What’s This Cutie All About? No One Knows Better Than He Does—Listen!
Will you be recording a new album with the other Monkees, Davy?
We’re about to sign a record deal which we didn’t have. I’m a bit disappointed that right now, the fans don’t have a new Monkees album.
You did a special for MTV, didn’t you?
Yes, the Christmas video, Mike Nesmith was there, and said, ‘Sure guys I’d like to get involved with you. You guys been on the road.’ And then when he sees that it’s not as painful as he thought it might be… it’s very hard to go back for some people, but for myself, it wasn’t a case of going back. If you’ve got to take a step back when you’re fighting in the ring in order to then make a surge, it’s a sensible thing to do. But some people don’t know how to do that. Some people don’t know how to take a punch in order to be able to give a punch. Micky Dolenz and I, Peter Tork and I and the three of us together have gotten so much more in common now. We are now like brothers.
What were you doing before the Monkees tour?
What I was doing before the Monkees is what I’ve been doing since. I’ve been playing in theaters, doing nightclubs, traveling on, the obvious things for an actor or for an entertainer like myself. I’ve been on the QE2 doing cabaret, couple of times a year. I’ve been doing English pantomime, the Christmas shows that we have in England. I’ve been in Japan doing concerts and Peter Tork and I were in Australia last year way before this Monkees thing was put together. But knowing full well that we were going to be getting together we booked it. And here we are again.
Do you think Mike will rejoin the Monkees?
Now Micky’s gonna be working on the scripts with the writers for the movie and Mike Nesmith is gonna take part in it, okay. That doesn’t mean that next year when we go out on the road he’s gonna come on tour with us, because he’s a different kind of a guy. It’s like, you know, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Crosby, Nash and Young—there’s no reason why we can’t do that. The only people that’ll have a problem with a thing like that would be the media, not the supporters, not the fans. As my ex-wife said to me, ‘It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.’ Why should we limit ourselves to having to wait for each other?
Why did you and Peter decide to go back to Australia without the others?
Peter Tork and I rebooked knowing full well maybe we were gonna come in with Micky and maybe Mike was gonna be around, but just so that the two of us could establish ourselves as a partnership. Most unlikely combination, Peter Tork and Davy Jones! It was always Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, I mean we were really the frontmen. Why isn’t Micky going with us now? Because Micky’s doing other things. He’s preparing the movie. Mike Nesmith is busy wrapping up his six-months-in-advance commitments so that he’s free when Peter and I come back from Australia. We’re all getting together to talk about this movie or to start shooting this movie.
Are you still bothered by critics who say the Monkees can’t make their own music?
We did become a band back in the Sixties. We were a band, ’cause many times there was only four of us on the stage playing. We did it all ourselves. Now we’ve got eight pieces behind us and there’s much more freedom. It’s 1986 and it’s bigger and it gives us more freedom to do all the schtick we couldn’t do when we were limited to standing behind instruments like the Beatles or the Moody Blues or all these other bands. We have a limited amount of equipment like lighting, adequate sound, and the rest is performance, with quick costume changes and doing some of the Monkee Schtick. Next year we’re gonna recreate the set so we’ve got the steps there, Mr. Schneider sitting over in the corner.
Did you think you’d be doing the Monkees at this point in your life?
We work under the name the Monkees, because people know that, they identify us like the Marx Brothers. There used to be five, there was four, there was three, there was two. They don’t care. They just want to see the movie. The Monkees is about making television; the Monkees is about making records; the Monkees is about live appearances. We’re not a group, that’s our working title. If next year plans work, we’re talking about doing a show called Hellzapoppin’ on Broadway. It’ll say Hellzapoppin’ starring the Monkees—Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork. It’s something for people to hold onto.
What do you think accounts for your continued success?
Successful people must keep an interest in their business in order to continue to be that successful. Obviously, it’s 95% luck in show business and 5% talent. It does help if you have more talent, because then you’re able to carry it on longer. We were talking to an evangelist, Jim Baker, and he said, “I feel that you can go on forever.” So Peter says, “From your lips to God’s ears.”
