Micky Dolenz compares the Monkees’ experience to that of today’s popular television program “Glee”: They were assembled to perform as actors, but each band member always possessed real talent.
Still, the struggle to make their own music took some time. Headquarters, the first project to have been written and produced by the Monkees themselves, didn’t arrive until May of 1967 — some two years after the foursome was hired to a prospective TV series by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
Fast forward some 45 years, and originals Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith are touring with a setlist that focuses in no small way on Headquarters, underscoring the creative impulse this group once derisively referred to as “the Pre-Fab Four” always boasted.
Jones died of a heart attack, reportedly brought on by atherosclerosis, on February 29, 2012.
Dolenz, in a talk with SeattleMet, remembers how difficult making the transition from paid actors to working musicians originally was.
“We were led to believe that they would be contributing and writing and singing and playing (on the show and albums), and that wasn’t the case,” Dolenz says. “So Headquarters was the palace revolt. After that, we won the right to at least have some control over what was being done.”
They’d come a long way from that moment when Tork walked into an early Monkees recording session with his bass and was asked: “What are you doing here?”
The lengthy concert segment currently devoted to Headquarters, Dolenz clearly feels, makes a statement about how they really were the whole time: “It’s a lot like ‘Glee’ — that’s the first thing that’s come along in a long time that has a similar paradigm, which is a TV show about an imaginary glee club, yet all the performers and actors and singers can actually do it. I’ve always approached it like that.”