Monkee Mail

Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz

(No act in recent memory has generated more mail to CREEM than the reunited Monkees. Some of it was in reference to the “I Like The Monkees” article, but a lot of it was in response to an “anti-Monkees” letter from a “Relocated Valley Gal” in the Dec. ’86 issue of the mag. Included here is some of the mail we received—Ed.)

We lose!

I’m hoping (no, praying!) that you’ll never, ever do a story on the Monkees (or print a picture of them for that matter). ’Cuz, if you do, not only will I cancel my subscription, I’ll scratch my nails on your blackboard. And if you still insist on reporting on them, I swear to God, I’m gonna sing to you guys—certainly cruel and inhuman punishment. SO THERE!

Relocated Valley Gal
Los Angeles, CA

Forget that girl

The Relocated Valley Gal from the December issue must not like great music, great talent and great-looking guys. Let her cancel her subscription to your magazine because when you print articles and pictures of the Monkees, your sales should go up. My thanks for the article. I saw them three times in concert this year, and they are better than ever. Keep reporting on them, and you’ll have me for a faithful reader.

LuAnn Smith
Lomax, IL

I’m writing this letter in regards to “Relocated Valley Gal” who complains that she can’t stand the Monkees. Well, I’ve happened to love and respect the Monkees for 15 years, and if this so-called Valley Gal doesn’t appreciate good music, then she should just keep her mouth shut! There are many Monkees fans around who would agree with me.

Miss JoAnne Granger
Rochester, NY

Daily, nightly

In reference to “I Like The Monkees.” You like ’em, I love ’em! Being a 13-year-old girl in 1966, boy oh boy, could I gush if asked to. I loved the article. It was hard to believe CREEM published it!

But anyway, to get at the truth, the Monkees are just great entertainers. I love the music and the shows equally.

Burt and Bob got some cute, talented, personable guys from their cattle call. Then they handled it right in some important ways. Like keeping their real names, and letting them improvise.

I hope the New Monkees and the new Star Trek both go down the tubes. The real ones are good enough for all of us!

Back in ’66, between the shows, the records, and the teen magazines, I was oversold. I was made to feel that I knew them. And from what I’ve seen this year, I still feel the same way. Peter says the things I expect him to say, Micky is still silly, and David is still the showman.

Note, though, that I didn’t remember the really neat Yardley commercials ’till you mentioned them. Well I’ll pat myself on the back for remembering the Kellogg’s commercial they did. Do you? The boys sit down to a picnic table in a cornfield, and proceed to eat Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The silly part is Davy makes his backwards. He puts in the sugar first, then the milk, then the flakes. The three others cast a skeptical eye in his direction, but continue in the normal fashion. At the end Davy puts a bowl on top of the other, and flips it all over.

My husband, (33 yrs. also) kids, and myself are all really fans. We all went to the concert this summer. My kids can sing almost every song, too.

We, of course, have all their albums. I have the bubblegum cards. We have a bunch of the old teen magazines. The Monkees spanned from the Beatles to Bobby Sherman.

We also have excelled at VCR this summer. I think we have got every TV show they were on, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Solid Gold, Entertainment Tonight, the Video Music Awards, Pete and Micky as Guest VJ’s on MTV, the Monkees Marathon, and Disney World’s Birthday Party. WOW! As well as every one of the episodes! Now isn’t that a family of fans! I am such a good fan I had my son on Peter’s birthday! Since you got to interview Micky on your birthday, does that mean I get to interview Peter on his birthday?

I agree on the beautiful and sad “Shades Of Grey”; I hope they make it a single. I’ve always thought of that song on really really bad days. I think the world could use this song. Other sad songs are about lost loves, but this one is about the irreversability [sic] of life. Everyone can identify with that.

Virginia R. Cook
Newport, OR

P.S. Read Lefcowitz’s book. I cried. The truth really hurts. Davy had to take baths in the kitchen, his family was so poor.

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Satan!

Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith

“The Monkees strived to fit in the giant panorama that was ’60s rock ’n’ roll… there weren’t the factions and divisions that exist today.”

—Bill Holdship
—CREEM, December, 1986

Sorry, Bill, but may we set the record straight? Since you were admittedly a preteen in the mid-’60s (or, as the putdown of the era had it, a teenybopper), I guess you’re not accountable—most 10-year-olds’ memories are almost as selective as Ronald Reagan’s.

Nostalgiacs insist ’60s music was better, cooler, and, especially, had incredible variety compared to the degenerate stuff peddled today. Maybe so, but it’s the worst kind of revisionism to say there was no factionalism.

Don’t kid yourself—snobbery and divisiveness were just as prevalent. The big difference between 1966 and 1986 is the way the factions developed. Then, music-oriented cliques evolved from the streets up. Music was available for every taste—a lot of it was lousy, a lot of it was great, but we made the choices, not MTV or radio programmers. I think that used to be called free enterprise.