What’s your life like at home? Where is home?
My home is in England and in Florida. I’ve always retained my resident alien status in America. I came over here in ’62, and so I got a green card and I’ve lived most of my life in America. To me, America is the greatest country in the world, this is where I’ve made my money and this is where I’ve based my career. I obviously have been in England working in the theater, so I’ve been living in England lately.
What’s your home like in England?
You know, all of a sudden the spare room with nothing in it has sort of grown and over the last three or four years there’s no space in this little tiny house that we have. Because I’ve been working in the theater, I’ve been traveling, I’ve been bringing things back. We’ve got six or eight trunks upstairs of stuff. I’ve got a cat and a dog in England and I’ve got three horses—I bred my first horse a year and a half ago! My kids… unfortunately, in 1976 I was divorced from Linda. We’d lived in California, in Hollywood. We have Jennifer and Sarah. Jennifer now is 18 years old. Sarah is 15 years old. I was married in 1981. She’s the one that’s living in England. Jennifer and Sarah have been living with their mummy in California. Jennifer’s a great horsewoman and has been involved with horses since she’s a little child. She supported her habit by babysitting, by working in the local shops, totally independent.
What kind of music do you like?
Well, I like the Thompson Twins, I like Al Jarreau, I like Dire Straits, people like that.
Talk a bit about the tour.
We all had our own buses and the crew had their own bus, the band had their own bus… these beautiful big tour buses. Mine’s the one with guitars. Micky’s was the one with the horses, Peter’s the one with John Lennon and Billy whoever on the side. At least we could live a pretty normal life. The Stones titled their tours The Alimony Tour, The Let’s-Get-Together Tour, this was The Family Tour. At any given time on this tour there were eight or nine kids on the road, whether it was Rob Grill’s son or my daughters or Micky’s daughters or another crew member’s daughters or the tour manager’s son. Kids. All these hardened tour personnel—from the bus drivers, to the riggers, to the crew, to everybody said that this was one of the most comfortable and friendliest tours. We’ve got these bulky people with tears in their eyes saying goodbye. Having enjoyed. And they’re going off now to drive Def Leppard or Alice Cooper’s crew! There were actually buses that didn’t have any booze or smoke on them, you know. Like our bus. We’re not goody-two-shoes, but these people are not used to it.
What about your solo album?
Yeah, I’ve cut eight tunes so far.
What kind of music?
Top 40 stuff, We’ve got to present a product on record which is cohesive with the image that we’ve created. So I’ve got eight tunes which I feel are all potentially single material. It’s not a concept album, it’s gonna be ten tunes that I like and I think will be enjoyed. Also we’re talking about putting the whole Monkees act together again and filming it for HBO. The deal that we will have with the record company will also include solo albums. We already have an album, a live album in the can. We have a solo album that I’ve done. So we have to do a Monkees album and two other individual albums.
Tell us something about yourself that your fans would be shocked to know?
You know, they say, ‘Boys don’t cry.’ I get to be aggresive and butch like most of the guys, but I also cry when I watch the news sometimes! Boys do cry.
You’re an old softie in other words?
I do tend to show off. But I’m also very—what’s the word? A private person. I find that as I get older I treasure my time on my own. In England I get up in the morning and I’m gone for four or five hours that are selfishly spent with my horses. I’m sure there are loads of things they’d be shocked to know.
Are you sorry the Monkees didn’t get together before this?
You wonder if over the years, if we’d have gotten together, what it would have been like. But there wasn’t an opportunity. The Monkees’ 20th anniversary has put silence to all these critics that said ‘Manufactured!’ It must have been an awful good piece of cloth that they ‘manufactured’ this ‘manufactured’ group out of, because we wouldn’t be together now, we wouldn’t be talking. We would be in different parts of the world doing our own stuff. No one would have ever cared. I think now we can go on forever, now we’ve grown up. The only thing that was wrong over the last year, since the Monkees broke up in 1970, is that we all needed time to grow up.