Last month, Chip (the groovy genius behind The Monkees’ records) answered some very personal questions about Micky, Peter, Mike and Davy. This month, the answers are even more revealing, as Chip told them to Carol Deck, FLIP’s groovy girl in Hollywood.
1. What is your biggest complaint about recording the Monkees?
“My biggest gripe, until recently, was that they were the biggest group in the U.S., and they didn’t have a road manager. So there was nobody to go and get stuff; there was nobody to set up equipment; there was nobody to do all that stuff. But finally their management broke down and got a permanent road manager, after the tour was over. Before that, it was impossible to get all four of them together.”
2. Do they ever drop in to other artist’s sessions?
“Usually they’ll stop in and listen to whoever else is recording in the other studios at RCA. During the “Headquarters” album the Family Tree was in there and lately it’s been the Jefferson Airplane.”
3. Who are their favorite singers?
“Well, Peter, I know for sure, likes Freddy Neal. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, he’s a good blues singer with a big bass voice. Peter loves him. I don’t know who Micky’s favorite singer is. He likes rhythm and blues a lot. Davy, I don’t know about. Michael probably had someone he really likes a lot, probably a country singer. He likes rhythm and blues a lot too. They all do.”
4. What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in them since you started producing their records?
“Their clothes I guess. When they went to London, everything changed from American styles to far eastern.”
5. Do you think they will ever produce all of their own records?
“I don’t know, but I think it would be a drastic mistake if they did. Someone has to edit everything together, someone who will be objective about it.”
6. As an excellent bass player yourself, have you played bass on any of their records?
“Yeah, I played on the entire “Headquarters” album and the new one too.”
7. If you had a little sister and she was to marry one of the Monkees, which one would you prefer she married?
“I think I’d have her marry Micky, or Mike, if he weren’t already married. I think they’d probably make the best husbands.”
8. If one of them were your little brother, which one would you prefer?
“I think I could get along with any of them as little brother.”
9. What about as an older brother, which one would you prefer?
As an older brother? I wouldn’t mind Mike. He’s a fairly smart guy and I respect his opinion very highly. He’s the one that’s most like me. We come from a similar background. He’s the one that’s most likely to be my brother.”
10. If the Monkees were to break up and each pursue their own thing, what kind of careers do you think they’d seek?
“Davy could be very successful on Broadway on his own, I know. Micky could be very successful on his own as an actor. Michael could be successful on his own as a producer and Peter could be a successful as a singer.”
11. Do you think any of them will ever develop into major songwriters?
“Well, I think at this point, Mike is the closest. He’s had the most experience, written the most songs. He wrote “Distant Drums”(Different Drum) for the Stone Ponies and there are two of his songs on the Pisces album.”
12. The title of that album relates to astrology. Are any of the guys particularly interested in astrology?
“Yeah, Peter and Micky. Peter, I’d say is the most interested in all of those mystical things. None of them are really hung up on it though. None of them live by what the stars say or anything like that.”
13. At what exact point in their careers did the Monkees really begin to play their own instruments on their own records?
“Starting with the “Headquarters” album. Before that they just been singing over studio tracks done by studio musicians. With “Headquarters” they started with me as a producer and they started playing their own instruments and having some creative control over their records. Now, however, there just isn’t time for them to play every single instrument on every single song. We have to add musicians once in a while, ’cause not all of them can get to the sessions all the time. They at least have approval of what they’re going to sing now. They never did before. But they did play everything on the “Headquarters” album except for the french horn and cello on one track.”