The factions I remember when I was a teen in northeastern Ohio were truly weird in their complexity. Predictably, the Wally Cleavers liked conservative stuff like the Beatles and Beach Boys, whom parents also found acceptable (at least till Lennon got busted and Brian Wilson got crazy).

The artier, pretentious kids (guilty, here) preferred more esoteric, English stuff (the Kinks, the Who, the Yardbirds, the Stones till Brian died, the Beatles (after Lennon got busted), Dylan after he discovered electricity, and any old blues dude Clapton or Beck ever admitted admiring, especially if he had already died tragically of excess or lynching.

On the other hand, although the caucasian arties, like the folkies, hung out with black kids as a mark of coolness (if they could find black kids who’d let them), they hated soul music.

Soul music was liked by upper-class sorority and fraternity types even more boring than Wally Cleaver, although the Greeks generally thought integration appalling (see what I mean about weird complexity?).

Any kid who wasn’t hearing-impaired truly loved Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave, Aretha, Otis, all of Motown, etc, etc.—but you had to pretend not to if you had any hope of being cool. This pose was really difficult to maintain at dances.

The folkies (aka Commie peaceniks) liked Woody and Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, and Dylan until he discovered electricity. They too liked old blues guys, but acoustic guitars only, preferably homemade.

The hippies liked Jefferson Airplane as was, Big Brother, and a lot of other tedious Bay Area bands almost as much as they liked being thought to consume incredible amounts of marijuana and acid.

The greasers liked the Stones, as well as Elvis, whom everybody else knew was old and unhip till his comeback, when he was cool again until he got fat.

The ultra-sophisticated kids actually experimented with drugs that scared the rest of us; they liked jazz, especially Billie Holiday. (Today they’re probably all dead or embarrassing, presumably brain-damaged, yuppies like Jerry Rubin.)

The Monkees? As Dolenz himself pointed out, they were an entertainment group, not a rock band. The only teens who liked them were nerds—the girls who dated the guys who wore pocket protectors and carried slide rules, if they dated at all. The Monkees were perceived as a kid show, more comparable to He-Man and the Smurfs than even the late, unlamented Wham! or the Thompson Twins.

My considered assessment of the Pre-fab Four? Old shit is still shit. If you’re lucky, it might rot into compost, but you’ll never live long enough to see it turn into oil.

Please, boys and girls, nostalgiacs are so boring! Like all decades, the ’60s included the best and worst of times. Let’s not glamorize them beyond recognition.

I was 18 in 1966; I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now

Annie Golden
Cincinnati, OH

(Holdship replies: I know that “factionalism” in the sense you’re describing it existed in the ’60s because, when I was 10, the older guys who worked at the record store in my hometown used to make fun of me for buying Monkees and Elvis records along with my Beatles, Beach Boys, (and, yes) Stones, Kinks, Motown and Peter, Paul & Mary records. But I was never concerned with what was “cool” back then—only what I liked—and even those guys later admitted that “Porpoise Song” was pretty “groovy.” All I’m saying is that in the ’60s, you could hear Lesley Gore followed by the Doors followed by Otis Redding followed by the Kingston Trio on AM radio—and it was all considered “rock ’n’ roll radio.” There’s nowhere you can find something similar today. One final point. If you’re still worried about what’s “cool” at the age of 38, chances are you’ll never get it.)

Sweet young thing

Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork

I am 13 years old, so I wasn’t yet born when the Monkees were around, but I like them anyway. I agree that the Monkees produced better music than groups today like Duran Duran. And it’s true that a lot of the groups today don’t all play their own instruments. The Monkees did have talent, though their television shows did leave something to be desired.

I feel that Mike Nesmith is a great and wonderful songwriter. My favorite song of his is probably “Papa Gene’s Blues,” though I’m not quite sure what the title has to do with the song. It is too bad that he was just a Monkee. (Don’t get me wrong, I like them.) But my favorite by far is Mike, so I was pretty upset when I discovered he wasn’t going to tour: I saw the show, and had to admit it was good. Maybe more than just good.

I also feel that the idea of a “New Monkees’ show is really dumb. No one—no real Monkees fan—wants to see other people parading around as the “New Monkees.” Who’s going to watch it? You tell me.

I, like you, hope that the Monkees continue on. I hope, too, that they record more songs like the old time greats. I love the Monkees and their songs. I believe that they are a great group and maybe someday Mike Nesmith will make a cameo appearance.

