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The Monkees Reflect on Head
April 29, 2011 7:22 AM   Subscribe

The Monkees' Head: 'Our fans couldn't even see it' At the height of their fame, the Monkees teamed up with Jack Nicholson to film the psychedelic classic Head – and destroy their careers in the process. So how do they feel about it now?

The theatrical promo for Head is on YouTube.
posted by jack_mo (74 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I did not know that Carole King wrote "Porpoise Song." Yet another reason to like her.

Either way, Head truly is fantastic. It's a shame that its existence was so hard on the band itself, though. It's always a shame when you're in that position where what you're doing is too weird to be commercial but too slick to be considered "art" by those-in-the-know.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Never heard of this movie, never knew Jack Nicholson had done anything other than acting. Great post.
posted by DU at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Originally called Changes, the movie was retitled Head, partly as a drug reference and partly so that Raybert's next production, Easy Rider, could be marketed with the slogan "From the guys who gave you Head" – a plan torpedoed by Head's box-office nosedive.

Heh. In Toronto in the mid-90s, when local alternative band hHead was winding down, I found myself playing bass and Chapman Stick with Noah Mintz (the guy behind the band) in what he hoped would be his next band -- it proved too unwieldy, though: there were about a dozen of us in this conglomeration and it never jelled, so after a few shambolic rehearsals, we all went our separate ways. I wish I had though of this slogan ("from the guy who gave you hHead") then.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:37 AM on April 29, 2011


It's a pretty wild movie, but not necessarily a good one.

The soundtrack is fantastic, though. That, Headquarters and a Best-Of are all you really need from The Monkees, but they're really underrated.
posted by klangklangston at 7:44 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I'd also add Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones to that list, but I am a pretty big Monkees fan.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 7:50 AM on April 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'll have a glass of cold gravy, with a hair in it.
posted by speedlime at 7:50 AM on April 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Thomas Pynchon attended a screening disguised as a plumber.
Where did this nugget come from?
posted by warbaby at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a pretty wild movie, but not necessarily a good one.

Yeah, this. It used to pop up a lot in the UK in the 70's. The audience it was aimed at hated the Monkees. It went flying over the head of the Monkees fans.

It was no Yellow Submarine, that's for sure.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2011


It's an interesting movie, but it's not fun to watch, and I wouldn't watch it again. I liked it in an inexplicable train-wreck sort of way.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm always a little skeptical when it comes to articles about the Monkees, but that was really great, thanks.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:57 AM on April 29, 2011


warbaby - the director:
According to director Bob Rafelson, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones both requested private screenings, while Thomas Pynchon attended a screening disguised as a plumber.
I've had this movie in my list of "things to watch soon" for a while, and this might be the weekend. The first five minutes are available on Veoh, where you can watch the rest if you download their weird player. The video looks distorted, but it's a freebie.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:00 AM on April 29, 2011


I loved the Monkees (had a green official Monkees shirt, yes I did) but never saw Head until years later.
posted by tommasz at 8:02 AM on April 29, 2011


I put Head in the same category as such films as I Love You Alice B Toklas and The Trip - psychploitation, a not-really real Hollywoodized version of what was going on in the Summer of Love-era's Left Coast. The film drags at points but overall is a pretty worthwhile viewing. I prefer 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, as it's shorter and ever weirder.

Great music, though, especially Circle Sky, Can You Dig It, and the beautiful Porpoise Song.
posted by item at 8:03 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahh - the semi-rare 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee is available on youtube starting here.
posted by item at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you telling me you don't see the connection between government and laughing at people?
posted by infinitewindow at 8:09 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love Head, but I don't like it, if that makes any sense at all. It's such a difficult film, and completely works to disassemble everything the Monkees had striven to create/be up until that point in the media.

I especially like the Box, and everything it symbolizes.

Great, now I have to dig out my recorded-off-satellite DVD and watch this again.
posted by hippybear at 8:11 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was no Yellow Submarine, that's for sure.

More like The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, featuring Bob Rafelson playing Malcolm McLaren, amirite?

