‘I didn’t sing for a good 10 years’: Time away proved beneficial for the Monkees’ Micky Dolenz

One of the more remarkable things about the Monkees’ latest reunion — on par with Michael Nesmith’s presence, after so long away — was how well preserved Micky Dolenz’s voice is, decades after their late-1960s hey day. Dolenz explains who he’s kept his instrument in such great shape.

“After the Monkees, I moved to England and started directing and producing televisions shows and films and stuff, and I didn’t sing for a good 10 years, at least — at all,” Dolenz says, while also crediting genetics. “So, I missed that whole mid-1970s, ’80s, post-thing where you’d go out and sing in smoke-filled clubs with no monitors.”

By the time the group got back together for a reunion tour, sans Nesmith, in 1986 — a period that saw the Monkees notch a Top 20 hit with “That Was Then, This Is Now” — Dolenz’s voice was rested and ready. He, Davy Jones and Peter Tork appeared together regularly through Jones’ 2012 death. Dolenz, Tork and Nesmith have mounted major tours thereafter. The group also released two albums since, 1987’s Pool It! and 1996’s Justus, which featured all four original Monkees.

“I came back and started singing, of course, on the reunion tours,” says Dolenz, who more recently has been part of the national tour of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. “But then the big change, and I think the thing that is the most fundamental, was when I started doing musical theater in 2001 or ’02. My manager said: ‘You really should get some training — because it’s eight shows a week.’ You have to take care of those muscles. You have to warm up. You have to train. You have to do it over and over, and build up the strength — and protect them. So, the combination of all of those things is the reason, I think.”

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  • Penny Enicks

    Whatever Micky’s doing is working. He sounds great. His voice is stronger now than ever. He’ll always be the voice of the Monkees.