Emi Shimokawa
Dix Hills, NY

Daydream believer

I thoroughly enjoyed the story you wrote about the Monkees. Everything you said about them I absolutely agreed with. I may not be in the position to say this, considering I wasn’t around in the ’60s, but I think the Monkees’ music ranks right up there with any of the top music of the ’60s. Also, the Monkees and their music are better than a lot of music out today. I believe that Davy, Micky and Peter are really nice, down-to-earth guys who haven’t let success go to their heads. They seem like they would be very approachable and easy to talk to. Through the Monkees’ music, I have become a devoted listener of all music of the late ’60s. The whole scene of the ’60s intrigues me, especially the flower children, peace marches, the clothing and, of course, the music. I would have loved to have been a hippie in the ’60s. Their values seemed so simple: peace, love, freedom. To me, they seemed really carefree, and they didn’t have a need or want for materialistic things. I wish the people of today could have those kinds of values.

To get back to the Monkees, I saw them in concert in September at the Valley Forge Music Fair (in Philadelphia). It was definitely the most emotional, exuberant and fun time I’ve ever had in my 15 years! In the story you wrote, where you said about going to their concert and there was a girl there who was crying and everyone was screaming. It reminds me so much of how my friend and I were at their concert. At the end, I was so exhausted from screaming, I almost fainted a couple of times. And, yes, also cried.

About the “New Monkees,” I think it’s horrible! I think it’s the most terrible thing they could do to the Monkees. It’s putting them down and making it seem like anyone could do what they did. But they can’t! Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike had to take a lot of criticism, and they had to prove they could make their own music. It’s hard for me to put my actual feelings into words, but I think you will understand what I mean. No matter what, Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike will always be The Monkees!

Amy Ernst
Norristown, PA

Mommy & daddy

I recently discovered your magazine, and purchased four copies of the December issue.

It’s been 10-plus years since I’ve checked out the “teen” magazine section of the local bookstore, but, of course, those fabulous Monkees (especially Micky) have put me back into stage one of Monkeemania. Now, though, I have three young daughters (ages 10, 9 and 7) of my own to share the excitement with (thus, the need for four copies!).

Please keep more Monkees articles and pictures coming. The current up-to-date stuff you had was great. It seems like most of the other magazines are carrying too much on the way the guys were. I love ’em just the way they are.

Mrs. Sheri Yeager
Dearborn, MI

P.S. That “relocated Valley Gal” on your letters page should definitely relocate farther. How’s Mars sound? Oh, well, it’s just a suggestion.

Love is only sleeping

Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith

I am responding to the girl who hates the Monkees. So lose one subscription. I hate valley girls, anyway. The music we have today is mostly depressing. But the Monkees give you a chance to listen to music that makes you happy and dance. I admit the Monkees aren’t the best, but they give people thinking of becoming a singer ideas of music that people loved! I just hope that there’ll be another great group like the Beatles someday—or someone who gets you in the loving spirit.

Great Music Lover
Detroit, MI

Listen to the band

I love the Monkees, and would like to thank Bill Holdship for his wonderful article in your December issue (although he did overuse the expression “really neat”). I would like to say to the Monkees’ critics that if people stuck in one frame of mind would simply play a Monkees’ record and enjoy the tunes instead of trying to pinpoint the origin of talent for each song, you would all probably have fewer ulcers. Personally, I think the three guys are sensational comics, and they undoubtedly deserve all the credit in the world (and certainly more than such modern maufactured [sic] bands as the Pet Shop Boys, Madonna and Bananarama) for having enough drive, determination and self-respect to turn themselves into an actual Top 10 band and not just solely to please the noisome, jealous critics.

Amy M. Wilins
Mableton, GA

I’m tired of reading that the Monkees were a group of phonies made for TV, and therefore their music cannot be taken seriously. The four were chosen from over 400 who auditioned for the producers. Among them Tork had been in Stephen Stills’ band, Buffalo Fish (which became Buffalo Springfield), Nesmith was a proven songwriter who had cut two singles already, Jones was a Tony award nominated singer/actor, Dolenz was an experienced actor who had sung and played guitar with two obscure bands and also cut two singles. Maybe if more groups were formed this way, we’d have less noise pollution on the radio. The Monkees look great in comparison to many of the garbage groups of the ’70s and ’80s. Together, they made good records and had some wonderful songs. First group to ever use a synthesizer, too.

It’s the series which can’t be taken seriously, and isn’t meant to be. It spoofed other series and film genres of the time, and it made fun of itself. It was a show that dared to admit it was only a TV show, much like the refreshing Moonlighting does today. I get a good belly laugh usually at least once an episode. And that’s more than I can say for most prime time shows today, including Bill Cosby. I agree with everything Bill Holdship said in his article, “I Like The Monkees.” I’ll go one step farther than Holdship. I love the Monkees. Eric Burdon, John Lennon and Timothy Leary did, too.