Much of McLaren's work with the Pistols was based upon the precedent of The Monkees. The Monkees had better tunes though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:13 AM on April 29, 2011


I saw this at some point in the early 80's while I was in college. It just seemed like the Monkees trying very hard to be hip, but not quite succeeding.
posted by freakazoid at 8:15 AM on April 29, 2011


freakazoid: see it again with older eyes and a more mature mind. It's actually mind-blowingly deep, it's just... difficult.
posted by hippybear at 8:16 AM on April 29, 2011


It's out there.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2011


"psychploitation" That's a very good way of putting it.

As a kid, I thought the Monkees TV show was just trying too hard. Head, which I saw when I was in High School - not in theaters, *cough* - was on TV late one night, but this was before remote control and 500 channels, so I watched it. All I remember was the dandruff/vacuum cleaner scene. Psychedelia for psychedelia's sake is just boring. And if you are high enough to enjoy psychedelia, then you'd be fine watching just about anything - it's probably more fun watching stuff that supposed to make sense not make sense, than to watch stuff that's not supposed to make sense and is so pandering as to be insulting to boot.

The music for the Monkees is much better than they deserved as a corporate paste up band, but I have to give them - Peter, Michael, Mickey, and Davy - credit for trying to salvage themselves and turn into something with more substance. But that's a tough transition to make - the purists will never allow it, and the bubble gummers will never understand it. Head failed for the same reasons, but arguably Head wasn't a serious effort - it was a conceptual and marketing failure.

Headquarters is a pretty good album, too. I didn't know that it was part of Monkees' efforts to wrest creative control from the producers.

Oh, and Michael Nesmith really needs to grow up and embrace the Monkees. The more he acts like they are an embarrassment, the more awkward and embarrassing it is.
posted by Xoebe at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2011


Fascinating article. I never saw Head but I watched Monkees reruns a lot—I'd basically heard freakazoid's opinion from others and dismissed it. Just as long as it's not as fake-psychedelic as Village of the Giants, maybe I could tolerate it.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2011


Circle Sky is my jam.

Also, I've always thought that Porpoise Song sounds like all of Sgt. Pepper's consolidated into one track.
posted by timshel at 8:28 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


And in case you're wondering just how weird 33 1/3 Revolutions is, well...
posted by item at 8:30 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The music was great, but it was one long pot-shot at the Pefab Four. Still quite interesting (playing dandruff in Victor Mature's hair, but still needing to be told how to be dandruff -- ouch). When I taught a TV and Film course at one college, I made my students watch it -- not as punishment, mind you...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:30 AM on April 29, 2011


I think Rhino Records was right to put Monkees songs on the Pebbles collection of garage rock. A few of there songs -- "Pleasant Valley Sunday," She" "I'm not your stepping stone really do sound like protopunk, and I don't think there's a serious critic (or, in the 60s, a serious artist) who didn't have respect for The Monkees as songwriters and, eventually, as a band. It shouldn't really matter that they were prefab -- so too has been a lot of great pop music, including much of what was recorded by Phil Spector.

"Head" is an oddity, but a lovable oddity. It's often genuinely hilarious, and it's satiric jabs at he movie industry in general and The Monkees specifically are unmistakable. One of my favorite moments has Mike Nesmith go off on a tirade against birthday -- he's such a grouch in this film that he doesn't even like Christmas, which he declares with pride and follows it up with "How do you like them apples!"

Audiences for "Head" are made, not born. It grows on you with each viewing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is interesting that Harry Nilsson auditioned for the TV series. Notwithstanding some of his legendary jags with Lennon and Ringo he was reclusive enough he didn't really tour behind his albums.
posted by edgeways at 8:37 AM on April 29, 2011


It grows on you with each viewing.

Oh, this is definitely true.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 AM on April 29, 2011


Oh, and Michael Nesmith really needs to grow up and embrace the Monkees. The more he acts like they are an embarrassment, the more awkward and embarrassing it is.

I don't know if that's a really fair thing to say. As the most (or only) talented member of the band, he got the rawest deal- he was only allowed to write two songs per album, and had to buy himself out of his contract to the tune of 450,000 dollars. I think he can be bitter if he wants, but I don't even necessarily think he's bitter, just has a million other things he's interested in.

I saw Head years ago at an outdoor rave, and the only thing I remember is that Circle Sky is quite a good song.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2011


Head is a masterpiece. But it is also a mean prank on the target audience. And an expression of the artists' frustration with the media they worked in, especially the misunderstood Peter Tork.

Swell cameos by Terri Garr, Tim Carey, Frank Zappa, and 'Big' Victor Mature.

