The Monkees were split, and sparked, by creative differences: ‘It’s part of the equation’

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For a lengthy period, the Monkees memorably continued forward without Mike Nesmith. Their original 1960s run ended without either Peter Tork or Nesmith. They continue now with Nesmith, who returned after the loss of the late Davy Jones.

Time and space have made the reasons seem inconsequential to Micky Dolenz, who says such things are to be expected when talking about a band with the passion and longevity of the Monkees.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Dolenz asks Gilbert Gottfried. “Did you get along with them your whole life? Every minute of every moment of your whole life? When you’re involved with people like that, for so many years in such an emotional, intense environment, working day in, day out for five decades? No, of course, you don’t get along every minute of the day.”

Tork originally left in 1968, having been there since the Monkees’ founding in 1966. Nesmith departed in 1970. The Monkees were then dormant from 1971-86. The band’s celebrated comeback didn’t include Nesmith, other than for a few scattered shows, through 1996. All four original Monkees were in place for the next year, then got back together without Nesmith again in 2001. In 2011-12, Dolenz, Jones and Tork toured; since Jones’ death, Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork have returned to the road as a threesome.

“There were sometimes incredible creative differences,” Dolenz concedes. “But that’s usually what it was, a creative difference. You hear about that, all the time. You hear that with actors and a director, in some stupid movie — or bands. Look at, God love ’em, the Beach Boys. Even Lennon and McCartney. Look at Simon and Garfunkel, the list goes on when you talk about creative teams. With Rodgers and Hammerstein, there was the old joke about putting lyrics under the door. I mean, Gilbert and Sullivan? That creative head butting is what creates the brilliance, and can destroy it. It’s part of the equation.”

Dolenz and Tork are set for another round of shows in 2015, playing a concert in March at Indio, California, and then two more at Rama, Ontario, this April.

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