had to have four deluxe singles for the boys and they could not be near an elevator or an exit. They had to be together, preferably at the end of a hallway. Either Ward, Marilyn or Jim, our head security man, had to have a room next to them.
The first time I had to do this ended up disasterously.
One hotel didn’t have a floor plan and trying to get a floor plan over the telephone is almost impossible. So I thought that we needed four deluxe singles and in my mind the four deluxe singles were more important than their being together. Well, I found out it’s the other way around.
So I called ahead and I thought I had it all set up and we got there and there was absolute pandemonium. This floor had about 50 rooms and we were scattered everywhere and there were hotel guests everywhere. I was so upset because I had no idea of why it didn’t work out.
After that wild experience, I had to get a floor plan and get the room numbers and I called ahead and said, “I want Nesmith in this room, Jones in this room, Tork in this room…” and they would confirm it and then I’d give everyone their room number before they got off the plane and they would make a bee line for their room.
Do you remember any crazy things that happened on tour?
Well, the Monkees gave me a birthday party and it was a total surprise! It was our last night in New York. Marilyn and I had dinner with the manager of the hotel, who was the most wonderful man. I had bought some paints that day and so after dinner I went back to my room and I was painting for about three hours.
It was about 10 o’clock and Marilyn called me and said, “Will you come down to the hospitality suite, I want to talk to you.” And I thought, “Oh, no, what have I done wrong now?” So I went in and there was this big cake and everyone was in there and they all had signed this big card and it was really beautiful.
Then Micky showed us some slides he’d taken of the tour and they were very funny. He has very bad vision and usually wears glasses, but he didn’t then. So he kept adjusting the projector to his vision and Peter kept hitting him on the head saying, “Micky, I can’t see it!” and so Micky would put his glasses on and adjust it again. He had some fantastic shots from the tour.
Do you remember any funny incidents on the plane?
Micky helped us serve dinner one time. Lynne Randell and I would help serve the meals because we didn’t like to just sit, so one night Micky walked around and served the trays of food with us.
One night Davy Jones asked me to go to the movies with him and a few other people. Would you believe this, I was making beads and I said no. I didn’t go because I’d already seen the movie.
What are some of the things you did for the boys on tour?
I made all the plane arrangements for their trek up to the Indian reservation in Wisconsin. I’d always check with our pilot to find out what field we were at and where we should meet the plane after the concerts, because we always rushed out of the city we were in right after the shows.
Do The Monkees take an interest in their publicity?
Yes. Peter is very conscious of the press. The man at the Columbia bookstand just outside the lot tells me that Peter comes down there regularly and reads almost every news, not fan, magazine on the rack. Then he comes up to the office and he likes to go through my files on the different tour cities. Right now he’s very interested in Japanese magazines.
David likes to send things to his father. Micky doesn’t pay much attention. Except for a while, he was very concerned about his hair. He wanted to make sure that only the most current pictures were printed.
Do any of them have any quirks about what is written about The Monkees?
Mike doesn’t like the name, “Wool Hat.” I think the main thing is that the boys take offense if a magazine doesn’t give them justice and credit for playing their own music.
Peter does get very upset if his viewpoints are stated incorrectly, because he has very strong views about things. I guess Peter and Mike are the most conscious about the publicity, they really come up to my office and ask to see certain magazines.
How do you feel about them now as people?
I feel like they know me and I know them. I think whenever a star meets a civilian, or whatever you want to call them, it’s always hard for them to see anything but a fan. I think each one of them is a nice individual. They’re all so different.
They’re very good friends and they understand each other, but they’re like anybody you meet. They work together. They’re individual people. If I met someone at school, I wouldn’t want to spend 24 hours a day with them, even if I really liked them. I think some people expect the Monkees to really live together. It just so happens that each of them, in their own ways, have their own ideas. They’re so individual and each one is a strong person.
They are great friends and the associate producer raves day after day about how beautifully the boys work together. He comes up to my office and says, “I don’t know what I’d do without ’em! They did that scene so perfectly, they knew exactly what they were doing and they moved so great, they’re so agile.” And he just goes on and on, and they are great.
How is it that you see them daily?
As an example, the other day a disc jockey from Japan came and I took him and his two companions down to the set. Peter turned out to be out of the scene for the moment, so he came over and talked to them. He was really excited. I usually see them on the set when I take a reporter over. Almost always they break for an hour at lunch and almost always one of them will come up to my office to have a look at some press clippings. David is the one I see the least of because he has so many projects he’s working on. Micky is always driving around or doing something, so I usually just run into him. Peter comes up most often because he’s always looking for magazines.
Do you like your job now?
Oh, yes! Because it’s not just a secretarial job, it’s everything combined. It’s so interesting, I couldn’t even think of asking for a better job in the line I’m in. In this line, it’s about the most creative and free and most interesting job I could have. I’m not a good secretary, by any means. My skills are not good and I was not trained for this. I don’t like typing, it’s a drag, but my job is interesting because of the people I work with.
Do you watch The Monkees on TV now?
I usually try and read the scripts and I usually visit the set. I love to watch the show in the screening room, because that way I can see it in color. Just before we left on tour I saw a lot of the rough cuts, which I liked. It was really very interesting. By all means, my image of the boys has certainly changed from a year ago!
What things do you do in your spare time?
I love to sew and I make a lot of my own clothes. I like to make baskets, it’s very interesting. My mom was a kindergarten teacher, so all my life I’ve done that stuff. Then I love to make mobiles. I make mobiles out of little plastic crystals. I usually make a lot of my own Christmas presents. My favorite medium right now is tissue paper. I love to make collages and paper flowers. I’ve made a lot of pictures out of tissue paper. I like to make my own candles as presents. Lately, too, I’ve been making so many beads, they’re coming out my ears!
Can you remember anything else from tour?
I had been going to these hobby shops along the tour and one day we were in one city, I think it was Memphis. I mentioned to Tad, one of Micky’s friends, “I’m going to the hobby shop this morning, do you want to come,” because I knew he wanted to get some things. “Maybe Sammy and Micky will want to come,” he said. So it turns out that we went in a limousine and the whole works. Ward Sylvester came and Micky and Samantha. We ended up spending about 95 dollars or something outrageous like that. Micky bought all this leather; and we had Sam’s kitten with us. So we brought all this stuff back and put everything in the middle of Micky’s bed at the hotel. Micky and Sammy were pounding away on this leather they bought and I was making beads. Tad’s beading away and the kitten is running around. Then we ordered lunch from room service and the cat was eating the lunch because we were so involved we didn’t stop to eat. It was really freaky!