Can You Dig It.
posted by ovvl at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2011


I'd rank Head as one of the best rock movies ever. Too sarcastic, and self deprecating to be psychsploitation, IMO. Nothing bubblegum about it, though nothing adults-only, either, and manages to reveal surprising depth upon repeat views. Despite the disjointed anti-narrative, it's still an amusing flick to watch.

I think I like the music/dance number by Davy and Toni Basil to Nilsson's Daddy's Song best.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2011


I disagree with Mike being the only talented Monkee. Certainly he had the best rock chops coming in, having written "Different Drum" for Linda Ronstadt and Stone Pony, but Davy had a lot of musical theater experience in England, and Mickey turned out to have the definitive rock singing voice of the three. And Peter had some background too - he was a struggling musician at the time, and I understand that he was rooming with Steven Stills at the time of his audition. And I think I heard that Stills auditioned too.

And there was a lot to like about Head.
- Mike's grumpiness
- Davy's dance number (even though it went too long)
- Peter NOT playing the blond-brain at all during the movie.
- the music
posted by Billiken at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to imagine Pynchon disguising himself as a plumber--what, did he go to the screening in a pair of overalls with a pipe wrench sticking out of his pocket? Did he look like Mario? What?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:58 AM on April 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


A few of there songs -- "Pleasant Valley Sunday," She" "I'm not your stepping stone really do sound like protopunk,

Well, they had serious industry people writing music for them: Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Neil Diamond. "Steppin' Stone" was a Paul Revere and the Raiders song before the Monkees made it a hit.

I disagree with Mike being the only talented Monkee. Certainly he had the best rock chops coming in, having written "Different Drum" for Linda Ronstadt and Stone Pony, but Davy had a lot of musical theater experience in England, and Mickey turned out to have the definitive rock singing voice of the three.

I'm not saying that I think he was necessarily the only talented person in the band, but I do think he was the only truly talented musician. Dolenz and Jones could (and did) fall back on their acting careers which weren't necessarily damaged by their involvement in the band. Tork had a rougher time, but I don't know if he was helped or hindered in his career by the Monkees.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2011


perhaps like Robert De Niro in Brazil (much later)?
posted by edgeways at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2011


Xoebe: it's probably more fun watching stuff that supposed to make sense not make sense, than to watch stuff that's not supposed to make sense and is so pandering as to be insulting to boot.

Absolutely true. Watching Psychedelia is like getting a postcard from the land of high. It shows you what it was like to be there, somewhat, but is a poor representation. It's too bad that traveling there is so harmful to our brains over time, because the real thing is so much better than it's ever portrayed in film.
posted by acheekymonkey at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Michael Nesmith really needs to grow up and embrace the Monkees.

I remember reading somewhere (an interview with one of Nesmith's friends, perhaps one of other bandmembers?) that said one of the reasons why he doesn't do the reunion tour thing -- besides his general grumpiness about the whole situation -- is that he can barely play guitar anymore. I think that it was a combination of age/arthritis and lack of practice, but supposedly he's lost all his chops. The truth of that claim I cannot vouch for, but its a possibility.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would have made more sense if it read something like: "Thomas Pynchon was recognized despite sneaking in disguised as a plumber."

But if he was disguised, how was he recognized? Especially since almost nobody knew what he looked like back then. And if the director knew him, why was he sneaking in disguised as a plumber?

There's more to this story, I tell you. Something strange involving a giant adenoid or something.

The double DVD of The Trip and Psych Out is a good bit of psychploitation. Wild in the Streets goes a long way to explaining the Tea Party. It's also notable for special effects by Bob Beck, who also did The Trip.

This post made me add Head to my Netflix que.
posted by warbaby at 9:20 AM on April 29, 2011


More like The Great Rock and Roll Swindle, featuring Bob Rafelson playing Malcolm McLaren, amirite?

Much of McLaren's work with the Pistols was based upon the precedent of The Monkees. The Monkees had better tunes though.


Agree with this. And just to bring this comment full circle, here's Matlock and Jones doing a cover of "Steppin' Stone".
posted by oneirodynia at 9:21 AM on April 29, 2011


Oh, and Michael Nesmith really needs to grow up and embrace the Monkees. The more he acts like they are an embarrassment, the more awkward and embarrassing it is.

