During the periods in which Micky Dolenz wasn’t making a career with the Monkees, he’s typically busied himself with television production, film acting and stage work. That is, until a certain, very unlikely Rock and Roll Hall of Famer asked him to join his band.
“I get a call from Frank Zappa one day,” Dolenz tells Kevin Pollak. He said: “Micky, I just wondered — I know the Monkees show went off the air, and I’d like for you to be the drummer for the Mothers of Invention.”
All of this took place, Dolenz says, “about a year after” the Monkees TV program ended in 1968 — “or maybe less even.” That would have been around the time the original Mothers lineup, featuring Jimmy Carl Black on drums, initially split.
“We were still under contract to Colgems and [fellow Monkees] David [Jones] and Mike [Nesmith] and I were still recording,” Dolenz adds. “Peter [Tork], I think he had left the group. Frank Zappa lived down the street from me, and he’d been on the show. He was a huge fan. Mike had had him on the show, and he was in the movie Head, as you may remember. He lived down the street from me in Laurel Canyon, and we hung out. We’d go back and forth, and go to parties.”
Given an opportunity to actually join the Mothers, however, Dolenz admits that his first thought was an unprintable exclamation. His second? “Oh, my God — talk about a redirection,” Dolenz says. “Talk about getting off the Monkee train!”
There was one catch, of course. Dolenz had to get out of his record deal — and Colgems flatly refused. “They said, ‘No way,'” he tells Pollak, meaning Dolenz instead remained a Monkee. By 1970, Zappa had retooled the Mothers of Invention, and Aynsley Dunbar could be found at the drums.