M. Freeman
Richmond, CA

I wish people would lay off the supposed plastic image of the Monkees. I swear people dig into the press clipping of the ’60s to write about the Monkees in the ’80s. How unfair!

Yes, they were invented. In the beginning. But soon they evolved into a full scale band. And what is wrong with being “invented” anyway? We should all be so lucky. There’s not a person alive who wouldn’t jump at the chance for fame and fortune (especially at the magnitude the Monkees received it). The Monkees paid their dues before, during and after the fact. But being “invented’ is not what made them a hit. Talent did. Plain and simple.

I, for one (and I’m sure that there are many more like me), will be forever grateful to the “corporate manufacturers” or whatever you want to call them, that “invented” the Monkees. But, first and foremost, I will be forever indebted to Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith for bringing me so many years of pleasure and enjoyment. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

Sue Glass
Canton, IL

Steppin’ stones

Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz

If it weren’t for groups like the Monkees and the Beatles and other ’60s groups, you people probably wouldn’t be listening to the new wave groups of today. So let’s pay some tribute to those who made rock ’n’ roll what it is today!

Kathy Formagus
Arlington, TX


Well, at the risk of saying “I told you so,” but… at one time (not even two years ago) I wrote a letter to one of your competitor magazines saying, among other things, “David Thomas Jones over Simon LeBon any day.” To which I got a really nasty reply, saying that Duran Duran would always be number one. Well, now they’ve broken up, and the Monkees are hot again. To me, they always were great. I [sic] fact, if I had to list the top three music acts of all time, it’d look like this:

1.) Beatles
2.) Monkees
3.) Bruce Frederick Springsteen.

Like the two others I listed, the Monkees are timeless. Who else could’ve written any song with such a psychedelic word as “phantasmagoric” in it? Which song? “Daily Nightly,” on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd., written by Mike Nesmith. The line? “Startled eyes that sometimes see phantasmagoric splendor.”

True, they didn’t play any instruments on their first two albums, but so what? They made up for it on their third, Headquarters. I started loving Davy Jones in 1966, and I haven’t stopped yet at the ripe old age of 31.

There was a list of the top 10 albums of all time in your magazine so here’s my list:

1.) The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle—Bruce Springsteen
2.) Headquarters—The Monkees
3.) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—The Beatles
4.) Love It To Death—Alice Cooper
5.) The Magician’s Birthday—Uriah Heep
6.) Led Zeppelin II—Led Zeppelin
7.) Absolutely Free—The Mothers Of Invention
8.) Barbajagel—Donovan
9.) Led Zeppelin III—Led Zeppelin
10.) Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.—The Monkees

All the head-pounders out there probably strongly disagree, but in 10 years, even five, what are Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, the Cure, Madonna, Prince, Stryper, Motley Crue, Husker Du or even Black Flag going to be remembered for music-wise? Nothing as legendary as “Stairway To Heaven” or “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” or “Shades Of Grey,” that’s for sure.

Gary, IN

Fer sure!

Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones

We don’t lose!

Not only I, but millions of Monkees fans definitely would appreciate CREEM to keep on reporting on the Pre-fab Four. Did it ever occur to the “Relocated Valley Gal” that Frank Zappa is a good friend of the Monkees, and that he and his daughter, Moon, started the “Valley Girl” craze?

Defending the Monkees
K. Baker
Toledo, OH

Different drum

I’d like to thank you for the outstanding write-up on the Monkees. What a lot of people can’t seem to realize is that “cool” is supporting who and what you like and believe in, as opposed to doing and going for what everyone else goes for. It’s called “individualism.” I may add to that that I believe the Monkees are Rockers, like them or not. I’m proud that the Monkees are making it again as they have long deserved.

Beverly Bonneau
Rochester, NY

Let’s dance on

Thanks very much for a very complimentary article on the Monkees. I’ve been waiting for a great article to come up on them. The Monkees may seem like teenybopper bubblegum rock to some people, but us loyal Monkees fans think the Monkees are four very talented individuals who created some very good songs. Their music still stands as fresh and enjoyable. Thanks for a perfect article. I like the Monkees too!

Steve Wann
Baltimore, MD

P.S. That “Relocated Valley Gal” in your Letters section probably listens to trendy crap! I hope you guys don’t get attacked by this babe (HAH!).

Star collectors

I am starting a new fan club. It’s for the Monkees. I would like to put my address in your magazine.

Susan Cutler
10229 Dale Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44111

I would like to place an ad in your magazine. I’m starting a Monkees fan club. If anyone’s interested, they should write to this address.

Vicki Kopechek
1337 Ethel Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107

Magazine: Creem Presents
Editor: Bill Holdship
Volume: 1
Issue: 5
Publisher: Cambray Publishing, Inc.
Pages: 42–46