This. I think Nesmith's work with the Monkees - his tunes, from "Papa Gene's Blues" to "You Just May Be the One" and "You Told Me" and later stuff like "Tapioca Tundra" - is the best the group ever recorded, '60s pop lightly influenced by country right around the time the Byrds were mulling the same thing.

You know, for a lot of people, Nesmith is and remains those songs, if not a Monkee. I don't know that I'd like to be forever defined by what I did in my mid-20s, but those songs mattered to people in a way, I'd guess, that his later output never could.

As for "Head" - the music's (mostly) fantastic, I'll watch the movie if I have a chance but eh. "Porpoise Song" and "As We Go Along" are just sublime.
posted by kgasmart at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2011


It's a good film in it's own way and I like that I've seen it. But as rock band crazy movies go, it's no Forbidden Zone or Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park.
posted by The World Famous at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2011


Why would you sneak in dressed like a plumber? Everybody would be saying, what the hell is that plumber doing here?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are you telling me you don't see the connection between government and laughing at people?

Huh. I've never seen Head, is that line from it? Because I know it as a sample from an old Meat Beat Manifesto album. Weird.
posted by rifflesby at 9:42 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was in the target Monkees demographic since I was just a little kid when the TV show was on. I recall a Monkees album was the first record I ever bought, I remember having to decide whether to spend a little extra for the stereo version, but I settled on the monophonic one.

And I do recall seeing Head in the theaters when it came out. I haven't seen it in decades, I don't recall anything about the movie, but I do recall it was enjoyably confusing. This probably shaped my sensibility about movies to a large degree.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:48 AM on April 29, 2011


As far as Nesmith goes, Magnetic South and From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing are both pretty good and worth tracking down. I don't know if either of them are back in print, but they're out there on the web.
posted by klangklangston at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2011


Who can forget THE COP'S DREAM?
posted by ovvl at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2011


I love this movie. I liked in back before I was old enough (and experienced enough) to really "get" it, and I love it now.

And "Auntie's Municipal Court" is the best Mike Nesmith Monkees song (even if it wasn't on the Head soundtrack) and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. (The best Mike Nesmith song otherwise is "Cruisin'").

And I'll tell you something else too, the same thing goes for Christmas!
posted by biscotti at 9:51 AM on April 29, 2011


"It's like Rashomon." Love this. Totally want to see it.

Haven't finished reading the article, but it sounds like we have another example here of copyright screwing the viewing public out of significant artworks.
posted by fartknocker at 9:54 AM on April 29, 2011


freakazoid: "I saw this at some point in the early 80's while I was in college. It just seemed like the Monkees trying very hard to be hip, but not quite succeeding."

Except - they were. Especially Peter Tork. Well, ok, the 3 ones were hip. Davy, however... Ugh. But Peter was a true hippie. Acid, Pot, the whole shebang. I mean, that's why that song about "loving one another" was called "For Pete's Sake", for pete's sake!
posted by symbioid at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2011


*heh* and when I was pulling up the album in my iTunes, I was reminded that the cover was reflective silver, so when you looked at it, you'd see... your head.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 AM on April 29, 2011


I just recently saw Head for the first time and loved it. Besides all the conceptual headiness, there are so many parts that are just plain fun. Like this Dave Jones bit.

The Criterion DVD has commentary by the Monkees in it, and now that I know that at least some of the Monkees don't look back on the movie fondly, I'm extremely curious to hear the commentary. The DVD also has an interview with Rafaelson, in which he paints a very different picture (as you'd imagine). He seems to imply that he and the Monkees all wanted to end the Monkees story this way.

By the way, I'm really loving this set. I'd never seen any of these movies before, and they're all blowing me away.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]



Are you telling me you don't see the connection between government and laughing at people?

Huh. I've never seen Head, is that line from it? Because I know it as a sample from an old Meat Beat Manifesto album. Weird.


Yeah, sort of. Head has several clips of what appear to be random man-in-the-street type interviews. Subject matter of the interviews isn't clear, and the clips emphasize the nonsensical. They look as if they might have been pulled from some TV station news archive from the time, and are assembled to whimsical effect in the movie.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2011


I always preferred 200 Motels.
posted by rtimmel at 10:06 AM on April 29, 2011


So - my girlfriend broke up with me this past month, and last night I popped on some Monkees for that sweet romance breakup music... And "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day" came on... So I was going to look for the lyrics and share it on FB, and then... I saw this The Astronauts - Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day which someone mentioned was because it was a Boyce/Hart song.

