‘One urban myth that is true': Inside the Monkees’ ‘palace revolt’ for artistic freedom

For years, the Monkees had little say over which songs they sang, or even who sang them. Their sessions would often by stacked atop grueling filming schedules for their concurrent television show. They were superstars caught in a merry go round.

Then one day, as Micky Dolenz likes to say, they staged a “palace revolt.” It started, the legends tells us, with Mike Nesmith punching a wall — something Dolenz confirms really happened. “That is one urban myth that is actually true,” Dolenz tells the Minnesota News Network, laughing. “Yes, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.”

It worked. From there on out, the Monkees began to seize more creative control, and were featured finally playing their own instruments. Of course, for a trained actor like Dolenz, first that had meant actually learning how to drum.

“I started right away — I started immediately, when they cast me,” Dolenz says. Not that he wasn’t a musician, mind you. He just wasn’t a drummer. Before that, “I played guitar. I played classical guitar, Spanish guitar, and then folk music later on and then rock ‘n’ roll. But they said: ‘You’re the drummer,’ and I said: ‘OK.’ But I wasn’t starting from square one. I could read music.”

Dolenz, Nesmith and fellow original member Peter Tork kick off a new Monkees tour tonight, with dates continuing into early June 2014. Davy Jones died suddenly in 2012.

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  • Brenda Cox Giguere

    Fun seeing that video again. And that’s Arlene Martel back there as a social-climbing blonde. We’d know her later as T’Pring, Spock’s Vulcan bride, in Star Trek.