Good timing on this post :) I kinda like this version, but nothing will replace the Monkees one to me. I was so gay for the Monkees in 87 (when my 5th grade self saw the reruns coming back)... It was the one big thing that the girl I had a crush on and I had in common.

I don't care what ya say... tomorrow's gonna be another dayyyyyyy....
posted by symbioid at 10:07 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, WRT Nesmith not being in on the Monkees reunion tours, I always thought that it had more to do with the fact that he didn't really have to; his mom invented Liquid Paper, and he's had a pretty successful career in movie and video production besides.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:16 AM on April 29, 2011


Nesmith's attitude about the Monkees reminds me a little of the way Leonard Nimoy has been about Star Trek: bitter and resentful when it suits him, then chummy and nostalgic when it suits him, although Nesmith is probably more of the former most of the time.
posted by briank at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2011


Heh, ok. As roll truck roll points out, you can apparently get a copy of Head and a bunch of other cool movies at Amazon. Still, umm... copyright, umm... bad or something or other.
posted by fartknocker at 10:49 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was just a polite way of saying that Pynchon went to the movie with his ass hanging out.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Someone should make a great movie about the story of the Monkees. (Milos Forman should direct it.) There is such an epic rise and great fall. They were generally smart funny guys who were pushed to be dumb teen idols. (Just shake the damned tambourine.) And the sound track would be great.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


rifflesby, here's the link to the clip the song samples.

MBM was my first exposure to it as well.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:12 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's the second craziest Monkee's Head I've ever seen!
posted by yellowbinder at 12:21 PM on April 29, 2011


Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor.
posted by Kalthare at 12:40 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd completely forgotten that this existed. Didn't know the Nicholson connection. I'll need to see this again.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:41 PM on April 29, 2011


I remember reading somewhere (an interview with one of Nesmith's friends, perhaps one of other bandmembers?) that said one of the reasons why he doesn't do the reunion tour thing -- besides his general grumpiness about the whole situation -- is that he can barely play guitar anymore. I think that it was a combination of age/arthritis and lack of practice, but supposedly he's lost all his chops. The truth of that claim I cannot vouch for, but its a possibility.

Yeah, I heard the same thing. In their Behind the Music, they say Nesmith left after scathing reviews from the British press for their four-man comeback shows in '97, but the clarification seems to be that the bulk of the scathingness was specifically directed at Nesmith and his lack of chops.
posted by anazgnos at 12:44 PM on April 29, 2011


Psst!
posted by 2N2222 at 12:56 PM on April 29, 2011


Someone should make a great movie about the story of the Monkees. (Milos Forman should direct it.) There is such an epic rise and great fall. They were generally smart funny guys who were pushed to be dumb teen idols. (Just shake the damned tambourine.) And the sound track would be great.

There was Daydream Believers: The Monkees' Story, a VH-1 TV movie from 2000. It was ok.

(I've also heard that Mike's lost his guitar-playing ability - I remember something about how he couldn't play Last Train to Clarksville during one of the tours.)
posted by Lucinda at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2011


Since we're quoting favorite lines:

Frank Zappa (yes, really): "That song was pretty white."

Davy Jones:"Well, so am I, what can I tell you?"


I went through a brief Monkees fixation in the mid-90s, after my roommate, a fellow Beatles fan, showed me Head; in addition to watching the movie over and over , I read Micky Dolenz' autobiography and a couple other books about the band. The more you watch it (and more *ahem* chemically enhanced you are) you start realizing the oblique references to the band's history and image:
- the black box they get repeatedly trapped in is a pretty clear reference to the offstage vault where they were expected to chill during breaks in shooting the TV show.
- At one point Mike remarks, "you think they call us plastic now, baby, wait till I get through telling 'em how we do it." In 1967 Mike, in a bid to gain some control over the band's image and music, called a press conference where he talked about the use of session musicians on their albums up to that point.
Some of them are even more obscure, as when Carol Doda references Dolenz' Circus Boy past with a line about "blonde wigs for 8 year-olds."

I'm looking forward to watching the shiny new blu-ray (all the solarization in "Porpoise Song" will blow your mind) and hearing the commentary, but it's been a few years since I watched the movie, and I'm a little afraid of whether it'll hold up now that I've aged out of my hippie-slacker youth.

Bonus link: the band Bongwater (See? I'm not the only one) did a magnificent cover of "Porpoise Song".
posted by mgrichmond at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved the Monkees (I'd change my mind about which one I wanted to marry, weekly - but Mike was the overall winner) in reruns after school when I was in third grade.
I also loved The Monkees when MTV showed reruns of it at some point years later. I went to see them play (minus Mike) when I was in high school and was underwhelmed, but it was still fun. And when I went to see Head at a tiny theater in Royal Oak, MI when I was either a senior in high school or a freshman in college, I LOVED it. I laughed at all the jokes, I thought the music was great and Frank Zappa's line was hilarious, and still wanted to marry Mike Nesmith. I considered the grumpiness an asset :-)
posted by pinky at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2011


the black box they get repeatedly trapped in is a pretty clear reference to the offstage vault where they were expected to chill during breaks in shooting the TV show.

That, plus it's a metaphor for TV itself, and the way the band was frustrated in their attempts to become a "serious" band while being hemmed in on all sides by their manufactured image and past whatever-the-opposite-of-street-cred-is.
posted by hippybear at 1:22 PM on April 29, 2011


Just wanting to chime in with my love for Circle Sky. I've long dreamed of using it to score a montage where the protagonists overcome impossible odds and do something fun, like solve a mystery.

"... and it looks like we made it once again!"
posted by Afroblanco at 1:30 PM on April 29, 2011


I loved "The Monkees" TV show when I was little.
I loved HEAD when I was in college (and still love it).
I continue to be embarassed by The Monkees reunion shows as an adult. Good for Mike Nesmith, even if I had the childhood crush on Peter Tork.
posted by Gucky at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2011


I was in the third grade when The Monkees originally ran on TV, and I fell in love with Peter Tork. Almost every other girl in my class loved Davy Jones, but my best friend Mary (who I met in kindergarten and is still my best friend today) thought Micky Dolenz was the greatest and we many hours poring over 16 Magazine and arguing over which Monkee was the best. Flash forward many years and the 1986 Monkees Reunion Tour (the first of many to follow). Mary and I bought tickets, enjoyed the show, and on the way home spotted tour buses parked back of the Troy Hilton. "I bet that's where they're staying, wanna go try to get an autograph?" I asked and we headed toward the hotel bar. Peter was sitting at a table with some friends, apparently, as as we approached a guy slipped ahead of me and approached Peter at the elbow, asking for an autograph. Peter very coldly and very loudly told him "I'm having a conversation here and you're bothering me. You need to leave." The man stammered and thrust a program and pen at Peter, who then stood up and said even louder "You need to leave RIGHT NOW." "Go ahead," Mary nudged me as we watched the humiliated man scuttle away, "ask him for his autograph."

As we walked through the parking lot back to the car, we spotted Micky Dolenz standing near a tour bus, chatting with a small group of fans. We joined the crowd and he signed autographs, answered questions, and posed for pictures. "Mr. Boy Scout, " I muttered after I snapped a photo of him with his arm around Mary. Oh, and Head the movie is really weird but the soundtrack is one of my fave Monkees albums. And here's a cool rendition of Mike's "Listen to the Band" from 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:06 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was and am a big Monkees fan, and I also remember loving Nesmith's short-lived TV show "Television Parts". It had to be one of the oddest shows ever on television; I particularly remember a sketch called "Sorority Girls from Hell" which was hilariously bizarre.

Anyway, I've seen HEAD a bunch of times; it played at the Telluride Film Festival a couple of years ago to greatly mixed feelings from the attendees. I will always have a soft spot for it, no matter how the band feels about it.

Oh, and anybody still got a vinyl copy of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR with the souvenir book inside? Look for a little cartoon of Mike Nesmith in there; he's got the wool hat on. Apparently John Lennon thought very highly of him and had him put in there in cartoon form as a friendly tribute.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2011


I just recently ran across these two videos of Davy and Peter (who are joined with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart for that second vid) talking about Head in a 2008 interview. It doesn't cover the whole event, unfortunately, but there are plenty of Davy's great Davy-style quips.
posted by jocelmeow at 6:08 PM on April 29, 2011


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